The Future is Hybrid: Why Virtual Events are Here to Stay



In this podcast sponsored by Impetus Digital, I speak to Garth Sundem from MAPS about planning and delivering virtual and hybrid events. When is less more? When is more, more? And what are the opportunities emerging from the digitalization of events?

Here is a sneak peek of our conversation:


Garth: So Natalie, as we are maybe starting to emerge from the pandemic, let’s take a look back. We all scrambled to produce digital events this last year. And I wonder if you could help us take a look at some of the things that worked and some of the things that did not?

Natalie: Absolutely. So, as we all know, with COVID-19, we couldn’t meet anymore. So all of the live meetings that a lot of life science, pharmaceutical, biotech companies, they–in terms of advisory boards, investigator meetings, even clinical trials–reached an abrupt stop, and everybody was scrambling. So there were lots of issues. What did come in, were, again, a lot of Zoom meetings, a lot of synchronous touchpoints. And that actually happened even with physicians and their patients with telehealth, the same thing was happening with pharmaceutical companies reaching out to their KOLs, MSLs and sales reps using all kinds of digital Zoom meetings, those sorts of things. So some of the things that just come to mind, there is a lot of Zoom fatigue, these kinds of interactions online can be very energy-depleting. And, unlike live meetings where you have somewhere to go, so you can meet people outside, get a coffee, go to the bathroom, kind of dissipate some of that energy, what we find happened here, both for internal meetings and meetings with our customers, is that there was no break. So I think there was a lot of learning going on and how to optimize that.

In addition, we have translated the ways we have always done meetings, which is very interactional, stacking a huge gigantic agenda. And again, having a typical advisory board, at four or five hours long, but instead of doing it in person, we were doing it through a Zoom meeting. So again, very energy-depleting, it’s difficult to maintain people’s interest and not getting them distracted by doing other things. And too much didactic was another key issue that’s happening, lots and lots of slide presentations, without enabling people to take that mental break, doing something kind of fun, and not necessarily connecting.

The only other thing I just want to mention as well is we also saw a lot of virtual conferences. So that came in a real hurry. So we did see some software that was kind of cobbled together, we found that there were platforms to do the actual mainstage session and some of the breakouts. But then, people were using a completely different platform to do networking. There were also a lot of issues with exhibitor booths, they’re not getting enough traffic. And so lots of issues around on-demand metrics, and just really being able to make the return on investment for sponsoring companies to get the biggest bang for their buck…

For more of our discussion, you can listen to the whole podcast episode below.

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About Impetus Digital

Impetus Digital is the spark behind sustained healthcare stakeholder communication, collaboration, education, and insight synthesis. Our best-in-class technology and professional services ensure that life science organizations around the world can easily and cost-effectively grow and prosper—from brand or idea discovery to development, commercialization, execution, and beyond—in collaboration with colleagues, customers, healthcare providers, payers, and patients.