In early November, cloud-based software firm Veeva Systems acquired Physicians World, a large speakers bureau specializing in the medical field. The pairing creates a comprehensive solution for life-sciences companies to plan and execute in-person and virtual events for healthcare professionals and to make compliance easier. By coming together, the firms streamline the efforts of their life-sciences clients “to leverage events as part of a holistic engagement strategy,” said Peter Gassner, founder and CEO of Veeva.
Events have grown in importance across the life-sciences field as physicians become harder to see in person in their practices. A 2018 survey by MM&M (formerly Medical Marketing & Media) found that healthcare marketers devoted the largest percentage of their budgets to sales reps (8.6 percent), analytics and market research (6.8 percent), websites and microsites (6.5 percent), and professional meetings and conferences (6.3 percent) in that year.
The 70-plus life science customers using Veeva CRM Events Management to manage in-person and digital programs can work with speakers bureaus other than Physicians World. Veeva supports an open-partner program to integrate and certify speaker-services offerings within its events product, which works with the larger Veeva CRM system to deliver customer insights that allow for coordinated, personalized attendee experiences.
Physicians World will operate as an independent business unit, remaining focused on speaker services for the U.S. market and led by CEO Mark Fleischer. Shortly after the acquisition, MeetingsNet asked Fleischer about speaker and presentation trends across the landscape of HCP events:
On whether procuring speakers is more difficult now than before the Physician Payments Sunshine Act took effect: “It’s not necessarily harder, but it requires more sensitivity to HCP time constraints plus additional attention to cultivating the most effective educator. The key to securing good speakers is providing support as well as flexibility, including having a variety of ways for them to participate such as webinars.”
On whether different types of presentation formats are necessary to keep younger HCPs interested in attending events: “Life sciences companies execute a wide variety of events, and the key factor is less about age than it is about convenience. Virtual events are one example of how digital is opening up new channels for life-sciences companies. Web technologies can support one-to-one or one-to-many presentations. HCPs appreciate the flexibility of these events and the ability to still interact with their peers, while life-sciences companies benefit from reduced costs, increased participation, and stronger customer relationships. Many attendees appreciate the option to attend a webinar that is often more convenient, while remaining compliant. As HCP demographics become younger, though, HCPs will regularly expect digital or virtual channels to be an option.”