Communication Transformation for Pharma Marketers

An surprising number of people are not attentive during virtual meetings. Patrick Diviny provides advice on how to overcome digital distraction and lift participation.
Pharmaceutical Professionals in an Online Meeting

Over the years the workplace has been transformed by the industrial revolution, world wars, computer systems, and automation. In more recent history, the Covid-19 pandemic impacted enterprises by accelerating the practice of remote work.

In a similar way, classrooms changed from physical to virtual. As a college student, I had to deal with the transition to remote online learning beginning in my junior year. Classrooms changed from blackboards in buildings to Zoom in my bedroom.

In the summer the remote adventure continued, with a remote job for a healthcare consulting firm which conducted operations remotely via Zoom calls.

In both academic and work experiences, it was hard to pay attention to talking heads and endless slides. The terms “Death by PowerPoint” and “Zoom Gloom” took on real significance. It was impossible to ignore how many people became distracted, lost attention, stopped their cameras, or just left in the middle of virtual meetings.

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Are we using our time wisely?

Forbes Magazine published the article, “Here’s What People Are Doing During Zoom Meetings: 4 Ways To Avoid Distractions.” The results of the article’s studies are staggering in regard to the number of people that become distracted during Zoom meetings. Author William Arruda refers to a Quality Logo survey which states: 

“Of the 1,000 participants, 80% owned up to zoning out more in online meetings than in person… Meetings remain the most powerful way to make your mark and build your personal brand. That’s hard to do if you’re also texting, like 86% of participants, doing other work (75%) or online shopping (56%). 

– William Arruda

How many organizations are wasting precious time and money in meetings that people are mentally abandoning?  What are the business and educational consequences? Are there better methods or platforms?

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An Active Meeting Paradigm

A new virtual meeting platform is tackling the attention issue. REACHUM contains multiple features to capture and keep participants engaged in every meeting or class. Meetings start faster, the controls are simpler, and there is constant interaction instead of passive viewing. 

A pharmaceutical presentation in REACHUM

REACHUM has screen sharing like other platforms, but REACHUM hosts and teachers rarely use it.  Once you’ve experienced the energy of fully interactive meetings, screen sharing is flat and uninteresting. REACHUM transports users beyond boredom to modern digital conversations that are involving and expressive. 

It’s easy to nod off in a virtual classroom from lack of activity. In a REACHUM class, it’s hard to be passive or sleepy because activity is compelled every few minutes!  Organizational goals are readily accomplished. Managers are in-sync with employees and teachers understand student progress because of a continuous 2-way flow of information that I’ve never experienced in other meeting platforms. 

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Pharmaceutical Marketing Applications

The pharmaceutical industry relies heavily on video communication because medical practitioners need to stay up-to-date with the latest diagnostic and therapeutic technologies. Physicians prefer video because it delivers information quickly and efficiently during their hectic schedules. Fierce Pharma’s article, “Video killed the in-person meeting star” finds video calls more effective than in-person calls for increasing physician awareness of new drugs. Research by Veeva Systems concludes that, “Video meetings are three times more effective than in-person interactions when it comes to driving new prescriptions.” This statistic was based on data from “quarterly field interactions across 80% of global biopharmas.” 

These statistics are astounding. They make it the imperative for pharmaceutical companies to provide the best experiences during virtual sales calls.

While working for the pharma consultancy, physicians often canceled Zoom meetings because of their busy workloads. The meetings were generally scheduled for an hour, with advisory board meetings having a 3-4 hour duration. For those that did attend, many became distracted and lost focus on the topics at hand.

Pharmaceutical Group Participates in a REACHUM Poll

Physician advisory boards are critical for understanding the opportunities for newly developed drugs.  REACHUM’s interactivity would be highly effective in ensuring that every board member is involved and attentive. REACHUM’s real-time reporting captures and presents multi-dimensional survey and poll data, giving meeting leaders the feedback critical for moving group understanding forward. The end result is the acceleration of go-to-market planning for pharmaceutical companies.

Market research requires immense attention to detail, particularly in the highly regulated pharmaceutical world where safety is paramount. Advisory board members ask an abundance of questions. This is where REACHUM’s chronological hand raising feature adds value. Understanding the sequences of hand raises makes it easy for meeting leaders to prioritize questions. The spotlight feature displays questioners larger, so that everyone sees who is asking the question and follows along more intently. A common problem in Zoom meetings is not knowing who is asking a question. The Zoom gallery view displays many boxes at a time, making identifying questioners difficult. 

Another facet of my daily work life for the consultancy consisted of one-on-one client meetings. Our objective was to discover the needs of clients to better tailor the services we offered and collect feedback. REACHUM is a superior platform for these meetings, with better understanding and documentation an immediate benefit.  REACHUM is collaborative and conversational, with continuous polling and feedback built into a seamless experience. Much of the tortured post-meeting back and forth email can be avoided using REACHUM’s collaboration features, where documents can be edited, agreed to, and signed before leaving the meeting.

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Competition: The Engagement Superstar

A Pharmaceutical Group Viewing a REACHUM Leaderboard

 In general, physicians are highly competitive. They’ve achieved their positions through many years of education and hard work. REACHUM’S gamified challenges and their accompanying leaderboards are a natural fit for groups of doctors, who enjoy clinical challenges and competition.  For example, in my previous experience with advisory boards, I believe the participants would have been more strongly involved and would have retained more information about the product and its mechanism-of-action. In the advisory boards I observed, the majority of physicians were engaged while a small minority of physicians seemed inattentive. It is of utmost importance to ensure the full participation of every physician member to obtain useful results. REACHUM built-in challenges and competition would drive better results.

Advisory board meetings can be lengthy, so good meeting flow is critical to accomplishing meeting objectives within the time limits. I have seen multiple instances where a meeting gets off track because a key point is misunderstood. By always having a clear picture of physician understanding using seamless polling and surveys, meeting leaders stay in-sync with physician up-take, clarifying issues before smoothly moving forward. 

REACHUM also has the capability of reusing and augmenting content, a valuable benefit for any company operating in a highly regulated environment. Given the inherent complexity of medical information, circling back and re-using approved content is beneficial for revisiting conversations. For example, if a doctor develops an interest in a particular idea or product, her or she can be briefed in a future meeting with the same information from the advisory board. This works to the benefit of the physician and the marketing team, because it gives them more time to elaborate on complex matters. The reusability of content allows physicians to revisit content and go deeper to explore and reprocess new therapeutic modalities. 

My summer job would have benefited from the various features presented on REACHUM’s platform by increasing clients’ attention and providing a more well-rounded overall experience for clients. REACHUM’s ability to facilitate conversational experiences using gamification, surveys, virtual hand-raising, and countless more would make clients more likely to grow the relationship with their consultants. REACHUM has advanced the video communication industry in a positive fashion and has differentiated itself from virtual meeting alternatives by adding these unique features. I believe that as the platform continues to innovate, it will add tremendous value for pharmaceutical and other communicators.