In these hectic times, any event host knows the frustration of trying to get invitees to RSVP in a timely manner — and to actually show up. For organizers of medical education programming, the stakes are higher: Planning for a certain number and only have a fraction of the anticipated turnout wastes time and resources, and program costs can look artificially high, which can be a challenge for compliance management.
Managing the HCP invitation and response process is one part art, one part science: Program managers need to be attuned to the preferences and predilections of their target audience and gauge their correspondence accordingly.
The first element is making sure that the timing of your events is set to avoid potential conflicts. While HCP populations vary greatly in terms of their time commitments and schedules, there are a couple rules of thumb that can be useful to guide programming timelines:
The beginning and the end of the week tends to bring more unforeseen circumstances that can force cancellations, so aim for midweek — Tuesday through Thursday — to minimize potential conflicts.
When sending an invitation, you need to hit what we refer to as a “Goldilocks” moment — not so early as to get buried in the recipient’s schedule and subsequently forgotten, not so late that your attendee pool will already have plans.
By paying attention to the response patterns — an event-management tool that can consolidate and present attendee responses for programming over time is an invaluable tool here — you can find the pattern that best suits your target audience. As a general rule of thumb, the “just right” moment is around five to six weeks before you plan to hold your educational event.
When and how you follow up that initial invitation is equally important; schedule reminders into your preparation schedule to make sure you remain on your HCPs’ radar. After the invitation is extended, best practice is to follow up in person with those who respond “yes.”
The gold standard is to have this touchpoint occur within a day or two of the event itself. This keeps the reminder at top-of-mind for HCPs, and the personal touch reinforces the commitment. Think of your own social life and how much easier is it to say, “Oh, I won’t be able to make that, after all,” via email instead of to someone’s face. The same principle applies here.
If you use these insights, you’ll set the foundation for well-attended and interactive programming.
Claire Rizza, VP, Account Management, AHM
Claire joined AHM in 2006 as a Service Delivery, Senior Director. After launching one of AHM’s flagship accounts she was promoted to VP of Account Management where she has been responsible for multiple large accounts. Prior to AHM Claire spent ten years at a Medical Education Company, she also spent 15 years at Parke-Davis. In total Claire has over 30 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry and 25 years in speakers bureau.