We live in a world of data that threatens to overwhelm our work and personal lives. Part of the reason for this is the price of data storage continues to fall dramatically.
Today, an external hard drive offers a 1TB capacity; a few years ago the same product offered 100GB. A 10x increase in storage capacity for the same money in the space of a few years.
Data is now available from online posters, abstracts, webcasts and presentations. We also have Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and other social media competing for our time.
What this means is that if you plan to attend a major medical or scientific meeting such as the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), which offers a lot of data, you need to have a conference coverage strategy.
Here are a few tips we suggest you consider:
Don’t go for a “Data Dump”
Too often we see a “fear of missing out” (FOMO) mentality drive a “we must capture everything” policy. All this results in is a mass of data that somebody has to analyze after the meeting. Too often a 300+ page data dump report (when it finally is produced) ends up sitting on the metaphorical shelf.
Focus on Key Questions
Prior to a major medical or scientific meeting it’s important to develop a list of the key questions that a brand, commercial or new products team need answered. The questions could be on competitor activity, developments in a pathway or impact of clinical data on the standard of care. Data collection can then be focusoned on answering those key questions.
Insights cost more
Recently, staff at a top 20 pharma company told us they were paying $X for a conference “data dump” but only had 10% of $X available for strategic insights. In Twitter speak, they had #LostThePlot as it should be the other way round since insights are more valuable than raw data.
As management consultants, we might produce a Powerpoint slide with a table or chart based on data from 20 posters. In order to select those 20 key posters, we could have reviewed perhaps 200 posters originally. Which would you rather have, one slide with insights and analysis or 200 Powerpoint slides with data? Our philosophy is “less is more.”
Insights cost more because it takes in-depth therapeutic area knowledge and expertise to condense data into a meaningful story and make strategic recommendations.