Despite the rules and regulations governing the tone of pharma meetings, a product launch doesn't have to consist of rigidly
scheduled activities. For companies that believe a little R&R makes for happier sales reps, the natural beauty of a destination
can foster a lighthearted attitude for the week. The better you hold reps' interest, the more they will learn.
Good pointe This six-acre oasis isn't just for the kids. Implement product launches around a hotel's unique facilities.
In addition to the cattle round-up, Destination Services offers rock climbing, a Royal Gorge Route train ride along the Arkansas
River, and a trip to the Garden of Gods—a 238 million-year-old red-rock hike. Todd Wells, director of national sales for the
midwest at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, knows that getting some personal time is vital during a weeklong conference
with hundreds of attendees. That's why he says the 3,200-acre hotel sitting at the base of the Rockies is a perfect spot for
large product launches. "We offer multiple breakout and individual opportunities simply because we have the space for it,
and people can go off and get some fresh air if they need it," says Wells. "For companies looking to emphasize the health
and wellness of their sales force, we appeal to them because we foster a very active lifestyle on our grounds."
Mike Lyons, president and CEO of Global Event Partners (GEP) in Philadelphia, concentrates on spectacular launches indoors.
For GEP's most recent event, the team produced a last night extravaganza that capped off a weeklong convention that celebrated
popular music through the decades. "We wanted to create a really memorable send-off where attendees would actually say 'wow'
when they entered the space," Lyons says. Five different rooms were made up to exemplify the last five iconic decades: There
was a 1950's diner; a psychedelic focus to reflect the 1960s; a disco dance floor for the 1970s, complete with a John Travolta
impersonator and Village People cover band; break dancers for the 1980s; and another room that exuded the stark lounge trend
of the 1990s and early 21st century. "I think this is an idea that a lot of companies can replicate because, it's memorable
and fun and it allows people to bond over common interests and network," says Lyons. "For a pharma launch, you want people
to get motivated. And this jazzes them up a little and helps them get out there and sell."
Geoffrey Cooke, national sales
manager, Pointe South Mountain Resort
When planning product launches, some vendors find that a more personalized plan works best. "Our approach is to be far more
individual and catch this service much farther upstream," says Geoffrey Cooke, national sales manager of Pointe South Mountain
Resort in Phoenix, AZ. "We ask the meeting planners, 'What is it that you want to do?' And we try to facilitate that and tailor
the needs to the company."
Companies like to go to Pointe South resort for its six-acre water oasis, giant lawn areas, and helicopter-landing pad. For
one company, the hotel set up a water-themed launch. Out by the oasis wave pool, Pointe South built a screen to hide a big
event scheduled to follow dinner by the water. After a sumptuous feast personally created for the event, the Blue Man Group
came out and performed a theatrical spectacle, capped by the unveiling of the company's product from the huge dropdown screen
hidden in the dark. This was an effective presentation method because the guests weren't expecting a big display on their
first night, and it excited them about what else was in store for the week.