Two Views From Inside The Exhibition Booth - Pharmaceutical Executive


Two Views From Inside The Exhibition Booth
No longer just a meet-and-greet venue, the exhibition booth at healthcare conventions has been technologically transformed into an effective and dynamic selling channel. Two pharma marketing executives tell how their companies made the transition

Pharmaceutical Executive

Pfizer following suit

Like Abbott, Pfizer has recently transformed their exhibit program into a similarly integrated convention-selling channel.

According to O'Brien, an internal TRx study conducted by Pfizer's management science department showed a statistically significant increase in prescriptions by the physicians who interacted with sales reps at their exhibit booth.

The study tracked the prescribing habits of those physicians who attended the Pfizer booth and showed an average 30 percent increase sustained over a 12-month period. The success is attributed to an improvement in the quality of the interaction, the accuracy of data capture, and the reporting processes.

"Through the TRx study, our group is very clearly showing the value of the exhibit booth as an effective convention-selling channel for healthcare professionals," said O'Brien, an eight-year veteran of the company. "Everyone in our industry is looking for return on investment. Through that study, we are able to show it."

One of the main focuses for O'Brien's team is to engage the physician with targeted messages, compiling all of the data from several customer touch points and feeding that information into a central database for further analysis. Like Abbott, her team is also working with OneWorld, Inc. to build their convention-selling channel infrastructure, with a focus on standardization and cost savings.

"We have a channel partner that has helped us significantly increase the effectiveness of our convention-selling channel at the exhibit booth by delivering targeted messages as well as capturing, processing, and matching the physicians to the Pfizer call plan," said O'Brien. "All of that information is incorporated into Pfizer's standard procedures."

Those procedures, detailed in her presentation, are directed by four goals for each convention:

  • Conduct highly effective targeted discussions with healthcare professionals;
  • Capture all touch point data; provide real-time data and analytics to key Pfizer stakeholders; and
  • Provide data integration into Pfizer's relationship marketing solution, providing the ability to share that information with numerous marketing and sales channels.

"A few years ago, the data at the exhibit booth was collected but not fully analyzed," said Everton Cranston, senior director of global congresses and conventions at Pfizer, who took part in an expert panel discussion at HCEA. "Before it was just an information dump onto the physicians and often it was information that was not of interest to them. Now we are using the data to meet the specific needs of the physicians, which they are much more open to receiving.

"They are interested in engaging in good dialogue, knowing the company is now working to meet their specific needs."

John Ruane is a writer and healthcare communications consultant. He can be reached at


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