Sponsors eager to return to in-person events

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Gaia Santoro, Head of the Sponsorship Unit, AIM Group International; photo credit: AIM Group

AIM Group International conducted a survey of leading pharmaceutical and biopharma companies to understand their perspectives regarding next Autumn's events. According to the survey “Events in-person, hybrid or digital? Trends and perspectives from the Sponsors”, that captures the viewpoints from over 200 representatives of pharmaceutical and biopharma companies from across all therapeutic areas, half of the companies are ready to sponsor in-person events.

“We are at a turning point, with the reopening of in-person events from July and the planning of events for next autumn” says Patrizia Semprebene Buongiorno, Vice President of AIM Group International. “At this juncture, we considered it would be useful to ask corporate decision makers who sponsor events to understand their attitudes and desires and devise solutions and projects more in line with the expectations of the market.

Some of the key findings:

  • Half of the companies are ready to sponsor in-person events next autumn, only 16% exclude it as an option, the remaining 37% prefer to decide later.
  • The budget for events in 2021 will mostly be allocated to in-person or hybrid events (43%) while digital-only events were preferred by one in three companies (35%).
  • Assuming participation in a hybrid event, the majority would prefer to participate in-person (52%), or both in person and online (31%), only a small fraction (17%) would choose to attend the event online only.
  • As for virtual events, a short duration is preferred, 76% chose between 6 and 12 hours duration.
  • In the case of virtual events, sponsors definitely prefer to sponsor scientific sessions (82%) or opportunities that give visibility to the brand (82%).

Among the activities to make virtual events more effective, sponsors prefer short e-learning videos published before or after the event (60%), followed by television format scientific sessions with a professional presenter (50%), then Q&A sessions with key opinion leaders (48%) and also forms of gaming (escape room, quiz, etc.) (38%).
Gaia Santoro, head of Sponsorship Unit of AIM Group International, says: “We can predict that events next autumn will involve a move towards more sophisticated event features, which we are calling “an augmented event”.

“The new formats are also drawing inspiration from different sectors such as TV, gaming, trade fairs, etc.), allowing the event organisers identify the best solution to obtain the desired results, changing not only the format (in-person, virtual or hybrid) but also the duration and schedule planning, the interaction among participants, the communication before, during and after the event,” concludes Patrizia Semprebene Buongiorno.

The survey can be downloaded from the AIM Group website.

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