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Best Practices in Pharmaceutical Conventions Management

ID: SM-159


42 Info Graphics

30 Data Graphics

75 Metrics

10 Narratives

46 Best Practices

Pages: 66

Published: Pre-2019

Delivery Format: Shipped


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Learn how top pharmaceutical companies transform their conventions departments from tactical implementors to strategic innovators. The practices in this report will show how top companies optimize their conventions management functions. Pharmaceutical conventions departments plan and organize hundreds of conventions each year across industries. Conservative research figures indicate that half of the conventions in the nation’s 27 largest cities are pharmaceutical focused.Yet even as this business is booming, pharmaceutical companies are cutting budget and staff resources for their conventions department. A reason for the cutbacks: conventions bureaus predict that 20–25 percent fewer attendees, mostly physicians, plan to attend major conventions. This study addresses the logistics of effectively managing conventions when convention budgets are tightening.

Industries Profiled:
Manufacturing; Medical Device; Pharmaceutical; Biotech; Consumer Products; Diagnostic

Companies Profiled:
3M; Amgen; AstraZeneca; Bayer; Bristol-Myers Squibb; GlaxoSmithKline; Ortho-McNeil; Roche

Study Snapshot

The most effective conventions departments within the benchmark class have less or equal responsibility for strategic planning as they do for managing logistical activities. While the activities are necessary and must be accomplished, best-in-class companies have found more productive and efficient methods to manage their activities and continue to play a critical strategic role, even with a smaller staff size.

  • Establishing a strategic leadership role and aligning with marketing are vital keys to promoting the conventions department’s expertise within the organization
    World-class conventions organizations promote their departments’ leadership ability and expertise to empower the conventions department within the corporation. Too often, conventions departments are structurally buried within the marketing organization and, due to small staff sizes, are unable to focus on marketing strategy. Instead, the resources allocated to the group are typically taken up by logistical activities, such as managing internal attendee housing or approving literature.
  • Best-in-class conventions organizations balance department staffing resources to adequately support strategic alignment with marketing
    The conventions department’s staff size, along with the level of logistical responsibility, directly reflects the level to which the function can play a strategic role in the marketing organization, according to benchmark partner analysis. Pharmaceutical companies must balance the amount of logistical responsibility they assign conventions departments with the amount of strategic influence the function has over the marketing planning process.
  • Benchmark partner companies manage their resources by decreasing housing responsibility within the conventions department
    Housing activities can take up much of the time and staffing resources allocated to the typically small pharmaceutical conventions departments. To effectively manage all the conventions activities under the department’s responsibilities, partner companies eliminate or reduce the amount of housing activities conducted by the conventions departments.
  • World-class conventions departments provide detailed post-show information to brand managers to accurately assess the strategic impact
    Benchmark interviews with key conventions stakeholders revealed that many brand managers desired more detail in the post-show reports that the conventions department provides. While the reports currently provide useful information around certain convention demographics, some brand managers expressed the need for more in-depth information relative to marketing strategy.
  • Staff skill-level has a great impact on transforming the conventions department from a logistical unit to a strategic marketing group
    The best approach benchmark companies use to build a strategic competency around conventions management involves providing adequate department resources to grow the staff members’ experience. Once companies determine the most appropriate staff size for the function, they must provide continuous improvement through strategic alignment opportunities.

Key Findings

To support continuing efforts to assess pharmaceutical conventions departments’ performance against those of industry leaders, Best Practices LLC benchmarked a select class of eight pharmaceutical competitors. Benchmark findings provide partner companies with the tools necessary to identify potential areas for improvement and close performance gaps to build a stronger core convention competency within the organization.

Specifically, this study examines the following components of industry-leading conventions departments:

  • Optimal staffing levels
  • Methods to improve efficiency around conventions-related activities
  • Techniques to improve internal attendee convention training
  • Tactics used to measure performance

Performance metrics enable executives to perform gap analyses and identify areas needing improvement. Metrics are an important complement to the qualitative best practices included in this study report. Best Practices, LLC analysts collected and analyzed the following key findings and metrics:
  • Conventions Per Year (National, Regional, Local, International)
  • Number of Products per Convention
  • Number of Booths per Convention
  • Booth Size
  • Number of Products per Booth
  • Attendees per Convention per Function
  • Staff Size
  • Staff Experience Level
  • Conventions Department Activities and Responsibilities
Table of Contents

Executive Summary
Study Background
Project Focus
Conventions Management Benchmarking
Benchmark Class
Key Project Findings
Report Structure and Organization
Next Steps

Benchmark Partner Survey Analysis
Survey Response Form
Conventions Department Roles and Responsibilities
Conventions Per Year
Conventions Presence
Responsibility for Internal Attendees
Staffing vs. Experience Level
Conventions Department Activities
Setting Annual Objectives
Shipping Literature
Pre-Convention Training
Compiling and Distributing Information Packets
Pre-Convention Publicity
Lead Retrieval and Follow-up
Compiling and Distributing Post-Show Reports
Identifying Potential Products
Evaluating Potential New Products
Commercializing New Products
Prioritizing Products and Allocating Resources
Managing the Product Lifecycle

Best Practices in Conventions Management
Structure, Staffing and Roles
Convention Activities
Training and Support
Performance Measures

List of Charts & Exhibits

National Conventions
International Conventions
Products Per Show
Booths Per Show
Average Booth Size
Maximum # Products Per Booth
Average Attendees Per Show
Attendance By Function
Attendee Breakdown
Average Experience Level (in Years)
Conventions Department Staffing
Shows Per FTE
Average Years Experience
Responsibility to Set Annual Objectives
Responsibility for Arranging Housing for Convention Attendees
Responsibility to Manage Literature Shipments
Responsibility for Conducting Conventions Training
Responsibility to Compile and Distribute Information Packets
Responsibility to Manage Pre-Convention Marketing
Responsibility to Track and Follow-Up on Convention Leads
Responsibility to Develop Post-Show Reports
Centralized Conventions Department
Tracking Return on Objectives