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How we conducted conference research to understand physician reactions to abstracts presented in a virtual setting

How we conducted conference research to understand physician reactions to abstracts presented in a virtual setting

Our client had planned to present new scientific data from its growing oncology portfolio and research pipeline at the Annual Meeting of The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

The challenge
Data from a range of programmes were to be featured in more than 50 abstracts, including company-sponsored and collaborative research studies. However, as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic, the annual event was converted from a physical setting to a virtual meeting. Market research was required to understand physician’s reaction to the abstracts presented in a virtual setting

The solution
Despite the change in setting, ASCO’s virtual conference was accessed by more than 42,000 attendees from over 130 countries and content from the scientific programme was viewed more than 2.5 million times. For context, in 2019, ASCO was attended by a total of 42,500 attendees. These figures suggest virtual conference events still offer pharmaceutical companies a sizeable opportunity to reach and to communicate with a large number of physicians and other key stakeholders.  

Exactly one week after the event, oncologists were contacted to take part in a 35-minute online quantitative questionnaire.  Those oncologists that had attended ASCO and met a minimum caseload criteria within indications of interest were allowed to participate in the survey.

The survey explored the impacts of specific abstracts, respondent’s awareness of certain products and brands and their reactions to a range of data points. Interim results were shared with the client one week after fieldwork to provide a pulse-like read on conference impact with granularity you would expect on a traditional ad-hoc survey.

The outcomes
By using our adapted approach to conference research, we were able to inform our client about the abstracts that were most viewed by physicians in the virtual setting, which of these were considered to be the most valuable in terms of meeting unmet clinical needs, and the impact these would have on their future prescribing decisions. Finally, we helped our client to understand the overall impact ASCO 2020 had on perceptions of their company and brands.

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