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Medical Device Events : Live Webcasts vs Recorded, Downloadable Video

Michael YonchenkoGuest post from Michael Yonchenko who has many years of experience in medical device events recording and communications and who will be recording the 10x Conference in Minneapolis this year.

In the 1980s many of my medical device and pharma clients asked me to produce marketing videoconferences live-via-satellite.

These live events were “narrowcast” to predetermined locations in many cities around the country. The defined audience was potential buyers of my clients’ products. The content for these programs was well-defined and presented. Audience members could interact with the presenters via phone lines. Many, but not all, resulted in meeting intended goals and objectives.

These were very expensive programs to produce. Unless the cost of the program was +/- $100/participant there would not be a justifiable ROI. Videoconferencing was often just an exciting corporate communications fad. Marketing executives had found a fill and needed it.

New webcast applications have become more reliable and easier to use. And like the videoconferences of the 1980’s many are simply not a worthy investment. Often, presenters do not consider four essential criteria that must be met if their live webcast is going to be effective and meet their desired goals and outcomes.

These criteria have not changed since the videoconferencing in the 1980’s. If all four criteria are not met, it is likely that there is another communications technology that will be more effective. The criteria are:

  1. The information presented must be time-sensitive.
  2. The program needs to presented to a large audience.
  3. This audience must be geographically dispersed over a wide area.
  4. The audience must have the opportunity to interact with the program presenters.

Many marketing webcast presenters believe that webcasts reduce the need for corporate travel. However, there are often situations in which more can be accomplished in a face-to-face meeting than can ever be accomplished via a webcast. Executives often like to travel to see their colleagues or to meet directly with their clients.

Live webcasts users are locked into a viewing schedule that may be inconvenient. Would you watch a live webcast rather than attend a required senior management meeting? Not likely.

Very few webcasts take advantage of the powerful use of the visual technology that is available to them. Short video segments can take the viewer to places they otherwise cannot get to and show them things that they otherwise cannot see.

For example, what better way is there to demonstrate the mechanism of action of a drug-eluding stent than through the use of an anatomical animation? Too many medical device events produce webcasts presenting speakers who use poorly produced PowerPoint slides. The speaker drones on while reading the huge volume of print in each slide. You can listen to this webcast rather than view it and the effect will be the same.

However, a short, well-produced downloadable video that can be viewed at anytime usually accomplishes a great deal more than a live webcast that is not well-produced or doesn’t meet the criteria listed above. And don’t forget the printed word! There is no denying that a simple brochure or white paper can still be an effective means of communication.

Take a dispassionate look at your communications goals and objectives, the real cost of reaching your audience, and the most effective use of the available communications technologies. Beware of the fill. You may not need it.

About The Author

Michael Yonchenko, Founder and Co-Principal of Cogent Communications, specializes in the production of video, multimedia, and live events exclusively for the medical device and pharmaceutical industries. Early in his career, Michael was a head of the Division of Instructional Media at the Stanford University School of Medicine where he wrote, produced and directed video training programs and worked in the development of live videoconferences via satellite. In 1981, Michael formed Cogent Communications to produce programs for the medical device, pharmaceutical, and other health-related institutions. Cogent CommunicationsCogent has won 80 national and international awards including the 1996 C. Everett Koop, M.D. Award for Best Medical Education Program from the American Medical Association. For more information go to http://www.cogentcomm.biz.