Only at one of the year’s top cardiology meetings could conference organizers strategically place posters to remind (or chide) attendees traversing miles of carpet to sessions, exhibits, and meetings that walking is heart healthy.
Throbbing feet, notwithstanding, this year’s annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology gave healthcare professionals, third-party organizations and industry important opportunities to meet in person (there’s really no substitute) to discuss the latest disease research and product innovations.
ACC is also an important meeting for media, and each year WCG sends a team to support our client’s news and announcements. This year’s contingent included: Angela Gillespie, Managing Director, SF; Paul Laland, Managing Director, Corp Comm & IR; Geoff Curtis, Media Director; Chris Gordon, Senior Associate; Joey Fleury, Associate; Scott Shadiow, Associate; and Jessica Volchok, Associate.
On the heels of ACC, we thought it might be interesting to answer questions we commonly are asked when we return to the office after a big medical meeting:
What was the buzz?
If you read news coming out of Atlanta, you know it was almost exclusively medical devices. Leading topics included: Abbott’s MitraClip, Medtronic’s Endeavor, and Boston Scientific’s untimely ICD/CRT-D product recall. The ACCORD study in diabetes also garnered strong trade and consumer attention; as did, Merck and Portola’s experimental anti-clotting drug, betrixaban. Media interest in the medical device industry shouldn’t be too surprising as the industry is poised for near-term, expanded growth in the prevention, detection and treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Medtronic also took the lead in addressing healthcare disparities with the introduction of its health equity initiative, Every Patient First, at ACC.
How were reporters compared to last year?
Competition for media attention is always stiff at these meetings, and this year was no different.
More and more reporters these days are basing their coverage on late-breakers. If a client isn’t on the media’s radar before a meeting, chances are low that an interview can be set up on site. To counter this for our clients without ACC late-breakers, we scheduled background briefings with key reporters ahead of time, making the case why the data was newsworthy. This worked well for us. Post ACC also provides opportunities to connect with trade reporters who have longer leads and vested interests in covering lower priority but nonetheless interesting HCP-related news.
Net — wherever the media opportunity is, we’ll find it!
What were this year’s takeaways?
- Always strategically assess your client’s news and develop a clear tactical plan to best publicize that news, and manage expectations
- If budget permits, secure an ExpoSuite; it’s incredibly handy to have office space on the convention floor
- Enjoy local flavors and atmosphere with clients and reporters; our Atlanta recommendations:
- MF Buckhead
- ONE.midtown kitchen
- ROOM at Twelve Centennial Park
- TWO urban licks
Last, medical meetings like ACC provide downtime to get REAL and BOND with clients; time with clients that typically isn’t available during the year. And we can’t wait to hit the next one (maybe with more comfortable shoes this time).