How Pharma Adjusted to a New Way to Conference

The 2020 ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncology) Conference was scheduled to begin May 29th in Chicago, IL. Because of the COVID-19 crisis, the conference was conducted online on a virtual platform.

Companies took different approaches to participating. Some created virtual, interactive experiences, some just took HCPs to their websites. Conference features like speakers and networking were also simulated, but to varying degrees. You can watch our video highlight here.

The following summarizes ASCO, what worked well and areas for improvement.

Here's How It Worked


When you logged on to the virtual conference, there were six main areas to explore:

Data Presentations


  • Both oral and poster presentations had video voiceovers of the data and the key takeaways with accompanying searchable transcripts. 
  • Downloadable PowerPoint presentations and poster PDFs were available as well.
  • ideo, slides and transcripts of “Highlights of the Day” broken out by parts and plenary sessions were also available. 




One the primary benefits of attending a conference is the ability to network and engage with brands and other HCPs. With formal Q&A sessions eliminated, the amount of interaction was limited.

Some KOLs took to Twitter to debate the data and discuss the pros and cons of a virtual meeting.


Can You Help Facilitate Networking?

Schedule touchpoints with KOLs through one on one encounters, small group meetings and/or advisory board meetings. Monitor social media outlets to get a sense of KOL discussion about the data.

Leverage the Social Conversation

In the absence of in person networking, much pf the conversation took place on social media, especally twitter. Consider utilizing these platforms to connect with attendees.


Virtual Exhibits

The virtual exhibit space was divided into three tiers on sponsors, with the highest tier sponsor featured most prominently on the page. 

Each exhibitor populated their page with company information including a brief company description/message, banner image, and embedded videos. They also included weblinks to additional content or to external websites. 

Take a video tour of the ASCO Virtual Exhibits.

Virtual Booths

Many exhibitors created interactive 3D virtual Booths. The best of these booths were visually appealing, had clear navigation, and allowed visitors to easily engage with the content. 



A few exhibitors built ASCO focused microsites to house their content.



Keep it Simple: Focus on delivering a good user experience. Be sure to keep navigation simple.

Humanize it: Very few of the virtual booths had a human presence, and thus could feel cold. Consider incorporating real people into the booth–a greeting video for example, or a prerecorded video of a rep discussing the booth materials.

Connecting to your Data: It was a missed opportunity to not connect your booth to your data presentations.




Man the Booth: None of the virtual booths delivered the ability to talk live with a rep. This seems like a missed opportunity, at least during the standard hours of ASCO.

Take your Virtual Booth to the next level: Most of the booths featured the blocking and tackle branding content but did not attempt larger scale activities that could draw attention and drive traffic. 

Consider incorporate attractions like competitive games or immersive experiences.


Please contact your account leads or if you have any questions or would like to discuss any of the above.