Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

October 2013

How Big Media Does Medical Meetings

By Christopher Durso, Executive Editor

correspondents] James Fallows and Jeff Goldberg, who all have different specialties but really all are known for being kind of ahead of the curve. We just try to be true to that brand identity and bring The Atlantic spirit and editorial mission into life on stage.


Economist/Cox We have a database here, across the groups, whether it’s The Economist magazine, whether it’s the Economist Intelligence Unit or some of our more specialist business — clearly we have a number of health-care providers and health-care companies as clients. And so we tend to survey them at the outset [of planning an event]. We put a draft program together, and then what we do is put it around, perhaps to some of our more loyal customers, for their input and thoughts on the program itself. We use our editorial staff internally to be able to generate ideas, and we also use thought leaders from the industry. So we’re building a program really from the bottom up, if you like, so that we know that it resonates and is relevant for the target audience that we’re dealing with. And this is no different than any other event we run, because there are so many health-care events, you want to be sure that you’re really hitting the mark in terms of what the paying delegate wants to come and hear.

Atlantic/Polloway I think that for us it’s not so much a critique of this year as it is a challenge to ourselves to constantly be innovating and be thinking about new topics, new formats, new ways to execute programs that keep us ahead of the curve. [Attendee feedback has been] positive, definitely. That’s why we keep doing the event year over year, because it’s been so successful and it’s been so well received by all the various stakeholders.


Economist/Cox We’re already thinking about next year. Clearly, it’ll be a different landscape, and the Affordable Care Act one year on will be an interesting discussion. But there are clearly lots of different angles. The thing about health care is that it’s a broad subject, and I think our brand gives us an opportunity to be able to look at certain elements of health care. We’ve chosen the Affordable Care Act this year, but then there is the whole issue around pharmaceuticals and bioscience, which is another interesting topic [that] fits into the health-care space. There is more around hospital administration and hospital management and health-care management, which is another angle we could take. Then there’s innovation within drug discovery and things like that. It gives a lot of scope to be able to tweak it from year to year, to be able to find out what’s hot in the market at that particular time.

Atlantic/Smalley We do really a tremendous number of [live events] annually. This is a spring forum, [and] we tend to execute them on a 12-week cycle. So certainly I’m thinking about [next year’s Health Care Forum] in broad strokes and making sure I’m keeping up with my reading and trends and interesting new devices, and just current events in health care. But beyond that, we’re not too engaged just yet.

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