American College of Physicians
virtual engagement points tracked
sessions managed for virtual conference
The American College of Physicians (ACP) is a diverse community of internal medicine specialists and subspecialists. With over 160,000 members in countries across the globe, ACP is the largest medical-specialty organization, and second-largest physician group in the United States. Their mission is to enhance the quality and effectiveness of health care by fostering excellence and professionalism in the practice of medicine. Steve Spadt, Chief Technology Officer, works to ensure ACP leverages best-in-class technology to spur innovation and drive value for the organization. “I view technology as the foundation of value delivery to our members, which ultimately translates into better health for their patients,” he says.
Partnering with Cvent for Innovative Virtual Experiences
ACP’s events program includes their flagship annual conference, as well as a broad range of smaller regional and virtual meetings supporting educational programs, professional development and networking, and governance work. The annual ACP Internal Medicine Meeting brings together up to 10,000 attendees for a week-long experience. “It is the one time each year that we are able to truly celebrate the huge breadth of ACP, showcasing everything from the latest clinical guidance from global experts to industry-leading medical education products and publications, professional advancement opportunities, awards and honor ceremonies, new skills development, advocacy efforts, member engagement opportunities, and peer networking,” explains Steve.
Due to the global health crisis, ACP needed to move their planned 2021 conference to a virtual environment. “Our biggest challenge was simply that we’d never done a virtual meeting on this scale before,” says Steve. The complexity of the event and broad scope of content and offerings presented unique challenges in translating the experience to a virtual platform. Moreover, the typical planning cycle of more than a year was reduced to just a few months. Not only did ACP need a technology partner who could support the complexity of this large scale virtual event, but they needed a partner with high performance and the reliability to manage thousands of simultaneous attendees across hundreds of sessions.
While the virtual event space was inundated with new technologies at the time, Steve notes that ACP’s top priority was finding a platform that was supported by a deep, experienced team of professionals who could excel at both project management and high-level production strategies. Having previously used Cvent solutions, ACP leadership saw the immediate value of leveraging the Cvent Attendee Hub as an all-in-one platform to support their virtual event.
Supporting the Virtual Event Lifecycle with Cvent Services
By leveraging Cvent’s full professional services suite, ACP received dedicated support throughout the entire event lifecycle. They partnered with Cvent’s Event Build services, Virtual Event 360 support services, and Attendee Support services to ensure a seamless end-to-end experience. Their VE360 team was able to implement strategic project management and support a cohesive virtual event strategy, including session management, exhibitor management, speaker and moderator training, and reporting. “What makes Cvent so special is its people,” says Steve. He adds, “We partner with Cvent because of people like our Client Success Advisor. She was with us every step of the way, from pre-contract to every minute of every day of our conference. Our success was her success.”
The Advanced Production services offered ACP a full-scale production strategy and elevated production value through video configuration and editing, content capture and casting, and much more. The team also launched registration nearly a month prior to opening the check-in registration to the public to ensure multiple levels of testing across staff, exhibitors, and other groups and create complete confidence in the system. Steve notes, “Cvent’s people are exceptionally good at what they do. That has been universally true.”
With an audience largely comprised of medical professionals from across the country, many of ACP’s attendees were active frontline workers. Knowing their attendees’ schedules would therefore be limited, ACP reduced the typical conference program to three days of more focused, high-priority content. They offered over 150 pre-recorded and livestream sessions, including concurrent scientific sessions, live Q&A sessions, clinical sessions, social and networking events, the annual convocation ceremony, and interactive activities. This meant ACP needed to manage more than 150 speakers, including Dr. Fauci and other leading medical professionals who were on the frontlines fighting the pandemic.
To ensure quality session delivery, the VE360 team managed speaker training, content capture, and production of all sessions. They also leveraged Cvent’s Speaker Resource Center to centrally manage all presentation content, speaker requirements, and key logistics. Here, speakers could self-manage tasks, modify profile or session information, upload key content, and easily correspond with session managers. The VE360 team offered ample training for all pre-recorded sessions as well as day-of support via moderators. “We had to absolutely nail this content, so the work of the Virtual Events 360 team to get all of that pre-recorded was both an immense challenge and immensely important to our success,” notes Steve.
Driving Virtual Engagement in the Attendee Hub
To ensure ease of execution for speakers and high-value production quality, ACP focused heavily on producing simulive sessions with a mix of pre-recorded content and live Q&A. This allowed speakers to engage with attendees through live Q&A while offering pre-recorded content via the Cvent Video Player. In fact, they tracked over 3,300 questions asked across the conference. Many sessions featured additional functionality like live polling or chat to drive deeper audience engagement. “Both live polling and live Q&A were highly utilized and highly valued by attendees,” notes Steve.
They also used the gamification feature within the Attendee Hub to boost engagement and inspire interactivity with the content. ACP also enabled push notifications to provide real-time information updates and integrated session surveys to drive user participation in the evaluation of session performance, a critical need. Steve adds, “Cvent’s technology is fantastic. It’s robust and it’s stable...it has all the traits you’d expect of world-class software."
Providing Valuable Experiences for Virtual Sponsors and Exhibitors
ACP also included a virtual exhibit hall with dedicated virtual booths where medical professionals could meet with sponsors and exhibitors for demos and solution overviews. The virtual exhibit hall featured both outside exhibitors as well as ACP content and services to drive member engagement. ACP used Cvent’s Exhibitor Management solution to help consolidate processes and streamline communication with exhibitors. Here, exhibitor tasks, lead capture, appointments, emails, and reporting were all centralized within the exhibitor portal. On-demand reporting for exhibitors helped prove the value of their investment, tracking over 4,000 views of the exhibitor list and more than 3,400 virtual booths views. Ultimately, over 1,100 attendees joined a virtual meeting with exhibitors.
The integrated Appointments tool with the Attendee Hub provided attendees key opportunities for fostering deeper connections. “Because our focus was on large-audience didactic presentations, with expert faculty presenting to thousands of attendees, we needed to find a way to create opportunities for more personal engagement,” explains Steve. They used virtual booths and the Appointments solution to provide such opportunities, whether attendees wished to meet with ACP staff or exhibitors. “In our own ACP booths, for example, we encouraged visitors to make appointments with ACP staff to help them with things like membership advancement, product support, or to get answers about ACP policies or how to get more engaged,” says Steve.
The Appointments solution allowed attendees to access virtual meeting rooms with a single click inside the Attendee Hub, creating a frictionless user experience. They could modify, accept, or decline appointments as needed directly within their schedule and even manage their schedule via calendar email invitations. ACP ultimately tracked over 300 actualized appointments within the Attendee Hub.
Evaluating ACP Virtual Event Success
Ultimately, ACP tracked 7,049 registrants for the virtual conference. Steve notes that ACP leadership was impressed with this result. “Given the particular strain of the pandemic on our membership -- the physicians who are on the front lines fighting the disease -- it was remarkable to see such a turnout,” he notes. To drive further engagement with the educational content, all sessions were made available on-demand for 30 days post-event with the opportunity to access bonus content.
ACP was also able to leverage engagement scoring to evaluate attendee engagement across the conference. They tracked an impressive number of digital touchpoints, with over 1.2 million actions completed by more than 7,000 participants. This understanding of how their attendees are engaging with their content will help provide deeper insights as they plan for next year’s conference.
Ensuring Flexibility for the Future with Virtual and Hybrid Events
As they look forward to the 2022 annual conference, ACP is looking to the future by planning a hybrid experience. “To us, hybrid means choice,” says Steve. “As long as we continue to offer the content and features they value most and we do so using mechanisms that offer them the most flexibility, we’re confident that we’ll continue to have success.”
Ultimately, Steve notes their use of Cvent technology -- coupled with first-class services and support -- helped ACP execute a truly successful virtual conference. He adds, “Our previous experience with Cvent had taught us that this was exactly what set Cvent apart from so many competitors. Ultimately, as great as the Attendee Hub technology was for us, it was the Cvent project and production teams that allowed us to deliver such a successful event.”
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