The vast majority of ACME sessions focus on creating and conducting superb CME. … But all is for naught if no one participates in the CME programs that result.
Since this issue offeatures coverage of this year's Alliance for Continuing Medical Education (ACME) Annual Conference, entitled “2001: A CME Odyssey,” I thought I would examine its marketing offerings.
First let me commend ACME for theming its meeting with the Kubrick classic, and marketing the theme marvelously with a global graphic that would do Al Gore proud woven throughout the marketing and program materials. ACME even went so far as to screen the film at the meeting. Bravo!
Now, to the review. My admittedly quasi-scientific methodology was to peruse the program looking for education about markeing. I found two breakouts totaling 180 minutes, which seemed a bit sparse to me.
99 Tips and More
One of these, entitled “99 Tips for Marketing Your Program,” was presented by Lynn Marie S. Thomason, director of CME at the University of South Dakota School of Medicine, and Toby Kane, account executive at Paulsen Marketing Communications. I found the content of the presentation to be sound. The other breakout, “Basic Marketing,” was presented by Suzanne Ziemnik, director, division of CME, American Academy of Pediatrics. I have not reviewed the content.
I also found two seminars that were, in my estimation, marketing-related. One was a breakout session entitled “Does Gender Make a Difference? Continuing Health Education for the Female Physician,” taught by two presenters from Ontario — Jane Tipping, educational consultant, and Jill Donahue, with Aventis Pharma. The session addressed women's needs for different types, location, and timing of learning activities, and motivation for learning. This is good grist for the segmentation mill — how to write copy and create graphics that may pull better among female health professionals (subject to testing, of course!).
The second was a breakout, “Educational Pre and Post Physician Data to Determine CME Effectiveness,” led by David Thornton and Jackie Plotts of Synavant Inc., that certainly had some marketing implications but, according to eyewitnesses, was not without controversy.
You can buy tapes of these programs for $11 each (a great value in my opinion) at the ACME Web site at www.acme-assn.org. Locate the neat self-scrolling menu at the top left of the home page, watch for and click on the item about 2001 meeting audiotapes.
A smattering of other courses about the Web, copyright issues, and the like would have been of some interest to the medical meeting marketer. But is it enough?
How About a Marketing Track?
If marketing is one of the major challenges to the CME industry in a time when physicians are challenged to take time for training, perhaps ACME should conduct a needs assessment to see if it makes sense to add a marketing track in 2002. Or, perhaps a national or series of regional one-and-a-half or two-day conferences could be held.
The vast majority of ACME sessions focus on creating and conducting superb CME, as well they should. But all is for naught if no one participates in the CME programs that result. That's why marketing, which can be viewed as the process of educating physicians that they need to be educated and eliciting action to that end on their part, is so integral to the education process itself.
Would you like to see a greater ACME focus on the subject of this column? If so, e-mail me at the address below.
Terry Nugent has 25 years' experience marketing medical meetings. Since 1989, he has been director of marketing for Medical Marketing Service Inc., an American Medical Association database licensee. Before that, he directed AMA's membership development efforts. He is also a past president of the Midwest Healthcare Marketing Association. Send your questions or topic ideas at T-Nugent@MMSLISTS.com.