Per a recent request of a couple of medical society CEOs, I am posting the letter we submitted to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Editor back in April 2009. JAMA did not publish it, and I’ve been asked to make it available to the community. Would love to hear your thoughts. more
A recent article entitled “Spoonfuls of sponsorship making medical students sick” from The Age in Australia (thanks for forwarding, Lesa) talks about medical students who have pledged to immunize themselves from all pharma marketing—not only rejecting free pens and tchotchkes (which were essentially taken off the table in the US this year via voluntary ethics codes from PhRMA and AdvaMed) but also swearing off any forms of industry-sponsored education.
These Aussie MDs-to-be are not necessarily blazing trails with this pledge; indeed there are codes and suggestions from industry groups in the U.S. right now that recommend similar measures.
From one perspective, we should admire healthcare professionals, and the organizations that represent them, for attempting to clean up their conflicts of interest. But from another perspective, do these efforts to restrict represent a slippery slope that could end with unintended consequences? While building firewalls to prevent impropriety, might we end up building silos and barriers to life-saving communication? And could educational and research funding dry up, resulting in less of both? more
Last week I blogged that hospitals “are deciding whether they want to continue to sponsor sports teams and community events.” This got a few raised eyebrows from my colleagues, who know that hospitals and medical facilities are active sponsoring categories. You could even argue they are increasingly active—a quick search of our database turned up over 500 current U.S. deals where hospitals and medical centers are official sponsors.
My observation that we need to keep a close eye on decisions within this sponsoring category stems from the chatter I hear from hospital industry executives and what I can glean from the trade press. I am hearing that these expenditures are under increased scrutiny and slipping in priority as bigger issues may grab the attention and resources once used for sponsorships (and potentially marketing overall). The bigger issues—health care quality and patient safety, non-profit executive pay and charity care, to name a few—are real, yet they are inextricably tied to slippery factors like public perception and legislative agenda.
You’ve heard it before: anything that cannot be measured is discretionary. And any expenditure—including sponsorship—not shown to have a demonstrable impact on patient care could be vulnerable to the hospital budget axe. Certainly these sponsorships can and should be measured, and if they are the right kinds of sponsorship, they can and will have an appropriate and positive impact in the hospitals’ efforts to build substantive relationships with patients and communities. The failure to make those measurable connections is where this sponsorship activity is at risk. more
I listen to so much discourse about the evolution of sponsorship and how it has—and has not—come into its own. From a [official] status symbol to an agent of [financial, societal, experiential] change, the medium continues to mature to reflect the thinking of a new day.
Yet, in years, sponsorship is a relatively immature medium, so what do we want sponsorship to be when it grows up? Should we worry that it will lose its youthful energy? Or do we look forward to the day when it puts away childish things, such as those elements that allow sponsor and property a moment of shared swagger but drive no value for the audience?
I am working with groups and companies in a number of sponsorship sectors right now that are actively, vocally trying to figure out what's next. more
While Bud Light is banking on its “drinkability” to sell beer, it seems that many properties are trading on their sponsorability (a word I’m pretty sure we IEGers made up, along with “ambushability”) to sell sponsorships.
Considerable chatter around IEG this past week has centered on this question: How do organizations, venues and events make sure they’re in a sponsor’s line of sight when the sponsor starts looking?
We put salability of packages, strength of proposals and sales cycles aside for a minute and talked about the steps that come before the sale, where 26% of sponsorship deals are initiated by sponsors and their agencies (according to IEG’s 2008 property survey). more
The just-published April edition of PCMA Convene, the magazine of the Professional Convention Management Assn., contains an article by IEG’s Diane Knoepke addressing partnership strategies for medical associations. The article, including findings from an IEG survey of medical society executives, is available here. more
We have released a statement in response to an article published April 1 in the Journal of the American Medical Association addressing the relationship between professional medical associations and pharmaceutical, medical equipment and other members of industry.