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AI targeting is helping us to better identify new nutra contacts

The Informa Markets team recently spoke with Tom Ongena, sales director Europe at Sirio Europe about his expectations for the first ever CPhI Festival of Pharma, what he is seeing in the industry and how the CDMO is approaching the virtual event.

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Can you give us your early thoughts on the Festival of Pharma?

It’s a completely new approach for both ourselves and our customers,  but already I think you can see the industry is adapting. At Sirio Europe my teams and I are all really excited for the launch of the CPhI Festival of Pharma, it’s a tremendous opportunity for us to meet with customers and potential leads. In fact, unusually in the pandemic [with many industries suffering], both nutraceutical and pharma industries have remained very strong. We have seen good demand for products over the last six months, with immunity formulations obviously proving very, very popular.

Yet, despite the demand, we are limited in how we can meet and discuss options with customers. So, we have to reimagine the art of the possible and look for new ways to keep our brand front of mind for customers, and new ways to discuss our new offerings. One element of the CPhI Festival of Pharma that has already proved very successful is the unique AI-driven matchmaking tool they have provided, it’s been a great success and allowed us to arrange much more targeted meetings in advance.

Whereas previously at ‘in person’ events we have traditionally relied upon footfall; so it’s always been very reactive in the past. But here we have had a much better chance to proactively plan our schedules and think out whom we want to speak with. The ability to target our potential leads more prescriptively is a big improvement and we would be keen to see the tool incorporated at all future events once we can travel again.

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Who are you looking to speak with and what will you be discussing?

Our core targets remain the same and one thing I like about the festival is that with the two weeks, we do have a good deal of time to really plan for meetings and hopefully engage customers in greater depth. But I think the key point we have taken from other digital events that we attended earlier in the year is to really engage as much as you can in the event. Contact as many people in advance as you can, really explore how many people you can meet with, and I think as the event opens, we will see another glut of registrations as people can make a really late decision on going.

We have three main areas we are looking to promote – an update on new innovations, particularly our probiotic softgel (combined with omega 3), vegetarian softgel and enteric-coated softgel. The vegetarian softgel is a big change for our European customers as we are transferring in the technology from our mother company Sirio, which gives them the option of having vegetarian softgels made in Europe.

More generally, we are also seeing a big interest in the sustainability of manufacturing and the holistic approach to how we ensure nutraceuticals are produced in an environmentally conscious manner. So we will be speaking with our partners and leads about some of the green manufacturing processes we have implemented at our sites, as well as consumer preferences for clean label, plant-based and organic products.

What are your goals for the Festival of Pharma?

Market penetration and market awareness – these are things we absolutely hope to build on. We need to try and make sure the market knows what Sirio and Ayanda do, what we offer. The objective is to ultimately gain new customers, which is no different to when we would attend CPhI Worldwide. Digital events like the Festival of Pharma are still absolutely essential in helping us build a profile in the industry, as a global nutra CDMO, and tell our stories directly to our customers.

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