Next week I’m investing a lot of money to travel to NYC and stay at a fancy hotel to augment my HiltonHonors points in order to attend the 10th Annual ePharma Summit. Sorry, but it looks like it’s all sold out, which may be thanks to me being paid to promote the conference (Pharma Marketing News is a Media Partner for the event).

I’ll be seeing a lot of friends like DJ Edgerton (@wiltonbound) of Pixels & Pills, who promises to have a birthday surprise for me at the Monday night Pixels & Pills ePharma Summit Tweetup & Phone Drive.

But I have learned that to get the most from conferences like these, you must set goals. So, without further ado, here are my goals, or things I’d like to learn:

(1) Will Thomas Abrams, Head of FDA’s DDMAC, actually have something new to say? Hello! We all just want to know about those social media guidelines. Where are they? When are they? What are they? On the ePharma Summit blog, Marc Dresner likens the FDA to a plumber who doesn’t know how to unclog pharma’s social media pipes! (see “Where’s A Good Plumber When You Need One?“)

(2) Are patient advocates really consumer opinion leaders and what do they really want from partnering with pharma marketers? Will they help or hurt pharma’s image? Is it like partnering with the devil? What part of their “souls” will they have to give up? For more on the issue of online patient opinion leaders, see “Pharma Collaboration with Online Patient Opinion Leaders” (pdf).

(3) Kevin Nalty, you magnificent basterd, I read your book on the iPad (“Beyond Viral: How to Attract Customers, Promote Your Brand, and Make Money with Online Video (New Rules Social Media Series)” Whew!). Actually, I downloaded it on my Kindle, but haven’t read it yet. I hope Nalty is giving away free, signed hardcopy editions. I probably won’t read that either. I have run into Nalty at many of these conferences, but never heard him speak. I wonder if he’s any good? I think I will bring my Flip video camera and make money online showing a video of me interviewing him. Maybe we’ll pull some famous Nalty pranks in the audience while he speaks? BTW, I made Nalty famous when I exposed him as ADHD Boy! (see “Nalts Talks About His Days at J&J, His ADHD, and His Merck Performance Review”).

(4) Does Pfizer really have anything to add to my knowledge? David Ryan, Senior Director, Multi Channel Planning, Pfizer, Inc. will give a keynote titled “Achieve Personalized Professional Marketing at Scale.” I have no idea what the hell that means, but I think it means “you know, there’s more out there than just social media, which we stink at. But we are great doing the other ‘multi’ stuff and that’s what I will talk about.” Anyway, I am willing to learn about multi-channel planning.

(5) Why is Wired Magazine giving a keynote titled “The Future of Health is in the Hands of the Consumer”? Is that magazine still published? I guess I’ll find out.

(6) I want to learn more about “Pharma’s Headline Catchers” and what that has to do with “ROI Drivers Online” from Comscore. Will it feature the kinds of headlines I caught in the 2010 Pharma Marketing Yearbook?

(7) I am all excited about “The 2010 MM&M Awards,” which James Chase will present at the conference. Who are the winners? It’s a closely guarded secret! I hope they allow live tweets while James does his thing. I don’t much care for these kinds of awards but I do love the parties (see “MM&M Award Winners Announced at Gala NY Event!“).

(8) I’m looking forward to hearing Lucy Rose lead a discussion about “Addressing Internal Regulatory and Legal Concerns and Challenges.” She is dynamic and knows her stuff and will keep the audience awake during what would otherwise be a dull session.

(9) Social Media: “Wish I’d Done That!” This is one session I won’t miss, although I think it should have been called “Wish I didn’t do that” — I notice, for example, that sanofi-aventis isn’t on the panel (see “Disgruntled Patient Shuts Down sanofi-aventis Facebook Page“). Novo Nordisk’s Craig DeLarge, however, will be there. I hope to ask him if other pharma companies wish THEY were first to post a branded tweet (see “Novo Nordisk’s Branded (Levemir) Tweet is Sleazy Twitter Spam!“).

(10) What’s Tried, Trusted True, and New in search engine marketing? Google’s Maryann Belliveau will tell us. No, she’s not That Girl from Google who advised everyone to use the “one-click rule.”

(11) Is this REALLY “The Year of Mobile”? No matter how many presentations I hear about mobile technology in healthcare — and I’ve been to many starting about 6 years ago — it’s always “the year of mobile” for someone, somewhere. I’m just not sure it’s pharma’s year.

(11.5) I also hope to learn if there’s an underground, secret passageway between the Hilton, where I’m staying, and the Sheraton, where the conference is, because I hear it’s going to snow again next Tuesday!