Freeman Doubles Down on Data-Driven Event Recovery Research

Sue Pelletier, Senior Editor
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DALLAS — When the pandemic first hit, trade show executives scrambled to find ways to keep their businesses up and running, if only virtually for the time being. But now that the initial scrum has become more of a long-term trek, Freeman believes there’s an increasing need for data-driven analysis that will provide actionable insights for the $110 billion events industry.

To meet that need, the digital and live event brand experience provider is extending its regular monitoring of audience insights by launching Freeman Event Research. This comprehensive series of reports will be released throughout the next year to help event organizers find new ways to diversify their revenue streams, build community through new media, and evolve business digital-inclusive models as they navigate their way to recovery. The reports, which will be based on data from Freeman’s network of approximately 1 million U.S. organizers, exhibitors, brand marketers, and event attendees, will include the evolution of live-event design and the changing role of digital events.

“Event professionals are searching for ways to overcome obstacles in the short term and evolve their businesses’ models for long-term success,” said Freeman CEO Bob Priest-Heck. “To make effective decisions in our changing landscape, association executives and other key stakeholders need an in-depth view of their audiences and they are looking for data rather than gut feeling.”

Freeman CEO Bob Priest-Heck

“We have always considered industry research compiled by Freeman to be a valuable tool,” said Susan Bracken, President and CEO of SPARGO, Inc. “The virtual world we are now living in makes that data even more important. Most importantly, it tells us what is not working.” For example, a key insight from Freeman’s most recent report found that only 31% of attendees believe that digital events have helped them meet their goals.

Related. Freeman Future Forecast: How Live Events Are Evolving

Having data that shows that “virtual booths” in their current form are not delivering ROI helps event organizers plan accordingly, said Bracken, whose company recently launched the Capital Craft Fairs to give local artisans a place to meet with buyers face to face. “Real engagement with attendees and exhibitors must drive everything we do. Capturing and analyzing attendee behavior during virtual programs is helping us design better exhibitor options and offerings.”

Freeman is far from new to the events research and measurement field, having done this type of work for more than 50 years, but the need now is more urgent than ever, said Priest-Heck.

“As our industry continues to overcome and advance, Freeman Event Research will be a key asset for leaders, enabling them to make strategic decisions for their businesses. The data-driven insights we’ve curated from event organizers, exhibitors, and event attendees will be a game changer for business leaders of all kinds,” he said.

Reach Bob Priest-Heck at (214) 445-1000 or bph@freemanco.com; reach Susan Bracken at (703) 679-3903 or susan.bracken@spargoinc.com.