Connectiv’s Executive Summit (May 3-May 4 in Chicago) will dive into the new B2B media customer experience, featuring perspectives from a cross-section of digital content experts (Joe Territo, recent chief content officer of Penton and David Longobardi, chief content officer and executive vice president at Source Media), executives (Meg Hargreaves, COO and senior vice president at CQ Roll Call) and events (Dan Hoffend, president of FreemanXP).
Events are the largest revenue stream for many b2b media and information companies and just as with digital content, events are being driven by both data and digital technologies that can create personalized experiences onsite as well as before and after events. Here, Hoffend offers some background on why events giant Freeman created its own in-house agency with FreemanXP and how the event formula is changing.
Connectiv: Please offer an overview of FreemanXP today. How have the mission and capabilities changed since FreemanXP’s formation a few years ago?
Dan Hoffend: Being part of Freeman, a company that is 90-years rich with knowledge and capabilities, has allowed FreemanXP to draw from that history and become a major player in the world of brand experiences. As we focus on our clients, we know it is in tandem with creating a personalized experience for attendees. We take on that responsibility and our vision and mission statements remind us of how we came to be and where we want to go.
· VISION - FXP uses the power of intersectional design thinking to create and deliver innovative, personalized brand experiences that drive results.
· MISSION - Develop strategic insights into clients' businesses, and apply design thinking to create breakthrough brand experiences.
We join our clients on a journey – first to understand their objectives and then to formulate a strategy. Our mission is to design the experience, not only because it’s a service we provide, but because it’s our way of life at FreemanXP. We have also expanded our engagement with data across many verticals and events and are opening this information to our customers, showing them different ways to improve their projects. We see many verticals colliding with information and attracting similar attendees as our world evolves. We believe that we can support this evolution with data and strategy to design more inclusive and meaningful events. Before we adopted our design thinking approach, we asked our clients “what do you want?” Now we ask them “what are your dream objectives?”
Connectiv: What are some of the biggest changes in the evolution of the event formula? What do you consider today from the host, attendee and sponsor perspectives that maybe wasn’t relevant a few years ago?
Hoffend: We design how brands, sponsors, and attendees connect and that formula (design) can change every time. The objective is to create a memorable event that drives audiences to take action and trigger the decision-making process. Sponsors need meaningful content to convey their objectives. Simply sponsoring a lunch is not enough and sometimes doesn’t carry beyond the event. Impactful experiences are essential. It’s what drives this industry in a direction that our clients want and attendees expect. In recent years, digital technology has taken over the attendee experience. This has allowed us to design events in ways we couldn’t before.
Connectiv: Everyone is talking about extending the event beyond the live event itself. Can you give us specific examples of ways that FreemanXP clients have done that? What’s key to doing this effectively?
Hoffend: Today, digital strategy is vast becoming the key element in data and we’ve embraced how this technology can enhance the attendee experience beyond the live event. This generates the opportunity for a marketing and communication strategy, presenting multiple paths to amplify the experience and drive continued awareness of the brand. We design each event to allow us to chart key metrics measuring the contact with audiences and providing clients with ROI. These metrics allow us to review and enhance our clients’ place in the market and measure the impact on the attendees. Once measured, we use that information as a foundation for the next design. It’s a cycle that allows for subtle or significant changes to the way we all do business.
For more information on the Connectiv Executive Summit, click here.