Conventions and conferences will never be the same


We’re all getting very used to attending occasions and conferences through Zoom, Webex or Teams. It really works, but it surely’s not the identical as getting on a aircraft to attend a extremely produced occasion the place your focus is singular and also you’re surrounded by 1000’s of different individuals who agree being there may be important. Now what?

“There’s actually no substitute for being nose to nose,” says Bob Priest-Heck, CEO of Freeman, an organization whose identify chances are you’ll not know, however which is the most important producer of occasions, conferences and expos you do know, together with CES. “As quickly because it’s protected to take action, we’ll see an built-in method utilizing digital occasions for attain and utilizing in-person for high quality and depth.” 

Earlier than the pandemic, conferences and occasions had been extremely polished. How can a few of that be delivered to their usually dowdier on-line variations?


Which will increase occasion attendance general whereas additionally rarifying the air on the prime, the in-person facet. “I’d argue we’re utilizing the medium of digital for a special objective than in-person,” says Priest-Heck. “I consider the in-person occasion turns into extra unique.” That is an idea that has been enticing to some huge reveals previously as their success threatened to swamp their focus. Exhibitors usually need the best folks to return by their sales space or stage, not essentially the most individuals. 

Occasions having a web-based element is nothing new, however Priest-Heck says the pandemic has expanded consciousness of how the digital facet pertains to the in-person facet. “Even pre-COVID, we knew that digital occasions are the No. 1 advertising and marketing instrument for in-person occasions. As soon as I pattern the content material on-line, I need to have extra, so registrations go up” for the in-person model, he says. 

However in the event you attended a web-based model of a previously in-person occasion this yr and felt it was unsatisfying, you are not alone. Some occasions early within the pandemic had been primarily shovelware, transferring their in-person programming on-line by rote. “However we have all been rising and actually recognizing why persons are there,” says Priest-Heck. “The overwhelming majority of people that attend digital occasions are going for content material, not a lot for networking, so now we have to program that medium in another way.”

Networking at a conference

In-person is for networking, on-line is for data. It is not fairly that easy, however there’s a rising realization that we do not make new connections on-line practically in addition to in-person.


When will in-person occasions actually resume? Freeman’s proprietary analysis suggests a phased return in summer season and fall of 2021, various by attendee greater than by the construction of the present: Well being care professionals mired in disaster response could also be slower to return to the convention circuit, for instance, than auto entrepreneurs, able to promote once more on glittering present flooring as quickly as situations warrant.

Freeman’s Bob Priest-Heck shared many extra insights with PJDM’s Brian Cooley concerning the path again for the occasions enterprise. Hear all of them within the video above.


Now What is a video interview collection with business leaders, celebrities and influencers that covers developments impacting companies and shoppers amid the “new regular.” There’ll at all times be change in our world, and we’ll be right here to debate easy methods to navigate all of it. 

#Conventions #conferences


Brian Cooley