MCM's Nicky Milligan shares four 2016 trends

Nicky Milligan, managing director at MCM, believes impactful immersive experiences, participatory event technologies, 'drag and drop' venues and intelligent data collection will underlie the event industry in 2016.

MCM's Nicky Milligan shares her event industry trend predictions for 2016
MCM's Nicky Milligan shares her event industry trend predictions for 2016

Immersive experiences that create an impact

The next 12 months are going to be all about making immersive experiences even more impactful, by submerging guests with innovative uses of visual and sensorial stimuli. In 2016, I’d like to see the boundaries between performers, venues, event professionals and attendees blur, with the aim to create a fluid enactment where everyone involved works together to make a truly memorable experience.

Technology will be the key enabler – it’s the glue that draws together all of these individual elements together. For events to succeed, organisers need to consider alignment, coherence, co-creation, and quality control at the forefront of their plans.

Giving attendees what they want

The technology on offer for attendees will be the real protagonist of 2016. It’s a great time for the industry. Never before have so many exciting tools been readily available to maximise the event experience. From throwable microphones that can immediately break the ice and help audiences to get over the inevitable fear of public speaking, to apps that enable mobile devices to become the microphone to ask questions from – advancements in technology are making for a truly exciting time.

The technology shaping this trend revolves around giving the attendee the tools to better interact and participate with the content being proposed. The services within this trend offer a way to revolutionise Q&A sessions. While technologies like these have been available for a couple of years, 2016 is the year that more event professionals should embrace them, and when attendees will increasingly demand it.

The power of the venue

One trend defining venue requirements in 2016 is flexibility. We call it "drag and drop", making attendees feel immersed with an event, which requires a flexible venue that can be reinvented to create such experiences.

These venues are characterised by re-using or bringing a new lease of life to an existing spaces. As event professionals continuously reinvent the concept of a conference or music festival to entertain or educate the audience, drag and drop venues re-use existing spaces of interaction to create new synergies.

For an immersive experience to work to its best potential, it requires a venue with personality. It needs charisma without being tacky. Thanks to their creative character, drag and drop venues make the event more personal. Clients wanting to create an immersive experience need a venue that can be adjusted to their need but with a strong character.

The role of the event planner is changing in 2016. From being a coordinator and executor of experiences, they will become the director and orchestrator, the one opening the valve and immersing attendees.

The technology submerging attendees into the event will include one-to-one interaction, improving the sponsor experience, connecting attendees better offline and collecting their feedback more strategically.

You said, we did – making the most of attendee feedback

Collecting meaningful feedback has on occasion been a struggle, but it is crucial. The services in this trend help the event professional to collect only the feedback that matters by asking meaningful questions and intelligently reporting the answers.

Collecting and analysing feedback in the event industry can be clumsy. The tools currently used ask too many questions and rarely offer a clear vision of what is needed. We need actionable information that can shape their marketing and implementation next year.

Intelligent feedback is collected by tools that adapt to the responses given and are capable of highlighting only what is relevant to event professionals. Our work with our clients in big data has taught us this.

Immersive experiences can only be created when there is a clear understanding of what attendees liked and disliked about previous events. Only an accurate analysis of what happened can we positively define what will happen in the future.

MCM revealed a number of internal changes back in September, including a new website and offices, as well as refresh to become a marketing communications agency.

Read Milligan's My Event World here.

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