• January 23, 2024

Event agency leaders predict what’s in store for 2024

Event agency leaders predict what’s in store for 2024

Event agency leaders predict what’s in store for 2024 1024 683 micebook.

We asked six event agency leaders to share their predictions for the year ahead, while another three shared their thoughts on camera at our recent nineteen leaders retreat in Berlin in December. Read and watch what they had to say…

What’s the biggest challenge for the sector in 2024?

Arran Cruickshanks, newly appointed MD at MCCGLC believes talent and recruitment will be challenging this year. “Finding talent from different places and adding diversity is critical to our reputation as a creative agency, and to the events sector. In 2024 we’re excited about collaborating with young design talent from the Royal College of Art on an industry-aligned collaboration that will push thinking for both the art school and our industry,” he says.

Lucy Francis, director at Lemon Lane, says that the economy will continue to be challenging. “Budgets are changing all the time and as a result events are being cancelled, postponed, and moved. This will cause financial and staffing strains. Any agency in this economic climate is going to need to stay nimble and able to react to change. I think it is going to be a very different year to 2023 but one that can absolutely be a successful one with the right approach.”

“As event planners, one of our challenges has always been communicating with impact. But, as audiences become more diverse and conscious, this challenge is even greater,” says Mark Scales, head of client services at asembl. “There is more awareness of neurodivergence, a desire for hyper-personalisation and a broader spectrum of attendees. Millennials and GenZ have different priorities compared to older generations. And everyone has their own way of learning and working – there is no one-size-fits-all anymore.”

So, what’s the biggest opportunity?

Scales adds that where the biggest challenge lies – how do you create an experience that resonates with a variety of people – so does the biggest opportunity. “Using a multi-layered, collaborative approach, we have an opportunity to create meaningful results. We can bring together all generations and appeal to their individual styles to create an experience that resonates, drives positive impact, and builds momentum.”

Nicola Miller, founder and CEO at Lime Blue Solutions, is excited by the opportunities that AI offers. “Whilst I personally find it a little overwhelming, I think embracing AI is something that should be viewed as an opportunity instead of a threat. Clive and I are currently mentoring a group of 16-year-olds through Young Enterprise – they have embraced and adapted AI to suit their business ideas so well that they have taught us a thing or two.”

For Giles Cattle, director of creative strategy and business development at Strata, the biggest opportunity lies in closer collaboration with clients. “This will lead to better insight, better creative, more proactive solutions, and more efficient buying – benefiting client and agency alike. Equally important is collaborating more closely with our client’s other agency partners as brand experiences and events work harder when they are optimised with other channel marketing, through activity and measurement.”

What’s on the horizon for your agency in 2024?

“2024 will be about continuing our growth whilst investing in our people and sustainable events. Principal reaches a milestone in 2024, 30 years in business with the same partners, no injection of external investment just organic growth and drive. As you can appreciate, we will be celebrating this milestone all year,” says Principal Global Events director Anupa White.

At asembl, the last year has been about building the team up, which has included many hires from across the industry with an array of expertise. “For the year ahead, we want to continue the growth trajectory with an overall strategy to build a full-service group through recruitment and acquisitions. We are on the lookout to bring in even more talent into the group that will add to our specialisms and service offerings,” says Scales.

Growth is also on the agenda for Lemon Lane, according to Francis. “However, it is also about transformation, Lemon Lane is coming out of its rebellious teenage years and is ready to join the established agencies. We are investing so much in marketing, training and technology to make these goals achievable.”

What will be most important to clients in 2024?

“Different clients have different priorities. However, the requirements for a focus on sustainability, inclusion, accessibility, and diversity continue to grow. These aspects are no longer a side piece but included in the planning from the start,” says asembl’s Scales.

“But we’re also seeing a desire to incorporate more user-generated content (UGC). Brands are beginning to leverage UGC by combining it into their marketing plans and events where appropriate. Using UGC, all voices can be heard and empowered. Combining UGC into an event agenda, audiences can contribute to and shape the event experience.”

Lemon Lane’s Francis says that AI is now very much in the mainstream of event planning. “I expect to see a lot more of this in all areas of event planning. As always though, AI, along with other tech will only be relevant if it enhances the event messaging. Where budgets are tight clients will not spend money on superfluous technology; it needs to enhance their content and messaging. We are also seeing a shift more towards hybrid versus live or virtual.”

Cruickshanks says the MCCGLC is having more conversations with clients about sustainability. “We want to lead by example and encourage our teams, clients and suppliers to adopt socially responsible and sustainable policies, and we’ll be sharing our first Sustainability Report in the next few weeks. Big companies now need to commit to change and put their money where their mouth is, as they have set some ambitious goals.”

What will be the next “big thing” or trend in events?

Principal’s White says that as technology continues to advance, the integration of artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality, and other innovative technologies will likely be a key consideration for the event industry in the coming years to enhance attendee experiences.

“How we can use AI in a positive and effective way by striking a balance between technological innovation and maintaining a human touch which I feel is crucial to ensuring positive and inclusive event experiences,” she says. “What will events look like in 10 years, the ability to know so much more about a delegate, enhancing efficiency, personalisation, and overall attendee experiences. I would like to see this used in a positive way to enhance events without the worry of ethical and privacy concerns.”

Strata’s Cattle also believes tech will be key to driving personalisation to the next level. “We heard about personalisation before, but the technology and channels to deliver hyper personalised experiences at every touchpoint, on and offline, is now becoming a commercial and practical reality.

“A by-product of this will be a greater emphasis on understanding audiences and their individual needs creating more insight driven experiences, and more accurate measurement pre, during and post event. This will meet the increased demands of audiences to have richer, more rewarding experiences and drive overall engagement.”

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