The Future of Events is Phygital and Omnichannel

Juliano Lissoni, MCI Group managing director, Canada, on how the pandemic has accelerated the use of AI, machine learning, and blockchain technologies to boost engagement and experiences in the metaverse — “a fully realized digital world that exists beyond the analog one in which we live.”

Author: Juliano Lissoni       

FIA event

MCI Group is embracing new and existing technologies to create event experiences, like the virtual Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) Prize Giving 2020 ceremony in Geneva. (Courtesy MCI Group)

For the upcoming Convene September/October issue cover story, we focus on how the pandemic has spurred the development and growth of different business models in the events industry. Juliano Lissoni, MCI Group managing director, Canada, has contributed his perspective on this topic, sharing how MCI is organizing itself “to create value for our clients with the use of existent and new technologies,” including AI, machine learning, and blockchain.

The pandemic accelerated MCI Group’s transformation journey as a full-scale marketing and engagement agency. Before the pandemic we already were B2B2C-plus, supporting customers with internal plus external audience activations. We were an efficient multichannel company. Now, we are omnichannel — mainly because customers are “overspending” not only in terms of connecting with their audiences via different channels but also to compare/track/monetize across them.

Juliano Lissoni

Juliano Lissoni

Even before the pandemic, strategic and digital communications, content production, and community management services comprised a substantial part of our revenues. What’s happening now, because of the increase in the percentage of digital spend vs. F2F and other spend, is that concurrent business models — high-volume/low margin and low-volume/high margin — coexist.

When it comes to a business model change, we see this part of our company accelerating during the pandemic. During 2020, we spent our time helping clients into their digital transformation, including from simple virtual gatherings to more complex solutions, using AI-enabled content platforms and engagement tools. In addition, MCI invested substantially in creating the right tools to help our clients anchor their content in digital marketing and social-media platforms. Our support is based on the combination of four pillars: strategic planning + tech solutions (stack, rather than independent, disconnected ones) + design + behavioral science. The output: adequate solution offerings, packages, and methodology.

Looking to the future, we are predicting — and organizing ourselves accordingly — to create value for our clients with the use of existent and new technologies, like applying AI and machine learning to train and activate data, the use of blockchain technologies to boost engagement, and explorations on how to build experiences in the metaverse — a fully realized digital world that exists beyond the analog one in which we live.

One thing is for sure: The future is phygital and omnichannel, and we are riding the wave of transformation. We work hard in connecting the future customer needs — the current and past needs are clear to us — with our offerings, and our focus will continue to be investing in the combination of scalable, transformative, and sustainable solutions.

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