By Taylor Weinstein
In the next four years, more than 50% of the North American workforce will be made up of Millennials. They prioritize their values, finances and time differently than Baby Boomers and Generation Xers, and crave more immediate gratification from things like travel, music festivals and other picture-worthy experiences. Most importantly, Millennials feel rich from experiences. Saving for a house is not necessarily a priority, but a $500 ticket to a music festival sure is.
For the events industry, this means Millennials will soon be the main attendee demographic. Therefore, an event’s success will become highly dependent on understanding and embracing the uniqueness of this generation and tailoring the structure and content of an event to maximize the engagement of this group. Below are five simple and practical steps your association can take to ensure it’s creating a memorable experience for its Millennial members:
Marketing for Millennials is a whole different ball game. Reaching them is not like reaching any other demographic. They are digitally obsessed, marketing geniuses, so it is crucial for your event marketing to be on point. Millennials are always connected, so Twitter, Facebook and Instagram marketing must be utilized.
Email marketing can also be effective, if done properly. When creating your next e-blast, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is it too wordy? Millennials are looking for short, to-the-point headings. Don’t worry so much about fluffing your content; you’ll most likely loose us quick.
- Is it catchy? Humour us. We appreciate irony and it shows us you get us.
- Is it visually appealing? The more, the merrier, but make sure you keep it minimalistic.
2. Engage the Senses
When we think back to great events we attended, we are often reminded of what we tasted, what we saw, smelled and touched. If an event planner engages the senses in a positive way, attendees will not only enjoy the event experiences in the moment, but carry it them with them for years to come. The easiest way to do this is through your catering. Millennials are foodies; every food option served throughout the event should be carefully considered and chosen. Avocado toast just won’t cut it here, but it could be a good place to start.
3. Listening Versus Active Participation
It’s time to say so long to the days of talking heads. More and more, we are seeing short, Ted Talk-esque presentations, as opposed to lengthy keynotes and plenary sessions. We are also seeing more engaging, participant-focused workshops, where the attendees steer the conversation. Following this trend will be sure to create memorable experiences for your guests.
4. Instagram Worthy Activations
Find me a Millennial who is not on Instagram – I’ll wait. We love posting, sharing, viewing and liking pictures on Instagram that depict exciting moments and experiences. When planning your next event, keep in mind Millennials want experiences worth posting on their social media. This can be anything from unique backdrops, food, drinks, entertainment, décor, etc.
5. It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over
Networking is no longer bound by the event hours. Offer your attendees the option of going to a bar or a lounge after the official end time to continue networking and getting to know one another. That second glass of wine might just get you another few business cards.
Ultimately, you want to appeal to the Millennial FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) by offering unique event experiences and enticing them to get involved and stay in the loop. One thing to remember about Millennials is that we aren’t all that forgiving. You get one chance to impress us and if you don’t, we know that the next best thing is just around the corner, so make sure to really give us the experiences that’ll keep us talking for months after!
Taylor Weinstein is the Director, Event Management Services at Redstone Agency Inc.