5 Tips to Attract Millennial Attendees
What do millennials really want from events? In an Adweek article, Ben Hindman, co-founder, CEO of Splash, says, “The savviest marketers understand the crucial link between events and brand loyalty – particularly when it comes to millennials. If you're not creating experiences and memories, you're not building anything.” Here are five tips for attracting and engaging millennial attendees at events:
1) Understand Their Specific Persona
While millennials are often characterized as a single group, in reality there are many subgroups – each with its own behaviors and preferences. With a population that’s over 75 million strong, this generation is incredibly diverse.
According to Curalate, a visual commerce platform, there are 14 influential millennial personas: The Boss Babe, The Brogrammer, The Nostalgic, The Underemployed, The Shut Out, The Travel Enthusiast, The Culinary Explorer, The Exuberant, The Collector, The Millennial Martha, The Millennial Mom, The Quarter-Life Crisis, The Activist, and The High-End Minimalist.
For example, “The Brogrammer” is described as being heavily interested in technology, gaming and sports. Using sports celebrities or hands-on gaming experiences will be a better strategy to attract and create engagement with this specific millennial persona. On the other hand, “The Exuberant” has an insatiable desire to maintain a public image, and is more likely to be drawn to cool share-worthy experiences to show off on social media about the great time they’re having.
2) Deliver Social Proof
If you want to influence millennials, you have to get not just a third-party endorsement – but the right third-party endorsement. Millennials trust friends, family and even strangers more than they do companies. In a study by Elite Daily, the voice of Generation Y, and Millennial Branding, a Generation Y research and consulting firm, 33 percent of millennials said they rely mostly on blogs for pre-purchase advice. This makes bloggers far more influential than TV news, magazines and books which fewer than three percent of millennials trust for advice.
When millennials want an authentic report on what’s going on in the world, they turn to their peers. For this reason, they respond well when you incorporate user-generated content into your events. For example a good strategy is to use video of past attendees talking about the value of your event to promote registration. Millennials are also likely to respond positively if you use those clips in your social media strategy as social proof.
3) Appeal to their Appetite for Adventure
According to Eventbrite, the world's largest self-service ticketing platform, 78 percent of millennials would rather spend their hard-earned dollars on collecting experiences than on accumulating things.
Cater to the millennia attendees thirst for adventure by offering the opportunity to experience something new, unique or exciting. For instance, run a contest where event attendees participate in a social media game to earn an exclusive opportunity for a backstage celebrity meet and greet.
And don’t forget the importance of providing something unexpected to drive awareness and engagement. When Splash, a provider of event marketing software, polled millennials about the coolest thing a brand has ever done at an event, 14 percent said “the brand surprised us with something unexpected.”
4) Provide Something to Share
Appeal to millennials’ desire to look good in front of their peers. The Splash survey also found 24 percent of millennials attend events just for social media bragging rights.
For example, at CES, The New York Times created a high-tech photo keepsake. After having a photo taken, attendees selected articles that interested them. Their picture was then transformed into a Word Cloud Portrait made up with words generated from The New York Times articles they’d selected.
It’s critical to make it easy for millennials to create, share and capture memories they’ve made at your event. Splash’s survey found 75 percent of millennials expect a brand to notify them within two days about where and when event photos are posted.
5) Showcase Your Values
In a Forbes article, Jayson DeMers, founder and CEO of AudienceBloom, a content and social marketing agency, says millennials tend to prefer brands who demonstrate corporate social responsibility. “Millennials will be more likely to buy from you and continue engaging with you if you have some verifiable claim to giving back to the community, or investing in an important issue.”
There are multiple ways to connect a CSR program with your event that will appeal to millennial attendees. For example, if your organization gives back to schools, invite event attendees to bring school supply or backpack donations. Or host an event where attendees work together on a team-building community project.
As millennials become the largest generation in the workforce with the most spending power, it’s critical that experiential marketers tailor their strategies and tactics accordingly.