Connecting with Millennials at Events

Diverse. Educated. Connected. Authentic. Loyal. Millennials.

These are just some of the words used to describe millennials—generally classified as those born between 1980 and 2000. While too often the focus on this demographic revolves around clichés, there’s no denying the shift taking place with the rise of the millennial generation.

It’s time to take notice of this generation’s inherent characteristics and beliefs—especially as they relate to experiential marketing. Read on for five strategies to connect with millennials at events.

Create Unique Experiences

According to the report Fueling the Experience Economy, millennials “Not only highly value experiences, but are increasingly spending time and money on them…Living a meaningful, happy life is about creating, sharing and capturing memories earned through experiences.”

Event Marketing Takeaway

No matter what kind of event you’re planning, that can’t be easily replicated elsewhere. The experience itself is what matters most to millennials—especially when events provide millennials with opportunities to connect with others and the global community.

Add Personalization

Research shows that 55-percent of millennials prefer personalized experiences.

Event Marketing Takeaway

Use what millennials care about to personalize event experiences. This can be as simple as rewarding millennials’ for their event participation by letting them choose what charity your company donates to on their behalf.

Or get more sophisticated and tap into previous interactions a millennial has had with your company. For instance, arrange to have the rep who they’ve been in conversation with greet millennial visitors when they visit your tradeshow exhibit. This way, rather than starting with an overview, the conversation can pick up where the last touchpoint left off.

Deliver Seamless Technology

While technology plays an important role in all of our lives, the volume of devices and information at millennials’ fingertips is unprecedented. They’ve grown up with Internet at home and in school, and smartphone use has been the norm. In fact, 78-percent of millennials say their smartphone is one of their three most valued tech devices.

Event Marketing Takeaway

With such experienced tech users in the driver’s seat, your event technology—from attendee engagement to wow-worthy experiences to information and data capture all needs to work flawlessly.

Ensure a positive brand impression by thinking through every detail that could possibly derail your digital activations—from connectivity, accessibility and seamless compatibility across all mobile devices.

Leverage FOMO

Nearly 70-percent of millennials experience FOMO, which is defined as the fear of missing out. With life experiences shared across social media, the fear of missing out drives millennials to show up, share and engage.

Event Marketing Takeaway

Go beyond just sharing or posting about your event on social media by creating tools that boost attendees’ ability to easily share your event. For instance, you could build in pre-populated Tweets or branded keepsake photos that can be shared with minimal effort. And don’t forget to reward or recognize those who participate.

Integrate Visual Appeal

Over 300 million users worldwide use Instagram—making it the fastest-growing major social network.

Why is it so popular? As Matt Britton points out in YouthNation: Building Remarkable Brands in a Youth-Driven Culture, Instagram is “Predicated on a desire to share what millennials experience…it’s what you’re doing rather than what you bought that now earns you status.”

Event Marketing Takeaway

Appeal to millennials’ aesthetic sense by incorporating visual content throughout your event. Share behind the scenes snapshots that provide an interesting perspective to who you are as a brand. Ask attendees to participate in an Instagram contest using the event’s hashtag. Aggregating and displaying event photos will spark additional conversation and sharing among guests.

Bonus: In addition to connecting with millennials, these strategies can also boost engagement with all event attendees.

Posted by Kristy Elisano | Request as a Speaker

Caffeine dependent Jersey girl. Inspired by creative risk takers and underdogs. Chief Marketing Officer, Doodle owner and lover of all things chocolate.