Younger generations love to order products online, have food delivered, communicate through social media and divulge content online. What all of this has in common is you don't have to leave your house.
As more people do everything online, we start to see some event attrition, because we fail to attract tech savvy younger generations. Younger generations are changing the way we do business and it pays to understand the needs and values of this important group.
Three quarters of Millenials prefer experiences to things, so if we market our events as experiences, our chances of engaging this audience demographic increase. It is the fear of missing out that will attract this group.
Younger generations are attracted to making a difference and have alot of social awareness. Make sure your events speak to that awareness
Millenials and Gen Z have a different vision of what meaningful events look like.
To engage Gen Z and get them to sign up for and attend association and industry events, consider the following:
- Gen Z love to take selfies and photos and flaunt them through their social networks. A key reason they will attend an event is for these photo opportunities, ( and fear of missing out) so capitalize on this. Create memorable hashtags for each event, so they can track each others posts. Encourage interaction through social media, this will attract more Gen Z's to future events.
- If you are marketing to younger generations, use photos of younger professionals in your promotions. Keep it lively, fun and interesting.
- Counter their shorter attention span and keep them engaged. Make sure your events address issues that younger professionals are interested in like technology and getting ahead in their career. Gen Z and millenials love interaction and humor so hire a funny motivational speaker who will blend humor and interaction with the audience.
- Make sure your agenda has style and substance for this demographic
- Host meetups at the event for this group
- Give them instant gratification. Use promotional methods that offer immediate incentives like sign up now and get a discount, a free report ( ie - best places to visit in the city the convention is held), a backstage pass to a special event, etc.
- When someone registers announce it to other past attendees. This will attract like minded peers.
- They travel in packs. Gen Y & Z like to attend events with their younger peers, so encourage group discounts or incentives.
- Millenials and Gen Z crave connection. Use online tools to keep connection strong. Allow instant chat in your conference app, post photos of attendees, allow participants to keep the conversation going through social media. Consider setting up a facebook page specifically for the event.
- Create healthy competition. Just turn on the TV and notice its all the rage; reality TV has reinforced this generations love for healthy competition. Create fun competitive games that highlight organizations and their people who come to your events. In associations you have a wonderful opportunity for engagement between industry competitors and partners, played right you could create some fun engagement and rapport.
- Put them in the spotlight. Ask Gen Y to write an article or introduce a motivational speaker. They love to strut their stuff so give them the opportunity and it will build loyalty.
- Utilize Technology. Event planners must embrace technologies like twitter, LinkedIn, etc to keep the discussion going. At the very least create a blog about the event, have the conference chair, the keynote speaker and other guest speakers write blog posts. Encourage interaction through comments on your blog. One meeting planner set up a text message sign up system for their registrations and had huge success.
- Don't forget the follow up. Keep the learning going through continual interaction in your online communities. This is where you will continue to engage Gen Y for future events. Younger professionals want to be in the know and be a part of the trend so they won't want to miss it!
Capturing the attention of Gen Z, Gen Y or Millennials may take effort but it is worth it to keep our associations and events strong and healthy.