You need to attract millennials to your next event, as well as the one after that…and the one after that…and the one after that… You get the picture. Okay, but how do you get millennials to your next event (and every event for the foreseeable future)? Offer them the things they want. By doing so, you may get a lot of others to your events as well!
1—Make Millennials Feel They Are a Part of Something Bigger
Millennials are very aware of the big picture. They want to feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves, and they want to feel that their work serves a real purpose. They are attracted to unique events at unusual places that serve larger causes like sustainability.
Try asking yourself these three questions while you’re planning your event:
- How will I make the millennials feel like they belong, that they are part of a group?
- How can I make our event serve a larger purpose?
- How will I convey the event’s purpose, our greater mission and how it fits in the industry at large and beyond?
Lofty goals, for sure, but millennials want their actions to have meaning, and they are challenging the rest of us to feel the same. If nothing else, this is a great exercise for helping you define, focus or expand the purpose of your event.
2—Give Millennials Interaction, Real and Virtual
Millennials want to feel like participants, not just attendees. They want to interact at a high level, both in-person and online. Actually, millennials are big proponents of group meetings and face-to-face interactions. In the new educational environment, they grew up working in groups quite a bit. Specified gathering spots and coordinated networking times are great for that.
Millennials also want to engage with other attendees and coordinators online in all possible ways. They want to connect through social media before the event even starts. They want to interact both online and in person throughout the event. And they want to reconnect online after the event ends and throughout the year, until next year’s event. They also want to contribute to the content of the event. Social media is an ideal platform for all of these.
3—Provide Millennials Lots of Technology
Millennials are the first generation to grow up completely immersed in the digital world. For them, it’s not an accessory like a pair of cufflinks, it’s a piece of clothing like a pair of pants. Easy, seamless access to information at all times is their norm.
Bare minimum, your event should have Wi-Fi with loads of bandwidth, along with plenty of charging stations for mobile devices. Some other things to think about are event social media walls for sharing, mobile event apps, second-screen interaction during presentations (e.g., slide syncing, real-time Q&A, polls, chats with other attendees, quizzes and games) and digital kiosks with wayfinding services.
Another thing to think about is gaming. Not gaming just for gaming’s sake—gaming as a part of learning. Instead of a presentation on proper conflict resolution, for example, you could have a video game that walks players through various scenarios to teach them instead. Education in general has moved in this direction, and millennials understand and embrace it.
4—Offer Millennials Affordability and Good Value
The Great Recession hit millennials harder than other generations. Younger and less experienced, many of them found it difficult to either find or keep a job. Studies show that millennials have been later than other generations in saving for retirement, owning homes and starting families.
At least partly because of this experience, millennials are very aware of how much things cost and how much they’re getting in return. For example, they are super savvy shoppers—almost 90% of millennials regularly clip coupons (well, digital coupons).
If your event doesn’t provide a lot of bang for the buck, you may struggle to attract them. They need to feel like they are truly learning while at the same time making valuable connections within their industry. Anything you can do to lower costs will likely attract more millennials, including early registration discounts, tier pricing based on participation level, contests with prizes of genuine value and virtual participation.
How Do You Attract Millennials?
Millennials want to feel like they are part of something bigger, they want virtual and real interaction with others, they want technology and they want affordability and good value. Actually, they aren’t so different from the rest of us. If you can provide these things, you will create an event that millennials and everyone else will swarm to and love.