Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Best Event "Take Homes" for Millennials

Millennials (also known as the Millennial Generation or Generation Y) are the demographic cohort following Generation X. There are no precise dates for when the generation starts and ends; most researchers and commentators use birth years ranging from the early 1980s to the early 2000s. A big draw to most events for Millennials are the "take homes", whether tangible or intangible. What are they going to get out of going to this event? Why should they spend their hard earned money on your party or conference? For them, it's about the whole experience--creating memories and reinforcing those memories with a valuable "take home".

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 doing it right. Water bottles and T-shirts top the swag, according to data from Splash, which sells experience marketing software. Other insights into millennials' minds include how they use social media at events and why they choose to attend brand-sponsored events. Check out this nifty infographic explaining what we mean.


What does this tell us? Millennials can't be without technology but they also love some good entertainment. Here are some things you can provide to ensure satisfaction among this generation of attendees.
  • Don’t even think about making your attendee pay for Wi-Fi, and test the bandwidth of your coverage to ensure it can accommodate every attendee without delaying connections.
  • Provide ample charging stations.
  • Think about handing out battery chargers with your company’s logo at check-in.
  • Go Green: Replace tangible registration collateral and swag bags with mobile event apps and electronic giveaways. Load your app or a USB device with promotional discount codes, partner collateral and event information, and market it as the green choice.
Email marketing is a necessity, but with the average worker receiving 84+ emails per day, this is not the most efficient avenue to pursue when spreading your message to millennials. They won’t sift through their inboxes to find your information. Most will turn to your social media pages for event updates, industry news, answers to questions, and to establish a connection with your brand before they even think about setting foot inside your venue. It is best received if you promote your event on social media in the following ways:
  • Twitter: Don’t stop with a Twitter page for your organization. Remember to have a unique hashtag for each of your events. Friend every person who registers and start a personal connection by sending them a welcome message that includes your hashtag (I.E. So excited to have you joining us for #BizBash2014!)
  • Facebook: Use the same formula as Twitter, and ensure that you are adding images to each post for enhanced engagement.
  • LinkedIn: Build a community through groups and post updates daily.
  • Engage Us for Additional Exposure: Millenials want to be involved and feel like they matter. If you give them the opportunity to be an active participant with social media they will be more likely to share content and increase your exposure. Ask them questions. Solicit photos. Get them excited!
Give Millenials the real-time information they crave by using new technology! For example, get savvy by allowing event organizers to send push notifications to attendees as they walk by a certain area at an event. Use of this gives attendees immediate access to knowledge such as the proximity of a vendor or the name of a presentation that is starting around the corner. Millennials love to be informed. For them, knowledge is truly power!

Incorporate exciting new companies such as Crowdmics or Catchbox to enhance attendee experience. These innovators are changing the way we project our voices at events by transforming a cell phone into a microphone or allowing attendees to throw a cube-shaped microphone around the room like a hot potato. Use their products to create a competition. Millennials love a challenge. Have them participate and gain that authentic experience they are looking for. By incorporating gamification into your event, you will be delivering innovation, tech and trends in one smart swoop:
  • Speakers: Millienials love to learn, and are hungry to gain knowledge from leaders in the industry. Work with your speakers to ensure they each include a small game at some point during their session. Help them facilitate the activity and remember to incorporate technology.
  • Networking: Forget cocktail hour and bland receptions. By facilitating icebreakers during sessions, scheduling group activities or offering opportunities for recreational pursuits outside the conference you are innately providing creative networking opportunities.
  • Make Millennials Move: Instead of a coffee break between sessions, take a page out of the Hyatt Meeting’s book and hire an exercise professional to do a 5 minute ‘Get Up and Move’ class. Active icebreakers facilitate interaction with other attendees, enhances cognitive functionality and provides a quick break from the monotony of the schedule.
Remember the environment in which Millennials were raised: the explosion of technology, the dawn of virtual connectivity, the vast importance of new trends and the competitive atmosphere that has enveloped them since they were young. By understanding who Millennials are, offering them the chance to make authentic experiences, and providing the foundation for them to create impactful connections, you are showing Millennials that they matter as individuals, not as just another attendee. And with that understanding, you will surely devour the details of creating successful "take homes" for Millennials at your next event!

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