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Organizing events with millennials in mind

Millennials or Generation Y as others like to call them, were born between 1982 and 2000. In the US, millennials represent half of the people in employment and are the largest generation in the country’s workforce. At a global level, this exclusive club of 1.8bn people account for roughly a quarter of the world’s population.

According to a recent study, this generation cares more about experiences and is less materialistic in nature. The event industry is all about delivering memorable experiences and organizers must get creative to retain millennials for future editions.

Entertain millennials through technology

Millennials are tech-savvy and expect to attend events that embrace technology. Begin with the simple things that make a big difference, such as registration. The registration process should be mobile friendly and paperless. In 2018, 58% of online traffic came from mobile devices, while 42% from desktop. Generation Y has a big contribution to these numbers, with mobile devices being the preferred way for web surfing. Forget about physical tickets and send them electronically.

Instead of printing out brochures with event related information, include those details into a branded mobile app. The App can keep your audience entertained and up to date with event related news. It can be used as a networking tool as well. Face to face interactions are still a priority for this generation, despite their online presence. Allow them to match other attendees with similar interests and aspirations by using a dedicated event App.

Content quality

The average attention span is down from 12 seconds to 8 seconds according to a recent study. This is how long it takes for your audience to lose interest during a boring presentation. For organizers that focus on designing events with millennials in mind, providing entertaining content is essential. To achieve that, you can set up a pre-event discussion with the help of social media. This way, you enable your attendees to express their views and expectations. Based on their preferences, reach out to experienced speakers that deliver content in a professional and interactive manner.

Make it sustainable

Classifying as the first generation to grow in a world where climate change finds itself in a continuous debate, millennials tend to be very concerned when it comes to environmental sustainability. They admire progressive companies that take action and contribute to a better world. Your event makes no difference and should approach a sustainable culture to become a success.

Oveit is a tool that allows organizers to design events with millennials in mind. It offers a fast & secure payment alternative, a friendly registration process and on-site entertainment with a simple tap of the hand. If you want to convince yourself and give it a try, feel free to drop us a line!

Ready to welcome your future attendees?

In the last few years, we have read (and written) countless articles on Millennials and how this generation is changing the event industry and consumer habits. Now I would like to include the Z Generation in this article on how things are going to change; although Z generation members are still too young to fundamentally change the event management industry they will start to be a very important part in the next 24 months.

young lady with headphones holding a mobile phone

But first, let’s remember who exactly can be included in these 2 categories:

Millennials: name used for those born between 1980 and mid 90’s

Generation Z: name used for those born starting with mid 90’s (there are many discussions regarding the ending birth years for this generation).

Let’s see some figures on these two generations:

At present time, 1/3 of the global consumption power is owned by millennials (and this percentage is going to grow in the next few years)

It’s estimated that by the year 2020 Generation Z will represent over 40% in the USA consumption market

2 years from now, Millennials and Generation Z will represent almost 60% of the worldwide employees

The first common feature is their lean toward technology. But while millennials grew up while the rise of technology, Gen Z members were born into an already technologized world. For them, a world without search engines, social media, and smartphones is simply unacceptable. This first common feature draws our attention toward 2 extremely important aspects:

  1. Online marketing, using both search engines (and search engine optimization) and social media platforms. If you need any help please read one of the multiple articles that we have written about how to use keywords, email marketing, Instagram and Snapchat to promote your events.

P.s. if you think social media marketing works great for millennials you should know that Gen Z members are 4X more likely to convert on it. Great news or what?!?

  1. The movement toward smart event management tools, tools that allow your future attendees to buy online tickets using their smartphones. Why? Because a recent study shows that gen Z would rather give up TV for a day (80%) or event money and friends (28%) and keep their smartphones in return. So a software that allows them to buy tickets using smartphones is more than welcome.

Another important aspect is represented by the importance Gen Z members give to the environment and social responsibility. According to fusemarketing.com, “85% of Gen Z believes companies have an obligation to help solve social problems.” This also includes the environment and a paperless ticketing system is one way you can show that your event management company cares about the environment.

Short attention span for both Millennials and Generation Z members

If in the past we were shocked by the short attention span that millennials had, now things are even more complicated. The average attention span for gen Z is 8 seconds (4 seconds shorter than the average one of millennials), forcing us to become a lot better when trying to get their attention. This is one of the most important aspects why our partners use NFC technology for on-site interactions. If attendees see something that captures their interest they just need to tap the wristband to let the exhibitor/sponsor know that they would love to find out more. And an NFC-ready event management software (like Oveit) does the rest.

The future of event payments

Forget about cash or physical tokens, the future is 100% digital. Modern times allow us to take event payments to the next level and allow attendees to pay with just a tap of their wristband. No cash, no queueing, no worries. Attendees should be able to top up credit using a designated top-up point (or even the event app) and payments will be instantly processed, allowing your guests to concentrate on the things that really matter at events (networking and having fun).

As you we can see around us, by each passing day technology becomes more and more important. For us, but especially for those that never lived in a tech-free world, the future cannot exist without smartphones, apps, gadgets, and wearables. And neither the event industry.

Millennials value experiences over things.

Each step of millennials’ life is getting upgraded to an ubiquitous experience.  Either if it is about dinning, traveling or the way they are shopping, the overall experience is becoming more and more important in order to create a sense of identity in their life.

Harris group found that millennials believe that living a meaningful and happy life isn’t about possessions and rather about creating memories through experiences. Their spending on live experiences and events relative to total U.S. consumer spending increased 70 percent comparing to the previous generation.

Why millennials trump things over experiences-

 

Creating a meaningful life through experiences

The concept of meaningful life, started markedly with the need of millennials to become more conscious regarding their emotional wellbeing and health. The need of experiences rather than things can be associated to a higher level of awareness brought by both self and social responsibility.

  • Eating habits changed (trying to eat more healthy and giving up meat);
  • Being aware of Carbon footprint- many people adopted eco friendly ways of transportation (bicycles or public transport)
  • Living a healthy life – serves as a “cultural semaphore for discipline and success”- Farrah Starr Evening Standard

Awareness of both positive and negative factors influencing our life is possible through the power of media, that grew exponentially in the past years. Most of the millennials are well informed with strong beliefs and eager to support different causes.

 

1% of Millennials are influenced by advertising

Only 1 percent of Millennials say they are influenced in any way by advertising (Elite Day). Millennials don’t trust what the brand has to say about itself. They need to believe in it in order to adopt it, and the best way of doing this is through memorable experiences. These experiences will allow them to identify themselves and their values with the brand’s.

The experience offered by an event is unique because it gives not one but 3 stages: the anticipation, the event itself and the memories after. “Not only does that final stage last forever, but you can also share it”(Jack Huang, Bloomberg).

Millennials expect their whole life to be an experience full of excitement. An experience that can generate a familiar bouquet of beliefs that matches their core values. Consequently most of millennials are anxious about challenges that not only correspond to their values but as well will help promote their personal identity through social media. The use of brands has an important role in creating a higher impact and credibility for their social media content.

Experience is the ultimate status symbol

Millennials are more prone to adopt and become loyal to a brand with whom they shared a memorable experience. Succeeding in doing this will end up being beneficial for both parties. The brand will win new adopters and the adopters will start to develop a shared identity with the brand’s core values. This may be considered the key milestone in the process of acquiring new adopters and especially millennials.

Millennials love brands who bring experiences

  • 82% say they noticed a brand sponsoring at an event
  • 1 in 3 have a more positive opinion of that brand after the even  (Pandora Advertising 2016)

Boomers spent 12% less on experiences

Comparing Millennials with the Boomers Generation, their spending on experiences grew with 12% and they are considered “digital natives” with 43.5 percent of them who say they use social media to spread the word about products or services.

67% Millennials prefer investing in experiences

With the desire of creating as many memorable experiences as possible, 67 percentage of Millennials would rather spend their money on ‘experiences’ than ‘things’’; from which 75 percentage of women prefer experiences over things than 58.5 percentage man. (Pandora Advertising, 2016)

Brands or organisations that create experiences for their audience need to truly “get”  Millennials in order to engage with them appropriately and create an opportunity to differentiate themselves in the marketplace and forge long-term relationship with their customers.

What does it mean to truly “get” Millennials?

Being true and following your mission at all times. Having the vision to aspire high and always greed of offering your consumer the best quality, price and services.

And nevertheless immerse your consumers in memorable experiences because today experiences are like a merry-go-round – you can never get off.

Further reading:

https://www.bcg.com/documents/file103894.pdf

https://s1.q4cdn.com/959385532/files/doc_downloads/research/2016-Millennials-and-Money-Research-Report.pdf

https://pandoraadvertising.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/experiences_are_unforgettable2.pdf

Millennials are changing the world by attending live events. No, really.

Experience economy is usually associated with millennials and the shift in spending habits. One of the experiences they(we) are most likely to engage into are live events. Multi-day festivals, for example, have become a kind of rite of passage for many.

Music, fun, experiences and often long-term connections with peers are all desirable. As such, there is no surprise that half of the 32 million people that attend festivals in the US are millennials.

So what drives change?

Let’s start with a short intro to technology and, most important, connectivity technology. It won’t take long. You are probably aware that computers have evolved constantly from the 1970’s. Flash news number two: they have now become both powerful and cheap enough to help empower people from all geographical and social backgrounds. A report from the White House shows that millennials have been shaped by the ubiquity of technology. Yup, tech is in their DNA.

Taking a photo at a festival

Taking a photo at a festival and saving the experience. Source.

Connectivity technology was surprisingly influential. Both mobile phones and social media have been used by teens in the previous decade to stay connected, exchange information and share moments with their peers.

This led to what is now called “Fear of Missing Out” (FOMO). As they are more and more connected on social media outlets and share important moments in their lives, the need for “being there” has increased. Also, over half of millennials report that people ask them for purchase opinions and they influence four to five friends and family.

So there is an increase in millennial influence and an increase in the number of people that want to be influenced by them. As a result, social gatherings such as live events have become the norm. Groups must attend or they fear missing out on potentially important social interactions.

Experiences rather than goods

The common knowledge is that millennials favor experience over goods. And they seem to do just that. But that does not mean that they are not spending. Actually, attendance and revenue from festivals have skyrocketed:

Lollapalooza attendance has grown from 65,000 in 2005 to 300,000 for 2014. Revenue in 2014 was $28.8 million and generated over $140 million for the local economy.

Burning Man has become a globally followed event. In 2014 more than 65 000 attended the event.

Coachella sold over 198 000 tickets in 2015 and raked in more than $84 million. One of the hottest things the festival has pushed forward was the live streaming, now at 28 million views, a way for millennials to stay connected, even if they are not there.

And that’s not all — an increase in festival attendance has taken the world by storm. A long list of awesome festivals show how millennials now acquire experiences.

It’s not just festivals, either. It’s concerts, movies and even pay TV. 83 million millennials will spend $750 a year to purchase experiences, as a Deloitte reports. That’s $62 billion changing the world, spent by people who crave for experiences.

How does the experience economy change the world?

A change in purchase options for millennials is a huge thing for the global economy and as a result, society at large.

By spending more on experiences, by joining large groups, by accepting diversity and seeking it, the millennials are making the world a more connected place, smaller and less prejudice prone.

Goods as commodity and self-defining experiences

As the manufacturing of goods has been streamlined, automated and increasingly effective, goods have become accessible. A computer or flat screen TV used to cost a small fortune to own. Now they are both accessible to many so they have lost their social status symbol.

Even big ticket possessions such as cars or houses will soon lose their appeal as the world perspective shifts from owning to accessing.

So goods become commodities. They are accessible and lose their appeal to the masses of millennials that will soon become the dominant spending force in the global economy.

Brands will have to face the truth sooner or later. The marketing added value will soon fade and products will be just as desired as their manufacturers are socially responsible, as millennials demand. Even now, emerging brands such as Warby Parker or Bonobos emphasize their positive impact on the society catering to their target market’s values.

Experiences will become defining for individuals’ character. And large scale events, attended in foreign cities, countries or even continents, will build global citizens. Millennials will grow up with a global perspective rather than a local one. This will improve international relations because we already know that people that trade together don’t fight one another. We’re finding out that people that have fun together may care for one another.

New financial and payment systems

Credit cards have long become mainstream but are now increasingly less appealing to new generations.

Festivals have started to experience with new access and payment tokens, such as RFID wristbands that double as entry tickets and payment devices within the events’ areas.

Who says these new payment and financial systems cannot step outside the festivals and replace old institutions, such as banks, and technologies, such as credit cards?

Decentralized entertainment experiences may breathe new life in the music industry

The music industry has become rigid and resistant to change. A few labels own a large deal of rights to music and artist’s creative abilities. With the rise of large independent events and an increase in popularity for indie artists that can connect directly to their fans, change will happen.

Even more — we may experience new types of art performances that so far have been hiding in underground concerts and small events. Burning Man is a great example. It went from one of the smallest festivals in the US to one of the most influential and large ones. It used to be the place where underground artists, hipsters and libertarians used to come hang out. It is now the place where tech titans meet and build new ventures.

And it’s not just music in the US. It is also tech, medical events and more. Brazil has seen a huge and steep increase in the number of business events. Eastern Europe, for example, has had a boom of tech events such as ICEEfest . Event management tools now help event organizers, small to mid to large, set up and handle their dream event.

The future will bring a more connected world, through the live events that millennials now experience. And I don’t mean connected as in digitally connected, because …

Something else will replace today’s “social media”

Social media as we now understand it is anything but social in terms of human emotional needs. If anything, it alienates individuals through over-inflated and weak relationships. The kind that we, as humans, feel good about on the short term but don’t rarely find real value in in the long term. The number of Facebook friends, the number of Instagram or Twitter followers may feel superficially satisfying but what we crave for are the real experiences.

The touch of a hand, the laughter, the warm feeling of finding someone you know you want to spend time with. These are all things Facebook cannot provide, no matter how many Oculus devices they ship.

Millennials want something that their parents and grand parents had and they have not received enough of. The digital empire brought about by tech companies as well as the very structure of our civilized world, with large cities and weak ties between people, is not satisfying.

By connecting in real life events, millennials are building a real “social world”, with the help of “social media”. They crave and they will have the strong ties that happen in the real world. They crave and they are building a new world where people are people, not just numbers on a Facebook profile. One live event at a time.