The Future of the Meeting Space: Meet Generation Z

Generation ZGeneration Z (those born between 1995 and 2010), started hitting the U.S. workforce in 2013. Currently, they are the largest U.S. population group (23 million). By 2020, Generation Z will represent 36% of the U.S. labor force.

While Millennials have been the most studied demographic group, more research is needed to identify the needs of Generation Z. Notwithstanding, here is what we know for sure about Generation Z and some of the implications for planning and marketing meetings and events.

Generation Z: A Snapshot

Generation Z has never known a world without mobile devices, the Internet, and diversity in music, TV, and movies. They are tech savvy and perpetually connected. They are able to filter a high volume of data and information quickly.

With their great grandparents (when they were the same age), they share the fact that they have never known a world without war, economic downturns, and cataclysmic disasters (e.g. 9/11). For this reason, they tend to be risk averse and concerned about the economy and security. Many of them are being raised in diverse, multi-generational homes in which grandparents and even great grandparents are present and this is shaping their values.

Implications for Meeting and Event Planners

  1. Embrace and reflect diversity in conference and meeting planning committees, marketing collateral, keynotes speakers, facilitators, and entertainment (e.g. incorporate hip hop, rap, DJs, multi-racial dance crews).

    Diversity is here to stay. The U.S. 2010 census revealed:
    • multi-racial youth is the fastest growing demographic.
    • an over 400% increase in the number of children born into black/white interracial relationships
    • an increase in children born to Asian/white parents of over 1000%
    "We have entered an age of unprecedented global interconnectedness and diversity, an age in which the faces that make up our societies are more youthful and heterogeneous than ever before. Promoting diversity in the arts is no longer a mere challenge for cultural marketers, but a prerequisite for survival and continued relevance in today’s pop culture obsessed world."

    Steve Stoute, former record label executive and author of The Tanning of America: How Hip Hop Created a Culture that Rewrote the Rules of the New Economy, from opening keynote address, National Arts Marketing Project Conference, Americans for the Arts:


  1. Create cross-platform marketing initiatives and design audio-visual and media-rich learning environments.

    Gen Z have always known how to zoom, pinch and swipe. They have grown up with hi-def, surround- sound, 3D and now 4D — 360 degree photography and film is their normal. Ultra slow motion and hi- speed video is their standard. 30 They think spatially and in 4D.

    Meet Generation Z: Forget Everything You Learned About Millennials (sparks and honey)

    Generation Z is used to multi-tasking across 5 screens. In JWT study results reported by sparks & honey, the following percentages of Generation Z respondents reported using these platforms, multiple times a day:
    • TV (72%)
    • mobile phones (57%)
    • laptops (39%)
    • desktops (33%)
    • iPods or other music players(31%)
    • gaming consoles (24%)
  2. Highlight value when promoting conferences, associations and meetings.

    A major take-way from the recent Associations: 2020 and Beyond conference is that Generation Z is cost-conscious as they were raised in a turbulent economic climate.
  3. Consider introducing "teen ambassador" or future event planners categories of association membership.

    U.S. and Canadian retailers found this model effective with Baby Boomers during the sixties.
  4. Be sure this demographic is represented on conference, meeting and event planning committees.
  5. Add teen or future meeting planner tracks to conference agendas.

For additional insights and tips, also consult:

Photo Credit: helpingting

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