The time for saying "the Millennials are coming" is past. The Millennials, representing 25% of the U.S. workforce...and climbing, are here. By 2020, they will make up 46% of the labour force. Associations and organizations need to dramatically transform their approach to marketing and re-engineer their conferences and to attract this demographic.
Here are a few tips for spotting what's hot with Millennials and making the transition.
- Pay attention to what goes viral.
Hit TV shows, commercials and YouTube videos provide important clues to what appeals to Millennials. Pay attention to who is in the commercial to the demographic that is being targeted. Then, identify what's hot and what's not.
Example: Mountain Dew's Kickstart campaign, launched during Super Bowl 2015, featured males in their early 20s. The popular TV commercials and viral YouTube videos, that have produced 9,129,459 hits in the U.S, leveraged music, dance, fun, and the element of surprise.
If you're not including some hip-hop, rap, electronic music, dance crews, and DJs in your marketing
and programming, you're definitely missing the mark. Parkour and capoeira are other sure-fire hits.
- Culturally adapt programming and marketing.
One size does not fit all. Sometimes subtle adjustments can make marketing or events appeal to local preferences.
Example: The Canadian version of Mountain Dew Kickstart (posted above) ends with a dancing hockey trophy. It has generated 619,749 views. (Compare to the U.S. Mountain Dew Kickstart Commercial ending with a dancing scuba diver.)
- Speaking of hockey, don't neglect Millennial males.
If Millennial men aren't showing up at your events, likely they are absent in your marketing and your programming does not appeal to this demographic.
- Pick up ideas from events that are popular with Millennials.
Based on Comic Con, which is a hit with Millennials, think gamification, themes from TV hits, superheroes, and costumed events.
I recently posted Religious Meetings for Millennials, about steps that evangelical churches are taking to attract Millennials, featuring religious meeting organizers who "get it." Association and conference producers would be wise to use their events as templates.
Example: Successful programming for a younger demographic by Moody Bible Institute.
- Amp up the production values.
A procession of talking heads flipping through PowerPoint slideshows is not going to cut it with this crowd. Use Prezi, music, videos, engaging backdrops and lighting, virtual reality, and even holograms to engage this crowd.
Example: Notice the panel at Comic Con uses video clips, giant screen and a high level of participant interaction.
- The best way to ensure that your meetings and events appeal to Millennials is "don't assume, ask."
If Millennials are part of your event or meeting planning team, you have a much better chance of "hitting the mark." Here is how millennial event planners approach the business.
The Cvent Event blog has provided a lot of ideas and a clear picture of what meetings that appeal to Millennials look like.
- 5 Ways to Engage Millennials in Meetings
- Music for Corporate Events: Appealing to Diverse Tastes
- Cvent CONNECT: Jagger, Madonna, Beyonce and Beiber: Being the Hotelier Who Can Rock Every Generation
- National Dance Day: Time to Reflect on Dance for Corporate Events
- Is Prezi the Next PowerPoint?
- Prezi v. PowerPoint: It's How You Use It that Counts
- Your Event Needs More Millennial-to-Boomer Connections
- The Future of Meeting Space: Meet the Millennials
Generation Z is coming! Stay tuned for some tips to help you get ready for the next demographic tsunami to hit the corporate and event worlds.
Photo Credit: Susan Sermoneta