How do you market your event to millennials? Louise Findlay-Wilson, managing director of Energy PR, shares her pearls of wisdom
Broadly considered the generation born between 1981 and 1996, Millennials have suffered from clichéd categorisation, and are often described as fickle, lazy and unreliable. However, event organisers will gain little by carrying these inaccurate stereotypes in their heads. Millennials are not a homogenous bunch; like everyone else, they are nuanced individuals, with their own wants and needs. That said, there are some important commonalities which will help marketers trying to attract them to their events.
Millennials are a highly educated, tech-savvy generation. Having grown up during the internet/home computer revolution they are old enough to remember all the key tech introductions. Indeed, those born at the early end of the Millennial age spectrum are sometimes referred to as having an analogue childhood and digital adulthood. They can recall a life without Facebook, Twitter, the iPhone et al and have learned to adapt to a life with them; they are tech-adaptable.
Thanks to growing up in the internet age, Millennials have been spoilt for – if not bombarded with – choice. They are used to picking and choosing how they spend their time and money. They’ve had to learn to do a lot of research and for this they turn to the web and in particular video. Animoto’s study found that 80 per cent of Millennials use video to research a product or service before buying and are 150 per cent more likely to do so than baby boomers. Video is vital.
Having to constantly adapt and evolve to tech on the go, this generation has developed an ability to filter information. Notoriously suspicious of the hard-sell, they like to find things out for themselves. As our own report, Marketing to the 20 something generation found, they are also keen to curate their own information – often via social channels. There is no single news source they rely on. Instead Millennials trust the suggestions of friends, key experts and selected influencers within their professional and personal spheres of interest. A smart event organiser must know how to relevantly find their way into this curation process.
Word of mouth recommendations and reviews are critical to Millennial decision-making. They want influencer content and real-person interaction. A hard-sell won’t work with them – authenticity and information are key, and an event’s experts/headline speakers will be invaluable in the marketing mix.
Mobile matters – and social media interaction, in-app mobile ads, promotions and mobile friendly content are all relevant – but creating an organic buzz, engaging appropriate influencers, together with generating relevant, compelling, tailored content, are what really matters and is where PR can really come into its own.
Conventional criteria such as price and convenience matter, however Millennials have grown up with global warming as an omnipresent concern. As a result, they tend to be green consumers, making choices based on an organisation’s ethical track record. Your event’s green/social or charity credentials will matter.
Treat Millennials as a single group and your marketing will spectacularly miss the mark. But recognise these key factors and work them into your marketing approach, and you will gain a strong foothold in the Millennial market.