2020 Forecast Pt 2: The Millennial Effect

Idea's to keep your younger audience engaged and informed.

February 21, 2020

Stay Flexible: Being nimble is the most important factor in serving a Millennial audience. We had to learn show by show by show what the audience expectations are. They are very high [for Millennials].

They want to make sure they know exactly what parts of the event are suitable for them, and they need to be extremely well informed. They are used to going to these industry events and figuring it out on the fly.  They want to map out their experiences, but they also want to be able to go to that event and change their experience based on what their needs are. It is a very demanding demographic. 

Go Digital: It is about technology making sure everything from their registration experience, through their phones and social media, making it an  individualized registration experience, making sure they can very specifically plan out what their few days at this event are going to look like,  but they need to be able to change it. What does that look like? 

Personal Attention: There are roaming brand ambassadors on site, a lot of staff, and  they demand more attention. You need to make an investment in staff in order to serve this group. Personalization.

Speakers Like Them: Millennials in a B to C environment, they want to hear from people just like themselves. They are less engaged when they are hearing from the CEO of a company, and they are less engaged when they are hearing from someone the client might designate as a VIP, a local dignitary, or a politician.  They are  more engaged when they are hearing from someone who has the same background as them, someone who can relate to their experience and someone they can personally learn from versus someone to be inspired by. We all have exposure to every TED talk in the world now, to the  best motivational speakers in the world. I do not know if there is necessarily value for that group to hear that from a stage versus hearing from their laptop. 

Prioritize the Stage Experience:   It is about being even more thoughtful about what you are doing on stage. It is about trying to expand the audience experience from your typical ‘Let's sit there in the audience and listen to one person on the stage talk for 20 minutes and then the  next person, then the next person.’  The focus is on trying to think about different ways for content delivery.  That is where I can really play a big part and can add value. How do we truly create a unique audience experience to make this not something they can literally watch on YouTube. How do we make sure we are not only delivering relative content but we are delivering exclusive content? 

It is extremely important because why else would they come to this event if they can hear it on YouTube? I am really pushing that message. You can not be reiterating a message people have already heard or have the ability to hear somewhere else. Attendees need to be hearing something unique and exclusive or why else would they travel and take time away from their families and their businesses. In 2020, we do need to prioritize the unique stage experience. Companies planning corporate events need to realize this is a huge investment for our company, for our customers who are coming to these events, and they need to be prioritizing this at a very high level. I often find for some reason that live events take a back seat in terms of leadership priority and attention until the last minute. But now clients are starting to see the negative impact of that. If they can put a higher priority on this, if they can  put more attention on this, some more strategic thought on the front end of this, that event can be exponentially better. 

Leader Spotlight: Meredith Swedo,  Owner/Producer, Swedo Events


Personal Quote: “I’ve been doing this for 12 years. I’m doing the same thing but doing it in a different way. When I came in, it was seminars and  conferences and sales events; now, it’s a lot more experiential.  People are thinking a little bit differently. Do I follow up with all the trends? I can but what’s more important is that I’m evolving and the client is evolving.  Yes, we can be on top of the trend setting with events, and I have some clients who do, but for the most part it’s, “Are we evolving?” The bottom line is:  Are we giving the attendee an amazing experience or are we giving them something lackluster, something that’s predictable and something that is stale. I’m not into stale.”