At 80 million strong in the US alone, the millennial generation is a force to be reckoned.

As they enter the workforce and begin to have a greater amount of disposable income, marketing to this group will be increasingly critical for businesses across various industries. However, they have their own preferences and characteristics, which means organisations need to hone their strategies to engage them. 

Is your exhibition or trade show reaching millennials? 

Who are the millennials? 

Millennials, or Generation Y, comprise people who are currently young adults. Although analysts differ on how they define the range of birth years for this group, common figures place Gen Yers at 18 to 34 years old. 

Generation Yers are distinct from earlier generations because they grew up using computers and other technology. From social networks to smartphones, these digital platforms come as second nature and form a central part of their day-to-day lives. They're generally highly educated, know how to seek out information and have high expectations for speedy communication and fast results.

As such, they're changing the way companies market their products. According to a recent report from the Boston Consulting Group, the global millennial population has heightened the need for enterprises to engage on a personal level and through digital platforms. With social media and other platforms at their disposal, millennials expect greater interaction and accessibility from brands. 

What does it mean for your exhibition

To attract and engage millennials at your next event, you can incorporate a few strategies tailored to their habits and preferences. 

Here are three ideas: 

  1. Create an experience. According to Marketing Magazine, Gen Yers are inclined to spend money on experiences rather than things. As such, marketing to them at music events or other shows could be more effective than showing products on television ads. Adding some exciting technology to your exhibition can also provide an enticing, memorable occasion.
  2. Make use of social media and mobile tools. Take a look the next time you're on a subway train and you'll probably see most millennials pull out their smartphones. Leverage this potential connection to Gen Yers by using event apps and m-commerce platforms. Additionally, reach them by advertising your event on social media platforms: Research by Harris Interactive revealed 46 per cent of millennials in Australia and New Zealand are willing to promote brands and products via social media, and 29 per cent want to use mobile loyalty apps instead of plastic cards.
  3. Embrace environmental and social responsibility. According to a study by Deloitte, millennials are "eager to make a difference". Appealing to this value could take the form of using eco-friendly materials in the exhibition hall or making a commitment to offset carbon footprints. 

As a whole, understanding millennials will give you insights into how you can design an intriguing event and inspire them to participate. With this demographic spending over a trillion dollars annually in the US alone, according to the Boston Consulting Group, it's a group well worth engaging.