Exhibition News June 2018 - Page 49

COLUMN: SPECIAL OPS Ready to engage James Varah, commercial director at The Brewery, on how to appeal to a generation rapidly gaining in infl uence – the much-discussed millennials B orn between the mid 1980s and the year 2000, millennials are becoming more prominent in the business world and, in turn, more present at corporate events and exhibitions. For many industries, this target group now makes up a massive chunk of the demographic, so how do you appeal to this infl uential generation when you’re planning an exhibition? The younger generation have become accustomed to living in a world which is not necessarily suited to their needs and will shun many of the traditional events that offer them little in the way of experience. They are a generation of disruptors who are set on changing the world to suit them. As such, exhibition organisers should tailor their events to attract the younger audience, as well as engaging them when they get there. To meet the expectations of this new attendee profi le, you’ll have to cater for their specifi c requirements. So what are these needs and how can organisers ensure their events are meeting them? Make your event worth sharing We can’t stress the importance of social media enough when targeting guests. Creating photo opportunities is a sure-fi re way to encourage your attendees to take out their phone and get snapping, so don’t forget to create an event hashtag and push it wherever and whenever you can. When it comes to ‘Instagrammable’ opportunities, don’t stop at selfi e walls and props – millennials enjoy sharing photos of their food on social media, so opt for a venue that can wow your guests with their food presentation. Use gamifi cation Some may say that it’s the millennial’s love of video gaming that has led to their enthusiasm at even the hint of a challenge, but whatever the reason, incorporating gamifi cation into your event is a great way of delivering interaction and innovation. Whether you include a gaming corner to encourage networking, carry out real- time polls or organise QR code treasure hunts, guests are sure to enjoy the interaction and engagement of playing whilst learning and networking at your event. “Millennials are a generation of disruptors who are set on changing the world to suit them” Incorporate technology As we know, millennials are extremely comfortable when it comes to tech, especially when it enhances their experience in the real world. To avoid total disengagement at your event, remember to consider tech-friendly offerings such as free high-speed wi-fi , charging stations and mobile event apps. Save on printing costs by eradicating old- fashioned paper marketing materials and give your guests everything they need in an easy to fi nd digital format – it’s the greener option, too! Focus on education rather than sales No one likes a sales pitch, and today’s guests have little patience for old- fashioned marketing methods. Rather than offering traditional presentations, provide your audience an opportunity to learn something new – think about the online classes and YouTube tutorials that this generation is used to and offer something that they fi nd both insightful and valuable. As this evolving generation takes centre stage in the consumer and business world, it’s important that event organisers understand that expectations are changing. Growing up in a world of informational overloading, customers are craving authenticity and genuine experiences. Transforming exhibitions gives organisers the perfect excuse to think outside the box and shake the industry up. After all, it’s getting more and more diffi cult to entice people to events in general, so creating a unique and worthwhile experience is absolutely key. Get them involved Millennials are often unafraid to speak up, and they want to feel involved. Remember this at your next event and give your attendees the opportunity to participate where they can. Whether it be through social media, open-mic discussions or breakout sessions, encourage your attendees to collaborate and contribute, and shape their own experience in doing so. exhibitionnews.co.uk | June 2018 49