More than 80 million Americans are between the ages of 18 and 34 putting them in the millennial generation. The most recent census data shows that millennials are the largest generation living in the United States accounting for one-fourth of the population, and this statistic will rise to one-third by 2020. For event organizers, millennials make up a very large group of ticket buyers.
What many people don’t realize is that more than half of millennials are parents. Additionally, the millennial generation in the United States is far more diverse than any generation before it. Bottom-line, motivating this generation of consumers to purchase event tickets might require that you change your perception of millennials.
The key to selling event tickets to millennials is to understand how their wants and needs from events have evolved with the world around them. Here are five important things to remember as you develop your event and marketing programs to ensure you sell as many tickets as possible to those 18 to 34 year olds.
1. Understand Why Millennials Attend Events
Millennials have spent a significant portion of their lives using technology. As a result, attending events in person has taken on new importance. Events give mobile device-addicted millennials a chance to interact, connect with other people, and share something.
To attract the diverse millennial generation to your event, make sure social opportunities are plentiful, and promote those opportunities in advance. Special tents for smaller experiences, fun activities, and “pre-event” events are a great way to provide the one-to-one social moments that matter to millennials both leading up to and during your event.
2. Prioritize Social Media
Social media is a must if you want to sell event tickets to millennials. This is the first social media generation, and they expect your event brand to be active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and so on before, during, and after your event. It’s simply strange to them if you’re event is not present and active on social media.
In many ways, the discussions, sharing, and engagement that happen across social media channels before your event are what convince millennials not only to attend your event but also to spread the word and convince other people to attend, too. That word-of-mouth marketing means more ticket sales for you!
With that in mind, flood social media with content that will get millennials excited about your event. Post videos, images, sneak peaks behind the scenes, performer interviews, and more. Hold Instagram and Facebook contests, and invest in social media advertising, particularly Facebook advertising.
Millennials are using social media, so your event needs to be there and interact with them in order to build a relationship with them long before the event date.
3. Promote Causes
The millennial generation grew up with access to global information at their fingertips. They’re very interested in social causes and charities, so partnering with a non-profit organization and promoting a cause at your event is a great way to increase interest in tickets among 18 to 34 year olds.
If your event isn’t a charitable event, then choose a charity that matches your event brand and work with it to create a program to raise awareness and attract donations. Your event brand will be elevated in millennials’ minds by the charitable association, and the charity will benefit through access to a large audience of donors. It’s a win-win partnership.
4. Be Family-Friendly
Since more than half of all millennials are parents today, it’s safe to assume that many of them are looking for events that the whole family can enjoy. However, if your event isn’t intended for families, that doesn’t mean you can’t create an experience that parents can bring their children to.
For example, a concert could offer bounce houses in the parking lot before the event, food trucks filled with family-friendly foods, and activities during the event to give kids (and parents) a break when they need it. Make sure there are plenty of opportunities for parents to take photos and videos, and encourage them to share those photos and videos on social media! Believe it or not, many parents take their children to events specifically to take pictures to share on Facebook, Instagram, and so on.
5. Create an Immersive Experience
Remember, millennials care about experiences, not events. Just watching a concert might not be enough to motivate them to spend a large amount of money on tickets. They want more, and you need to deliver if if you want them to buy tickets.
Your goal should be to surround millennials with different ways to experience your event. Using the concert example again, you need to offer more activities than just the musical performance. Areas to shop, places to share drinks with other attendees, spots to participate in fun activities together, and opportunities to support a cause are all important things to consider when planning your next event if you want more millennials to attend.
Keep in mind, sponsor experiences matter, too. A line of tables with sponsor logos and brochures could create a negative perception among the millennial audience. Instead, encourage sponsors to created branded experiences that people are likely to remember. For millennials, these experiences create the beginning of a relationship with a brand, so they’re very important. However, sponsors need to be relevant to the event or millennials will find the effort disingenuous.
For example, have a sponsor host a GIF photo booth where attendees can create animated images of themselves and upload them to social media in exchange for their email addresses. Invite sponsors to host a digital Twitter wall where participants can see their tweets when they post using a special event hashtag. Don’t be afraid to get creative!
Your Next Steps
As you develop your event marketing plan, take the time to map out a strategy to attract millennials to your event by offering immersive experiences (particularly for families if it’s appropriate for your event), being active on social media, and promoting causes. Follow AttendStar’s step-by-step event marketing guide to get started.