What Generation Y and Boomers expect from events.
Let’s all pretend the average age of visitors at our events is staying the same each year. Forget about the Generation Ys of this world. Let’s believe they will turn into the same businessmen and women that the Generation X-ers are nowadays. Why should we care that youngsters treat their mobile devices like extra limbs and that networking is an integral part of their lives?
On the other hand, let’s ignore the aging population in the world and act as if this is not visible in our event visitor profiles. Why should we consider what it means for our events that people are getting older, work longer and their future needs are changing? Let’s stick to the thought that aging people are getting wiser, but not when it comes to embracing the Internet.
How should we deal with these two extremes in generation shifts?
First of all, this is a matter of knowing your current market and understanding your future one. By analyzing your visitor profiles over the years, you’ll be able to see the trends—in average age, composition of visitor groups, satisfaction scores and more. Think about how well you know the needs of your current visitors.
With this information, it’s easier to look ahead. For successful events in the future, what does your future visitor profile look like? Are there signs you need to prepare for visitors from Generation Y and/or aging visitors? Chances are, you will.
Understanding generations is as easy as opening up for the needs of those generations and embracing their perspective. It’s not about translating their life into yours. It’s more about getting an insight into their history and why their needs are the way they are.
The fact that Generation Y grew up with the Internet, with parents that negotiated with them and they know how to reach out to friends and strangers via social media makes them different. And let’s not forget their thoughts on sustainability, uncertainty in the world and what life is about.
Here’s a guess on what this generation could expect from event organizers.
- Co-create. Have a say in the event program and content. Be part of the conversation and have a feeling that someone is listening.
- Matchmaking before, during and after the event with other visitors, speakers and exhibitors who are relevant to them.
- Relevant content provided by specialists. True stories you won’t find on the Internet.
- An offline and online experience that’s worthy of their time and/or money.
- Sustainability is not a question anymore, but expected. Respect for their future.
What about the needs of the more senior visitors? These are visitors with half of their lives behind them and at the end of their careers. Here’s a guess on what the more senior visitors could expect from event organizers.
- Inclusion and status to make them feel respected and heard.
- Let them share their stories.
- Make sure they can be part of the online experience. Provide help if needed.
- Analyze your visitors’ customer journey. Think about easy logistics, matching food and beverage options and clear communication to make the event experience as easy as possible.
- Service. Remember that people using the offline channels expect the same good service as the people providing online feedback.
There’s a lot of trend watching and talk about the future, and we need to deal with the generation shifts. Let’s not stick our heads into the ground. One+
One+ November 2012,