Weekly News & Insights: Attracting Young Attendees

Photo © iStockphoto/francisblack

Photo © iStockphoto/francisblack

The recent Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) report on attracting and retaining young professional attendees brings to light a common problem: show organizers don’t even know who their young attendees are because they aren’t asking for ages on registration. This article from the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) offers a good argument for why you need to ask for attendees’ actual birthdays and not just their age range. (Although personally, not sure I’d be willing to give that information on every conference registration form I fill out.)

While CEIR has the complete report available for sale on their website, Successful Meetings has also compiled a quick summary of the report’s findings which include:

  • Reasons for attending shows (Hint: not so different from attendees of other ages)
  • Communication methods that work best to reach this audience
  • Elements they’re looking for at an event
  • Style of education that works best

This timely topic (which was our Advanced Strategy in the Exhibit Marketers Café this month) highlights that there are lots of preconceived ideas about what the GenYs (or Millennials) want at a conference or trade show. PCMA has another good article busting three myths about this generation wide open regarding their ideas about money, opinions on printed materials, and life behind a screen. And speaking of screens, attendees of all ages are playing games on their devices, so why not tap into that mindset for your next event? Here’s an article that outlines gamification ideas used by three different exhibitors … and they don’t all require an electronic device!

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Marlys Arnold

With experiences as both an exhibitor and a show organizer, Marlys Arnold has a unique perspective on trade show exhibiting. As an exhibit marketing strategist, she travels the country consulting and training on how to create experiential exhibits that produce significantly higher numbers of qualified leads. She’s led workshops for events ranging from local consumer expos to some of the largest trade shows in the U.S. She hosts the Trade Show Insights blog/podcast, and is the author of Build a Better Trade Show Image, the Exhibitor Education Manifesto, and the ExhibitorEd Success System. She’s also the founder of the Exhibit Marketers Café, an online education community. To request an “Extra Shot of Exhibit Success” go to www.ExhibitMarketersCafe.com.