Let’s face it, millennials sometimes get a bad rap - you and your peers get branded as entitled and narcissistic (ouch). Is it only okay if a fellow millennial mentions this? Sorry!
Okay, so to sway my narrative in a positive direction, let’s think of ourselves collectively as young professionals – better? Us young professionals (YPs for short) are contemporaries, cohorts even. Yes, I used the word “contemporaries”, which does age me, but stick with me on this one and I will prove to you how when it comes to trade shows, your generation may have a distinct advantage. I will show you how you can leverage your generation’s characteristics to be a great trade show or event manager and help your company succeed. I will even prove why you shouldn’t be afraid to post that selfie at your next trade show or event.
Your generation is huge and entering the workforce in big #s:
In fact, as of 2015, “Millennials, or America’s youth born between 1982 and 2000, now number 83.1 million and represent more than one quarter of the nation’s population,” according to recent U.S. Census Bureau estimates. What’s more, the U.S. Census found that, “[this generation’s] size exceeds that of the 75.4 million baby boomers.”
According to the Pew Research Center’s analysis of this data, this means that, “more than one-in-three American workers today are Millennials, and this year they surpassed Generation X to become the largest share of the American workforce.” You did it – you are the most popular generation. Of course, with great power comes great responsibility.
You will be networking with your generation at the event:
Since we’ve established that you are taking over the workforce one college graduate at a time, you shouldn’t be surprised that you will run into other YPs in your working life. What you may be surprised to learn is that data shows that YPs agree with their more, ahem, mature co-workers when it comes to the effectiveness of trade shows. According to CEIR’s 2015 Young Professional Exhibitor Needs and Preferences Study that surveyed young professionals between ages 23-40, “98 percent of young exhibitors find that exhibitions deliver unique value that cannot be fulfilled by other marketing or sales channels.” Follow CEIR on Twitter for more thought-provoking data.
This data shows that YPs believe in the power of trade shows and that they have plans to exhibit in the near future (82 percent of those surveyed, in fact). Your world just got that much bigger and your networking doesn’t have to be isolated to the show – leverage your social media presence, listen to and engage with other exhibitors and to your target audience of attendees.
According to Exhibit Surveys Trade Show Benchmarks and Trends report, “3.9 out of 10 attendees are first-timers.” So regardless of your age, you definitely won’t feel out of place at a trade show.
You are very familiar with your audience – it’s you:
Since data shows that your peers will surround you at your next trade show, you have a leg up on what tactics to use before the show to garner interest, during the show to engage with your audience and after the show to close the deal. Your innate likes, dislikes, how you prefer to learn, what excites you, what motivates you to take the next step and how you communicate are all things you can draw upon when planning your trade show exhibit strategy.
According to the same CEIR study I mentioned earlier, “Emphasis on the importance of exuding a ‘friendly and outgoing’ approach is uniquely Millennial, and it is a top-ranked, 77 percent, important trait young exhibitors look for in booth staff.” The takeaway here is to encourage your company to staff the booth with more YPs like you. This will help put your YP attendee audience at ease and will foster an environment of engagement and trust-building.
You can’t live without technology, #techie:
Trade shows are often initially perceived as being fairly “old-school”, but with new trends in technology as part of the attendee experience, this is quickly changing.
One example of this is social media and the impact it can have on the show floor. You heart your social media and you know which platform is tired and overused by your parents, which one is hot and which one is about to blow up. Use that to your advantage.
Just look at CES as a case study. #CES2016 and @CES were mentioned an amazing 930,379 times during the show according to data collected by show organizers. Hashtags are definitely the new commas when it comes to the most clicked symbol on your keyboard, sorry I mean, screen. I don’t use a desktop computer anymore - who told you that?
This shows that a mere trade show can have amazing social reach far beyond the confines of the physical show floor. You know what you’re doing, so don’t be afraid to engage in social conversations to draw attendees to your booth. And during the show, be sure to snap those selfies in your booth and show off your millennial know-how to create more long-term fans of your brand – both your company brand and your personal brand.
Want a “traditional” way to impress your boss? Click below to download our guide curated from TSNNs 2016 Top 50 Fastest-Growing Shows in Net Square Footage and Attendance. You know your boss loves data, so pay homage to that whole research tactic he/she uses all the time.
Why else do you think your generation has an advantage at trade shows? Tell us what you’ve done to make your brand shine on the show floor that your baby-boomer-boss never would have thought of without you.