Success by Association - July/August 2017 - 8

millennialmarketing

Attract Millennials
to Your Meeting
Allison Torres Burtka

Y

ou have loyal, long-time conference attendees-that's
great. But to keep your events thriving for the long
term, you need to engage your millennial members.
How are you changing your conferences to appeal to
a new generation?
Interactive, social, personalized, hands on. Does this describe
your conferences? Regardless of how successful and popular
your meetings are, it's worth considering whether they are
attracting an audience you'll need over the long term: younger
attendees who may want something different from what your
event currently delivers.
What do younger professionals value in the conference
experience? What will convince them that it's not just a
collection of boring speakers droning on and on? You know
next-gen members are tech savvy, but you can't just get a
conference app and call it a day.
Millennials are used to immediate communication and
response-such as requesting an Uber that shows up in three
minutes-and products and services built just for them, from
their Starbucks order to their laptop's features.
"Young workers enjoy a more customized approach," says
Cassie Thompson, event services manager at the association
management company Smith Bucklin, who was named
International Association of Exhibitions and Events 2015 Young
Professional of the Year. Some ways to customize conference

8

success || july/august 2017

offerings include creating an agenda specific to young
professionals and offering a first-time attendee orientation
geared toward them, she says.
Some associations devote entire conferences to their next-gen
members. The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA)
holds a standalone Next Generation Success in Leadership
Conference. Some content is similar to what the annual
convention provides, but other programs are tailored to nextgen attendees and focused on leadership.
"We offer operational sessions designed to appeal to
attendees who have no knowledge of a specific topic-for
example, what type of insurance coverages are necessary for a
distributor," says NBWA Chief Financial Officer Kim McKinnish,
who manages its Next Generation Group. Other sessions
offer a deeper dive into complex topics, such as how to use
technology to make warehouses more operationally efficient.
Finding out what your next-gen members want is key. NBWA's
next-gen group "told us they are concerned about time
management as related to growing their careers while starting
families and pursuing outside interests, so we are providing a
keynote speaker to address this topic," McKinnish says.
Associations are tackling the next-gen challenge in a wide
variety of ways, but the solutions share a common theme: It's
all about active participation and real-world takeaways.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Success by Association - July/August 2017

President’s Message
Event Calendar
Four Ways Managers Can Help Improve Employee Performance
Attract Millennials to Your Meeting
Address These Employee Needs for Maximum Retention
Seven Ways to Improve Panel Presentations
Growing Event Attendance Through Content: Very Useful for Associations
Thank You to our Annual Meeting Sponsors
Creating a Pocket of Excellence When Surrounded by Mediocrity
Get the Message
Member Updates
5 Reasons to Consider Live Streaming Your Next Event
Strategies for Effective Business Networking for Young Professionals
Young Leader Profile
Buyers’ Guide
Advertiser Showcase
Advertiser Index
Executive Director’s Message
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - intro
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - cover1
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - cover2
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - 3
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - President’s Message
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Event Calendar
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - 6
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Four Ways Managers Can Help Improve Employee Performance
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Attract Millennials to Your Meeting
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - 9
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - 10
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Address These Employee Needs for Maximum Retention
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Seven Ways to Improve Panel Presentations
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - 13
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Growing Event Attendance Through Content: Very Useful for Associations
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - 15
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Thank You to our Annual Meeting Sponsors
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - 17
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Creating a Pocket of Excellence When Surrounded by Mediocrity
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - 19
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Get the Message
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - 21
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Member Updates
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - 5 Reasons to Consider Live Streaming Your Next Event
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Strategies for Effective Business Networking for Young Professionals
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - 25
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Young Leader Profile
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Buyers’ Guide
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Advertiser Showcase
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Advertiser Index
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - Executive Director’s Message
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - cover3
Success by Association - July/August 2017 - cover4
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