It’s no secret that the attention span of the average B2B attendee is shrinking. And why shouldn’t it? With increasing access of mobile phones and Internet, we have access to massive amounts of data and information flowing through our fingertips with every tap of our mobile devices. Additionally, the audience demographics are shifting as more millennials take their seats in general sessions. The millennial generation is significantly more connected to technology than any before them, so the way they consume information will be unlike generations past. And don’t always assume that “millennial” is based on age; the definition also includes habits and lifestyle. A 56-year-old can very well have adopted millennial behaviors.
So how can we engage this rapidly growing audience of millennials? It’s likely you already know some of these tips. It’s more important to start doing them.
Rise Above the Noise
With so much going on (technology, social media, etc.) you’re going to have to do something that grabs their attention. As a tech-savvy group, an easy way to engage a millennial is to bring a digital solution to your event. Millennials love to connect with people and interact on the cloud. Take advantage of the device they are already carrying and use it to communicate your messages and connect them to your brand. Whether it’s adding a mobile app or introducing gamification based on your brand, make sure it’s relevant and serves a clear purpose… and more importantly, that it has some sort of action. Millennials don’t just want to be handed information. They want to interact and be involved. This could include be live polling, games, check-ins, networking and discussion boards.
Short and Sweet
The average millennial stops listening at the 30-minute mark so keep presentations short and avoid busy-looking PowerPoint slides. A great lesson comes from TED Talks: not only are the presentations a mere 18 minutes, the speakers are generally engaging and humanize their content. And let them talk. Millennials are active participants so they want to be heard. Before a presentation, ask them what they want to hear about. Allowing them the opportunity to voice their interests gives you the ability to craft a keynote that is important to them.
Network, Network, Network
Allow ample time for networking. If there’s one thing millennials are really good at, it’s networking. They do it all the time on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. They crave the chance to meet people.
Experience of a Lifetime
Millennials want to be more than spectators; they want to be a part of experiences. In other words, don’t talk at them about your brand. Instead, infuse them into your brand. You’ll be pleased to know that by practicing this, millennials will carry out marketing and promotions of your brand for you. How? There are a number of ways to do this…let them take photos of themselves with your brand and post it on Instagram. Or let them play with your brand physically. Live demonstrations are also more interesting than diagrams and charts.
How have you engaged your millennial audience?
I encourage you to head to Pican Restaurant located in Oakland, CA. This fantastic Southern spot near the Paramount Theatre boasts terrific upscale soul food with great ambiance. The food is richly decadent and the drinks are unique. I recommend drinking a Black Hand: bourbon, basil, balsamic syrup and ginger beer. DELICIOUS! My only warning is: Do NOT go while dieting.
Jennifer Smart, Account Manager, InVision
Hello! It’s Andy from Chicago. One of the unique features of Chicago is that once you get out of downtown, the city is made up of dozens of neighborhoods. The neighborhoods are where the people live, shop, dine and stroll. On a human level. Street level.
The IVC Chicago office is in just such a neighborhood—Northcenter. Far from downtown, our neighborhood is comprised of a few main thoroughfares along side streets lined with single family homes of all shapes and sizes. Along the main streets are a dizzying array of restaurants, coffee shops, taverns, diners, sushi, Thai, Vietnamese, Middle Eastern, Mexican, Cuban, Colombian, Irish, German, pizza and encased meats (hot dogs-no ketchup).
So as a public service, the colleagues at IVC Chicago have taken it upon ourselves to do a careful analysis of the variety, quality, value and overall customer experience. Consider this a first salvo in the continuing search for the best lunches available in the North Center / Lincoln Square neighborhood of IVC Chicago.
Nhu Lahn Bakery
A tiny, almost invisible, little Vietnamese bakery close by was listed by the Chicago Tribune as having one of “the top 25 sandwiches in Chicago”: Lemongrass marinated tofu Banh Mi. The bread is a huge factor, fresh baked Vietnamese baguettes stuffed with this marinated tofu that could get past a pork lover if you didn’t tip him off. Crisp cucumbers, jalapenos carrot and cilantro combine and surprise. Rod Mickels, IVC CEO said, “This is a great sandwich.” Check it out on Yelp
This is a favorite delivery option for the Chicago office. This is what we usually are eating during the monthly staff meetings: falafel and lamb shawarma sandwiches, hummus and pita. Spicy for me, medium for everyone else. We like to think it’s a healthy choice, because it’s vegetarian-but we pig out on it so it isn’t exactly like diet food. Check it out on Yelp
Chicago’s finest ‘sausage superstore and encased meats emporium’: gourmet fois gras dogs, the Elvis polish: (smoked and savory, just like the king), the Brigitte Bardot (Andouille sausage and mighty hot!). Cognac and Bacon Pheasant Sausage with Chevre Cream, Wild Boar Pate and Truffle-Balsamic Drizzle. And be sure to get at least 1 order of the fresh cut fries cooked in duck fat. Serious indulgence. The line goes out the door and on a nice day, you might wait half an hour or more, but you make friends, and by the time you order and your food comes up, there’s a table ready. We have to jump in a car to go to Hot Doug’s but we still consider him part of our neighborhood. Check it out on Yelp
In the next food blog from IVC Chicago, we’ll do a tavern crawl for lunch: Bad Dog Tavern, The Bad Apple and the Globe Pub. Two of them have good food. Stay tuned to find out which…
Andy Flanagan, Account Director, InVision