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I’ve been preparing for the upcoming Folio Association Media Summit this week and will be facilitating a session on how associations can leverage media assets and events to grow younger audiences. This is more than a trend, it’s a movement and I’m looking forward to being a part of the conversation.
Research repeatedly states that millennials are tech savvy, free and open thinkers, and that they want flexibility in their workplace and work schedules. However, often neglected feedback indicates that millennials thirst for further education, training & professional development, and that they thrive in a collaborative, team building environment.
Good news: many associations are well poised to offer millennials education, training and professional development opportunities through their content.
Here is the challenge: to best retarget your association’s offerings and messaging to millennials, we must rethink in-person events and conferences, create a dynamic communication strategy, and become more mindful – highlight the meaningful aspects of your association and its positive contributions.
This is the first of a series of postings that I’ll be sharing in what we are calling “Millennial May.” Let’s start with some of the ways that your association can adjust their conferences and meetings to engage millennials.
Consider What The Investment Means To Them
An in-person event is invaluable, and is often the touchpoint that draws membership to an organization. We all know that conferences come with many hurdles, including cost. Because millennials are often saddled with debt (most millennials graduate with over $20,000 in debt), they need strong calls to action to spend their hard-earned wage. Unfortunately, that mindset often trickles down into industry conferences and events – if registration rates are cost prohibitive, no abundance of compelling content can pull in your millennial audience. Value of work life balance also plays a role in millennial engagement with your event – a four day long conference, in a distant location, can be prohibitive.
To account for both of these millennial considerations, offer various entrance and exit points and rates, catering to those who have different needs from the event. This increases your event’s fluidity and can boost overall numbers.
Meet Them Where They Live
One of the best ways to let a young professional get their toes wet with your organization is to adapt your event with a digital component or format. Stream content digitally for free or a nominal rate – if it is compelling, you might see them register for the full in-person conference the next year, with the motivation and reasoning to pair the professional development component with the in-person interactions. PCMA does an excellent job with this at their annual Convening Leaders Conference.
Give Them A Project
Feeling as though they are part of a team within your larger event is critical to engagement. This is more than a meet up – it’s a project with a purpose. Here are a few ideas: give them exclusive access to new content to review or provide feedback on, involve them in the room set for a non-traditional session, let them vote for a speaker.
By meeting millennials halfway on price and digital offerings, and pairing compelling content with high energy networking opportunities, your event (and therefore organization) may just pique millennial interest.
What is your organization doing to engage millennials in your events? We would love to hear from you! In the meantime, I’ll work to feature some of the insights from the Folio session this week on twitter. Feel free to follow @NetworkMedia for updates.
-Carrie Hartin, Network Media Partners
May 2, 2016
Network Media Partners exhibited at The ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition for the first time just a few weeks ago. We had a great first experience in Nashville meeting with current clients and potential new ones at our booth, attending education sessions, and heading out to the (many) networking events!
This was my first Annual Meeting, as both an exhibitor and attendee, and ASAE did a great job of helping me navigate the conference. They designated us first-timers as “new-bees” and created a meeting spot for us in Nashville’s Music City Center called “The Hive”. Catchy!
Not every conference puts this attention to detail on the new folks, so here are my lessons learned as the “new-bee” for those that need help navigating on their own:
1. Have a Plan:
Heading to an annual meeting, conference, or convention for the first time can be overwhelming, especially when it’s the size of ASAE. It’s important to have a plan! Spending time on the event website or mobile app will help you get a lay of the land and pick a few must-dos. I identified one education session I wanted to attend each day, which gave my schedule each day some structure. By only choosing one must-do, it also gave me the flexibility to listen to where other folks were headed.
As an exhibitor, this becomes even more important as it is likely that your non-expo time is limited. Reach out to clients and prospects before the show and invite them to stop by your booth or schedule time to grab a coffee outside of the hall.
2. Don’t Skip the Networking Events:
Whether it’s stopping by an on-site lounge (like The Hive for first time attendees) or attending a post-show reception, there are many learning and engagement opportunities outside of the expo hall and educations sessions. Attending events gives you the opportunity to build connections with colleagues and peers outside of the traditional business setting of the conference. Prepare yourself for a long day and don’t skip the networking events (or the coffee).
3. Keep it Going:
You just spent 4 action-packed days away from the office – you met tons of new people, and filled your notebook with great ideas from education sessions. Now what? Keep it going!
Did you meet a few people with whom you developed a great connection? Find them on LinkedIn and connect. Did you attend an education session that had you scribbling ideas (or taking pictures of the slides if you’re like me)? Share that session with your team, subscribe to an e-newsletter, or event just bookmark their website or blog for future reading.
Keep the networking and learning going after the event has ended and you’ll feel like those 4 days out of the office were worth the overflowing email inbox.
Did you attend or exhibit at ASAE? Is there a piece of feedback you’d give to a first timer? Leave it in the comments!
–Brittany Shoul, Sales Manager, Network Media Partners.
August 27, 2014
Sessions, social media and selfies dominated this year’s Association Media & Publishing Annual Meeting
Network not only had two of our leaders involved in the board and planning committee, we also exhibited at the conference.
Throughout the event, many attendees, exhibitors and AM&P volunteers alike expressed their thoughts via open tweets using #AMP14. We’ve compiled the top tweets (and some of our personal favorites) that help to capture the spirit of the event.
1. Hot debates. Many education sessions spurred lively Twitter conversations and debates, including the tweet below that reflected on the status of print in today’s digital
2. Making connections. Not only did AM&P attendees interact via Twitter, but this year the conference hosted multiple tweet-ups, which helped attendees move their networking off the screen to foster in-person connections.
3. Selfie central. AM&P’s tight knit community demonstrated connectivity through a multitude of selfies. Watch out Ellen – association publishers and editors may be giving your Oscar tweet a run for its money!
We loved connecting, meeting and networking with everyone this week at AM&P.
Learn more about Network’s custom media services for associations.
May 23, 2014