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Trade Show Exhibit for Millennials: Can You Pull It Off?


Millennials, or people born between 1981 and 1996, comprise a full quarter of the U.S. population at 83.1 million. This shows that this generation is now the largest single consumer group in the country. They’re considered digitally native, mobile-oriented, media-savvy, and well-educated – they are also smart when it comes to spending money.

Is Your Trade Show Exhibit Ready for Millennials?

Reaching and Engaging the Millennial Audience

Millennial consumers tend not to respond to advertising and usually shy away from established brands. Reaching this generation could be a huge challenge, but it’s possible with proper tactics. It is important to understand their lifestyle, their interests, and their desires, and use that knowledge to gain their trust.

Several brands have successfully attracted this generation via interactive and personalized marketing. Some of them used campaigns that resonate with millennials, while others tried to capture the generation’s sense of advocacy through social media platforms, like Twitter.

Targeting the core values of millennials could help you win their trust. Keep in mind that this generation values accessibility, flexibility, and usefulness. Word-of-mouth is also more important to them than the traditional approaches to branding and marketing. You can use social media to boost your brand’s visibility while providing the need of this generation for more personal recommendations.

How can you use these elements in your trade shows?

Organize a Trade Show Experience that Caters to Millennials

A survey shows 89 percent of millennials attend at least one event in the past year. This represents seven percentage points from three previous years. Working with a corporate event planning company that understands millennial consumers is crucial to make your trade shows more exciting to your target audience.

Millennials want authentic experiences. And they want to experience them in the events they attend. Remember this generation wants to be part of the event, be it a conference or festival. Here are two ways to make your event engaging to your millennial attendees:

1. Use  apps

According to the Pew Research Center, 92 percent of millennials own smartphones as of 2018. You can use this opportunity to engage with them. Create an app that allows users to connect with other attendees and customize their event experience. You can also link your event app to the social media channels that your audience uses the most.

2. Organize sharable moments

A survey shows 35 percent of millennials say they use social media, particularly Snapchat and Instagram, to share photos or videos to other users. Meanwhile, 42 percent say they use these platforms to stay updated with news and current events.

Your event must be something your millennial audience would want to share and follow on social media. Creating shareable moments also helps build hype before the event. For instance, you can start a contest that encourages users to use a hashtag associated with your event. During the event, set up a photo booth so attendees can share photos, videos, or GIFs online.

Reasons Why Millennials Don’t Enjoy Events and Trade Shows

When planning an event that appeals to millennials, it pays to know why this generation chooses not to attend certain events. These factors can help you understand what would entice them.

Outdated themes

The theme is a crucial factor in your event. Millennials are likely tired of “Through the Decades” theme where they have to wear floral button-up and bell-bottoms. Instead, this generation prefers original and share-worthy themes.
Choose a theme that can transport your attendees into a different world or setting, which will deliver greater impact to your attendees. It can encourage them to take photos and share them online. Be consistent with your materials, too. Everything should be connected with your chosen theme, from the food to the presentations.

The event/booth lacks experiential components

Events that cater to this generation should focus on having a memorable experience and making it easy for them to share it with other people. Partner with companies that can provide an experiential component to your trade show. With the unique experiences you can deliver at your event, millennials are likely to attend and share it on social media.

Failing to inspire them with food

Millennials are a “foodie” generation. They have a fascination with new restaurants and have knowledge of cooking styles; they’ll even know some chefs. And they like posting the unique dishes they’ve had. Your food should spark conversation among your attendees and encourage them to share it online. Since millennials like taking photos of their food before eating, the food and drinks in your event should be “Instagrammable” or photo-ready, as well.

The event doesn’t spark FOMO

Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) is a feeling triggered by seeing posts about an exciting event that you don’t want to miss. This is a major influencer on a millennial audience.

Create FOMO at your event by giving away exclusive perks to attendees. You can provide custom gifts, raffle chances, or name recognition on social media. Rewarding your attendees and having share-worthy decorations, designs, and performances, help entice people, especially millennials, attend your upcoming events.

Organizing corporate events, like trade shows, is a tedious process. Everything has to fall into place to make the event successful. Working with professionals makes the process easier and allows you to focus on other important matters.

Work with an Experienced Corporate Event Planner

MTI Events can help you plan for your next trade show event, one that engages millennials. We work with companies of all sizes and our team knows how to turn your vision into reality without going beyond your budget.

Contact us today to learn more.

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