Who: Elizabeth Aube-VanPatten, PhD-C, CHE is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sports, Entertainment, Event-Management at Johnson & Wales University
Agree or Disagree with Article: Agree
Just when we thought they had Millennials figured out, the younger Generation Z is storming into the picture and changing the way the meeting and events industry works. Members of Generation Z are younger than typical Millennials (who range from ages 18 to 31) and as a result, getting them in the door to an event is trickier. In this recent article, the author says the way to engage Gen Z is through quick, social communication—and I agree. With the digital world always at their fingertips, Gen Z needs a highly interactive conference or event, or they simply won’t attend.
It’s simple—folks falling under the spectrum of Generation Z have famously short attention spans. Older generations view this trend as evidence of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or a learning disability, when it is simply how their brains are adapting to their digital environment. Platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram, and Vine have specialized in catering to this decreasing attention span with enormous success. With hundreds or thousands of followers to attend to, “short and to the point” dominates any strategy for reaching Generation Z.
It’s important to note that Gen Z spends their money much differently than the Millennials that have come before them. Millennials are a bit more cost-conscious and frugal than their parents were. This is likely a result of their upbringing occurring largely in the recession that followed the 9/11 terrorist attacks. While Gen Z was raised in a similar climate, it’s been noted that they approach their purchases differently. Instead of simply spending less money and being careful with their money, Generation Z is looking for value in a purchase, such as delivery options or included services. The bottom line is that if your event doesn’t come with a bang for the buck, Generation Z might just skip it.
Sharing is Caring
Generation Z wants to spend its hard-earned money on attending meetings and events that they can share on social media platforms. These folks want the experience and this need boosts the promise of a strong future for the events industry. Organizations within the events industry need to adapt to Gen Z’s wants, needs, and expectations—and in this case, they want to spend their money on experiences instead of products. In addition to sharing content with various social media outlets, Generation Z is extremely collaborative. It’s an audience that is passionate about social change, interacting with a global community, and enjoying unique experiences. All of these things can be incorporated into events to satisfy the wants of the generation.
Adapting to the Generation
Generation Z is ambitious and they are quite self-aware of the impact they can have. As they begin to enter the workforce and attend various meetings and conferences, it’s important to help foster their desire to learn, network, and interact on a much broader, global scale. The meetings and events industry needs to prepare for this highly visual and social generation, as they will soon be molding the world with their innovations, technology, and ideas.
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