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The One Thing Millennials Haven’t Killed: Events

If you believe every headline you read, you probably think millennials are to blame for the demise of a whole boatload of industries, ranging from homeownership (RIP, American dream) to cereal (it’s just soooo inconvenient!). Is there any truth in all the hyperbolic hullabaloo about millennials? Maybe, but it’s usually more complicated than clickbait articles would have you believe.

But one thing is certain: Millennials haven’t killed events, and we aren’t about to bring down the event industry anytime soon.

If you’re wondering how to market your events to this enigmatic generation, take it from a millennial—we aren’t a monolith, but there are ways you can tweak your approach to resonate with us and attract more millennials to your next event.

But first, how old are millennials, anyway?

For years, “millennial” has been used as a catch-all term for young people. But millennials aren’t kids anymore: The Pew Research Center defines anyone born between 1981 and 1996 as a millennial. In 2019, that includes anyone between the ages of 23 and 38.  

So, no, your 19-year-old intern isn’t a millennial. She’s a part of Generation Z, a group with several key differences from the millennials who preceded them. Unlike millennials, members of Gen Z are true digital natives who don’t remember a time before the internet, smartphones, and social media. The oldest millennials, on the other hand, were well acquainted with landline phones and stirrup pants.

Are millennials attending events?

Absolutely. Nine out of 10 millennials have attended at least one live event in the past month, according to data from Eventbrite, and three-quarters of millennials believe attending a live event is more impactful than taking action online.

Eventbrite also found that millennials are compelled to attend events for three main reasons:

  • Genuine connection with others
  • Social collateral (aka fodder for Instagram or Facebook)
  • Family fun, now that more millennials than ever are becoming parents

How do I make my event resonate with millennials?

Event marketers are in luck when it comes to marketing to millennials, since it’s been well-documented that we value experiences over things. In general, we’d prefer to spend our hard-earned dough on a once-in-a-lifetime event than on a new big-screen TV.

But it’s not just any experience we’re after: 73 percent of millennials consider attending a live event a form of expression, compared to just 48 percent of other generations, according to Eventbrite’s research. That means that for millennials, attending an event isn’t merely a transaction; it’s an extension of our personalities and a reflection of our identities.

Some millennials might bristle if a brand that seems too focused on turning a profit and treats customers and event attendees more like numbers than human beings. Just as millennials gravitate toward mission-driven companies that make a difference in the world, they tend to seek events with a similar do-good mission that underpins the company. Authenticity and transparency are paramount, and by reflecting those values in your brand and in your events, you’ll have better luck attracting millennials to your next event.

On a practical level, sleek, sharable design also tends to resonate with millennials. We’re more likely to use social media than our Gen X and Baby Boomer predecessors, and visual platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are especially popular (we’re not above doing something just for the gram every now and then). When you’re promoting events, don’t blow off your aesthetic. Use a design-forward calendar like Loxi to easily integrate a modern, clean calendar on your site—it’s an easy way to not only organize your events but make them more visually appealing.

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