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CEIR helps organizers attract and retain millennials and Gen Xers

Since 2009, Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) has conducted generational research to keep a pulse on what young professionals are looking for when they attend events and how best to market to them.

CEIR’s latest offering, “Best Practices by Exhibition Organizers to Attract and Retain Young Professional Attendees,” offers business-to-business exhibition management insights on how to effectively market to and retain young professionals who attend business-to-business exhibitions.

ECN 072014_ASSOC_CEIR helps organizers“The feedback from exhibition organizers tells us that appealing to the young professional attendee is a growing priority,” noted Brian Casey, CEM, president and CEO, CEIR. “How organizers are attracting young professionals and the results they are realizing is a key focus of this report.  We can see that regardless of show size, the information in this report will definitely be of interest to any exhibition organizer.”

Part of the CEIR’s Power of Exhibitions series, the insights from “Best Practices by Exhibition Organizers to Attract and Retain Young Professional Attendees” are essential as Millennials and Gen Xers comprise a growing segment of today’s labor force as Boomers exit for retirement. Using the same approaches that satisfied the needs of Boomers may or may not work for an exhibition organizer.

Though CEIR has provided research on this topic and recommendations on what to do in response to these trends, this study details what organizers are doing to assure their events line up with the interests of the emerging, next generation of young professional attendees. This report also discusses the best marketing and communications tactics to apply when reaching out to young professional attendees.

A few insights of note from the report:

  • Two thirds of surveyed executives say their organizations invest resources to attract and retain young professionals. These efforts are more likely to be decentralized rather than initiatives that are run from the top of an organization.
  • Among organizations that have efforts in place, the primary areas of focus are education, 53 percent, on-site communication approaches, 52 percent, and marketing approach, 50 percent.
  • Despite efforts targeting young professionals, most exhibition organizers, 64 percent, do not capture information on age when a professional registers to attend. This omission creates challenges when evaluating the outcome of marketing and programming efforts.
  • Two of the top ranked approaches to market to young professionals, among others, are social media and email. And two of the top ranked messaging tactics relate to networking and education.

“Best Practices by Exhibition Organizers to Attract and Retain Young Professional Attendees” summarizes the most effective on-site communication approaches, education programming and special activities. Additionally, 11 case studies provide real world examples of how key trends are converted into programs and approaches by current exhibition organizers.

To access the full report, visit here. IAEE members can access the CEIR library and reports at no cost – a benefit of IAEE membership.

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