Marketing / 03.30.18
9 Tips to Get Millennials to Your Venue
Millennials are today’s most elusive and sought-after generation of live entertainment consumers. They’re perfect for our industry ― they love experiences and prioritize them over stuff, with 78 percent saying this is how they prefer to spend their money. Millennials have incredible buying power, too, as the largest group in the workforce. So how can you entice them to buy a ticket and come to your events?
The first steps are to learn what they value, understand their expectations and give them what they really want. In other words, leverage the same type of “right person, right place, right time, right message” strategies that entertainment marketers have been using to draw crowds for years.
One of the key takeaways any millennial will tell you is to “ask us” what we want and how we want it rather than making assumptions. So, instead of talking about millennials, attendees at INTIX 2018 in Baltimore had the opportunity to speak directly with them in a lively, interactive panel moderated by Nick Begley, a member of the Xennial micro-generation and Senior Marketing Manager at AudienceView. To help create a millennial mindset and get this important generation of consumers to your venue, here are nine tips that surfaced from the panelists.
- Banish stereotypes. Panelists described themselves as risk takers, highly motivated, scrappy, inquisitive, hardworking and socially driven. Exactly the opposite of what you’ll often read in the media.
“The stereotype about Millennials that bothers me most is the notion that we are lazy,” said Jenna Raimondi, who was born in 1987 and works as Senior Manager of Team Enablement at AudienceView.
Casey Capello, born in 1989 and Manager of Client Retention at the Washington Nationals, echoes Jenna’s thoughts. “The stereotype I hate the most is that we aren’t hard working,” she says. “I think we are highly motivated, personally speaking, by money and finances; and to get to the next level, we have to work extremely hard.”
Zoe Fried, born in 1992 and Operations Manager with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, hates that people think millennials are financially irresponsible.
- Don’t forget about Facebook. While they may not use it all the time, the millennials at INTIX told attendees they are still using Facebook and that it is a channel they use to discover upcoming shows and games.
“I pay attention to people in my network who are going to events and I can quickly scroll through to see the different events going on at venues in my area,” said Jenna. “That’s my primary source of finding things to do lately. It's been a really good resource.”
“I follow venues a lot on social media. That’s how I typically know what's going on in the area and that’s how I will decide what I am going to go to in the future, whether it’s a sporting event or concerts coming to town,” said Casey.
“I like that Facebook has added an ‘I'm interested in going’ feature, rather than just ‘going’ or ‘can’t attend.’ That really speaks to the millennial generation,” said Zoe. “I think we are a last-minute decision-making generation, so it’s nice that I can say I’m interested in a bunch of stuff and then get notifications this week about all the events I said I was interested in attending.”
With Facebook's current emphasis on friends and family over unpaid posts from businesses, venues may have a harder time getting eyeballs on their events. Consider what this means for your overall social strategy and whether a budget for sponsored posts and/or ads could boost your marketing efforts.
- Subscriptions over season tickets. Millennials love subscriptions and these panelists are no different. They are monthly subscribers to everything from television, movies, music and books (HULU, Netflix, AMC, HBO, Spotify, Apple Music, Audible) to clothes and consumable products, like wine and spices. Offering unique subscriptions, multi-packs, flex-packs and monthly memberships instead of season tickets to increase the average millennial spend with your organization.
- Offer a great mobile purchase experience. If you don’t, you will lose sales, as millennials are not always willing to wait to make a purchase on their laptop or desktop. Make sure the experience is easy to use with as few clicks as possible to purchase or you will lose them.
“I typically browse on my phone, and if I find something I am interested in, I will try to buy it on my phone. If I find an experience with the purchase where my phone is not responsive, I am likely to stop and give up. If it allows me to pick a seat on my computer, I would expect that on my phone as well,” said Jenna. “If I really want to go to that event, I will go onto my computer and continue to purchase a ticket there. If it was just an impulse kind of thing, and there’s a problem, I probably won’t buy it.”
“A key takeaway is the removal of obstacles and making that purchase flow as simple and frictionless as possible,” said Nick. “Otherwise, you are potentially losing out on ticket sales and revenue.”
- Don’t insist on print-at-home tickets. “When I don’t have to print out my ticket I get so happy because I actually don’t have a printer, and I know a lot of people my age who don’t because everything is digital,” said Zoe.
“I agree,” said Casey. “Working for a ballpark and working with ticket holders on a daily basis, you deal with multiple generations. The younger generations are more apt to want their tickets on their phone — similar to when I go to the airport, I want to be able to check in and use my phone to scan in.”
- Know your customers, use push notifications and tailor experiences. Millennials really value personalized experiences, so it’s no surprise they are willing to share information about themselves and geotag their locations. They also welcome customized alerts on their phones at a venue.
“The more a brand, venue or my device knows about me, the more you can tailor your marketing to me. Then, I feel like I am getting what I want and not just, ‘Here’s a general offer that I think everybody will want,’” said Jenna. “I don't want that general offer. I want the offer that’s targeted to me.”
“I think what’s cool is some of the conversations we’re having about knowing your buying history. Then, through your app at the ballpark, you can have a pop-up, or they know you are getting Bud Light every single game and they’re telling you about the deals at the concession stands you frequently go to,” said Casey. “Or maybe you want to know where your service rep is located during the game and you will see where they are, and you can ask them a question. With this knowledge, we are excited by what we may be able to do in the future.”
“I do like the push notifications when I am in a venue, especially if it's able to show me a new experience,” added Jenna. “For example, if it knows I’m a parent when I go to a ballpark, it might suggest I go meet the mascot for a photo op at such-and-such location. That would be something that would be really great for me. Or, if when I went to a dinner theater production of Beauty and the Beast recently, we were able to get pictures right on my phone of my cousin’s kids with Belle and the Beast. I like being able to get a notification that says ‘Hey, you can stick around for this or go to this location to get a certain experience.’ Push notifications are a result of knowing who your customers are.”
- Make it easy to gift experiences. Millennials are not materialistic. Typically, they like shiny new things, but they don’t want many of them. A good phone and a good computer are important, but beyond that, experiences go a lot further with this generation. This attitude spills over into their gift-giving decisions.
“Personally, when I am giving gifts, I have nieces and nephews, and they don't need any other toy or device. What I typically do is purchase events for them,” said Nick.
“I grew up with the idea that experiences do mean more,” said Zoe. “I also think experiences look way cooler on social media for our generation. When you take a picture of a cool place you were, the endorphins you get from all those likes can be way more rewarding than something shiny and new. I have not gifted anything lately outside of experiences.”
“One of the things I find is a challenge with gifting experiences is the scheduling aspect,” said Jenna. “Especially when you are gifting for a family with kids, because activity schedules are insane.”
- Encourage micro-moments and social sharing. “I think venues are getting better at creating photo ops that incorporate their brands, like meeting a mascot or having a backdrop,” said Nick. “Every time I go to a Mets game, I know Mr. Met appears at the start of the second inning and I am always first in line.”
“I am using Facebook a lot less. It’s more to keep up with my niece, because my sister‑in‑law will post pictures of her quite often. I am definitely more of an Instagram and Snapchat user,” said Casey. “I am also looking for the geotag on Snapchat and other social media platforms. I was just in a friend’s wedding back in September, and one of the first things we did was make sure there was a geotag for their wedding so everybody could post.”
- Be socially responsible. Millennials like to be associated with people and organizations that care about our world. If you are giving back in any way, don’t be shy about it.
“If you are able to tie one of our purchases to some other type of doing good, especially if it supports a local organization, like if I purchase a ticket to a theater production and part of those proceeds go to youth arts organizations in the area, that’s definitely going to entice me to buy,” said Jenna.
“We are community driven and socially driven, and I think we really do like to feel good about ourselves,” said Zoe. “Doing something like applying part of a ticket purchase to an educational program, giving back in a way, it's like giving ourselves a ‘like.’ So, even if it's not explicitly giving to a starving village in Africa, I think being able to incorporate different opportunities for philanthropy is good. I am not saying it doesn’t matter what it is, but any effort is appealing to us.”
“We don’t have a lot of time outside of our social agendas or our busy jobs, so any time I am purchasing something in a store and am asked if I want to add on a dollar to do this or that, I am more often than not going to say yes,” said Casey. “I do feel the guilt of not being able to give my time to a specific organization or going in and giving food to the homeless, so when a donation gets added on to a purchase, I am more often going to say yes.”
Millennials have money to spend on experiences, but you have to get their attention to earn their business. Following these nine tips will help you differentiate your live event offerings and draw in the illusive millennial generation.
You may also want to get a “millennial mentor” within your own organization to start a dialogue. Or, invite a group of millennials to your venue for a lively discussion in exchange for a fun perk, like a free ticket, concession item or backstage tour. You never know what you’ll learn when you actually ask them! To receive a list of questions to get you started, or if there’s something you’d like to ask as Millennial, Nick Begley is happy to help. You can reach him via Twitter or LinkedIn.
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Learn the latest tips and tricks from ticketing industry thought leaders at the INTIX 40th Annual Conference, taking place Jan. 29-31, 2019, in Texas. Come together with colleagues for a three-day event that includes a comprehensive educational program highlighting industry trends and innovations, an exhibition featuring companies that offer a wide range of ticketing products and services and opportunities to network with peers and business partners.
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