You’ve heard this before, but it bears repeating: Gen Z is unlike any generation we’ve ever seen. These young professionals and young adults are digital natives who are full of energy. They grew up in the age of 24/7 social media and COVID-19, which gives this generation a unique perspective on marketing—including live events.
For event marketers, it can be tricky to understand this up-and-coming generation entering the workforce. How can you market to Gen Z? What events do they enjoy?
In this guide, we’ll give you a quick primer on Gen Z, plus actionable tips to help you better engage this crowd at your next corporate event.
Who Is Gen Z?
Before you market to any audience, you need to understand who they are and where they come from. If you aren’t part of Gen Z, you might feel confounded by the preferences of these young whipper-snappers, so it’s extra important to do your homework on this audience.
Gen Z includes people born between 1997 and 2012. The oldest Zoomers (as they’re affectionately called) are 26, and the youngest are 11. While Gen Z tends to like the same things that teens, young adults, and young professionals have always loved, this generation has many unique qualities that impact how they respond to marketing messaging.
Marketers need to understand that Gen Z is:
- Diverse: Gen Z is the most diverse generation to date. As a result, they expect to see diverse representation in marketing. Otherwise, they won’t give your brand the time of day.
- Educated: More Gen Z’ers have completed high school and college than previous generations. You’re marketing to a more educated audience, which should impact how you present your brand.
- Tech-savvy: Gen Z grew up with smartphones practically glued to their hands. That isn’t necessarily bad, but it does mean that this audience is more technologically savvy and interested in digital-first experiences than preceding generations.
- Socially conscious: Like Millennials, Gen Z worries about social welfare, the environment, and other important issues. As a result, they’re more likely to support businesses that invest in corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.
- Financially aware: More Gen Zs grew up in poverty than Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers. After growing up watching their parents struggle, Gen Z tends to be more pragmatic and financially minded. This makes them tough customers for marketers because they need a lot of information and reassurance before they make buying decisions.
Gen Z and Live Events: How To Engage the New Workforce
As you can see, Gen Z has some critical differences that affect how they interact with each other, marketing messages, and businesses. As the average age of B2B event attendees continues to decrease, event planners need to tweak their approaches to design Gen Z-friendly events that turn more heads.
Instead of scratching your head, follow these tips to create a better experience for Gen Z professionals at your next event.
Plan a Digitally-Connected Event
Events are already trending towards digital-first spaces, but this is a must-have for Gen Z audiences.
Ideally, plan a hybrid event that allows for either in-person connection or remote attendance. From an event planning perspective, this is a great way to boost ticket sales and reduce your cost per attendee. And it doesn’t hurt that Gen Z loves having the option to attend in-person or virtually.
But you’ll need more than a hybrid setup to satisfy Gen Z. They also need:
- Support via social media: They expect to be able to chat with you one-on-one, so you’ll likely get event inquiries not via usual channels like email but through channels like social media. When you target a Gen Z audience, prepare your customer service team for more social media queries.
- Fast wifi: Your venue must have fast, available wifi. No exceptions. If password-protected, give attendees the information beforehand and post signage around the event with the wifi information.
- An integrated experience: Digitizing an event frees you up to do some cool stuff. Gen Z is up for anything, so get creative! Create a custom Spotify playlist for your event and share it via a QR code so attendees can jam out. If you have the resources, create an augmented reality (AR) scavenger hunt with teams and prizes.
- Video-first content: Feel free to send emails to Gen Z, but if you really want to win them over, send information via video. Instead of sending long, text-based emails, film videos with the same information and link to them in the email.
It’s always good to use a mix of marketing channels to promote your events, but Gen Z responds best to social media. YouTube and TikTok are their platforms of choice, so go all-in on video content and even video ads to encourage more event signups.
The tricky thing is that Gen Z doesn’t respond as well to traditional advertising. If you want them to hear your message, partner up with an influencer in your niche with a Gen Z audience. Influencers share branded messaging packaged in a more engaging and genuine way, which resonates with Gen Z.
Create Intentional Spaces and Experiences
Gen Z is young, so they value socializing and connecting with each other. When setting up your physical event venue, create spaces that encourage connection. That includes shared seating and plenty of tables.
The “Instagramability” factor is always a concern, too. Your event setup must be so fun and aesthetic that Gen Z can’t wait to snap a selfie and gush about it on social media. So make it as share-worthy as possible!
That might include a confetti release, balloon tunnel, or even unique entertainment options like fire breathers or rock bands.
Instead of planning a traditional speaker-and-audience setup, try something new for Gen Z. They like collaboration and genuine interactions, so give them plenty of opportunities to connect.
If it makes sense for your event, group attendees into teams so they instantly have a group to chat with. Do a little professional matchmaking to pair Gen Z professionals with like-minded people in their space. You can also plan fun breakout sessions that encourage attendees to interact with each other.
But whatever you do, don’t lean on alcohol as a crutch to make your event more fun. Some Zoomers drink, but Gen Z is less into alcohol than previous generations. Focus your time (and budget) on cool activities that get people excited.
Deliver a Lot of Value
Gen Z is very pragmatic regarding money, so they’re less likely to spend unnecessarily. For event marketing, that means you might have a hard time persuading Gen Z to upgrade to VIP tickets—unless some serious perks are involved.
Try to pack as much value into your event and upgrades. That could include gourmet food, craft beverages, or high-end goodie bags. If you aren’t sure what they would like, check out what’s trending on TikTok. The 90s and 2000s nostalgia is peaking on the app, so you could deliver value by hosting a “Blast from the Past” VIP experience.
Gen Z is about to take the workplace by storm. Whether you’re planning an internal event for employees or you want to attract young professionals to a conference, it’s essential to understand what makes Gen Z attendees tick.
Following these five tips will take you far, but when it’s crunch time, you need an experienced event team in your corner. Endless Events is here to help you understand your Gen Z audience, plan jaw-dropping events, and execute the entire shebang from start to finish. See how Endless is helping event planners create Gen Z-friendly events.