Everyone is talking about the millennials target group. They are digitally connected, thirsty for knowledge and on their way to the top of the career ladder. They are the future leaders of companies. For this reason, they are also of particular importance for Messe Frankfurt. Julia Uherek, Group Show Director Consumer Goods Fairs, explains what Messe Frankfurt is doing to inspire millennials for its events.

What importance does the millennials target group have for Messe Frankfurt?

Millennials are tremendously important to us. After all, they are the decision-makers of the future and are already important opinion leaders in many company areas today. They are the future purchasers and are already having a significant impact on certain decisions in companies, such as participation in trade fairs. This target group has very specific characteristics.

What makes millennials unique?

Millennials are the first generation of digital natives and, as such, feel perfectly at home on the Internet. They are very eager to learn, shape their own jobs, drive things forward and achieve personal fulfilment. They also scrutinize facts and products, usually using their smartphones, which give them access to reviews, price comparisons, production conditions and much more information about the product at all times including access to the actual product itself. Of course, we have to consider these characteristics in our target group approach and our event concepts.

How does this manifest itself in the way you address the target group?

Millennials are usually educated, informed and always looking for interesting content that will entertain and help them. The content with which this target group is addressed must offer added value, make them curious and ideally be fun as well. But that is not enough, because the content must be “snackable”, which means it has to be easily accessible, flexibly consumable, well prepared and, above all, compact. Millennials feel at home on the Internet and therefore they can be reached easily via the usual social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Pinterest with short videos, infographics, pictures, stories, GIFs or brief texts. These things can also be shared easily, which is also extremely important when addressing millennials. After all, they highly value their friends’ opinions. It is important for us to prepare the appropriate content and to use the right channels.

Millennials are also demanding in terms of trade fair preparation and seeking valuable information. This is where we captivate potential customers with web platforms specially designed for the industries, such as Texpertise and Mobility&Logistics. Millennials can learn about the respective events and receive information about the market and future trends from proven experts on these sites. We provide high-quality content and consistently address users throughout the year here.

How do you adapt events to meet millennials’ demands?

It all depends on the event, but in general it makes no sense to throw successful concepts out and turn every event into a festival. Increasing the event character is good, but trade fairs remain a place to do business. With the right mix you can inspire millennials. Formats work well, in which participants can network and contribute additional, well-prepared and quickly consumable knowledge. We have had good experience with thinkathons and hackathons, which are always very popular. In addition to forums or expert discussions, areas with curated content and interactive design also attract a lot of attention.

Are there any other campaigns or measures that the millennial target group is particularly keen to participate in?

Due to the internet and the use of our Navigator apps, millennials are usually very well informed and don’t need instructions on how to find their way around the events. What is very well received, however, are offers to make personal contacts. We offer guided tours and special matchmaking meetings for this. This support for networking is gladly accepted.

And what else has to be done to make millennials into happy trade fair visitors?

Just as with access to information, millennials deem one thing important above all when it comes to trade fair preparation: convenience! Everything must be kept as simple as possible. Visitor registration is a good example. It should not be too complicated to keep the cancellation rate as low as possible. But if we pay attention to the special features of this target group and design the offers accordingly, then we can continue to inspire millennials for trade fairs in the future.