Fomenting FOMO: Experiential Marketing and Millennials

Experiential marketing and millennials. Why do millennials crave experiences.

Jimi Hendrix, the man who popularized the query “Are you experienced?” was dead a decade by the time the first Millenials were born in 1980. Yet, in the US, this 75 million-strong generation has defined itself by its appetite and spending on experiences.

According to a survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of online event service Eventbrite, 78 percent of Millennials would prefer to spend money on an experience or event rather than buying something. Moreover, the survey found that and 55 percent of millennials say they’re also spending more on events than they have in the past.

No matter what kind of marketing you’re doing, it would seem, to reach Millennials you have to be in the experience business. “The experiential nature of millennials presents a growing opportunity for businesses to leverage experiences to increase their value,” observes Eventbrite’s report.

When it comes to experiential marketing, what kind of experiences can we create that will authentically appeal this demographic?

In-store promotions and pop-up stores often gain traction with Millennials, ditto trade shows and exhibitions where authentic experiences with your product or service can be positioned to entertain, educate, and enthrall whenever possible. Both the ephemeral nature and location-specific aspect of these promotions contribute to a sense of “had to be there” urgency. It also feeds into the neurosis du jour — an apparent generation-wide fear of missing out — the so-called “FOMO” factor that finds fuel in beautifully-curated Instagram feeds of Millennials having fun somewhere that you’re not. That the term was added to the Oxford English Dictionary is a testament to its prevalence.

“The FOMO (fear of missing out) struggle is real and marketers should use it to their advantage,” writes Brad Johnson in a commentary for MediaPost. “The challenge is how to adapt to a changing landscape without coming on too strong; the experience needs to be shareable, but not buyable.”

To learn more about how to create experiences for this demographic, which also happens to be the most populous generation in the nation, download our 7 Essentials of Experiential Marketing to Millennials.

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