Young Professionals, Multi-generations Discussed at SISO Conference, Joint Study with CEIR

August 19, 2014

Every workplace right now likely is experiencing a similar situation; there are not only one or two different generations working together, but there could be up to four, all trying to relate to each other in an effective manner.

Gen Y, Gen X and Baby Boomers, only missing a Millennial, recently were part of a panel discussion at the Society of Independent Show Organizers’ Executive Leadership Conference, held Aug. 11-13 in Atlantic City.

Led by Ali Hall, founding partner and manager of Versa Ventures, the panel discussed several different aspects of their views on the workplace.

Not surprisingly, through Versa Ventures research, Hall said, “Teaming up multi-generational people helps create more innovative ideas.”

While Baby Boomers were very focused on work, Gen Y was more about finding a work/life balance.

“They probably say we work to live not live to work,” said Christina Edwards, Logistics Manager of Conferences, Institutional Investor, who represented Gen Y.

In tandem with the conference, SISO and the Center for Exhibition Industry Research also released a joint study that took a look at what the younger generation wants in the exhibition industry:  2014 Young Professional Attendee Needs and Preferences Study.

The study provides a comprehensive overview of the latest insights on what young attendee business professionals are looking to experience when attending a business-to-business exhibition for their jobs as well as how they find out and decide which exhibitions to attend.

"SISO is pleased to make this contribution to the exhibition industry,” said Lew Shomer, SISO’s executive director.

He added, “Young business professionals are our future. It is essential to have the most current insights on this audience, to keep a pulse on what they want when attending and assure that marketing efforts are aligned with their media consumption habits."

Here are some of the study’s key findings:

·         Young professionals who have attended a business-to-business exhibition show a strong affinity for the channel with 98 percent identifying one or more high value takeaways as a result of attending and 93 percent indicate it is likely they will attend in the next several years.

·         The dominant important reasons for attending are similar to attendees in general, they come to shop (86 percent) and learn (83 percent). Learning is of higher importance to young professionals, with four of the top five reasons overall relating to learning. Experience is also listed as an important reason, at 67 percent. Seeking an event that will inspire and motivate them came in at 44 percent.

·         The primary information sources relied upon when searching for prospective exhibitions is: direct marketing from organizers, email (58 percent) and direct mail (41 percent), as well as emails from exhibitors or vendor/suppliers (41 percent) and their boss (33 percent). Results suggest the need for a multichannel mix as 20 percent or more of young professionals also rely on multiple, other information sources.

·         Most young professionals, 97 percent, are involved in the selection process of prospective exhibitions with 66 percent providing recommendations to their boss. These results are a call to action for organizers to market directly to young professionals.

More findings included young professionals’ floor interaction preferences, use of mobile devices, education preferences and what they identify as high value takeaways, as a result of visiting and their intent to visit an exhibition in the near future.

"We thank SISO for underwriting this important research and for the continued privilege of delivering these important insights to the exhibition industry,” said CEIR President and CEO Brian Casey, CEM.

Click here to access the full report.

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