Data suggest that millennial visitors possess three behavioral characteristics that may make them cultural organizations’ most valuable audiences.
Okay, okay. You’re sick of talking about the importance of reaching millennial audiences – even though industry data suggest that cultural organizations are not attracting these audiences at the rate that we should be and millennials are not “growing into” caring about arts and culture. But let’s put all that aside for a moment.
This week’s Know Your Own Bone Fast Facts video covers three behavioral characteristics that data suggest make millennials particularly important audiences. I’ve written about them before with the data cut a bit differently.
Take a look at these findings from IMPACTS that compares three behavioral characteristics of baby boomers (born 1946-1964), Generation X (born 1965- 1979) and millennials (born 1980-2000) who profile as high-propensity visitors to cultural organizations (i.e. museums, performing arts organizations, aquariums, historic sites, etc.). That is, they demonstrate the demographic, psychographic, and behavioral characteristics that indicate an increased likelihood of visiting a cultural organization. Like much of the data that I am able to share on this site, it comes from the ongoing National Attitudes, Awareness, and Usage Study.
1) Millennial visitors are most likely to come back within the year
Millennials are revisiting more often than other generations. In fact, millennials make up the majority of visits to cultural organizations because they are revisiting these types of organizations. And this is awesome! It means that attracting millennial audiences gives us bang for our audience acquisition buck. In fact, with index values under 100 for both baby boomers and members of Generation X, non-millennials are actually unlikely to revisit a cultural organization within one year.
Coming back is important because it helps these audiences grow potentially longer-lasting relationships with these institutions. Why focus on attracting cultural center-loving individuals who are likely to pay a single visit to a cultural organization when there’s a whole host of cultural center-loving millennials that are likely to visit more than once?
2) Millennial visitors are most likely to recommend a visit to a friend
Sometimes our reputation for having big mouths pays off! Millennial visitors are more likely than baby boomers or members of Generation X to recommend a visit to a friend when they have a good experience. This means that not only are millennial audiences most likely to revisit a cultural organization within a one-year duration, but they are also most likely to tell others to do the same. Talk about payoff!
3) Millennial visitors are the most connected visitors
This is important: All high-propensity visitors to cultural organizations profile as being “super-connected.” That is, they have access to the web at home, at work, and on mobile devices. Though the web plays a big role in the connectivity of millennials, it is undeniably critical for the connectivity of baby boomers and members of Generation X as well (as evidenced by index values coming in at over 100 for all three groups). If you work for a cultural organization and you are trying to get people in the door, data suggest that the web is insanely important in order to effectively attract any demographic. Got it? Good. I’ll move on.
It’s great that millennials are most likely to come back and also to tell their friends to pay a cultural organization a visit – but they are also the most connected audiences among the three generational cohorts by a long shot. The constant connectivity of millennials means that this audience shares messages with their friends and family (likely also high-propensity visitors) with a reach that’s a bit like traditional media on steroids.
When you put all of this together, the case for prioritizing millennial engagement is rather compelling. While a baby boomer may visit once per year and not necessarily recommend their experience to a friend, millennial visitors are more likely to come back and tell lots of their friends to do the same. Millennials may be the best connectors to other millennials – and perhaps simply to other people in general.
Perhaps – when data are considered – the task of reaching millennials may even seem less like a burden and more like an opportunity.