Incentive Merchandise Choices…It's a Generational Thing.

Today's meeting attendees are a blended workforce encompassing ages and experiences that span across decades. Each of these four generations—Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z—approach careers, business relationships, and networking opportunities from very different perspectives. According to Rodger Stotz, chief research officer at the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF), "It is imperative that meeting planners profile their attendees regarding generational differences—also looking for their non-stereotypical tendencies—when deciding how best to recognize, reward, and incentivize clients and colleagues." According to a recent Meetings & Conventions research survey among meeting planners, 39 percent of planners predicted an uptick in budgets for 2013. This outlook bodes well for the incorporation of gift merchandise into an event agenda.

Analyze Your Audience

Knowing an event audience's background and current interests is key to selecting the most meaningful gifts. Meeting planners utilizing merchandise need an expert resource to advise which products have specific generational appeal. That is where Rymax Marketing Services comes in. As the largest national direct manufacturer's representative in the premium and incentive industry, Rymax gives planners a selection of more than 10,000 gift choices from over 300 brand name partners.

Rymax's product specialists are constantly evolving their product offerings, and can target the distinctive merchandise desires of these four generations of event attendees:

Baby Boomers (ages 49-67)

Bringing their own brand of optimism to business meetings, Baby Boomers are team-oriented and driven to succeed. Raised during a time of comfort and prosperity, Baby Boomers will settle only for the best in work, play and rewards. They want high quality items that offer both value and utility. Planners shouldn't assume Boomers leave all interest in technology to the younger generations. "Gamification, which combines interactive game mechanics as part of a business learning or recognition program, or as part of an event agenda, is highly attractive to all generations, including Boomers as it recognizes achievement and rewards results," says Stotz.

Rymax incentives enhance this generations' sense of career and personal well being, and can serve as gamification rewards.

Generation X (ages 37-48)

Gen X meeting delegates are highly adaptive to change and technology. Self-reliant, this generation is resourceful at finding solutions and comfortable utilizing an online rewards platform that offers traditional incentives along with merchandise that fits with their fast-paced lifestyle. Gen X attendees are techno-savvy. This group works hard and plays hard. Gen Xers like to do things their way, and Rymax incentives will fulfill this group's diversified interests.

Millennials (21-36)

As the first generation to actively interact with computers from a very early age, Millennials thrive on combining live events with social media. Attendees in this demographic exude confidence and possess a more global outlook toward commerce and social responsibility. Adds Stotz, "Millennials are interested in the purpose of an organization and advancement as well as money. Without the proper work environment and incentives, Millennials will readily look for change." 

Millennial attendees welcome the collective efforts of colleagues since networking, especially social networking, has been a large part of their business and personal experiences. There is a strong chance they will share information about their gifts with their extensive social media following. Rymax has the latest incentives for Millenials who thrive in a multi-media environment.

Gen Z (under age 21)

Gen Z, also known as iGeneration or the Connected Generation, is entering the workforce for the first time. Notorious for technology multi-tasking, it is common for them to watch a movie on a tablet while also engaged in a video chat session. This instant Web access has led to a group with shorter attention spans than previous generations, but a stronger reaction to visuals. Because they expect instant gratification, meetings gifts are a must for this generation.

Going Forward

Meeting planners utilizing gift merchandise at their events need to ensure they have a complete understanding of their audience and the products that reflect that audience's lifestyles and values. Partnering with Rymax, the leading industry provider of gift merchandise, is a wise investment for generations of events to come.

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