We know what you’re thinking: another article about millennials? But you haven’t heard what’s most important when it comes to race promotions and their involvement in racing! Fortunately, Running USA is conducting the first nationwide study specifically on millennials in endurance sports. The first half has been released and, lucky for you, we’ve already scoured the 28-page document. Here are our key takeaways on race promotion from the Millennial Running Study:
Who are we talking about?
For this study, millennials were born from 1980-2000, putting them between 16-36 years old. They are the second-largest generation since the Baby Boomers and include an estimated 18 million joggers and runners.
Why do they race?
There are many reasons to run, but millennials overwhelmingly choose to do so to maintain or improve their physical fitness. 65% of respondents identified as “frequent/fitness runners,” 18% are “serious competitive runners” striving for their next PR, and 16% identified as recreational runners and/or joggers in the study.
When it comes to race promotions, focus on your race as a fitness opportunity. Encourage millennials to challenge themselves; highlight the physicality of your course and the healthy options at the post-race festivities. In addition, promote your race at other fitness venues! The majority of millennials participate in other physical activities such as weight training, cycling, and outdoor exercise like hiking and rock-climbing.
What races do they like?
Millennials are into more than just fun runs! In fact, 75% rated an event being timed as one of their top interests and their #1 interest was distance: half-marathons were the top pick, followed closely by 5ks and 10ks. And while 84% are interested in participating in a well-known event, they’ll only do so for a reasonable price: $26-$50 is the sweet spot, even for a marathon, only 9% were willing to break $100.
Beyond distance, timing and cost, 59% would be interested in a race with unique spectator opportunities like special seating areas, social events, or live updates like those offered by ChronoTrack Live. In addition, 64% enjoy high-quality giveaways and swag bags. Nearly half of respondents were not interested in training groups.
Beyond distance, cost is their #1 concern. Provide a moderate registration cost and try skipping expensive add-ons like VIP experiences – they won’t pay for them. Instead, find other ways to make your race a unique experience. Create an interesting course and check out cool ideas for swag bags and digital media to make your event stand out.
How do they learn about a race?
Millennials are extremely tech-savvy, so it’s no surprise that the Internet is the #1 way to reach them. The majority listed social media as their main way of learning about events, followed by Internet searches and word of mouth. Facebook was king with 95% of participants learning about events through the medium, followed by Instagram with 39% and Twitter with 27%.
Despite this, social media is not preferred for ongoing communication. Once they’ve registered, that 95% moves to email. Millennials either register for an event at least a month prior or at least three months prior, which correlates with how often they want communication: 46% enjoy communication a few weeks before the event and 30% prefer it in the three months leading up to the event.
Only 10% sign up within a month of the event, so push your race promotion early and do so through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Our Race Directors Advanced Guide to Social Media has some great tips on getting the most bang for your buck. Make your website top-notch and boost your SEO. Once you’ve got them hook, line, and registered, take it down a notch. Only 13% enjoy communication year-round, so they won’t be a fan of your biweekly newsletters.
Does charity matter?
Although millennials have been deemed the ‘do-good’ generation, this doesn’t apply to racing. Even though nearly all respondents had participated in a race for a cause, it wasn’t their main reason for doing so and only 7% will go above and beyond to fundraise.
If you’re looking to increase your volunteer base, Running USA has the stats on that, too. Only a third of respondents have ever volunteered for a running event and they did so for three reasons: they were passionate about the cause, they received an incentive, or a friend encouraged them to volunteer.
It’s great if your race supports a cause, but it won’t be how you reach millennials. Once again, focus on the race itself: highlight health opportunities and show what makes your race unique. Place volunteers in a job they’ll enjoy: 65% were more likely to volunteer if they could use their specific skill set. Offer health-based incentives like reduced registration and encourage participants and volunteers to invite friends and family to join the fun! Help them out by allowing volunteers to register multiple people at a time.
So there you have it! Start appealing to millennials now; they’ll only continue to shape the sport!