Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Automotive Marketer: 3 Ways to Leverage the Millennial Consumer

As an Automotive Marketer, you have probably heard that Millennials have money and want to spend it, specifically on cars! In this marketplace, it is essential to understand the Millennial consumer and begin tailoring marketing messages to this newly financially powerful group. As an Integrated Marketing Communications graduate student at Medill Northwestern, I’m constantly learning about new marketing trends, especially in digital marketing, and I have identified two articles that can help you understand this consumer.

In a news release published by Automotive NewsTrueCar: New Vehicle Purchasing Power of Millennials Will Reach $135 Billion in 2015Millennials are out in full force. TrueCar recently stated that the economic situations of Millennial consumers are improving, which translates into more purchasing power, especially in the new vehicle market. Contrary to previous beliefs, Millennials like cars and enjoy what they symbolize (independence and freedom). Millennials also drive more than their predecessors and are well represented (24.9% in 2014) on TrueCar’s mobile marketplace. Their presence is expected to grow in 2015 and TrueCar equates their new vehicle purchasing power to $135 billion in 2015.

Dan Schawbel, in his article for Forbes10 New Findings About The Millennial Consumer, also examines Millennial purchasing. Based on his article, the "Millennial profile" would look like this: there are 80 million Millennials in America and traditional forms of advertising are no longer effective. Millennials are not influenced by advertising because they do not find it authentic; they need to trust the source of information. Essentially, individuals win over brands. Millennials enjoy looking for reviews and consulting with blogs before making purchases, again authenticity is king. However, they are not abandoning brands, but rather, want to connect with brands over social media and be responded to. 60% say that they would consider themselves brand loyal to the brands they are currently purchasing. However, one of the most important statistics for you is that 71% of Millennials want to buy a car. They also want to be part of the creative process and co-create products.  

So what does all this mean? After reading these articles and with my marketing experiences from the Northwestern Medill IMC program, I came up with 3 action items that I feel would really allow you to connect to this consumer. 
  • Get Social - Having a social presence is not enough, you need to engage with your consumers on a personal level; be authentic, not an automated robot.
  • Protect Your Reputation- Any social media mishap can go viral, manage your platforms well and give the bloggers something good to talk about.
  • Avoid Assuming Homogeneity- A 20 year-old Millennial and a 30 year-old Millennial are not cut from the same cloth; understand their needs and tailor your messages to the audience that you want.
Millennials have enormous buying power and understanding how to leverage that power is important for any marketer. Millennials want vehicles and by using the three suggestions above you can better understand this very powerful market.

Agnes is an IMC student at Northwestern Medill School of Journalism specializing in digital marketing. She has duel bachelor’s degree in Media Communication Studies and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences from Florida State University. Contact Agnes through Twitter @Agnes_Wasilewsk or Linkedin

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