Four Tips For Marketing Cars To Millennials

Coming of age in the Great Recession and burdened with unprecedented amounts of student loan debt, Millennials are known for delaying adulthood. This generation, born roughly between 1982 and 2000, is more likely to live with their parents, stay in school longer and put off major purchasing decisions, such as buying a car. But as Millennials grow older, those pent-up major life decisions will happen, and smart marketers know this is not a generation to be ignored and, frankly, is a generation that can’t be ignored.

According to J.D. Power & Associates, Millennials accounted for 27% of new car sales in the United States last year and have passed Generation X to become the second-largest group of new car buyers after Baby Boomers.

This year, Millennials surpassed Gen Xers to make up the largest generation in the American workforce, and by 2020, they’re expected to make up half of it. They have an average annual income of $33,883 and about $1.3 trillion in annual buying power. As this generation continues to age and advance in their careers, their buying power will only continue to increase. 



I work with the top marketers and advertisers in the Motor City. Below are a few tips on how automotive marketers can reach this generation: 

Keep Up with Digital Demands

Millennials are the first generation to grow up with the Internet, and smart marketers know that to reach them, you must connect digitally. A BCG Study on Millennials found more than half use their mobile devices on social to “like” a brand, 35% share links about products on LinkedIn and 32% said they follow brands on Twitter. Another study from Accenture found 78% of consumers will visit at least six websites or more first before purchasing a car. Additionally a recent study from the Pew Research Center found among younger Millennials, 92% go online daily with nearly a quarter reporting using the Internet “almost constantly.” Digital marketing is not a recommendation, it is a necessity.

Maintain active and strategic social media pages with relevant content and a clear call to action to promote engagement. Unique, sharable experiences are key. Make sure your landing pages are optimized for mobile and quick to load. Stay current on the latest trends, new emerging social media platforms, apps, video games and real-time marketing opportunities to foster brand engagement.

Multicultural Matters

A different study from the Pew Research Center found Millennials are the most culturally-diverse generation to date. Help them to see themselves in the vehicles you’re trying to market by sharing images and messages that reflect who they are. Instead of a blanket approach, create targeted marketing campaigns tailored to appeal to smaller segments within the generation. Make sure your marketing materials are as diverse as they are. And, understand that equality matters to them and is an important quality they seek in brands.

Be Socially Responsible

According to the BCG Study, nearly half of Millennials said they try to use brands that actively support social causes. Moreover, the study found Millennials place more importance on the values brands represent and less on the actual product, compared to previous generations. In addition to highlighting the features of the cars you’re trying to sell, showcase your company’s values and good work for outside causes. This could mean highlighting your company’s CSR or philanthropic efforts. When making a major purchase such as a car, Millennials will respond better knowing they’re supporting a company that’s doing good in the world. 

Make it Personal

According to Millennial expert Lindsay Pollock, who spoke to our club directly last year, this generation values individuality and enjoys products that reflect their unique personalities. For car marketers, this means showcasing customizable options that allow users to make their vehicles their own. While offering choices in color, technology, fabric and safety are the norm, the messaging to advertise these choices should emphasize a value on individuality and demonstrate a recognition that the person buying the car is exactly that—an individual person.

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