Dealers are under increasing pressure to make the most of their marketing budgets, so a leading criteria for how to spend those dollars is, “Will I get mileage out of this investment?” Apply this criteria to the customers in your marketplace and millennials—the segment of young buyers born between the early 1980s and 2000s—and millennials emerge as some of your highest ROI customers. Research shows that their spending power, now at $170 billion annually, is increasing. Winning their loyalty today can translate to winning repeat business from them for decades to come.
Critical to capturing this segment’s automotive spend is capturing its attention, which is a distinctly different challenge than marketing to shoppers of even ten years ago. millennials rely on the internet and their mobile devices to inform their shopping experience and they also do not readily respond to mass marketing efforts; rather, they expect businesses to respect and react to their communications preferences. According to FordDirect’s recent Automotive Digital Advertising Survey, social and digital marketing has to the power to create the relevant, personalized dealer interaction millennial customers desire.
Research findings point to young shoppers’ desire for custom communication, at the right place and time. Our survey indicates two key actions for dealers:
- Dealers should get social. Millennials search local dealer promotions in digital and social media ads more than generation x consumers and baby boomers. Whether Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or Instagram, social channels offer dealerships a chance to showcase content and engage in a medium that appeals to millennials. Exclusive online offers and an interactive forum for sharing feedback appeal to this shopping segment.
- Dealers should be mobile. More than 40% of our survey respondents have conducted research on a dealership through their mobile devices. Among those respondents, 54% of them looked for deals or promotions. Also, 46% of respondents indicated that they are likely to click a dealer’s mobile ad when browsing through their mobile devices. In order to be where these valuable customers are, your dealership must not only have an online presence, but one that is optimized for mobile access and interaction.
Targeting millennials requires shifts in both your marketing mindset and tactics, but nurturing these relationships is worth your time and effort. This new generation of young, digitally empowered shoppers holds the greatest long-term revenue potential for your dealership. Reach them by ensuring your website is optimized for mobile shopping; maintaining social media profiles that are informative, interactive and current; and implementing digital marketing offers and ads to reach them where they spend so much time, online.
Kate Bullach is the vice president of marketing and communications at FordDirect.