Rethinking Millennial Advertising: 3 Trends Dealers Should Notice

By: Felicia Savage

Millennials—loosely defined as people born after 1980—are usually seen as young, and tech-savvy consumers. While this is true, car dealerships have to understand how the Great Recession affected how Millenials see big decisions, such as buying a car. What does this mean for car dealerships?

New data shows that people in the 25-44 age range accounted for merely 26% of cars sold in 2012. This is significantly lower than in 2002, where the same age group bought 43% of cars in the United States. So what accounts for the sizable decrease?

A recent study by Yale Economics professor Lisa Khan explains that Millennials have been affected and shaped by the Great Recession. Khan cites a weak economy and the struggle for employment as a key factor for why Millennials seem more reluctant to spend their hard-earned money. The effect? A New York Times Article published in 2013 explains: “Millennials are buying fewer cars and houses, and despite their immersion in consumer culture, particularly electronics, they are not really spending beyond their limited means.”

What does this mean for car dealerships looking to effectively target Millennials?

It means that advertisement must be tailored for a generation with unique view on the economy. Millennials’ outlook on the economy has produced trends in how they think, as explained by Business Insider. Understanding and applying how these trends influence Millennials’ buying habits is critical for effective advertising.

Here are the top three trends and how to best apply these trends for powerful advertising:


1. Millennials are risk-adverse

A shaky economy, tough job market and a light wallet make Millennials a particularly difficult group to target. Because Millennials are risk-adverse, they will not want to come to car dealerships merely for browsing. Solution? Incentivize potential customers to visit a store by setting up an in-store kiosk that rewards people who visit by increasing the prospect of winning promotions or sweepstakes. You want potential customers in your store and they want to increase their change of winning. Win-win.


2. Millennials believe luck plays a big role in success

Disgruntled with prospects of work, Millennials believe in luck. Use this to your advantage and incorporate incentivized promotion through social media. Generation Y is already the most tech savvy generation. Use this to your advantage and encourage interactions on social media by offering promotions for continued interaction on social media. An example could be raffling a prize based on retweeting your dealership. Creativity is key here. This strategy will allow leads to interact with your business on different levels and potential customers are captivated by the chance of winning real prices.


3. Millennials want answers immediately

Be transparent with Millennials. Do not try to trick Millennials into signing up for something they do not want to; instead offer real benefits, such as promotions, for continued interaction. Millennials will want quick answers and want clear action steps laid out clearly in front of them. A microsite that is uniquely designed for them will provide dealers with valuable information to build leads list while also giving Millenials the immediacy they desire. Offer them simple and concise reasons why they should take the next step, whether it is visiting the store, accessing a website or registering information.