Automakers have struggled over the past 10 years to entice first-time buyers with new vehicle. These brands have experienced trouble because of the economic downturns that affected droves of Americans. However, a new eMarketer report, “Millennials and Autos: How The Young Can Be Won,” suggests auto companies have the potential to use new-media like video content, social media marketing and custom content to drive awareness for long-term sales.
Millennials consist of approximately 86 million people, but a high percentage seem unlikely to purchase as many cars within their lifetimes as their parents did. According to a May 2012 survey from J.D. Power and Associates and AARP, 18- to 34-year olds accounted for 24 percent of all new vehicle purchases in 2001. The number has since dropped to 13 percent in 2012, and looks to continue a downward trend in 2013.
Automakers should feel optimistic that the market will eventually turn around and consumers will invest in vehicles that feature new technologies and benefits. According to a June 2012 report from Nielsen, interest in automotive web content is high among 18- to 34-year old males. In fact, prospects that fall into this age bracket visit branded car websites more than any other demographics in the United States.
Brands can use a variety of content marketing practices to build brand awareness for their products. Automakers may struggle to convert a high percentage of leads today, but they can invest in marketing programs that push prospects through the sales funnel, albeit slowly.
Building campaigns that provide Millennials with auto benefits is a start, but marketers should also look to craft personas for their brands by creating inclusive communities around their offerings. With a conscious focus on tone, automakers can paint their vehicles in a certain light, and target niche audiences with content that actually resonates.