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How Car Dealers Can Reach Millennials – and Their Boomer Parents

How Car Dealers Can Reach Millennials – and Their Boomer Parents

At first, Baby Boomers may have been slower than their Millennial kids to adapt to social media. That time has passed.

In 2014, Millennials became the largest generation in the U.S., surpassing Baby Boomers. At 25% of the population, Millennials are poised to be 40% of the vehicle purchasers in 2020.

But marketing to them – and their Baby Boomer parents – has proved challenging, right? The traditional tactics don’t work anymore. So how do you market to not only one generation but two?

You find a common ground.

Start with this: Today, Baby Boomers are just about as active on social media as their Millennial kids.

Baby Boomers spend more hours online per week (Facebook is their preferred social-media site) than those between the ages of 16-34. On top of that, Baby Boomers are the more likely generation to look for more information after seeing something of interest on social media.

Millennials may have grown up on digital, but the generation before them has also adapted to the technology and is extremely active.

When auto dealerships started using a digital platform to improve engagement through personalized digital messaging, we found the key aspect to success is relevant content.

But how do you know if it’s relevant? Here are some quick suggestions:

If They Like the Content, They Will Refer It to Others Via Social Media

Millennials like to share and many strive to get “likes” and positive feedback for their social-media posts. In fact, 70% of Millennials are more excited about a decision they’ve made when their friends validate it on social media.

If you can encourage them to share their experience, the word-of-mouth is sure to garner interest in and brand awareness for your dealership. If a Baby Boomer sees a post (about the purchase of a vehicle) that includes friends, family, children and their children’s friends, they are likely to search for more information as well.

Focus on Word-of-Mouth Referrals

More than just a Facebook post, leveraging the power of “liked” and “recommended” digital content gets your customers to refer you to others and is a great way to increase both retention and conquest. According to David Neuman, CEO of Gaea North America, 74% of consumers identify word of mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decisions.

Engage, Don’t Market

Millennials and Baby Boomers have many tricks to avoid marketing. Pop-up blockers, ad blockers and DVRs help them avoid commercials and marketing tactics.

With so much clutter, they are trained to ignore anything that isn’t relevant. Millennials in particular prefer to be engaged by content that meets their need as they need it. If you think digital engagement means batch-and-blast emails, you’re wrong. Both generations will delete those messages or send them to the spam folder without ever reading past the headlines. Or they’ll unsubscribe from your emails altogether.

Tell a Story

Customers like stories, especially if they are in the form of a short video, easy to digest and shareable. Stories also humanize businesses and offer a glimpse into what makes your dealership great.

The more a Millennial or Baby Boomer feels a connection to what you’ve sent, the more they’ll value you as someone they want to stay connected to. And connections translate into higher retention and revenue.

At first, Baby Boomers may have been slower than their kids to adapt to social media. That time has passed. Today, for both generations, digital has become the communications standard – when it’s properly used.

Paula Tompkins is CEO and founder of ChannelNet.

TAGS: Dealers
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