Close Encounters of the Third Kind: Millennials

by Gina Reuscher

In the classic movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, we received a filmmaker’s glimpse into what humanity would experience in the event of a U.F.O encounter and actual physical contact with an alien. To many dealers, Millennials are very similar. They’re very different from past generations, are far more technologically advanced, and we really don’t know much about them — Or do we?

Millennials, defined as people born between 1980 and 2000, between the ages of 16-26, represent a large buying demographic. So large, in fact, that many estimate the buying power of this demographic to be $200 billion, and a whopping $500 billion when indirect purchasing power is included. That’s pretty significant.

These are the kids raised on VH1’s pop-up videos, YouTube and other video content. This is the type of content that they not only like, but use. When they’re considering a movie to watch, do they read the IMDB description? No. They head over to YouTube and watch the trailer. That’s how influential video content is for this demographic.

In fact, according to an article on Business 2 Community, 8 out of 10 Millennials find video helpful in making purchasing decisions. They are also 85 percent more likely to purchase an item they watched a video about. Why? Because that’s how they like to take in information. 2/3 of Millennials prefer video over text. And a whopping 50% ONLY watch video!

In a recent blog I covered how Facebook predicts that its content will eventually be purely video-based content. Think about that. These social platforms cater to the users. If their users wanted all music, that’s what it would be. Pictures? Done. Text? That’s Twitter (for now). The point is Millennials increasingly dictate the type of content that is delivered. The sole reason being that they represent a large portion of the current consumer demographic for most products and they are absolutely the dominant demographic for the near future!

What does that mean for the auto industry?

It means that a good percentage of current car shoppers, and an even larger percentage of future car shoppers, will be influenced by video in their buying decisions. Other retail sectors already realize this. It’s no longer relegated to Super Bowl time. It’s all of the time. Videos are engaging, entertaining and connect with consumers on an emotional level. Unlike past generations, Millennials don’t want to be SOLD to, they want to CONNECT with a company or a brand.

The article further stated that half of all Millennials consider companies that produce video content on their products to be experts in their field. And let’s not forget that videos on product pages convert at a much higher rate than product pages with no videos. So why wouldn’t any retail business want to embrace this cultural shift? Most of them are — but some of the automotive industry is still a little stuck in just pictures and are not taking full advantage of video.

In order to secure market share now and for the future you need to have a good handle on Millennials. And they need and want videos. There’s no ifs ands or buts. If Millennials want to buy cars from a desk in your parking lot, you’d put a desk out there and sell it to them, right? Well, these Millennial consumers are tech-savvy, have access to more information than any other generation before them and will happily move to your competition for $50 in price, or a $20 oil change, whichever they need at the time. So you need to be in front of them so that YOU are top of mind when that need arises.

Do yourself a favor. Video marketing isn’t expensive and with the right process does not need to take a lot of time or effort. In fact, this is something that your porter could do with the cell phone in his pocket. Or, you can get as sophisticated as professional equipment and a branded staging area. It’s your choice. The bottom line is that you need video to engage Millennials. And you need Millennials to sell cars – now and for decades to come. So get yourself a video marketing strategy in place and sell some cars. That is what it’s all about, right?

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