Some traditional marketing tactics will still work among Gen Y (born 1980-current), but there are new, and perhaps more effective ways to reach the youngest generation entering the motorcycle industry.
Due to Gen Y’s size, about 80 million, and its age range, 7-25 year olds, Tim Buche, president of the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), says many marketers are looking at the group in
several segments. The youngest subgroup is
7-12 years old, and they make up about a third of Gen Y.
The youngest group should be reached through dirt bikes and those riders’ families. “That’s a challenge for dealerships because you have to market through parents,” he said.
Another third of Gen Y are in their teens, and the final third are young adults, about
18-25 year olds. “If you’re looking at the older ages in Gen Y, you’re working directly with them,” Buche said. “It might just be fun, economical transportation for teens and young adults. How do you market to young adults who want to have the experience but may not have the discretionary time or income at that moment? Recognizing that not everyone coming through the door is looking for a 600cc sport bike.”
The first step in marketing to this younger generation is recognizing that dealership staff might not be familiar with the wants of these new riders.
“It’s OK for some of us who have been around for awhile to acknowledge that we don’t know,” Buche said. “It’s important for other generations to try to understand and appreciate that there are differences. Rather than just do the research and take a run at, involve the target you’re seeking.
“That’s not just for youth. It’s for women, ethnics and other subset segments of consumers in your community,” he continued. “Gen Y probably best knows how to get to Generation Y.”
A couple of new ways to reach that group is through online media.
“Are you Tweeting?” asked Buche, referring to a free social messaging utility.
A marketing campaign the MIC started, RockMoto.com, aims to target Gen Y. “We’re looking for people who primarily like music and introducing them to videos and (motorcyclists) to talk about why they ride and what riding does for them. For them it’s about the experience. Our best advocates are our best customers.”
Some of the traditional marketing methods, however, are still effective, including motorcycle magazines. “They’re huge because people considering motorcycling, that’s an obvious, rich resource to go to,” Buche said. “You compliment what you do traditionally with the people you’re hiring who have friends in the Gen Y market. Motorcyclists are the best at inviting new riders into motorcycling.”
– Karin Gelschus
Copyright 2009 Powersports Business