BY KENSEY EDWARDS
In our industry - the term ‘millennials’ feels like a curse word. They seem impossible, are unlike any set of buyers that have come before
them, and honestly, are making all of our lives a little difficult these days. They don’t follow the same formula that previous generations have, and that makes them especially difficult to market to and ultimately convert. But the reality is that we are stuck with them - and as of this year, they will have more buying power than any other generation.1So - as the saying goes - if we can’t beat them,we might as well join them. And the key to joining them, is understanding them. So here are the top five things you need to know to help capture that impossible and elusive millennial market.
They’re all about community and the experience — Both locally and within the larger community. They are looking for a way to find other like-minded people to share their passion with - which, at the end of the day, is the core of our industry. But, it can be hard initially to get involved in a community - so make sure to highlight to your potential millennial customers some ways they can get involved right from the initial point of purchase. You could host a first time riders night, have weekly meet-ups at a local brewery for existing customers, or host a motorcycle licensing class to help them get started.
They are into brands that stand for something — 81% of millennials expect brands to publicly share their plans for corporate citizenship.2 While you often hear about corporate citizen on a large scale, that doesn’t mean they don’t expect you to be giving back as well. Millennials are focused on building a better country and community than what they inherited from previous generations - and they expect your help. This could be putting on a charitable ride or donating a portion of a sale to a larger, charitable cause - but no matter what you do, share it loud and proud so they know exactly what your dealership stands for.
And along those lines - they also care about the environment.This is an easy win with this group, as motorcycles are gas friendly and definitely easier on the environment than a huge SUV or even a four-door sedan. Even if they aren’t the millennials primary commuter vehicle, a motorcycle could be a great in-town car that lets them sub-out their regular car on the weekends or in the evenings. Many consumers might not think about the environmental impact of owning a motorcycle as opposed to a traditional car - so make sure to point it out to them.
Debt is not their thing —According to How Stuff Works,despite having control of the buying power in this country, the millennial generation is the product of a recession and the first generation that might not make more than their parents did, which makes them hesitant to take on too much debt. Luckily, motorcycles are often less expensive than some other options - think boats, cars, RVs, etc. - and allows them to purchase their dream unit without tying them down to huge monthly payments. While helping a buyer understand the full purchase price of a unit is important, make sure to highlight how low their possible monthly payment would be to help them see the affordability of their new ride.
They rely on their parents — and we don’t just mean because they are living in their basement. No matter their housing situation, millennials got their first financial advice from their parents - and, according to Reuters, 78.5% of millennials still turn to their parents for this type of guidance. And, here’s why you should care, they may even bring them into the dealership to check out units with them. So - tread lightly when you see parents with their children because you never truly know who the one buying the bike might be.
At the end of the day, millennials are here to stay, whether we like it or not. They are going to be a big part of our economy moving forward, and finding a way to bring them into the motorcycle industry is a big focus for us all.
Kensey Edwards is the content manager for Cycle Trader, an online marketplace connecting powersports buyers to sellers. In her role, Edwards focuses on consumer research and trends in the ever-changing digital landscape — and translates those insights into content and education to help dealers compete in the broader powersports industry.