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August 21, 2011

Ford's Social Media Initiative Targets "Millennials"

The millennials are coming, and few businesses are prepared. For Ford, millennials which the car maker describes as people between the ages of 16-32 are a challenging proposition. Never mind buying a car this generation is getting drivers licenses later, and less often, than previous generations

The “Millennial Generation” also known as Gen Y includes those born between 1982 and 2001 (numbering approximately 80 million individuals in the U.S. alone). This generation outnumbers the baby boomers and is just entering the workforce now, while the bulk of the group will reach adulthoodin the next decade.

But when it comes to Twitter,Millennials are over-indexing.Twitter’s director of sales marketing, Shane Steele, citing third-party research, said 55% of the Twitter audience is made up of Millennials,compared to 40% of the rest of the internet. Ford has worked with Twitter to reach the social-media savvy set for years, having had a strong presence on Twitter since July 2008.
"This group of consumers is an incredible market opportunity, but the way that millennials interact with brands is totally different from earlier generations," said Sheryl Connelly, global consumer trends and futuring manager at Ford Motors.

On Twitter, Ford  is specifically trying to to target them and also observe glimpse at the millennial mindset and figure out what this generation wants, likes and needs from its products. Their use of technology is one of the defining characteristics of this generation. In fact, Gartner refers to them as “digital natives” because technology is embedded in their lives. They have truly never known life without the Internet and mobile phones.

According to Ford The old marketing message showing off the engine, the speed, the car body itself is not working for this  new generation. Millennials are not as interested as baby boomers were in a car as a status symbol. The car for them is about basic transportation but adding technology to the car turns the car into a "lifestyle enabler.