Millennials are exactly the audience BMW is looking to get involved with the Blue and White. At a recent event, BMW of North America CEO Ludwig Willisch said millennial customers are the future for the automotive industry, but the Bavarians are focusing on the top 1 percent.
Willisch defines the top millennials as those with with a household income of $150,000-plus. Speaking at the Automotive News World Congress on Wednesday in Detroit, Willisch said, “One big mistake is to lump (millennials) all into one group. That, ladies and gentlemen, is a recipe for disaster.”
“We know this 1 percent of millennials gravitate toward brands that display a larger purpose than just selling products,” Willisch added.
But how do you target millennials? “If you think giving a millennial a test drive is going to sell a car, you are sadly mistaken,” Willisch said.
BMW plans to use improved connectivity and showroom innovations like “Genius” product specialists to communicate with customers before referring them to a sales person.
Targeting millennials is not an easy task, but BMW seems to have a grasp on it. Willisch noted a partnership with GoPro, whose cameras can be linked directly to the car and displayed on the console screen. Affiliations with popular products and personalities are more likely to influence purchase decisions of than any amount of direct advertising, Willisch said.
Social media is and will be even more at the core of BMW marketing efforts.
“Millennials choose vehicles by relying on word of mouth, recommendations from friends and and influencers,” Willisch said. “As I speak, we are developing programs to leverage key influencers who already have thousands of millennial followers.”