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The New York Times recently published a great article about the shift from Baby Boomer car sales to pitching automobiles to younger generations. The article argues that the driving experience for a young person is vastly different from an older person’s perspective. Recently, General Motors has been working with Scratch to figure out how to better sell cars to a younger generation. MTV’s Scratch is a Viacom-based consulting company that helps brands connect with younger buyers.

Cars are a Bummer.

Think about it – teens and people in their early 20s today are inundated with high gas prices, news about the oil wars, anti-drunk driving campaign messages, safety – driving doesn’t necessarily mean “freedom” for younger folks the way it did for teenagers 20-30 years ago.

What GM is starting to figure out is that the sales message has to be vastly different to address these changing trends. You can bet that dealerships won’t be far behind. Tomorrow’s buyers are already starting to make purchasing choices today.

If you want to appeal to younger buyers, you’ll have to gear your automotive direct mail messages to appeal to a new audience.

Food For Thought

The Times article reports that 46% of drivers would choose internet access over car ownership. While cars are still a huge part of our culture, and you can expect young people to buy, this metric shows what’s important. An interactive experience – including iPod docking, GPS, and other interactive services – can make the driving experience in your vehicle look more appealing to young people.

Use your automotive direct mail pieces to emphasize the importance of getting a driver’s license for younger people, and how you can help offer a reasonable next step in terms of financing responsible young drivers. Borrow imagery from popular shows that younger people relate to. Use colors and imagery that relate to a fresh, young contemporary look.

Knowing your audience is always going to be important when it comes to running a popular car advertising direct mail campaign with a high response rate. The “same-old” just isn’t going to work much longer.

There’s no better time than now to create materials that bring in both young and older buyers.

What has your dealership found to be successful in advertising to younger buyers.