Automakers face a dilemma as more and more teenagers are declining to drive. College advertising may be the solution to reaching college students and capturing the youth market at full throttle.
Trends don’t look good for automakers. Teenagers are waiting longer to get their driver’s license, let alone a car. A recent article featured in the Chicago Tribune, Cars not a driving force for teens, drives this point home stating, “Many youths today are more interested in phones and social media than cars, a trend that has long-term implications for concerned automakers.” This is troublesome as cars use to symbolize a coming of age moment; having your own car signified freedom, adventure, and youth. While it can still represent those things, automakers have to be savvy when advertising to students and youth marketing.
As this decline of teen drivers increases, it is more important than ever to focus on college advertising and undergraduate marketing. First, it is important to get behind the reasons why teens are choosing to wait longer and longer to drive. In some part, it is due to the shift towards a more technological society; in order to socialize with friends a car is no longer necessary due to various social media sites. It is also in part economical, due to the bad economy and people trying to cut back on superfluous expenses. Parents are asking if their teenagers really need cars. For most, the answer is no. When advertising to students, you need to build the value in their eyes; they need to know what your car can do for them.
Automakers are starting to realize just how important college advertising is. In the AdvertisingAge article, Marketers Hitting Campus Harder Than Ever, Phil Caruso of Chevrolet expounds upon the notion that reaching college students is imperative for success saying, “Like many other automotive brands, this audience [college students] is critical for the growth of our business. The beauty of targeting millennials is there’s not a negative or very positive perception of the brand. They’re very neutral about our product.” This neutrality or open-mindedness allows companies to shape how students think with minimal effort; they do not have to steal other brands’ loyal customers or fight preconceived notions, as most college students have not yet formed strong opinions about the brand.
Building the value of the product and advertising on college campuses nationwide can help you target this elusive demographic. By advertising to students at their schools, you bring the advertising into their space. With a solid college marketing strategy, you can build your presence on campus, influence the youth, and build your clientele base.