How do you sell car club membership to a fickle generation that puts very little value on car or home ownership and brand loyalty?
Welcome to the young, booming market known as Generation Y or millennials (born 1977-1995.)
This is the big challenge for car clubs like AAP (Automobile Association Philippines.) Millennials are just starting their wealth accumulation phase compared to their baby boomer parents who started the same phase much earlier.
This means millennials are often reluctant to pay for things like branded software, opting for open source (aka ‘free’), more likely to rent than buy, and would rather share a ride or a car with someone else, than own one.
Interestingly, millennials grew up with more ways to buy, rent, share and pay for products and services than any previous generation. Because of this, the game is changing and setting new rules for sales and marketing.
There are positives, however, that outweigh whatever challenges the millennials bring to marketers.
They will still buy cars and houses – they are just doing it later. Once they do take ownership of a car, they are more likely to keep the same car for the longest time possible or practical.
Once they embrace a brand, it is very unlikely that they will shift to another. They will more probably share their brand/buying experience with their peers.
Initial millennial car ownership frequently gets assistance from the parents. Or the cars they are driving constitute a large part of their earnings or savings. Millennials will expect their parents to support them while they are “starting out,” even though this is not well defined as to when it starts or if it even ends.
There is an opportunity here for an auto club like the AAP, in that like any other car owning generation, millennials will need some, if not all of the services offered by the National Auto Club of the Philippines sometime during their car-driving life.
Since there is a big probability that their parents provided them with their first car, the parents should take the initiative to convince their millennial children to join AAP for their own safety and peace of mind.
AAP provides emergency roadside assistance, very competitive insurance premium rates, training in road safety and motor sports and drive-tourism caravans that promote local tourism.
Part of attracting millennials to join an auto club starts with a smart phone app. All the services and products that AAP offers should be accessible via an app, since Generation Y prefers the instant convenience of apps rather than traditional communication systems.
Remember that millennials grew up with infotainment and connectivity at their fingertips. Most of them own smart phones, so it will be easy for them to apply for membership through an app.
The app should have membership information, requirements and benefits, a GPS-enabled map showing where AAPs tow trucks are at any given time, the nearest AAP office, products like insurance premiums, membership status, including a social component that can be linked to other apps like Waze and Facebook.
The good news is that AAP is in the process of developing an app that will do all these things and more.