I am sick and tired of seeing articles about marketing to millennials, women and other groups. Every day, a new article crosses my desk talking about how a shop could be missing out on a critical demographic.
These articles usually start out with numbers on the size and marketing potential of a particular demographic in millions and billions of dollars. Then, they go into the part about how they are different from you. It all wraps up with how you can take advantage of their presence at your shop with newfangled marketing ideas.
Most of these articles miss the point. Outstanding service and quality are appreciated by everyone, no matter their age or gender. All people, not just millennials, want their vehicles repaired quickly and economically, and they want the process to be as painless as possible. They want to feel good about the entire transaction and not have their demographic tendencies tickled. If you work on the basic core competencies of fixing vehicles, you won’t often lose a customer.
Most of these articles talk about waiting rooms, bathrooms and general shop appearance as important parts of a shop’s marketing. While these are important, they are secondary concerns for most customers. Millennials may see things differently, but they have the same eyes as everyone else.
Focusing in on what makes a demographic different and trying to tailor your business to service these false needs could actually backfire and be perceived as patronizing, or “not authentic” by a customer. People know when they are being played.
Technical training and investments in tools can go a lot further with a customer than having the most current magazines in your waiting room or gourmet coffee. People come to your facility to get their vehicle fixed, not to read “The New Yorker” and drink skinny caramel macchiatos.
Just look at any online review. Rarely will they talk about the waiting room. But, they will talk about the communication with the person at the front counter and if the vehicle was fixed properly.
If you read some of the articles on millennials, you would assume they are self-entitled egomaniacs who are constantly glued to a cellphone screen. The reality is that this is happening to most of your customers no matter their age.
More and more people over the age of 40 are using social media, smartphones and apps. These technologies are not unique to millennials. They are just usually better at using them because they have never known a time without them.
I also hear people complaining about how millennials are difficult to work with: Older people think they are self-entitled crybabies who want constant praise for just performing basic tasks.
Let me clue you in on something. The previous generation did not like you. They said the same things about you as you are saying about millennials.
Some of them hated your clothes, music and even thought your hair looked funny. They came up with names for you like “hippie,” “slacker” or “greaser.” They thought you were unpunctual, impolite and on drugs. But, you turned out OK.
What our industry should be focusing on is changing vehicle technologies and training, and you don’t get a leg up on these advancements by obsessing over gender issues and generational angst.