“With electric and hybrid vehicles on the road increasing significantly over the past 10 years, the automotive industry is experiencing the biggest revolution since the invention of the Model T,” says Forbes.
In the last of our “sunlounger” series about the automotive industry, we look at how what matters to consumers has drastically changed, and as a result, their buying behaviours.
Despite all this change, recent studies show that the average electric vehicle (EV) owner has remained the same for the last 10 years. EV owners are still typically 40–55-year-old males with an annual household income of more than $100,000.
How can automotive marketers embrace these changing behaviours to tap into new audiences such as millennials?
WHAT’S REALLY CHANGED?
The biggest change comes in the information that potential buyers are searching for. They no longer want to know about miles per gallon or leather seat options. They’re seeking information about technology functionality, battery range and the ease of finding charging stations.
When we dig further into the millennial audience, they want to understand about the car’s sustainability credentials and the true impact of using an electric vehicle. Most notably, they don’t want to engage in a long trade-off with a car dealership – they want a more transparent, less complicated buying experience.
THE BEHAVIOURAL SCIENCE BEHIND EARLY ADOPTERS
Growth begins with early adopters. In his book Diffusion of Innovations, Everett M Rogers describes five types of adopter for product growth:
- Early adopters
- Early majority
- Late majority
Within these five categories, early adopters tend to be the most influential audience for marketers, because they’re usually highly active brand ambassadors and offer a degree of “thought leadership” for other potential adopters.
Connected to these early adopters is the concept of the “first follower theory”. In the development of a movement, brand or product, the “first follower” is considered to be just as important as the leader or initiator. Once one person has “followed”, it becomes less risky for others to do so.
THE POWER OF COMMUNITIES
Community behaviour becomes powerful in exactly the same way. Brand messages are amplified through early adopters and first followers; the more the message is repeated through multiple people, the more it is trusted.
How can marketers harness this community behaviour to grow the millennial audience?
- Detect where those early adopters have the most influence
- Utilise their content to create UGC campaigns
- Conduct surveys to find out what information these first followers are seeking
- Build informative FAQ content to address changing behaviours
- Focus UGC and FAQ content in locations with strong community influence