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Can Ford Motor Company (F) Secure the Next Generation?

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Ah, millenials… we’re an intriguing generation to say the least. My generation has absorbed technology so fully it is a seamless part our daily lives, and we have a superior confidence in ourselves – maybe to a fault. Typically research shows we’re a generation of people that are highly educated, tech savvy, ambitious, and entitled. We grew up with cell phones, the Internet, and a explosion in media advertising. Cutting through all the noise to grab our attention – and sell us your products — grows more difficult with each passing day.

Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F)

To attract the younger consumer it takes a much different approach – one that Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) is excelling at. I’ll show you an example of how it’s working with Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F)’s Fiesta, which is attracting more millenials than any other Ford vehicle. But, that’s just the first step in Ford’s big plan. Ford is thinking much bigger and further into the future. Millenials are the key to reviving its luxury Lincoln brand. I’ll show you why that is the case, and what investors’ need to watch out for.

Millennial buying power
The millennial generation represents more purchasing power now than people realize, and it will only increase as we age. We represent nearly 80 million people with a purchasing power estimated at $170 billion. That makes us the largest generation since the baby boomers, and much larger than the 48 million Gen Xers out there. It won’t be long before we are ready to outspend any other generation, leaving those companies unable to attract our attention left in the dust. Ford appears to understand my generation pretty well, so let’s look at why Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) is already way ahead of its rivals in attracting my generation, and why it’s so important for Lincoln’s future.

Fiesta campaign
Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F)’s first unique marketing campaign targeting the millenials was groundbreaking in 2009. It gave consumer-agents a Fiesta, gas, insurance, cameras and any equipment needed to create unique content from their user experiences. The agents combined to tally up over a million miles in the Fiestas and create more than 50,000 pieces of original advertising content. That content, used by Ford for commercials or paper ads, generated almost 30 million views. Here is an explanation why it worked so well, according to Keith Koeppen, Ford’s advertising and media manager: “Consumers — millenials in particular — like being a part of the brands they feel represent them. … This demographic is accustomed to creating content about their lives, so it just makes sense to give their creativity a bigger platform with greater scale.”

The 2009 advertising campaign created enough buzz through social media for over 132,000 Fiesta inquiries at dealerships. Even more impressive was that 83% of those inquiries came from consumers who had never owned a Ford vehicle! In an industry that’s known for brand loyalty, attracting that many potentially new customers is huge. On top of that, 30% of those inquiring were younger than 25. Ford’s trying to be the first seller to this new generation, and it’s got its foot in the door already. Its 2014 Fiesta campaign will look to dwarf those numbers from the earlier one, and strengthen its connection to my generation.

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