Marketing Automotive Service to Generation “X” and “Y”
    With ASA VP of educating and training – Bill Haas
Quoting Bill Haas; “Did you know that 8000 people of generation “Y” gets their driver’s license every day?”  Bill’s right about that and these are also the folks that will soon be in need of repairs at the local repair shop.  Who are generation “Y”? You’re not sure?  Bill did a comparison on the “Y” the “X” and the “baby boomer” generations and how they differ from each other and what marketing tools work best with each of them. 
If you were born between the years 1946 to 1964 you fall under the heading of “baby boomer”.  If you were born between the years 1965 to 1976 you’re the “X” generation, if you were born between the years 1977 to 1994 that makes you the “Y” generation.   Each of these generations has grown up with different events in their lifetime that dictate what is important to them vs. the other generation group.   Baby Boomers experienced the moon landing, Apollo missions, a presidential assassination, three television channels, and the start of the early beginnings of the electronic age.  By the time you have reached the “X” generation they already have the color TV, ten speed bikes, more college hours, and the term “latch-key-kids”.  Once time has passed the “Y” generation is now in the mix.   Even more things have changed.  Satellite phones, 300 TV channels, cel phones, Wi-Fi, and the internet. As each generation came about the things the previous generation considered new is already old to the next generation.  One generation considers a rotary dial phone an ancient invention while the baby boomer is still talking about using a party line. Things are changing even faster these days and so should the way the modern repair shop change to fit the evolution of the communication skills of today’s generations. 
These changes also have a lot to do with how each of these groups gets their information and make decisions on where to service their car.  “Communication is a key ingredient in promoting your shop to that “Y” or “X” or “baby boomer” generations,” Bill told the group,  “While newspaper, radio, television might work for the baby boomers it’s very doubtful that the “X” or “Y” will even check your advertisement there.”  Not to say the advertising methods for newspaper and radio/television is out of date, not hardly according to Bill, but, new methods need to be added to the already established advertising.  For example: 90% of the “Y” generation use a computer, 82% have mobile phones or smart phones.  42% watch videos on YouTube and spend more time on line than in front of a television set.
As Bill told the class, “The “X” and “Y” generations are the highest majority of educated people of their age group than any other generation in history.  They are also a very diverse collection of individuals that know how to use this new technology to find out where to go for such things as the nearest Starbucks or which repair shop to go too.
Bill’s advice to shop owners… Get connected!  Take a look at your waiting area, take a good look at it… are you generation “Y” compatible?  Do you have internet access, video games, and comfortable chairs?  Do you have a website?  On your website do you have a video showing a tour of your shop, environmental concerns, staff at your location, customer reviews, and an on line game (something to get them to spend more time on your website).  You should also include the ability to make an appointment and any special offers.  But do not tie the special offers to a printed coupon, (not likely they’ll have a printer attached to their smart phone).  (Saving a tree and the environment are a special concern to these generations.)  Set up new policies at the service counter.  Ask the customer if they would like to be called by phone, e-mailed, or texted about their car.  Coupons (saving a buck or two) are a big thing with the “Y” generation, and environmental issues are also a big concern.
  Bringing your shop up to speed for the next generations coming up is as important as the proper tools in the shop.  Think of it this way, while gathering information for this class Bill found a really interesting factoid.  Quoting Bill Haas, “Generation “Y” has 150 Billion dollars of disposable income, that’s a billion with a “B” and any shop out there should be looking at making their shop ready for these folks coming their way… they are your next customers.” 
Great informative class from Bill Haas, he really makes you think of what you and I as shop owners should be thinking about to accommodate our customers.  The skill in the shop and the proper tools is an important part of running the business, but, so is the way we advertise to our customers.  Community involvement, internet access, videos, customer reviews, and bringing the shop beyond the brick and mortar building it’s physically located at will definitely increase your profit margin and bring you closer to marketing successfully to the generation “X” and “Y”.