Friday, February 20, 2009, 10:56 AM

Millennials, car companies, and you

A new survey from Microsoft shows that a majority of millennials (born between 1981 and 2001) expect automotive companies to connect with them through new forms of communication, such as blogs, websites, and instant messaging. In my mind, the survey results aren't just about the automotive industry. Every industry would be well served asking how effectively they communicate with younger consumers. Remember, the oldest millennials are now 28 years old. They are adults with steadily increasing purchasing power and influence.

A few highlights from the survey:

Three out of four millennials want to visit company-sponsored blogs to get information and ask questions of the company. (See our previous post about Toyota's blog.)

More than half (56%) want companies to communicate with them through instant messaging.

Nine out of ten expect car company websites to offer a full view of purchase options and service history.

Nearly two-thirds report visiting a social networking site at least once a day, creating a huge opportunity for companies to connect with them on new platforms.

Additionally, more than half of millennials polled (56%) consider the auto industry to be "old." Not surprisingly, a majority also believe the auto industry has a poor public image and fails to offer career stability.

So, how adept is your company at using new communications platforms? The answer may reveal a lot about how well you connect with younger audiences.

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