The automotive industry is a hotbed for change with a focus on technology and a shift in the buying power. Millennials have been buying vehicles for years and this year is no different.  According to, millennials will purchase 4.24 million vehicles in 2015, generating $135 billion in revenue for the industry. Those numbers can’t be ignored, especially when it comes to targeted marketing.

But how do we reach these big spenders on their turf? Here is a crash course in automotive marketing to millennials.

Customize it: Millennials love a good filter on Instagram, personalizing each photo to share with friends. The auto industry should take note, as we see a shift to personalized experiences across the automotive purchasing process, from choosing the right insurance with companies like MetroMile, to a variety of manufacturing options that customize a car to meet this generation’s needs. The ability to customize was never considered by previous generations whereas millennials expect it.

Women take the wheel:  Women not only hold more drivers licenses than men, but also continue to take the driver’s seat in purchasing vehicles. Whether battling traffic to work or to school, women both single and married have a greater influence on the automotive purchase, and they aren’t just looking for cup holders (but who doesn’t love a good cup holder?). As a matter of fact, when looking for a car, women choose “digital channels over print media and are likely to spend more time researching the web, checking reviews and celebrity endorsements, in comparison to men who will focus more on researching the vehicle’s technical specifications,” according to Forbes. In the past, men were the stakeholders and key marketing targets, now women are center stage.

Build a relationship: Ford has been courting millennials for the past 5 years and jumped from fourth to first in brand consideration since 2008. “One thing we recognized is that millennials don’t want to be just fed information and trust it, necessarily,” Lisa Schoder, Ford’s global small-car marketing manager said in a recent Forbes article. In a fast paced world, the personal connection is still a top priority for the largest purchasing group in automotive.

Millennials are already pedal to the metal with a significant share in today’s auto buying marketplace. As OEMs like GM, Chrysler and Chevrolet integrate targeted tech into their vehicles it will be important for them to consider how they need to reach this new audience. After all, this is not your father’s Oldsmobile.