Young Adult Homebuyers Will Look at Propane Country - Warm Thoughts Communications
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Young Adult Homebuyers Will Look at Propane Country

Embrace the technology to transact with younger generations

By Tom Jaenicke

According to the National Association of Home Builders, Zillow, the US Census Bureau, and other sources, there is a pent-up demand for affordable housing among young adult first-time homebuyers. More young adults today remain living with parents or other relatives than at any other time in recorded history. There is a backlog of married and unmarried partners waiting to make the transition from rental to home ownership. Even first-time homeowners are reluctant to upgrade to a larger home that would better suit their family needs and lifestyles. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons for this pent-up demand.

For several decades the propane industry generally has ignored each emerging generation long before we started labeling them as Gen Z, Millennials, and Generation X. We seemed to have an endless supply of the Silent Generation and Baby Boomers to whom we sell propane and related products as those generations made their way through life, so we haven’t worried about those “kids”. Propane retailers preferred to target builders of large expensive custom homes built beyond the natural gas mains. That seemed to be the aspirational housing for successful Baby Boomers and members of the Silent Generation. Now that those generations are aging out, propane retailers need to broaden their focus to include the previously-ignored generations that are following. Young homebuyers are heading to propane country to find affordable housing no longer available in urban areas. Learning how to transact with younger generations can be key to the future of your propane business. Here are a couple of things you can address that will prepare you for the younger generations of buyers heading your way.

Embrace digital marketing. Restack your marketing efforts to emphasize a much more digital approach. This doesn’t mean you have to stop doing conventional advertising that you know is working for you, but marketing and advertising efforts that can’t be measured are suspect. Remember how many years and dollars you wasted on yellow pages advertising before you finally kicked it to the curb? Budget money (4-6% of your gross profit revenue) to marketing and make digital marketing the foundation of your efforts to reach new customers, especially those younger generations of homebuyers heading your way. There is nothing more effective in reaching them than an integrated website and social media platform.

Transact through technology. Your young generation propane prospect needs to be able to search and find your propane business online, contact you, and become your customer without ever having to come to your office. After becoming a customer, that young generation propane user needs to be able to sign up for special payment plans, arrange for deliveries, pay bills, have access to usage and supply data, and do all of the above on a smart phone. Are you ready for all this? It has been my experience that if your website is more than three years old, it is out of date and beyond the “patch it up to get by” approach. There is no excuse for poor web design.

Older folks are sometimes referenced as part of the un-wired and now un-wireless generations. Make sure your propane business is also geared to reach out to the newer generations of homebuyers who live, work, and play in the wireless world.

Tom Jaenicke is Vice-President of Propane Marketing Services for Warm Thoughts Communications. He can be reached at tjaenicke@warmthoughts.com or call him at 810-252-7855.

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