With more than 70 million members, millennials represent the most significant demographic and disposable income available to retailers. They range from 18-35 years old, have a lower- to middle-range income and are environmentally conscious. Millennials are more focused on purchasing products that are “greener” than products their parents supported.
Positioning E15 as a cleaner burning fuel gives innovative retailers an edge on their competition. Retailers can also highlight the value of E15 by highlighting the fuel’s price, which is more affordable, saving consumers money. Additionally, focusing on messaging that precisely communicates E15’s engine benefits appeals to millennials.
More effective marketing to millennials is among one of the growing opportunities available for the retail industry. By leading with a fuel offering that appeals to millennials, retailers can grow their over-all business with this important audience. Over the past several years, Growth Energy has completed more than 6,000 consumer surveys to determine what matters most to millennials when purchasing fuel. From quantitative data, qualitative data, to consumer intercept studies at the dispenser, Growth Energy’s extensive research revealed what factors were important to various demographics when purchasing fuel.
The retail industry needs to understand the purchasing behavior of one of its key consumer targets and with that understanding and a little fine-tuning of the biofuels narrative, they can attract more millennials to their stores. By incorporating values that are important to millennials, retailers can offer products that better fit millennial purchasing behavior. Focusing on the benefits of saving money at the pump and reducing the overall carbon footprint appeals to both the environmentally and the pocketbook conscious, providing retailers a chance to grow their customer base.
Another demographic that is most likely to purchase E15 are those that are environmentally conscious. Generally, this group is upper-income, male-orientated that range in age from 35-54. They tend to politically lean left, listen to NPR, favor healthy food options, and enjoy the outdoors. This demographic has sincere intentions of living a “greener” and healthier lifestyle, seeking out alternatives. They are educated and appreciate their purchasing power having the ability to help achieve progress, which is why they gravitated toward more environmentally-friendly products. By emphasizing the greener and cleaner attributes, such as lowers our carbon footprint and is better for the environment, E15 is a no brainer to the environmentally conscious.
The current E15 customer is someone who wants a fuel that is reliable and good for their vehicles. They tend to be conservative men, who are 55 and older, upper middle income, and car enthusiasts. Messaging that appeals to this demographic focuses on communicating that E15 works for their car and is a little better for it. Positioning E15 as enhancing the vehicle’s performance is a win for these car enthusiasts.
An untapped market for E15 are busy moms. These women usually range in age from 35-64, middle to upper income. They have children, are coupon clippers, minivan drivers and are college-educated. By positioning E15 as a cleaner-burning fuel that can be purchased for less than regular fuel is a win for this key segment.
E15 needs to have precise messaging and be positioned appropriately with each consumer demographic. By communicating that E15 is first and foremost a good choice for their vehicles (approved by the Environmental Protection Agency for cars 2001 and newer) and engines, we then can tap into what is the next most relevant factor to each consumer group and differentiate with the societal benefits. Allowing us to reach whole new audiences –left-leaning consumers and women.
Currently, there are more than 1,800 retail sites across 31 states that are selling E15. Thirteen out of the 20 top retail chains are offering E15 — retailers like Kwik Trip, Sheetz, Casey’s General Store, Cumberland Farms, Thorntons, Kum & Go, RaceTrac, QuikTrip, Rutter’s, Minnoco, Protec Fuel, Murphy USA and Family Express.
To help retailers take full advantage of resources, Growth Energy has a dedicated hub for marketing Unleaded 88, full with brand guidelines and consumer resources.
If you’re interested in joining the leading team with E15, please contact Growth Energy’s Vice President of Market Development Mike O’Brien.