Lincoln Motor Market Data Insights: Demographics and Geography
Updated: Mar 31
This was written for CAS 840: Audience Analytics in the Michigan State University Strategic Communications MA program.
Lincoln Motor Company Market Insights
Lincoln Motor Company (LMC) is raging against the machine of brand identity. Once a leader in the sedan market, especially with the Continental, the automaker suffers from stale connotations (a car for “old people”) and undefined differentiation (an unclear value proposition) (Light, 2019). LMC has pivoted over the last five years, investing into segments geared towards the sports utility vehicle (SUV) and cross-over utility (CUV) markets (Kierstein, 2020). Jon Pearce, creative chief at LMC’s advertising partner Hudson Rouge, said the brand has used phrases like “smart risks,” “provocative,” and “innovative” to describe LMC’s leverage of influencers and pop culture (as cited in Halpert, 2016). However, competitors like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, and Cadillac continue to lap LMC in market share and in positioning.
The purpose of this analysis is to cultivate a fresh, viable target audience with the objective increasing brand awareness and fostering loyalty among Millennials and Generation X professionals. This campaign—which focuses on the affluent 53717 ZIP code in Madison, Wisconsin—would be the first step in targeting target-rich geographical areas within each state aimed at a younger, tech savvy demographic while leveraging the purchase power of the Gen-X audience. Targeting characteristics for this project include demographics (income and age) and geography (ZIP code).
Demographic and Psychographic Characteristics
The 53717 ZIP code points to the “Wexford” suburb, located on the western edge of Madison. The highest concentrations of median household income, from lowest to highest) are $61,370,00-to-$76,033.99, $76,034-to-$99,829, and 99,830-to-$461,098 (Appendix A) (SimplyAnalytics, 2020a). There are 17.67% of 25- to 34-year-olds, 13.91% of 35- to 44-year-olds, and 13.84% of 45- 54-year-olds in this area (Appendix B) (SimplyAnalytics, 2020b). Marketers use psychographics to define the “who” in the audience and determine the “why” of purchase habits (Meredith, 2019). A study of this ZIP code revealed five categories.
Young and influential
Attributes include: college-educated; 24- 44-years-old; community influencers; active on social media; and extremely tech savvy; focused on work-leisure balance; renters; and health-conscious; classified in the midlife success lifestage group and inner suburbs social group (Claritas, 2020).
Movers and shakers
Attributes include: business class; 45- 64-years-old; wealthy; suburban; dual-income couples; highly educated; high percentage of executives and white-collar professionals; Wall Street Journal readers; investment website visitors; portable media device users; classified in the affluency empty nest lifestage group and elite suburbs social group (Claritas, 2020).
Attributes include: dual-income households; educated; owners of newer homes; “upward bound” segment; average tech users; mobile-device users; utilize the Internet for banking, streaming; and research; classified in the midlife success lifestage group and affluentials social group (Claritas, 2020).
Attributes include: prosperous; active; above-average tech usage; high sports consumption (in-person and digital); quick-service restaurant customer; classified in the accumulated wealth lifestage group affluentials social group (Claritas, 2020).
Attributes include middle-aged singles; most tech savvy; some college; renters; city dwellers; show signs of potential; classified in the young achievers lifestage group and city centers social group (Claritas, 2020).
Simmons Insights: Crosstab Table
A Simmons database search helped offer more insight into the LMC brand refresh. This base was built upon demographics and lifestyle assessments with the goal of gaining a deeper understanding of the demographics and psychographics. Criteria for the Simmons database search included:
· Age (25- to 54-years-old)
· Income (more than $60,000K per year)
· Do you own a cell phone? [Yes]
· Have you responded to an Internet pop-up ad in the last three months?
· Where do you listen to satellite radio the most [Car/Vehicle]
· Did you guy a new car with financing?
· Did you lease a new car with financing?
· Foreign cars are higher quality than American cars [Agree a lot]
· Owning a foreign car is much more prestigious than owning an American car [Disagree a lot]
· You can tell a lot about someone by the car they drive [Agree a lot]
· A sport utility vehicle matches my active lifestyle [Agree a lot]
· Lincoln MKC
· Lincoln MKX
· Lincoln Navigator
Simmons Insights: Analysis
Demographics on the table are congruent with the age and income brackets appropriate for LMC vehicle ownership. In 2019, the average price of Lincoln model was $51,044 (Statista, n.d.). The income range, of $60,000 or more, seems ample to accommodate financing responsibilities for LMC vehicles in upper price points.
LMC leaders continually state that technology and features are important; thus, the Simmons data pulled from Internet pop-up ad behavior (to ascertain the viability of pop-up ads on the LMC site), satellite radio listening locations (to determine if satellite radio is most commonly accessed in vehicles and if promotions/incentives/cross-promotions could increase brand knowledge), and overall cell phone ownership (to determine email and mobile optimization strategies).
Additionally, lifestyle assessments were asked to determine perceptions, perceived knowledge, and attitudes about domestic versus foreign car ownership. The brand wants to target people who disagree strongly to statements suggesting foreign cars are higher quality and more prestigious and who agree to statements suggesting that a car describes owners’ personalities and that SUVs fit into their active lifestyles.
Strategies and Suggestions
The median income for the 53717 ZIP code is $81,556, and the median home cost is $247,950 (HomeSnacks, n.d.). The unemployment rate is 0.7% (HomeSnacks, n.d.). By contrast, the median household income for Dane County, in which Madison sits, is $70,541, and unemployment is 3.1% (World Population Review, 2020a.). Overall, the population of Madison is 264,030 (World Population Review, 2020b). With these figures in mind—and considering this research—the following are recommended strategies:
To increase brand awareness among the 25- to 54-year-old demographic, a two-tiered approach would entail a Facebook Ads campaign and an Instagram post strategy. Facebook demos are 75% female, 63% male, 79% usage among 18- to 29-year-olds, 79% also among 30- to 49-year-olds, and 68% among 50- to 64- year-olds (Chen, 2020). Facebook location usage is 73% urban, 69% suburban, and 66% rural. Seventy-two percent of Facebook users have an income between $30,000 and $74,999 (Chen, 2020).
Considering these social media statistics, the recommendation for brand awareness is to create detailed Facebook ad campaigns targeting age, income within the 53717 ZIP code. The salary range would be the same ($50K and more) and the segments would target ages 25-35 and 36-54. Each ad could target a combination of income, age, and added value (25-35, +$50,000, technology or 45-54, +$70,000, prestige). The goal is to take these segments and introduce LMC to their social feeds according to their personal, demographic, and psychographic traits—in a way that presents as added value, not intrusive.
Instagram users are 43% female, 31% male, 67% usage among 18- to 29-year-olds, 47% usage among 30- to 49-year-olds, and 23% usage among 50- 64-year-olds (Chen, 2020). Location usage is 46% urban, 35% suburban, and 21% rural (Chen, 2020). Thirty-nine percent of Instagram users make between $30,000 and $74,999.
An Instagram campaign could piggyback off of the Facebook campaigns. Whereas Facebook would delve more into text-focused messaging, Instagram could let the images speak for themselves. Posts could feature LMC vehicles not only through big-city lenses, but in the suburbs and in rural areas also. Let the customer see what is possible and let them imagine themselves driving through their town in an LMC luxury vehicle. Instagram also could help create and promote events—like a COVID-safe movie night at the drive-in (which would be invite-only for LMC customers). LMC could target geographically by age and income for various ZIP codes throughout the company to find target-rich areas for this type of event. Tagging and geotagging these events could amplify the reach of posts. A custom hashtag could prompt sharing and retweets.
Thus, LMC could add organic marketing and earned media into the mix and into the objectives of increasing brand awareness and fostering brand loyalty.
Each campaign would include different appeals distilled especially from the Simmons Crosstabs and cross-referenced with psychographic categories for each age segment. Individual ads tout freedom, prestige, high quality, technology (USB outlets and electrical outlets for charging multiple devices, Apple Car Play, and the Lincoln Way App used to start vehicles remotely through smartphones and the Apple Watch). The Simmons insights are driven by respondents who owned cell phones and believe a vehicle says a lot about a person—but foreign cars are more prestigious. The goal is to show the prestige of domestic luxury vehicles as in-class competitors—and include appropriate keywords usage in marketing copy commensurate with Google Analytics and “crawlers.”
A majority of Simmons respondents purchased a vehicle, so a campaign would not be complete without robust financing-focused ads (with terms, competitive interest rates, and regional promotions). The income within 53711 is more than appropriate to qualify for top-tier financing. Leasing advertisements still would be part of the mix—perhaps a more attractive sell for younger professionals who prefer change and flexibility.
To foster customer loyalty, LMC could draw upon the legacy aspect of the brand. Create the idea that LMC vehicles are not only luxury, but functional. For example, the 53711 ZIP code features a high number of highly educated residents—and Ford offers a student discount. The latter would prove useful messaging for professionals who are still working on undergraduate degrees or who are pursuing graduate degrees. Thus, a student discount may create reciprocity and loyalty among each of the age segments.
Respondents also strongly agreed that foreign cars are made of higher quality. Thus, LMC would have to counter this misconception. On the older end of the demo, both awareness and loyalty messaging could focus on SUV size and safety ratings—a practical option for families. Safety branding certainly has worked for Volvo. If LMC could communicate the idea that LMC SUVs are practical and safe—and prestigious—as family vehicles, then they could achieve success in older ages brackets. Additionally, LMC could be positioned as a tony vehicle for business travel.
Finally, the Simmons data revealed statistics for commonly researched vehicles, including the Lincoln MKX and MKC. The former was refreshed and redesigned into the Aviator and the latter became the Corsair. Thus, LMC should ensure that traffic and interest for previous models should be refunneled and repacked into their updated product lines. They should include older models and related keywords into new Google Analytics (for search marketing) and into Facebook ads (for sponsored ads) to reach customers who are unaware of model updates.
Claritas. (2020). Area code 53717 demographics report. [Data]. Retrieved October 6, 2020 from Claritas Segmentation & Market Solutions database.
Chen, J. (2020, August 4). Social media demographics to inform your brand’s strategy in 2020. Sprout Social. https://sproutsocial.com/insights/new-social-media-demographics/#SC-demos
Halpert, J. (2016, September 17). LINCOLN: Breathing new life into the brand. Automotive News. https://www.autonews.com/article/20160917/RETAIL03/309199984/lincoln-breathing-new-life-into-the-brand
Kierstein, A. (2020, July 1). The Lincoln Continental sedan is dead. Again. MotorTrend. https://www.motortrend.com/news/lincoln-continental-discontinued-report/
Light, L. (2019, September 9). What is the Lincoln auto brand? Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/larrylight/2019/09/09/what-is-the-lincoln-auto-brand/#6502f17efa19
Lincoln. (n.d.a). Statista. https://www.statista.com/outlook/1000099/100/lincoln/worldwide
Living in Wexford, Madison, WI. (n.d.). HomeSnacks. https://www.homesnacks.net/wi/wexford-madison-neighborhood/
Meredith, A. (2019, August 8). How to use psychographics in your marketing: A beginner’s guide. HubSpot. https://blog.hubspot.com/insiders/marketing-psychographics
SimplyAnalytics. (2020a). [Median household income, 2020 for ZIP codes code 53717]. [Data set]. MRI Consumer Survey US. http://app.simplyanalytics.com
SimplyAnalytics. (2020b). [% population aged 25 to 34 years; % population aged 35-44 years; % population aged 45-54]. [Data set]. MRI Consumer Survey US. http://app.simplyanalytics.com
United States Census Bureau, (2019). Quick facts: Madison city, Wisconsin. https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/madisoncitywisconsin/LND110210
World Population Review. (2020a). Dane County, Wisconsin population 2020. https://worldpopulationreview.com/us-counties/wi/dane-county-population
World Population Review. (2020b). Madison, Wisconsin population 2020. https://worldpopulationreview.com/us-counties/wi/dane-county-population
Median Income Demographics