Selling Motorcycles, Parts And Accessories To Generation C

The letter C (as connected, or computer control key) is the one officially chosen by Nielsen to represent the generation born between the launch of the VCR and the commercialization of the Internet.

These unique consumers between the age of 18 and 34 are taking very seriously information content  and their personal connections with each other to new levels, using new online devices and sharing experiences like no other age group.

Americans 18-34 make up 23 percent of the U.S. population. Not surprisingly, they don’t read print magazines and don’t listen to radio. They represent an outsized portion of consumers, only reading news on the web (95%),  watching online video (27%), visiting social networking/blog/daily new sites (57%), owning tablets (33%) and using a smartphone (39%). Their ownership and use of connected devices makes them incredibly unique consumers, representing both a challenge and opportunity for marketers and news content providers alike. Generation C is engaging in new ways and there are more online means for marketers to reach them (of course, like this daily motorcycle news magazine…) They treat content as collaborative and recombinant, want to participate and address media content via comments and discussion. They love their 15 seconds online fame when their remarks and comments are published. They have an insatiable appetite for creativity in online content. It’s all in the palm of their hands…

Conclusion: all marketers, belonging or not to the motorcycle industry, interested in reaching the 18-34 consumers of Generation C should urgently adapt the tone and content  of their communication, change their media mix strategy to reinforce online delivery of their messages and privilege those online media where readers can participate, react and interact with brands and other participants. A good example illustrating this online “plural” strategy is Harley-Davidson, , since 2009 successfully pre-empting the Generation C market segment. By the way, the older generation, up to the oldest baby boomers and even veterans, is also rapidly connecting… Bye bye newspapers and most print magazines. Media breakdown graphs showing how Generation C consume, use and re-broadcast information.

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41 Responses to “Selling Motorcycles, Parts And Accessories To Generation C”


  1. 1 Shifter Feb 26th, 2012 at 9:50 am

    Reason why this online magazine is such a success. Great vision, Cyril.

  2. 2 MDSPHOTO Feb 26th, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Yes marketers do need to understand their targets, but not sure it applies to this site. I would guess the average age of viewers of this blog is 40+.

  3. 3 Greeko Feb 26th, 2012 at 10:03 am

    It applies in the sense that generation C can only be reached via this type of website, progressively.

  4. 4 Kemper Feb 26th, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Did you notice that Cyril features a lot of custom bikes built by new young builders under 35? On purpose, I guess.

  5. 5 Unik Feb 26th, 2012 at 10:13 am

    Look at the graph. The 35/49 years old are almost as must connected as the the 25/34. No more newspaper where I live. No more city magazine. I didn’t buy any MC magazine since 2007. I am 47!

  6. 6 Luis Feb 26th, 2012 at 11:02 am

    35 here. I work in the computer biz so I’m in a bit of a bubble. If you don’t have an online presence I and my peers are likely never to find you or do business with you. I’m used to doing pretty much everything commerce wise online now.

  7. 7 Jimmy TR Feb 26th, 2012 at 11:06 am

    29 here. Owns an FLH & Triumph. Never bought a motorcycle magazine. Read a few in shops. Found Cyril’s news because I follow him on Twitter. Vey cool site.

  8. 8 Midnight Feb 26th, 2012 at 11:50 am

    I fall into generation C. I read this blog but also subscribe to The Horse Backstreet Choppers, although it is the only print magazine I read. I don’t have a cellphone, a laptop, or a car, but I do have a shovelhead, an ironhead, and a Triumph.

  9. 9 fxrocket Feb 26th, 2012 at 11:59 am

    why buy a magazine when you can search on the web and find what your looking for fast. The age of print has changed since the first time we all “Sign In”. Now the era of APPS when searching and finding out information is just one touch away. I think younger people will still use the web this way and as they get older will apprecaite Printed Works. Im 36, I do use the web for news but still like to read the local sunday paper.

  10. 10 Danny Feb 26th, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    When I walk rows of vendors in Sturgis and Daytona, most people under the tents are well over 50. It may be the reason why they don’t understand the youngest C generation and don’t use internet the way they should to sell their products.

  11. 11 Jeremy Feb 26th, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    The age of those making custom parts is as much a problem as the aging of bikers. In most part, it’s still grey beards selling to grey beards. The custom industry needs younger parts manufacturers understanding what generation C wants on their bikes. And the only way to sell these parts to my generation – I am 31 – is on the web.

  12. 12 Luis Feb 26th, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    @Jeremy, Roland Sands is a great example of someone in touch w/ the current generation. He’s all over Facebook, he has a nice website that you can order parts from as well as a blog covering what he’s working on at the moment. W/o naming names if you compare his site to the websites that Cyril links to, it’s pretty dramatic.

  13. 13 Jeremy Feb 26th, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Luis. What you say is quite confused. Nobody succeeds online just by having a website or a page on Facebook. A website doesn’t create any traffic. PR and advertising are required to create traffic. Traffic comes from pr, ad incoming links, good search engine optimization if ranked in the top 5 search results on the main keywords corresponding to your activity.

  14. 14 Luis Feb 26th, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    @Jeremy I think we are saying basically the same thing in different ways. You can’t just have a website or just a Facebook you have to do things with them. Driving traffic and tweaking search results is just a part of it. Interacting with people to keep them at the site is another.

  15. 15 Brad Drexter Feb 26th, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Internet magazines like Cyril’s have replaced motorcycle print magazines the same way cell. phones have replaced telephone booths. You can still search for a tel. booth like you can search for a motorcycle magazine at the newsstand or bookstore. But why? Oops, newsstands and bookstores are also closing because people read online news, even more than they watch TV news

  16. 16 Frank Blair Feb 26th, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    What I like very much in this website is that it’s very engaging. As a biker, if I want, i can talk to manufacturers via comments and have a conversation with other bikers. I like the fact same some people of the industry are also replying to comments from us. Victory reacting to comments or answering questions is a good example.

  17. 17 George Blank Feb 26th, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    Paper medias are dead. Even schools are getting equipped with tablets. A student tablet containing all the school year books is cheaper (and lighter) than buying and carrying school books. And they can get updated anytime. What Cyril wrote about Generation C also applies to all generations. Like the C’s, baby boomers are getting more and more connected at a very fast pace. Yesterday, was at an Apple store. Noticed how many “older” people are buying laptops and tablets. Nobody mentioned, because it is so evident, that a print magazine can’t link instantaneously a vendor ad to its website. Nothing can compare and compete with the web.

  18. 18 Larry Feb 26th, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    Online, there is a lot of trash biker news. Internet is the best media, if used correctly. Of course I love this magazine since I am commenting in it on a regular basis.

  19. 19 1550tc Feb 26th, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    Great info Cyril thanks

    I would NOT want to be45 plus and not know the difference between an I pad and a maxi pad

  20. 20 Johny Feb 26th, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    Those who didn’t embrace internet on time or don’t know how to use it are dinosaurs and will not survive. Agree with Larry that there is the right way and the wrong way to use it. Lots of junk on the web, like everywhere. Just find the right place for you for accurate and reliable info. Thanks Cyril for hard work. Reading you every day.

  21. 21 Roger Feb 26th, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Cyril killed the motorcycle print magazines. Amen.

  22. 22 Donny Feb 26th, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Cyril = Integrity. Rare.

  23. 23 Jeff Gibby Feb 26th, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    Motorcycle magazines started to fall because of very poor content which was for most part disguised advertising, not because of the recession. Internet made them obsolete because you get much more instant quality content from a few websites like this one. And for free. Those who abandoned magazines will never come back. The youngest generation of bikers never read them and will only know online magazines and forums. Getting older, Generation C will remain faithful to its preferred tool of information and of social sharing..

  24. 24 rodent Feb 26th, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    Johannes Gutenberg had a 500 year run, and now it’s over. Don’t know Gutenberg, Google him!

  25. 25 badams Feb 26th, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    I work in online marketing, work with motorsports clients and have seen behind behind the veil. US pubs have exposed their formula to the consumer, and they are tired of it; showcased bikes with parts manufactures ads paginated around the editorial. The info age exposes this hoax, hence the buck and migration to online content.

    I do However purchase motorcycle magazines; Vibes and Hardcore Chopper from Japan. These magazines embody the spirit of custom motorcycling and its cultures, not trends gone bastardized and contrived outlaw and working man hero attempts. Their production value is excellent, customs put US builders to shame and all done with passion and commitment to building and riding.

    With that i don’t think its the medium of the magazine that turns the consumer to the web, rather the below the line production value and flimsy editorial.

    If you ever have seen those pubs, you will likely agree the above the sentiments. Otherwise, let the hate mail begin.

  26. 26 Eric Maurer (Evobuilder) Feb 27th, 2012 at 1:00 am

    hey badams…. Hardcore Chopper is out of business…. just FYI

    The demise of paper magazines has nothing to do with the content quality…. thats not what is killing the print magazines, its the lack of advertising revenue. I wish it weren’t the case, but passion, soul, great editorials and awesome pics doesn’t pay the bills,ad sales pays the bills. we all may not like it, but its fact. Paper magazines survive on adervertising revenue, nothing more, nothing less. Sales at the newstand do not keep a print magazine in business.

    Now…. blogs, free sites, forums, etc. are great, but the future is subscription based, formatted websites and just as paper mags, they will need advertisers to survive just as print did before them.

    I love, love, love print mags. I have read them, bought thousands of them religously, workI even worked for several, and have devoted a significant part of my life to them….. so this is not me being negative, but the fact is, without advertising, paper magaziness cease to exist. Hell…. you think Facebook or Google are doing it because of the passion? Nope, sorry!. Passion starts it, but generating revenue is what keeps it going. Even Cyril has advertisers.

    Anyway….. great blog Cyril, great posts by all, and here’s hoping that print mags can survuve long into the future…. I hate taking my tablet into the bathroom, but honestly, even I don’t buy paper magazines like i used to. I usually skim them on rack, then read my favorite blogs and forums.

  27. 27 Charles Feb 27th, 2012 at 5:08 am

    In the old Europe, press is also in a big mess : both print and online editions. I’m 34 and I’ve been working in this business for the last 4 years, editing and now in sales development.

    For someone who loves press and motorcycle, the french situation is quite fascinating. Go to any library and you’ll find at least 20 different bike and/or scooter magazines : weekly, monthly, special issues, …
    A quick search on the Internet ? You’ll find at least 5 scooter/bike focused website, all with news every day and +2 tests every week, some with quite nice videos… for free ! They use to sell a 800 000 to 1 000 000 visits/month to advertisers that feeds them. Impressive for such a small market (around 200 000 two-wheelers/year).

    As far as I’ve witnessed, it’s true to say that Internet is killing the weekly press and many of the magazines too. But, on the other hand a handfull of titles are getting well and better year after year because they focus on trends and/or have a unique way to share their passion. At least one has an agreement with an insurance company that provides it with thousands of subscribers. Another one really knows how to use Facebook to give you an inside look of their work, making you feel closer to them.

    IMHO, Internet is a very good opportunity for print edition. (In Europe) Print is still a very good medium to attract advertisers provided that you go for some high quality issue and precisely choosen market segments. I don’t know (m)any top manager from the generation C in the business. The people who decide where the advertising money goes still like having a “real world” issue in their hand when you leave them after a meeting. So maybe the whole thing could just be a matter of balance, using each medium at its best : print journalism has to go back to the roots = investigation, documented scoops and not re-heated web rumors,… Web can be used for print promotion, news (for free), video (lots of) and providing users with a direct access to the people who make the two-wheeled planet spin.

    But in a way (adverstiment) or another (subscription), a valuable information needs to be paid for. With something like 15% of the webusers really ready to pay for webpress, long is the way back to a free press.

  28. 28 Sempe Feb 27th, 2012 at 6:13 am

    Printed motorcycle magazines are a hoax. Content is directed and imposed by advertisers. It has never been journalism. Have you ever read any criticism on a manufacturer, a builder, a parts vendor? Of course not. Some of these sinking mags try to do the same online! It will not work. Cyril does honest journalism on the right media and let us comment, reason why it works.

  29. 29 Oldude Feb 27th, 2012 at 7:29 am

    Used to buy and read M/C mags for info and custom bike spreads..but no more it’s all on the internet along with parts purchase ease and in my state no sales tax, Thanks Cyril for making my mornings interesting!

  30. 30 Mike Tomas Kiwi Indian MC Co Feb 27th, 2012 at 8:48 am

    Time will ultimately tell if print magazines are dead. Sometimes when we move away from something for some time we may end up craving it more down the road. History will tell.

  31. 31 BrotherTiberius Feb 27th, 2012 at 10:18 am

    I subscribe to one print motorcycle magazine, Rider, and only get a second magazine because of my HOG membership. I enjoy them for what they are. The print magazine is where I learn about new models, and equipment. I keep each a few months and then donate it, there’s always something newer coming down the pipe. Rider gives me a launching point for my own research and learning.

    By contrast, the HOG magazine is something I am going to re-read a year from now, because it’s written in a different style, partially to showcase bikes, but also to promote a lifestyle. It looks and feels different Rider, but I think they serve different purposes.

    At 35, I’m firmly in Generation C and the child of Boomers.

    I don’t mind the grey beard boomers and I see a lot of them in my HOG chapter. They are a great resource if I want to look at something that was before my time. There’s a lot of life experience I can learn from them as well, just like I still learn things from my parents.

    But looking forward, I don’t look to the boomers or my parents. I don’t disrespect them, but every day, there are fewer of them, and their influence is declining. My generation, and younger, is the target market, just as we are taking on the mantle of responsibility for a lot of things in society and life. And, largely, we are going to get to decide the next phase of development of the motorcycle industry, from a design and building perspective, to commerce, and social events.

    And I recognize that someday too, Generation C will fade…

  32. 32 RLM Feb 27th, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    I am 64 and still get RIDER, HOG and the one from AMA. I still like reading, but I admit that most of my research and buying takes place over the internet. I get a lot of my internet sites out of the magazines though. Information is still information and I keep up with it from many different sources. The magazines bring new products, tours and things I may not otherwise have knowledge of to my attention. I then can research those things on line. They are all tools, that’s all.

  33. 33 badams Feb 27th, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    @ Evobuilder——I stand corrected, its Hot Bike Japan which I pick up on occasion. Ironically I have to go to a Japanese market to buy it, not the local custom/chop shop.

    Magazines have always been a resource when it comes to neat custom tricks, repairs, etc and one hell of alot less of a risk of ruining in a shop than a tablet or laptop. As a 44 yr rider, I grew up on Easyriders and Biker. The gripe isn’t the platform of the magazine and as Ad Exec who SELLS ads, i find the “content adjacency” is poorly aligned in most US pubs. The reason these mags have dwindled isn’t because of the platform, its the lack of creative selling to non enthusiast brands who want to be part of the action as well as consulting endemic clients on what the consumer wants. Case in point is Vogue for women, the thing is phonebook thick; half the reason buy it is for the ads.

    “Underground” zines’ are lame in their clumsy attempt to be esoteric and different with shitty swap meet specials. Those can go away and wont matter. Its the stalwart titles that needs a makeover, and then they would see an increase in ad revenues, driving higher production value and better overall editorial. OR they can just die off and let the next wave of guys create interactive video heavy magazines for the tablet.

  34. 34 Rob Feb 27th, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    Sempe……..get a copy of Motorcycle Consumer News,,,,,,,,,,no advertising.

  35. 35 Eric Maurer (Evobuilder) Feb 27th, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    badams…. all points very well made and I too, used to go to the international district to get my Hot Bike Japan…. but they don’t carry any motorcycle mags anymore. So… if Hot Bike Japan, Freeway, Vibes, etc. are reading Cyrils blog…. how do we subscribe in the US?

    back to the topic…. trust me, I love getting my hands on a good foreign paper magazine…. even Barnes and Noble has ceased to carry import mags, and the one by me has actually closed down. Crazy huh? Even the mighty must eventually fall (I guess).

    Don’t get me wrong, there are good print vtwin mags in the US, but I only subscribe to 1 and buy another on the newstand (when I can find it) but I used to subscribe to 6-7 and used to scour magazine racks to buy anything I missed. Those days are long gone and it really does bum me out!

    I think VIMEO is a good start…. Cycle Source does it, and I think I heard Hot Bike is/was using the service. I am pretty sure others are as well, but don’t really know.

    The rub is…. at my vintage age of 41 (guess I am becoming a greybeard huh?), I want to see print mags survive…. but with 15+ years in web and 30+ years as a motorcycle junkie and a magazine fanatic …. I justs don’t see paper winning against digital. Again… even the mighty must eventually fall

    Eric
    (still in need of a cool sign-off)

  36. 36 J. Van Preck Feb 27th, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    54 yo. No more reading motorcycle magazines. I can search and find more on the web, including what others think of a product and the technical instructions I may need .

  37. 37 Guy Feb 28th, 2012 at 12:05 am

    I don’t believe any new motorcycle model, new product review in the press. All positive to get the manufacturer ad dollars. Prefer to search online and read what my fellow bikers think of it. The motorcycle press has lost all its credibility a long time ago. Cyril gives accurate factual info, which I appreciate. After that, I search and always find online what I need to know.

  38. 38 Sharp Feb 28th, 2012 at 12:08 am

    Eric Maurer. Just found Cyril on Vimeo.

  39. 39 PanMan49 Feb 28th, 2012 at 8:49 am

    Cyril Huze Post is a daily morning drug. Warning: extremely addictive.

  40. 40 Eric Maurer (Evobuilder) Feb 28th, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    oops, I meant Zinio – http://www.zinio.com/ for viewing print magazines online in a flip format.

    But finding great videos (tech vids, how tos, etc) on both YouTube and Vimeo are crucial to being successful in the publishing marketplace too.

  41. 41 trade show displays Mar 3rd, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    It’s perfect time to make some plans for the long run and it is time to be happy. I have learn this submit and if I may I wish to suggest you few attention-grabbing things or suggestions. Perhaps you could write subsequent articles relating to this article. I wish to read more issues about it!

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