Road trip – 16 ways to target Millennials on the move.

millennial research, millennial men market research

“Are we there yet?”

I turn my head.

Two, chocolate-brown eyes meet mine. In true 4-year-old fashion, they’re followed by a crinkled nose, as pudgy, stubborn hands push aside blonde hair, and blurt out…

“I’m bored!”


We’re two hours into a 10-hour drive to see family for Thanksgiving. It’s gonna be a long trip. But, hey, at least I won’t be alone. Turns out, tons of Millennials are on the road with me, right now. Don’t believe me? 

Take a look below. 

Millennials are on a road trip, for the holidays.

Start on the left. You can see big, red rectangles on four venues, showing a spike in foot traffic over the past month. Here’s what they all have in common, cars. Each offers a service you’d need on a road trip, and they’re trending up — a lot. 


There’s more. 

Move to the right and you’ll see a profile for Flying J visitors. You’re looking at male and female consumers with some college under their (seat) belt 😉, who are 25 to 44 years old. 

Millennials … old and young.

Yes, they’re going home for the holidays. But, they’re not flying, they’re driving. So, while you may have known people would travel this season – did you see that one coming? 

I didn’t.

Let’s dig in deeper.

AAA expected it, saying 9 in 10 travelers will drive, not fly, this year; boosting road trips 10%, even as gas prices go up.1 In fact, travel in a bus, plane, train or cruise is down 60% from 2019.

But, why?

We know consumer traffic to airports fell 38% before lockdowns hit. So, it stands to reason that we’re likely seeing a shift in consumer behavior. They still feel safer in a car. After all, buyers are busy picking up their groceries curbside and doing drive-by birthday parties. 

All from the comfort — of a car.

Now, let’s apply this data to your ad planning.

Start with a buyer profile.

Wait, before we do. I should tell you, I didn’t show you everything.


See, the image you saw above, wasn’t of loyal Flying J consumers. 

That’s right.

If you had clicked on the people who go there 7x a month, you’d see that 50/50 split gets way more gender-biased. It also shifts in ethnicity and age, quite a bit.

Here, I’ll show you.

Loyal Flying J consumers are older, Millennial men.

See that?

Imagine you sell products that show up at a gas station. Sure, in the holiday season, you’d be marketing to families with kids in the car, on a road trip to the in-law’s house. But, if a lot of your foot traffic depends on sales at Flying J, you can’t make a living off a single day. 

You need buyer data all year round — on buyers’ app, web, and venue behaviors.

So, get it.

Next, drive data into dollars.

You’ve got a profile.

Now, let’s turn your data into dollars. Here’s how. Start with the age, gender, ethnicity, and education of your target buyer, from the information above. It tells us we’re talking to a guy. Let’s give him a name. Mike is a 37-year-old college grad who hits the road 35 times a year and fuels up his car at Flying J.  


So, you know who Mike is. Next, you want to see what he does through Persona Views™; once you do, you’ll be able to figure out where, and how to reach him – long before he steps foot into Flying J. 

Like this.

Mike, a 37-year-old, has Flying J as #1 venue.


You now have a perfect profile of what Mike does before he hits up Flying J on his road trip. More importantly, you know how to advertise to him. Your data points to setting up out-of-home ads at fast-food joints by Flying J, and doing targeted ads on Facebook. That’s how you get guys like Mike. 

And, there’s more.

Think about it. Instead of a vanilla ad aimed at men and women who sometimes get gas there, you’re now able to micro-target men like Mike in your messaging. Your ad will be able to hit on all the pain, challenges, and problems that Mike faces – which all disappear, with your product in hand.

This is real marketing.

It happens by marrying great data to ad strategy. That’s how you tie marketing to revenue. Now that you know how to do it, don’t get run over by your competition. Get a 7-day free trial of your own.



By Allyson Wehn

Reviewed by Cathy Karcher

Posted on December 2nd, 2021

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