Can automotive dealers still appeal to car buyers in 2018?

Published on 28th Mar 2018 in Marketing

For automotive dealerships the main goal is to drive more car sales every month. The sales engine stops for no one. Customers may drive away with a car, but what is their level of satisfaction with the whole car buying experience? After all, other options of buying are becoming increasingly easy.

According to Autotrader, 72% of customers would visit dealerships more often if the buying process was improved. They consider it a “hassle” as auto retailers tend to control the buying process and cater to their objectives.1

For marketers across industries, core KPIs do not vary too much. Usually the focus remains on increasing lead volume, lead quality, and ideally the customer lifetime value. The last KPI is often an indicator of good overall customer satisfaction where a company focuses on a long term relationship, not the short term initial sale. For marketing and sales teams at auto dealerships, is there truly a strong focus on increasing customer lifetime value?

Cultivating a better car buying experience begins with developing a thorough understanding of what customers value in vehicles. Once this established, then you can align those values with your marketing and sales approach.

Emerging trends that matter to car buyers in 2018

To understand car buyers, you must have a solid understanding of what they value in cars. According to a Think with Google: Automotive Trends Report 2018, these trends stood out among the rest for buyers in the U.S.2

The “family” is redefined to include pets

Families in the U.S. are redefining the family to include pets. Drivers bring their pets along for the ride, and therefore prioritize the safety of these new passengers with safety harnesses, features, and other features that make the right safe for everyone in the family.

Ask your marketing team, what vehicles empower pet owners to bring their furry family members along for the ride, and how can they reach those families?

Modern Car Family.jpg

Does your messaging reflect what you offer to the whole family?

Onboard cameras matter to consumers for safety and liability

There are now three times as many searches for onboard cameras than autonomous driving. Search terms include dash cams, wireless backup cams, HD mirror cams, car security cameras, and backup cams.

Vehicle owners want to take advantage of having a second set of eyes on the road to eliminate all blind spots. The increased intent is evident through a 22% year over year increase in backup cameras searches. It’s clear that having this extra vision matters to drivers.

Automotive dealer marketers and sales teams need to know which vehicle models have these cameras. Use that knowledge to express the value they bring through paid search ads, on the phone with a sales rep, or in person for a test drive at the dealership.

Once there is a solid understanding of car buyer trends, which gives insight into what car buyers value, then focus on optimizing the car buying journey.

Optimize the complete car buying journey - online and offline

When conducting car research, customers search online, visit manufacturer and dealer websites, read reviews, call dealers, visit dealers for test drives, and much more. The experience that leads to the sale may take place over one to two days of intense interaction, which makes every touchpoint and interaction with the customer matter that much more.

That’s why it’s critical for marketing and sales teams to track every touchpoint, online and offline. This starts with driving the right car buyers through online advertising and other marketing channels dealerships. Once you know which marketing campaigns drive high intent car buyers to call the dealer to set an appointment, then it’s imperative to optimize the phone call experience.

Call center or dealer representatives who handle these calls should have training and knowledge of current inventory and features that align with buyer values. Well informed conversations lead to in-person visits to the dealer. In-person visits increase the likelihood of a car sale. Analyzing and optimizing this customer journey enables your marketing and sales teams to reshape the customer experience. It goes from a haggling, price-shopping approach to an experience where the customer knows your dealership team understands their values and ensures you drive away with the vehicle that fulfills those values.

Does your marketing team understand the value of every touchpoint that influences a sale?

To fully optimize the complete customer journey, your marketing team is only as effective as the software that tracks all online and offline touchpoints across the car buying experience. Modern call tracking connects online and offline touchpoints for advertising and marketing campaigns. Learn more about how Infinity’s call tracking solution for the automotive industry drives marketing outcomes for some of the biggest brands to ensure marketing channels boost phone calls and sales to dealers.

References:

1) Automotive Marketing: An Overview of Current Marketing Trends, Statistics, and Strategies, V12 Data, (Oct 25, 2016)

2) Think with Google: Automotive Trends Report, Google, (Feb, 2018)

Marketing Manager

William Ruddy
Marketing Manager

Marketing Manager who spends all his free time cooking, exploring new restaurants in Baltimore, and hiking the best trails in Maryland, Colorado, and other parts of the US.

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