auto marketing

Winning Starts With WHY: The Critical Role of the "Why Factor" in the Auto Industry

By David Metter

Every business in existence knows what they do – or what product they offer and the associated features and benefits. Every dealership knows what they do best – which is obviously, sell cars. Successful dealerships equip their team with key players that know how to sell cars. But very few know why they sell cars, and the ones that do are empowered with this magical element I like to call the “why factor.”

What is the why factor? The why factor is a set of indestructible beliefs. It is how a business inspires to the point of eternal success. The why factor occurs when a threshold is crossed that transforms a brand into an essential lifestyle component. It is the point at which the brand itself becomes synonymous with the experience it provides.

The why factor is what makes baseball America’s pastime and not just a sport. You don’t have to be a diehard fan to enjoy a baseball game. It’s the atmosphere - the sights, the sounds, the smells, the contests - the experience the ballpark offers that makes it an exciting event for the whole family.

I’ll admit, compared to other pro sports, baseball is relatively slow-paced. But regardless, people love going to baseball games. Why? Because there is something memorable that comes to life within the stadium. The ballpark experience has become a vibrant aspect of our culture.

Apple, like baseball, has also become a part of our culture due to their unique marketing plays. The question becomes, what does Apple have that competing brands lack? I’ll give you a hint. It starts with why and ends with factor. It’s the why factor alone that has made Apple more successful than Dell. Their business model takes the traditional, “outside-in” approach and reverses it from “What-How-Why” to “Why-How-What.”

Leadership guru, author and acclaimed TED Talks speaker, Simon Sinek has created his own diagram that demonstrates the why factor, which he refers to as “The Golden Circle” shown below. Sinek says, “The inspired leaders, the inspired organizations, regardless of their size, regardless of their industry, all think, act, and communicate from the inside out.”

Still with me? Let’s further break down how Apple has mastered the all-powerful “why factor.”

IF (and that’s a big if) Apple communicated like everyone else, they would say what they do, how they do it and why they’re better. Then they would expect the action or behavior of people wanting to purchase their products. This is the “outside in,” commonplace approach. This tactic fails to guarantee longevity or more importantly, loyal customers.                                                 

Sinek demonstrates how Apple’s marketing messaging would sound if they were just like everyone else (outside in)…              

  1. What: “We make great computers.”
  2. How: “They’re beautifully designed, simple to use, and user-friendly.”
  3. “Want to buy one?”

Apple’s Actual Model (inside out):

  1. Why: “Everything we do we believe in challenging the status quo, we believe in thinking differently.”
  2. How: “The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use, and user-friendly.”
  3. What: “We just happen to make great computers, want to buy one?” 

The difference between these two angles of approach is in the values behind the company that define why they exist. Sinek emphasizes, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Such a simple idea, but so incredibly powerful. If you don’t believe me, look at any great car salesperson vs. an average car salesperson and you will see what I mean. 

In order to stand out, you can’t just say you’re different. You have to know exactly why you’re different. The why factor must be overflowing within your inherent system of beliefs. It should dictate why you get out of bed in the morning. It is this factor that conquers competitors and challenges the current way the game is played.

It’s not about if you win or lose. It’s about WHY you play the game. Same thing applies for dealers. Whether you sell the car or not, it’s essential you deliver a ball park-inspired, grand slam experience. People who have negative dealership interactions are more likely to tell their friends about them. Positive experiences equate to satisfied, loyal customers. The article, 9 Ways Your Business is Like Baseball also emphasizes the point, “The experience your customer has with your company can make or break their overall view of you and your products. Filling the seats isn’t enough. You want those seats filled by people who are happy they came.”

For your dealership’s message to resonate, you have to simply reverse the order of the information you deliver from “What-How-Why” to “Why-How-What” – always pushing forward from the inside out – never the other way around. Dealers can go about their day (and their marketing strategy) in one of two ways: they can sell cars, OR they can inspire people. Which will you choose moving forward?  

Six Fast & Furious Tips on Mobile Marketing for Auto Dealers

Our marketing universe is quickly becoming untethered as smartphones and tablets gain a broader share of web access to information and entertainment.  The mobile marketing world is still new to many dealers and we’re experiencing a learning curve about how to market, manage, and leverage this new landscape.  Here are 6 Quick Info Insights to help dealers get a quick course in Mobile 101.

1.     Mobile is Exploding

29% of web traffic page views are from mobile phones and tablets, and 71% from desktop or laptop computers.  Remember, smartphones are just mini-computers and shoppers are using them to obtain information on product availability via a streamlined process. Photos, videos, and pricing info need to be easily accessible on mobile platforms.  Dealership window stickers offering QR or Barcodes that provide more information than is shown on vehicle stickers helps connect shoppers to the dealership and provides a way for dealers to track these prospects.

With mobile users spending more than two hours a day on their devices, dealers have ample opportunities to connect with and advertise to these consumers and potential buyers. Remember, these mobile viewers are down the funnel in their car buying decision-making.  Make sure that you are prepared to convert them. 

http://www.slideshare.net/wearesocialsg/social-digital-mobile-in-the-americas? (Slide 209)

The rule for mobile:  Make it simple for shoppers to connect with auto dealership team members, either via an instant call process or text messaging.

2.     What your Competition is doing in the Mobile Space

Dealers who have been operating in the mobile space for a while have focused on text messaging as a primary way to engage mobile shoppers.  The response time is quicker, and more users (68%+) use text messaging regularly on their cell phones.

Dealers in the digital ad space still purchase keywords, and Google, Yahoo and other network mobile ads are also gaining traction. This is helping to establish brands and drive traffic to dealership sites.   Ads on social media channels are also gaining traction. However, it’s important to have a laser focus on the ad and not a generic vehicle ad with a payment.  Promote a specific event and offer a “call to action” or incentive to drive more traffic from ads.

3.     Mobile website or App: The choice is Yours

This is not an either/or proposition, as you can have both a mobile-friendly website and an app. With fast 3G or 4G data networks both sites or apps work fine. Since many mobile users delete “one-time shopping” apps after the task is completed, a dealership app should provide other functionality for the customer after a purchase is completed.  This could mean offering online service appointment scheduling, coupon updates and offers, etc. 

Virtually all the major website providers offer mobile solutions that meet the needs of the dealership and online shoppers.  Navigation on smartphones should be simple and provide visitors with an easy “click to call” button to contact sales or service teams, view inventory, or get simple directions. 

When considering building an “app,” remember developers have to create three separate apps for iPhone, Android and Windows phone users.  In addition to the cost of app development consider the changing platforms, required tech upgrades to accommodate changes in the various operating systems, and the cost of a project manager on the team to guide all these initiatives.  

4.     Social Media Channels Drive Mobile Traffic

154 million Americans are active monthly on social channels using mobile devices. And through these social channels consumers are finding their way to businesses where they buy products and services.  

Every social channel offers ad programs and content posting opportunities where you can engage channel members.  Connecting with auto shoppers by posting videos, service advice and tips, updates on parts and accessories, is a great way to drive more showroom traffic and generate calls to the dealership. Be a good neighbor. Nothing turns a potential customer off more than having a load of ads shoved their way on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. When you provide value, prospects and customers recognize and appreciate those efforts, and very often they will share that content with their online friends. 

5.     Track Mobile Conversion Rates

Tracking conversion rates in auto retail means measuring how many visitors generated a lead, a sale, or further in-depth visits to the site.   You can track when a mobile visitor uses the click-to-call or text feature from within the mobile site. And, once that info is in the CRM system, that prospect can be tracked to the end of engagement.  It’s also important to have detailed analytics for both the traditional and mobile websites to measure visits, page views and of course vehicle detail page (VDP) visits.   Many companies use Google Analytics. But if you do not want “big brother” watching, you might want to consider Clicky Web Analytics (getclicky.com), or the free W3 Counter Analytics (w3counter.com).  

6.     Use Incentives on Mobile Devices to Close the Sale

No matter how a shopper finds a dealership, consumers still respond to calls to action and incentives when considering or making buying decisions.  Be prepared and offer an incentive when a prospect is on the fence and deciding to visit your dealership versus dealership B. 

Coupons can easily be pushed to smartphones, tablets, and PCs offering gift cards, rebates, discounts, or other value added items.  Give your sales team an edge to closing the sale with an attractive incentive for your customers.