It’s an exciting time in digital history. Automotive marketers are finally catching on to the critical importance of attribution – AND more importantly, the associated consequences if accurate attribution is not accomplished. Maybe it’s something about the hot summer air. Or maybe digital leaders are just coming to their senses. Or maybe dealerships are just plain tired of spending thousands or even millions of dollars on advertising with not much to show for it at the end of the month. I hear this from Dealer Principals over and over as I speak at different events across the country. Most likely, it’s a combination of factors. But regardless of how or why, an attribution miracle is taking place as we speak in our industry.
By David Metter
The four bases that make up a baseball diamond can be directly related to the car shopper’s journey. We all know the path begins online. The final destination, or home base, is the dealership. The goal is to surpass all your bases and arrive back at home, or rather, get buyers into your store. You can’t get a home run without rounding the other three bases - that would be cheating. Similarly, in the car business, there are three obstacles you have to conquer first and foremost, before returning home for the win.
First Base: Meet Expectations
The expectations of today’s digitally equipped consumers have skyrocketed. Souring shopper standards have caused additional complexities within the marketing landscape. There are more media outlets than ever before. New developments in mobile and wearable devices are generating more buzz than an overcrowded group text. Our access to data is exploding. Social media advertising opportunities are #Trending. But with all this technological innovation has come consequences. These advancements mean one thing for dealers and marketers: more competition. The following are guidelines to rise above and defeat the competition.
In a recent study, eMarketer reported 97% of US corporate executives say their customers expected an efficient, fast, cost-effective, and personalized level of experience. The two most critical components in automotive marketing today are speed and personalization. Cost aside, if you don’t offer a seamless, personal experience that spans from your digital advertising all the way to your showroom, having the lowest price in town isn’t going to matter - because buyers won’t make it to your dealership if you lack the first two pieces of the equation.
When a pitch is thrown to home plate, the batter has less than a tenth of a second to make a decision on whether or not to take a swing. When it comes to your website and mobile site, the same holds true. The modern-day consumer is flat out impatient. Google says 70% of smartphone users will leave a site that has a lagging load time and 67% will switch websites if it takes too many steps to get the relevant information they’re looking for. Dealers have a total of two seconds to ensure their mobile site experience prevails – slightly more time than a player at bat, but a very small window nonetheless.
According to AutoConversion, personalization of messaging is something we can and should be measuring. “Consumers now expect and respond better to messaging that is better customized to them personally, thus customization has become a key measurable characteristic with marketing attribution, an idea unimagined only a few years ago.”
Second Base: Establish Trust
I don’t care how you do it. Or at what inning in the game you earn their trust. But trust is paramount when it comes to selling cars. Choosing which vehicle to purchase and where to buy it is a large, emotionally dense decision. Whether it’s trust in a brand, a dealership, or a salesperson, it is ultimately that sense of security that makes people feel like they’re being provided with a personal, reliable experience. That feeling of comfort will translate across channels into vehicles sold.
Salespeople are already at a disadvantage when it comes to trust. A new survey from HubSpot says, “Only a mere 3% of people consider salespeople to be trustworthy.” Dealers need to be cognizant of this when staffing sales and BDC staff. Your team’s ability to communicate with honesty and transparency should be equally as important as their experience and knowledge of your inventory.
The same rules apply in marketing. Your brand, your digital campaigns, your “why buy” messaging, and your reputation management, all must collectively paint a picture of trust. A dependable brand provides helpful tips and easy access to information. Dealers can establish integrity by sharing useful advice or articles throughout their digital endeavors, not necessarily related to their given product.
Third Base: Achieve Conversion
We know vehicle details page (VDP) visits are important. There is no denying the correlation between VDP views and units sold. But what is even more important is the experience your VDP offers once the customer gets there. Your landing pages need to do three things: be easy to navigate, load fast, and above all, convert. Ask yourself, how do your VDPs incentivize customers to take that next step toward home base (your showroom)? KissMetrics says a one second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.
Home Plate: Your Dealership
The culmination of the home run occurs when all these factors are simultaneously in play. The trajectory includes every digital touch point (base) that ultimately drove a buyer into your showroom. Just as players must work together as a team, these micro-moments must all work in harmony in order to meet expectations, establish trust, and offer a fast and personal experience.
By David Metter
The accelerating rate of mobile usage is not a trend. It’s certainly not going out of style. Mobile best practices need to be hard coded in the DNA of every brand, dealer, and marketer – guiding your digital strategy from this very micro-moment on. No longer is mobile marketing a segment or part of your approach, but rather it should dominate your approach, and that’s huge.
We’ve been watching consumer behavior in the retail segment for years. The Automotive industry is following in the tracks of larger retailers like Target, Home Depot, and of course, Amazon. This mobile-driven shopping behavior is rapidly translating from buying a T.V. at Best Buy to purchasing a vehicle at a dealership. “Showrooming,” or shopping on other dealer’s sites on a mobile device while physically at a dealership is an increasing problem that needs to be handled proactively. If consumers are going to compare prices on their smartphones for a $20 item or an $800 item, the probability is even stronger that they’ll do the same for a $40,000-$50,000 item while on a dealer’s lot.
We’ve been in
1. Ensure You Have Access to Accurate, Real-Time Attribution Reporting: According to AdRoll’s State of the Industry, 41% of U.S. marketers said the lack of attribution transparency was one of the biggest, if not the biggest challenge of mobile advertising today. The ultimate goal for dealers and OEMs is to choose a vendor that has the ability to attribute every sale and every showroom visit to a single campaign at nearly 100% effectiveness, regardless of the device or media channel that led them to you.
Leverage technology that knows the exact coordinates of every franchise dealership in the country, so you can pinpoint the exact location of a customer at a nearby competitor. You can then target with highly specific and dynamic messaging, giving you the control to conquest other brands and more importantly, protect your own backyard. Dealers cannot possibly do this by themselves. Unite technology with intelligent data that executes well and has the attribution reporting to prove it.
2. Eliminate Extra Steps: Digital marketing can get complicated when you break down all the moving pieces that make up a comprehensive, synergetic strategy. With mobile, it’s actually quite simple. Think of a single goal your mobile campaign must accomplish. For most, it should be to get a buyer into your showroom. Then, map out the easiest, most straightforward route to get there. The
According to eMarketer, over one-third of advertisers say users or consumers not converting on mobile is yet another challenge. Friction is the enemy here. If a customer gets “stuck” either waiting for a page to load or navigating through irrelevant content they will move on faster than you can
3. Zero-In on Buyers: Through location and behavioral targeting, we can build a consumer profile that offers great insight into who is in-market and ready to make a purchase, and who is still in the research phase of buying a car. 90% of consumers leave their location services enabled. Google advises marketers to take advantage of these built-in GPS systems. In addition, “61% of smartphone users are more likely to buy from mobile sites and apps that customize information to their location.”
At the end of the day, great marketing is really about one thing; and that’s relating to people. With all the information, analytics and tools available to us, we’ve perhaps created an overly complicated, multi-faceted, omnichannel approach of simply trying to relate to people. The evolution of mobile is much more simplistic than that. It’s just about connecting with people on another level (that happens to be in their pocket, purse, or in their hands roughly 99% of the time).
Mobile usage rates have already exceeded desktop. Try not to blink, because before you know it, over 90% of showroom traffic will be attributable to a mobile device. So rather than being reactive, you better be
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