Automakers such as Toyota and Nissan have decided to tone down the appearance of their human models in Geneva, marking a potential sea change for an industry that has long pandered to male customers.
A photographer snapped a photo at each home and, using a portable printer, instantly created a direct mail piece with the caption, “It’s closer than you think.” The result: a 33% response rate compared to the 4% response rate that Pfaff Automotive’s traditional direct mail marketing campaigns generate.
Entrepreneurs have dissected the cost-value equation and come up with new retail concepts. Their stories have been persuasive enough to attract hundreds of millions of dollars in public equity investment and persuade dozens of fiercely independent car dealers to sell out. Internet technology has lowered entry barriers for other entrepreneurs with new ideas about helping customers find, evaluate and buy new vehicles. These patterns are consistent with revolutions in other consumer durables markets that effectively transferred market power from manufacturers to retailers.
MINI USA’s “the best test drive ever. Period.” campaign, created by butler, shine, stern and Partners, encouraged consumers to describe in six words a fantasy test drive of a Mini Coupe. The contest winner’s fantasy was made reality in a film that premiered online on MINI USA’s Facebook page and YouTube channel, as well as in cinemas nationwide. The campaign received 14,000 submissions, prompted MINI USA’s Twitter account to grow from zero to 19,000 followers in one month, and drove 6,000 consumers into 115 MINI USA dealerships—2,100 of which ended up purchasing a vehicle, all for a fraction of the cost of super bowl TV spots or celebrity endorsements.
Nonetheless, manufacturers seem to be following, not leading, the revolution. Many are still being pushed or kicked along the path of change. There are real questions whether their late — and in some cases half-hearted — responses will be enough to protect the traditional position of the vehicle manufacturer as the caller of shots in the auto industry.
During this online research phase, prospects experience several “micro moments” – mini moments in the buying cycle – that are important for every car dealership to understand in order to take advantage of.
This creates a kind of inertia so that even the umbrella brands, as discussed earlier, provide no cover for the models beneath it. That’s why the sales of a Ford Focus drop while the Ford Fusion does not. The automakers have taught us to look at the individual models, not the brand. They’ve done that by simply promoting product features.No one has REALLY implemented a strategy for rebranding automobiles. They just play with worn out tactics.
The automotive industry has had its fair share of ups and downs in the latter half of the century. Shifting consumer priorities, environmental considerations, fluctuating markets and other transformations have spawned an existential awakening in the industry. In the midst of all this, the ongoing (and inevitable) shift towards digital platforms and devices created a whole new set of challenges and opportunities for automotive marketers.
Stage #1: Introduction to Retail Car Sales (approx. 1 – 6 months) – It’s new, fun and exciting. You have a great attitude and a thirst for product knowledge. You have pep-in-your-step and you always have a smile on your face.
Today, auto manufacturers are incorporating elements such as social media contests and outreach to distinguish their respective brands. At the same time, many local auto retailers and dealerships are using traditional advertising strategies with a distinctly 21st century spin. Regardless of the objective, all automotive marketers face similar obstacles, like justifying investments in social media and testing uncharted waters.
“Sometimes, a piece of inventory just won’t sell, so the general manager will keep lowering the price,” Wheeler explains. The dealership loses money on these cars, but the salesperson still gets commission. If a car is proving particularly hard to sell, some dealerships hand out cash prizes, called “spiffs,” to whoever finally sells it. As a salesperson, “you could make $5000 to $10,000 a year on spiffs alone,” McDonald says. In fact, the first car a salesperson usually shows you is a spiff. Instead of promising a specific cash amount, some dealerships have their own “wheel of fortune” with various spiff prizes on it. Salespeople could get $100, or they could get nothing, depending on where the wheel lands.
Expect a meteoric rise in the use of both of these terms. (Remember the days of “Big Data”?) There are so few solutions that can base its entire foundation upon the claims of AI and ML. And yes, there are industry-leading data mining solutions use these concepts such as AutoAlert to provide massive value sorting large data sets to help create more opportunities to sell cars.
I also think that the internet is helping improve this ratio in favor of good salespeople and sales managers. Search engines and a few websites allow consumers to post reviews of any car dealership out there. The internet is also increasingly becoming the starting point for shopping for cars. Bad dealerships are losing money when people leave bad reviews.
Let’s look at the industry as a whole, at least from a United States perspective. Recent research from the 2014-2015 Automotive Advertising Outlook suggests half of auto advertising budgets would be spent on digital. The impressive finding was that the amount spent by dealers, both franchised and independents, was to climb 21.8%. The automotiove industry represents the second biggest advertising industry in the U.S.
Although consumers have a generally finite amount of research time, they won’t spend all of it with you. Make sure your inventory is active where the consumers are browsing to see them as many time as you can.
Successful sales is a deliberate, thoughtful activity. You need a process that you initiate over and over again. Whenever I talk with small business owners or salespeople who aren’t realizing the results they desire, the cause is usually the same: They don’t have a sales strategy.
Car dealerships typically require their sales people to have only a high school diploma. As is the case in most retail sectors, car salesmen tend to learn their skills via on-the-job training. A college degree may enhance employability in management roles, particularly with large dealerships or for individuals who aspire to own their own dealership.
Because guards are often seen within arm’s reach of a celebrity, some think they must be having the same experiences. Not so. “A big misconception is that we’re living the same life as celebrities do,” Kalaydjian says. “Yes, we’re on a private jet sometimes, but we’re not enjoying the amenities. We might live in their house, but we’re not enjoying their pool. You stay to yourself, make your rounds.” Guards that get wrapped up in a fast-paced lifestyle don’t tend to last long, he says.
“With this system and MasterCard, we are able to offer very attractive interest rates for the service. It is highly automated and can be used for all invoices, from small to large.” Interest rates will vary, he added, but are very competitive.