It appears to me that Mark Twain was light years already ahead in regards to automotive digital marketing, when he stated “Find out where the people are going and get there first” – remarkable because Twain lived from 1835 – 1910, the first automobile was introduced to the masses in 1892 and Al Gore hadn’t invented the internet yet…
However Twain early on seemed to have had developed a common sense business acumen “to capture people’s interest in your story, product, your business and show them along the buying cycle, that you’ll be always there, on their side not leaving them out of sight – be already there when they (the consumers) arrive…
I believe we all can agree on the fact that the old purchase behavior and model has changed. From the prior rigid and linear path of offline marketing stimulus to a more circular online advertising stimulus – capturing buyer’s through metrics and their online behavior.
Similar to the old offline marketing and advertising approach, creating a lot of noise, occupying ad clutter exposure of e.g. Home Décor magazines of more of 60% advertising pages – the online world is experiencing a renaissance of this ad-noise, which I will compare to the virtual “Time Square” of online exposure. Instead having high raise buildings with neon boards and messages flashing up and down the strip some of the websites you are opening in your browsers are giving me the same feel – over exaggerating ad messages from all kind f businesses, display ads, tower displays, etc…it almost feels like that marketers and advertisers using the exactly same marketing strategies we have used for decades – this time only online, flashy, blinking and even more overkill.
Wouldn’t it make more sense to accommodate in today’s buyer world their needs, their online habits, their time on how the decide to research and buy – especially knowing so much more through our analytics websites and web traffic is revealing?
With an extensive research and a goal to create “smart advertising”, David Winter, VP of Business Intelligence at Cobalt asked his team of 70 “analytical geeks” and “introverted metric junkies” and to look at the online behavior of thousands of anonymous automotive shoppers across dealer, OEM and 3rd party websites. What they found were numerous indicators that the linear shipping behavior “Stimulus – Negotiation – Purchase” of car shoppers is a thing of the past.
Today’s car buyer wants to buy and/or research on their time card and their leisure and not on the pushy approach too many marketers are still suggesting is working – like the so well know “email blast”, mailers and one-pager ads in Saturdays newspaper.
Like Twain said “….find out where people going….” – Winter’s research explored numerous different types of buyers. Three generic shopping personas in particular, the Modern Family, Miss Pop-culture and Mr. Contractor had one thing in common – while they never send an email lead to any of their dealerships, the research captured what inventory they were surfing, which VDP’s they were researching, which Hours and Directions pages they viewed as they planned a visit to the dealership. If we only have this information, and not an email lead how do we “…find out where the people are going…”, or more importantly, guide them to come to our stores?
These insights emphasize the role Remarketing can play in your store’s marketing strategy. Thanks to a Remarketing tool (cookie), which were embedded inside the surfed websites and could relocate the three buyer types mentioned above during their daily online behavior, the dealership and the OEM marketing messages could be reapplied for exposure over and over again on all other 3rd party websites the consumers surfed and visited from there on.
The research and results indicated that when a Remarketing Cookie was applied and the message was brought to the consumers over and over again, the dealership had a chance again to re-win this consumer to sell a car or win the business. In our case of the 3 consumers…
- Miss Pop-Culture went back to the dealership she initially had visited and surfed their VDP over and over again after 30 days – ending up buying a car
- Mr. Contractor ended up buying the brand and model he decided on from the get-go after 20+ days, and even so he did not cross-shop Makes, he shopped more than 20 different dealerships only then to go back to the “guys” who he had visited first and who were using smart advertising in form of remarketing.
- The Modern Family showed exactly the same pattern than the other two above – the only mayor difference was that their purchase process ended up being more than 90 days. Understandable considering how a modern family functions today with all the errands like Mini League on Tuesday and Saturday, Sophie’s ballet on Wednesday, Girl’s night out for mom on Friday and so on…
With the age of remarketing your dealership will have the opportunity to be always first in row for all these shoppers researching your inventory and website. With this first virtual touch-point your chance are increasing dramatically to close a deal down the new purchase path. Your dealership name can and should be out there with any minute, showing your future customer’s “that you know where the people are going”, and you’ll be already there and waiting.