There are typically two reasons a consumer will be in-market for a car: they are coming to the end of their finance agreement, or their circumstances have changed.
Of course, the complete list of reasons consumers decide to purchase a car is somewhat endless, but the above categorises things nicely.
Dealerships are typically very good at engaging with the first pot of potential customers, especially if they bought their latest car from them, as data held within their DMS will indicate when a change is due.
Furthermore, when dealers reach out to existing data with whom they have a prior relationship, customers are more likely to engage and respond.
Marketing Delivery can trigger automated messages to both sales and service customers coming up to renewal to encourage repeat purchases from their original dealerships. This is an example of Automated eCRM which holds a vital place in the digital customer journey.
Our research shows that pre-pandemic, there were 16 days, on average, between a customer making a full-on enquiry and them finding the right car at the right price.
However, we’ve seen that more of the purchase funnel will now take place online before any physical interaction with a dealership, with 46% of those intending to purchase another car agreeing that they are now less likely to visit a car dealership in person when researching a purchase because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Subsequently, there are now just 6 days between enquiry and completion. The age of the “walk-in” seems to be over!
Although, there has been a fundamental shift in behaviours that have changed the way people shop. Historically, people have found products to match their needs. Now, thanks to highly personalised digital marketing capabilities, products find people.
Always On Social Media Marketing
According to research commissioned by Facebook, 84% of those surveyed have discovered new brands and products online. Furthermore, 87% of car buyers in Europe state they have discovered new model launches online.
One area that dealers might focus on less is the ‘Always On’ marketing approach and, unfortunately, their marketing plan might not match a customer’s life events. 89% of consumers aged 18-34 said one of the main reasons they purchased a vehicle was due to a change in circumstance.
Changes in circumstance could be anything from marriage to promotions – or even the opposite of both – and may disrupt a consumer’s typical purchase cycle.
91% of customers across Europe already have strong opinions when it comes to their next car purchase, so much so that they only consider up to three car brands. These stats just go to show that the always on approach to marketing is essential so as not to miss an opportunity and to stay ahead of competitors.
Organic Social Media Content
The always on approach isn’t just limited to paid advertising. 45% of new car buyers admit to visiting a Facebook Page while considering their purchase to get a feel for the dealership professionalism, 42% to read existing customer reviews and 28% to communicate directly with the dealer.
With this in mind, posting consistent and quality content across your Social Media accounts organically is another key part of a well-balanced marketing mix. To ensure organic social media doesn’t slip to the bottom of the to-do list on a busy day, consider investing in a multi-platform publishing tool (such as VoiceBox) to schedule in advance.
To conclude, it’s not so much a case of one or the other, Always On vs Automation, it’s about how businesses must prioritise both to ensure increased reach, engagement and, therefore, conversions.