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As someone who lives on his PC, I have to stretch my imagination every time I hear about the advent of the mobile generation.


I have an iPad and I have my super-duper Galaxy S3 smart phone. I absolutely love them for different reasons.

This got me to thinking about those who say PCs are doomed. And I have to say I disagree. It's not just that PCs are not doomed, it's why they are not doomed and what it means for Digital Marketing.

The popularity of mobile, be it tablet or smart phone, is portability and "less vs more". Portability speaks to itself, so let's examine "less vs more".

The average person uses his computer for email, surfing, communicating, socializing, and finding specific things like maps and navigation. They also love games. These things are ideal for mobile and encompass the needs of these people. Therefore, combined with portabillity, you have the obvious attraction.

However, working on these devices tries one's patience, unless you travel for your job. It is much easier to work on a PC than any of the alternatives. A PC has so many more software possiblities than a mobile device. It has a keyboard that is practical. And serious work can be done.

I think PCs are here to stay for some time.

What does that mean to marketers? Consider the times that many people contact dealers. It is usually lunchtime. Many of them are using their PCs and dead time at work to do so. It's not just that they can't do it at home. It's that they plan that time for personal things to do that they don't have time to do at home. I know because I do it too. And I'm a consumer. I often say to my wife in the evening, "I'll try to do that on my lunch break tomorrow".

Are their any implications I'm missing? Does it matter? I'm looking for opinions. What do you think?

Tags: Mobile, PC, digital, iPad, marketing, phones, smart, tablets, technology

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Tom, I posted a blog yesterday about the new 2012 J.D. Power AutoShopper car buyer behavior study and the big news was that 20% of the people who buy new vehicles in 2012 use a "mobile" device to access web based information related to their vehicle shopping activities... That's right, 20%.  Keep in mind that the 20% number INCLUDES iPADS AND TABLETS.  So, as fast as the use of mobile devices is growing, it is in no danger of toppling full size laptops and desktop PC's any time soon as far as becoming the majority of devices used by car buyers during the shopping process. 

With that said, we are fast approaching the moment in time when people use their mobile devices more frequently for accessing the web than full sized PC's... What does that mean? Well, from what I can see there is a distinct tendency to shop for vehicles and related information using full sized devices.

Another significant piece of data is the predominant use of mobile devices to check information by car buyers WHILE THEY ARE PHYSICALLY VISITING DEALERSHIPS.  So the implications are clear and I am not the first automotive marketing professional to point out that we must now design our web based assets to work across a wide variety of different sized screens and browser formats... Get used to it.  If your web sites and assets do not work properly across ALL OF THE ABOVE, including full sized PC's with big monitors, cell phones and tablet devices, you are leaving money on the table in regards to your digital marketing strategy.

Tom and Ralph. Love the thought-provoking article. I don't think I'm going to disagree with either of your thinking, but I do want to point out that it's the pace of growth in mobile that we must all be paying attention to. True, only 20% of people using mobile device for shopping today. But what was that number just two years ago, and what will that number be two years ahead. Mobile may not be the world today, but in just a few short years I think we're having a much different conversation.

John Sternal

Black Book

Absolutely agree John. Today is yesterday is the rear view, associated with mobile. With ALL the progression of mobile and pads, mobile is essential for franchised Dealers to capture more of the market. Concern, are the Dealers moving as fast as the consumers? I do not think so. By  FAR... Enough  said as this phenomena is succession to  what is obviously in the 'rear view mirror'...

John and Michael, I hope my response to Ralph also resonated with you.  I was thinking of all three responses when I wrote it.  Thank you for your input.

Ralph, I pretty much expected that response because I agree with it.  All of your assets must be available and optimized for every platform.  20% is already a big number.  The first thing I asked a vendor recently was if their offer was optimized for mobile.  They said no, unfortunately, in so many words.

But I truly wonder if PCs are dead or doomed?  I don't think so.  The challenge for me is when to market to PCs and when to market to mobile, and how to justify and quantify the difference.

I see a future when mobile, as we know it, is obsolete.  We will be permanently wired and will wonder why we carried that brick in our pocket.  But I see the big screen and keyboard as lasting as well because "it's soooo nice" and facilitates real work in isolation and comfortable surroundings.

Whadaya think?

I agree that the PC (and Mac, of course) are here to stay at least for the foreseeable future. As the Internet Marekting Director for a group of dealerships, I can say that it is extremely important to ensure that you are able to comfortably and easily handle both platforms.

One thing that we are contemplating implementing is to target different promotions for different devices. For instance, promoting a "check in" discount on our mobile site makes much more sense than on our desktop site. Although, if I were to have a customer driving into to our oil change lane with their full desktop setup in their car, complete with the VERY long extension cord trailing them, I think they would deserve a free oil change whether they "check in" or not!

Ultimately, however you implement your approach, the important thing to keep in mind is that, like our government, we are firmly rooted in a "two-party system".

David, I love the two party system both with computers and government.  Thank you!


Kenneth, you fit the description of the advance ranks of permanently wired.  The party lines are already blurring!  I like it! Thanks for commenting.

Here's an interesting perspective as to why PCs won't disappear and will remain relevant.  "Review: Tablet apps fill in gap, won't replace PCs".

Then again, I wake up to read this in The Wall Street Journal:

The personal-computer business has entered a tailspin.

Reports from research firms Wednesday provided new details about the industry's worsening condition, triggered by factors that include cannibalization by tablet computers, sluggish economic conditions and slowing PC sales in emerging countries.

The grim signs come as Microsoft Corp. MSFT +0.31% and its allies are hoping to generate excitement in late October with a new version of Windows and new devices designed to run the software.

Researchers IDC and Gartner Inc. IT +0.75% said PC shipments in the third quarter fell more than 8% from a year earlier, the steepest drop since at least 2001. A third report, from IHS iSuppli, projected PC shipments for the full year would decline for the first time in 11 years.

John, I saw a similar article. There's no doubt that PCs are struggling because they are no longer the only option.  I see a downsizing of the PC business until it all balances out.  They were they only option at one time and now they are only one option of several.  That's going to take to time to adjust.  But I don't see the "death" of PCs.  They're too good at being work-stations.  Do you agree?

As I've mentioned before, 28% of the leads we generate for our dealers comes from the mobile version of our DriveItNow service.

What's more interesting is the credit quality of these leads vs desktop leads.



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