Automotive Digital Marketing

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Once upon a time, not so long ago, most often late at night, we all found ourselves mildly curious about a cheap product advertized on a sixty second TV commercial. Many ended with “you must order before midnight tonight”. Over a period of time the consumer got smarter and understood that it was just a ploy, a hook to create a situation, a set of circumstances that did not exist. Another technique was to use “plus shipping and handling” to hide the true cost of the product. Come on, you remember. “Your personal super-high-output-turbo-charged- fan- cooled toothbrush for only 5.95 + shipping and handling” (S&H, another twelve bucks). The consumer was exposed to one hook after another and over time less of us took the bait. Those pitches have largely disappeared from our televisions. They don’t work anymore. TV marketers moved on. Fast forward to today’s internet automotive shopper. You request information or a simple quotation for a vehicle. Unfortunately, often your requests are answered with layers of technically true statements designed to dress up the worm to hide the hook. When I was a car salesperson I dreaded mandatory sales meetings where the “new” advertising campaign was introduced. The sales manager at some point would say “here’s the hook” or “the hook is…” I immediately began to feel the embarrassment I knew I would face when the first customer who understood or suspected the hook would call me out on it…. And I don’t want to hear “a good salesman knows how to overcome objections” Nothing in our sales process should be found objectionable in terms of deception or having to explain “the rest of the story”. As the years roll on more and more consumers come to understand that there is usually a hook, something will always turn out to be different than what they were led to believe in the ads. Sadly, many dealers today still can’t resist spending thousands of dollars every month on TV, print and now their websites to feed the now educated, well informed public the same tired, worn out hooks. Many dealers just don’t get it. These dealerships are not making any gains on their credibility. Today’s consumer is wary of dealerships that require your phone number or require that you visit the dealership to get the information they have asked for online. Baiting the consumer onto the phone or into the dealership is often their first goal, not giving what they want, the way they want it. If consumers cannot maintain their anonymity throughout the process and get complete, straightforward answers to their requests, they will consider working with another dealership, it’s that simple.

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