A term quickly growing in the automotive space is ZMOT, or Zero Moment of Truth. It is that pivotal moment when a shopper decides which dealership he or she is going to visit for a test drive. It not only influences shoppers to make good decisions but its power helps you tell your story at the moment of highest impact.
ZMOT also turns small wins into big ones. In other words…it turns leads into showroom visits.
Google partnered with Shopper Sciences in April 2011 to conduct a survey including 500 automotive responders. Participants in this vertical represent ages 18-70 and individuals who purchased or leased a new vehicle within the previous 24 months.
The comprehensive study detailed the varied purchasing habits of shoppers which no longer reflects a linear fashion, when traditional media was the only source of information consulted. In fact, shopping behaviors constantly change and is now a multifaceted process.
As new information is found through traditional or digital media throughout the process, a re-evaluation occurs.
Did you know that on average a car shopper references 18.2 sources before actually buying a car?
This may include seeing your TV ad, researching online, reviewing inventory on your website, talking to family/friends, “Liking” your dealership on Facebook, etc.
The buying cycle – from initial thought to after purchase – encompasses four (4) important stages:
These stages are important to understand in order to determine your ZMOT and when to display it in order to convert shoppers to shows when they are ready to buy.
Why is this New Mental Model important?
The New Mental Model is a guideline to show at what point in the buying process a shopper is influenced in making a decision. With all things being equal – having a dealer website, vehicle inventory, pricing, customer contact processes, etc. – what are you doing to win these customers at that pivotal moment when they decide they want to test drive a vehicle?
When participants were asked “When you were considering purchasing/leasing a new automobile, what sources of information did you seek out to help with your decision?”, the top 3 responses were:
- Talked with a salesperson at the dealership 85%
- Looked at the automobiles at the dealership 84%
- Test drove car at a dealership 79%
As follow-up, participants were asked which sources were most influential. The number one response provided for three out of four participants (74%)? In-person experience with the automobile is the most influential source.
Thinking about your marketing strategy, what is your ZMOT? In other words, what action do you provide shoppers to influence them from a lead to a show at your dealership?
The most revealing aspect of this study was the number of sources considered during the buying process. What this validates is the importance of standing out and providing car shoppers with a unique experience, offer and reason to buy from you. Ultimately, ZMOT is about influencing shoppers to visit your dealership when they are ready to buy.
What are you doing to drive more showroom ups? What’s your ZMOT? www.leadtoshow.com