ADM serves Car Dealers, Automotive Marketing Pros and Internet Sales Managers
Auto manufacturers are always looking for new ways to get consumers excited about their products, and sometimes that means crossing the automotive industry lines and sharing the spotlight with other industries.
What is Cross-Marketing?
Cross-marketing is when one industry incorporates their product or services into another industry in order to gain better exposure and help fuel consumer passion for both of their brands for a mutual benefit. This type of marketing often aims to reach specific buyer personas or a target audience looking for the type of cars your brand’s message promotes.
What are some instances that show your brand’s cross-marketing efforts have reached your shoppers?
1. Your shoppers knew about a vehicle from a video game before they came into your store.
Automakers like Audi and Nissan have shown off their products in video games like “Forza Motorsport 5” and “Gran Turismo”, aiming to catch interest from millennials, but also older ages who play the game as well. And it’s working!
They chose specific video games to show off their vehicles in the digital space, avoiding those which involved vehicle crashes. With this approach, they’re hoping that even if a potential customer isn’t looking to purchase now, they will fall in love with the brand through their experience driving it within the video game and possibly buy from them in the future due to association.
Word to the wise: Building excitement shouldn’t just happen in the months before purchase. OEMs help dealers gather your future clientele before they even have their driver’s license by hacking the digital space, so you need to pay attention to where your brand’s vehicles are on display!
2. More shoppers will be asking about new models than pre-owned models.
Cross-marketing often tries to *spark* interest in new models (pun intended for you Chevy dealers out there). They surround the excitement around something never seen before, and try to build its reputation with the brand messaging.
For example, Dodge partnered with The Onion by supporting the satirical digital news source’s YouTube channel, which helped push support for the 2013 Dart and its updated technology, while at the same time making fun of TV advertising.
By appearing on The Onion, Dodge’s Dart is now being marketed by association and trying to align with its younger readership who would be drawn to a sporty new Dodge vehicle. Who you support and partner with says as much about your brand as the reverse, and it’s always a good idea to be mindful of who that is and why your brand chose that partnership.
3. Your shoppers ask about iPhone connectivity inside your vehicles.
Sometimes, other brands are cross-marketing with you instead. Brands like Apple are making in-car accessories for vehicles more desirable, and helping you promote those vehicles that are the most technologically advanced.
It will be interesting to see if this mash-up helps both brands sink or swim, but so far - they seem to be swimming.
Salespeople should be aware of how other brands are helping sell the features in their vehicles - from tires to iPhones. It is especially helpful for your chat staff to know these features too, because if a shopper asks during a chat conversation - you can let them know what the vehicle they are looking at includes and get them more excited about the purchase!
4. Your shoppers experienced driving in one of your vehicles before coming into your store (and NOT at another dealership or in a friend’s car).
Recently, Bentley partnered with some luxury hotels in California and offered them a package with an extended test drive of a Bentley model during their stay. This package helped gain exposure for both brands, and hit their target audience on the nose. It also got their audience in the driver’s seat and encouraged them to feel what it is like to own the vehicle before considering a purchase.
Does your dealership offer extended test drives of any kind? I’ve chatted with a few shoppers in my VSA Days about extended test drive options, and it might be worth the investment to offer something like this if it is economical for your store. Sometimes it takes shoppers a day or two of being in the driver’s seat to really get in the mindset of owning the vehicle.
5. Your dealership is offering online incentives to shoppers in exchange for a test drive.
One way your dealership can get directly involved in cross-marketing is by offering targeted incentives through your live chat service. This method gives shoppers more of a reason to stop by your showroom by adding an extra and immediate benefit just for them. However, what they don’t always realize, is that you are encouraging them to become emotionally attached to the vehicle they are test driving in order to receive this incentive, which could be a gift card to the nearest Starbucks.
Sometimes people just need a little extra encouragement to get them into your store to buy a vehicle, and these incentives help unsure buyers to make a decision, as well as motivate serious buyers to make the trip!
Has your dealership tried out these incentives? What are your thoughts on it, and have you seen a better return by using this type of cross marketing to bring shoppers onto your dealership’s lot?
Auto dealers need to be paying attention to what their brand is doing to promote their vehicles so that you can address any shopper questions in regards to those efforts. For instance, if someone asks about a Range Rover designed by Victoria Beckam, are you going to know its differences compared to a standard Range Rover? What processes do you have in place to educate your Sales Team on these marketing efforts and brand placements?
Partnering with a succeeding industry to improve your brand’s awareness, promote a vehicle’s features, or just get them into the driver’s seat can take your dealership and your products a long way into the future and help you stand out from the competition. However, whether its your OEM or your specific dealership doing this kind of marketing, your Team has to be aware of it. You don’t want to make those efforts worthless, or worse - make your Team seem ill-informed by not keeping up with information readily-available to them. It’s a seller-beware world out there right now, so stay ahead of the information-curve!
Have you noticed if any of your shoppers have experienced your brand’s cross-marketing efforts before coming into the showroom? How often do you think these kind of experiences influence their purchase? Let us know in the comments below! And don’t forget to subscribe to the ActivEngage Blog for more thoughts on automotive branding and consumer behavior.