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From the Trenches - Authenticity = Customer Loyalty


Authenticity = Customer Loyalty

Do you feel that the Internet has destroyed customer loyalty? Many dealers do.

  • They don't like that the Internet gives the customer too much information.
  • They don't like that their long-term previous customers now shop them at other dealers online.
  • They don't like that their old marketing strategies are exposed as shallow and untrue.
  • They hate TRANSPARENCY!


In fact some of these dealers try online tactics that are deceptive in nature to entice customers into their dealership. They believe that if they get them in, they will sell them.

Sometimes that's true. But only once. The nature of the Internet is one of information and communication... and skepticism.

The long-term success lies with one word...



Phenomblue CEO & President Joe Olsen says: “Before the connected world we live in, authenticity was a message you put into the marketplace and then acted on. Authenticity in the marketplace today is simply the act of consistently delivering on consumer expectations. And they expect you to listen and not feed them blatantly transparent messages.”

The value proposition you relay online must meet with the reality of your offline interactions.

You can play games with slick advertising and fake reviews, but in the end, you will be exposed as a fake.


Some bemoan the Internet and "what it has done to our business". I believe it has made us better. We could say to customers what Jack Nicholson said in the movie "As Good As It Gets",


"You make me want to be a better man."



Our customers and the online experience make us want to be a better business.

A recent post on ADM asked the question, "Why buy from me?" It was a logical question and one worth asking. I only took exception with one statement in that post. It was, "Since the dawn of time, dealerships have believed a great lie: customers will never be passionately loyal to a car dealership".

I don't believe it for a minute.


I believe dealers are shocked at the LOSS of customer loyalty. When in-store experience meets the perceptions your marketing creates, you will find the passionate customer loyalty you once had, or only dreamed of.





Written by
 Tom Gorham

Editor, From The Trenches

Automotive Digital Marketing

Professional Community

Views: 564

Tags: CSI, Customer, Marketing, Reputation, Reviews, Service, Transparency, loyalty


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Comment by Tom Gorham on May 17, 2013 at 1:23pm

Let's see here, we have three Toms here.  OH, Tom LaPointe!  Thank you!


Shall we resurrect the idea of customer service and customer relations?  Naw, it's an old idea.  Let's just put it on steroids!

Comment by Big Tom LaPointe on May 17, 2013 at 1:06pm

well said. loyalty has certainly transformed - years ago it meant buyers stayed with one brand for years - loyalty now means they will CONSIDER your product / service / dealership.

Comment by Tom Gorham on April 25, 2013 at 9:56am

Tom Wiegand, thank you!  Great comments!  I believe customers want to be loyal to a business whether it's a store, restaurant, or car dealership.  But often they get driven away by poor customer service or disinterest on the part of the business.  I always think of the TV show Cheers, "You wanna go where everybody knows your name..."  All we have to do is make them feel at home.

Comment by Tom 1TeamSynergy Wiegand on April 25, 2013 at 7:24am

Tom; well done my friend!  I know you know how passionate I am about "Customer Loyalty."  Everything, and I mean everything, 1TeamSynergy is about is advancing "Customer Loyalty" between every business person in a dealership communicating and relating with customers. 

When you have dealership businesses focused on "Customer Satisfaction", "Customer Retention", and "Customer Experience" they truly are short-term, short-sighted come and gone "BUSINESS" causes that prove not to better "Customer Loyalty."  Why?  "Retention's" leading indicator is 'price' meaning it's a business driven initiative to get a customer back again on price, to retain them just one more time.  "Satisfaction" has proven to be little more than a score card.  "Experience" is evolving, yet mostly focused on the now moment.  There's no loyalty cultivation here. 

"Customer Loyalty's" leading indicator is 'people relationships' meaning business PEOPLE communicating and relating ongoing with customers is where "Customer Loyalty's" roots are strengthened. 

Summary: real "Customer Loyalty" to a business only strengthens when real "Customer Loyalty" exists with and between people of the business and customers.  This obviously requires management letting go and giving their people free reign to develop this loyalty, and business people wanting to work far more closely together to benefit the possible "Customer Loyalty" to one, to another, to a team, then other departments, then the entire business. 

Forget about great lies!  The great truth is "Customer Loyalty" is a people movement, not some mechanical, automated, instant gratification, WIIFM today, 'next customer please' score card business agenda.  "Customer Loyalty" is the most powerful business person to customer movement ever!  Why?  Customer's know they rule today.  And, they want relationships with those they trust enough to remain loyal with.  And, loyalty spreads fast here. 

This is the age of offense for "AUTHENTIC" business persons earning "Customer Loyalty."  Get the defense off the field!  Thanks Tom

Comment by Tom Gorham on April 23, 2013 at 5:23pm

Thanks Jim.  It almost seems as if it doesn't have to be said, doesn't it? But many dealers have a disconnect between their marketing and the actual experience of being in their dealership.  I believe they will increasingly find it difficult to maintain that broken relationship and retain customer loyalty.

Comment by Jim Radogna on April 23, 2013 at 7:09am

Great post Tom! Authenticity...what a concept :-)

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