Automotive Digital Marketing

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Peacheetameleon: New Cobalt Study Shows Dealers Must Evolve to Survive

When it comes to automotive digital marketing, it’s a jungle out there, and a new Cobalt eBook proves that dealers need to change their spots to survive.

According to new data from Cobalt’s car-buyer intelligence database, car-shoppers visit a minimum of eight dealer websites, with some visiting as many as twenty in a single day. With so much competition, consumer loyalty is clearly an endangered species. What’s a dealer to do to win the sale?

Evolution, baby. To survive, a dealer must take a cue from some common jungle fauna. Enter the Peacheetameleon, a mysteriously powerful new trybrid creature that is one third peacock/one third cheetah/and one third chameleon.

The Anatomy of a Peacheetameleon Dealer Website


  1. The Peacock: Like the most vibrant bird in the jungle, dealers need an eye-catching website to engage and dazzle those who have been desensitized by hours of dizzy web-surfing. Stop them in their tracks with a captivating design that-much like the peacock-shows off your best assets: competitive messaging like largest inventory, awesome specials, or great customer service. Websites with drag and drop capability make it easy and fun to mix up your dealer website with vibrant designs.
  2. The Cheetah: Looks are one thing, but it doesn’t matter how compelling your dealer site is if it takes eons to load. Look for websites that are HTML5 compatible so they can load with lightening speed on any device (tablets, mobiles, desktops, oh my!)
  3. The Chameleon: On a related note, you don’t want to blend into the digital landscape like the chameleon, but you DO want a website that easily adapts to any surroundings. A dealer website that is optimized for tablets, mobiles, and desktops ensures you can provide ideal car-shopping experiences anywhere, a must for today’s on-the-go shopper.

Becoming a Peacheetameleon takes work, but it’s worth it. Additional data demonstrates that today’s car-shoppers are easy pickings for the differentiated dealer. Our new eBook found that 60% of consumers haven’t selected a make and model, and 64% of shoppers visiting your dealer website will purchase within 60 days.

Translation: these shoppers are in-market, undecided, and looking for something that’s going to catch their eye and put their mindless web surfing to rest. All you have to do is be the dealer that stands out from the pack.

To find out more about real car-shopper behavior and how to differentiate your dealer website, download the full eBook ““The Guide to the Modern Car-Shopper: Connecting the Dots from Thei...


Jade Makana is Corporate Storyteller at Cobalt. She is passionate about bringing brands to life through competitive positioning. Her first car was a maroon Toyota Corolla named Ruby. 

Illustration by Yan Chow, Cobalt Designer


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Comment by Roosevelt Gist on September 27, 2012 at 11:28am . Say hi to John Holt for me.

Comment by CDK Global on September 27, 2012 at 11:05am

@rooseveltgist Sounds cool. Url? 

Comment by Roosevelt Gist on September 27, 2012 at 10:26am

Our site for auto is very unique and 97% focuses on automotive video. The rest are text articles on buying and leasing automobiles.

Comment by CDK Global on September 27, 2012 at 10:10am

@rooseveltgist Great point! The consumer experience should always come first. Our Cobalt shows that car-shoppers are really gravitating towards vehicle details pages and Hours and Directions pages. What pages are hot spots for you? 

Comment by CDK Global on September 27, 2012 at 10:09am

@webbennihhoven "Customers gravitate to the dealer that makes what they hate the least painful experience." Haha, perfectly stated. One question tho: Do you think that, now that there is non-Flash technology available, that you have to choose between having a site that's fast and easy and a site that's attractive? Or can you have all three? 

Comment by CDK Global on September 27, 2012 at 10:07am



@tomgorham Thanks so much for your insight. I love hearing from people who’ve been in the business a long time. I totally agree that dazzle on it’s own is useless, but I think the biggest change in technology now is that, with advances like HTML5, you no longer have to choose between a website that is attractive, intuitive to use, and optimized for all devices. And I do think, being as the average car-shopper is shopping multiple sites, having all three is your best bet. To your point though, a competitive message is absolutely key. What competitive differentiators do you advertise on your dealer website? 

Comment by Tom Gorham on September 27, 2012 at 5:30am

Over the past 13 years as an Internet Manager, I've heard them all... "websites don't sell cars"... "pretty websites don't sell cars"...  mostly from website vendors.

My own conclusions have been that dazzle often only succeeds in getting in the way of function and navigation, drawing the customer away from his true purpose.  Unless the dazzle is the purpose of the website because the focus is entertainment, it's not necessary and can be detrimental.

That said, an automotive website should be attractive to the eye, easy to navigate, interactive and informative, and illustrate the character of the dealership it represents.  Calls to action should be natural and compelling rather than "in your face".

I don't believe all car shoppers are in the market and ready to buy.  Some are researching for weeks or months down the road.  And I doubt seriously if they are "mindlessly surfing the web" if they end up on a dealer's website.  I would prefer to say they are "surfing with a purpose".  Just give them what they are looking for in an attractive package with a reason to buy from you rather than your competitor.


Comment by Web Benninghoven on September 27, 2012 at 4:34am

Fast & Easy wins just about every time.  Customers gravitate to the dealer that makes what they hate the least painful experience.  

Comment by Roosevelt Gist on September 27, 2012 at 3:02am

Dazzle, as demonstrated by Craigslist, is not required. Less is more. Giving visitors what they want is where you focus. This is determined by researching the data from your site. Not what someone else says. Where are the shoppers going the majority of the time? Beef up that section. Give shoppers more of what they are looking for with recommendations for other services.

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