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In a retrospective presentation on the 2012 SXSW Expo, Jack Morton Senior Vice President, Liz Bigham, said that “engagement counts more and costs less than awareness.” What Bigham means by this statement, a variation on the Harvard Business Review maxim that loyalty is more valuable than awareness, is that brands stand to profit much more from one repeat buyer with lifetime loyalty than they do from two buyers who purchase only once. As Jack Morton’s SVP says, marketers get more bang for their buck by making customers love them than by spending lots of advertising money to generate awareness. Bigham calls it “an argument for depth of engagement over breadth of impressions.”
Makes sense, right? We live in a world where hundreds of marketing messages and distractions pull at us every day, vying for our attention. This is because marketers know that engagement is the new currency. Yet many, especially in the auto sector, still see digital as a means for impressions and not actual engagement. Jack Morton’s own research shows that 75% of consumers say that “if a brand wants to get my attention, it has to do something special.”
What does this mean? Liz Bigham says that to get the attention of shoppers and make that special connection, brands need to “treat every touchpoint as special.” Every interaction between brand and consumer is a sacred opportunity to stand out – and this is especially true with digital marketing. That means marketers should not adhere to the same tired SEO regulations and boring web content. Instead, do something completely different to capture consumer loyalty.
How can your dealership’s website stand out among the nation’s thousands of stores? Get your customers to continue their relationship with you by offering service discounts. Invest in learning about targeting and remarketing, so you can show off specific test drives to your visitors who have browsed those vehicle inventory pages. Don’t leave a simple form on your website to capture leads – implement live chat on your website to begin a relationship with shoppers before they enter your dealership’s physical storefront.
If you’ve made customer loyalty a priority, congratulations! You’re playing the long game by thinking about more than just the cars you could move off the lot today. A loyal customer won’t just buy from you today – he or she will come back for more, and evangelize your brand to others along the way.
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