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Kim Jennett

Kim Jennett Dir, Marketing and Brand Strategy

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Pop Quiz - Are you a Jay Prichett dealership or a Phil Dunphy dealership?

That's the question your dealership needs to answer after Wednesday's episode of ABC's Modern Family that took on the (seemingly) arduous task of buying a car. Phil Dunphy, notorious nice guy, researched, planned and decided on the perfect car for his daughter all before he ever hit the Dealer's lot. When it came time to sign on the dotted line, Jay, Phil's ornery father-in-law, jumped in as the old pro in negotiating to save Phil from making a huge mistake by trusting the dealer and his price. Turns out, the dealer was a straight-forward, honest guy who gave Phil the best price on the car. We find this out as Jay insists they "walk away," thinking the dealer will stop them to negotiate further, which does not happen. Jay then convinces Phil to jump to another dealer in town with the assurance they would give them a better deal. Sadly for Jay, but great for the reputation of dealers, the offer from the other dealer was the real deal, and couldn't be beat. The dealer wasn't looking to "sucker" Phil, but looked at him as the new type of shopper who has done the research, knows what the car's worth and expects a fair price without a hard sell.

Notice how I haven't mentioned the OEM (nice product placement by Toyota, BTW) or model of car chosen? That's because it really doesn't matter (don't tell that to Toyota, who I'm sure paid heavily for this). The subject wasn't about the car, it was about the car buying experience.

312e77a6d0fc6ef332ccb2fd3f680776.png?t=1There are few shows that delve into all aspects of American life, as we live it. Seinfeld broke ground here talking about things that we all thought, but never discussed. Modern Family is today's equivalent taking this thinking through generations and into the burbs, providing just about all of us with someone we can relate to in 30 minutes. The difference between then, Seinfeld, and now, Modern Family, is that your dealership can incorporate the messaging from Modern Family into your Content Marketing strategy. So, how do you capitalize on a hot topic like this to drive your content marketing? First, you have to have a strong "why buy" message to hook people on your dealership. Focusing in on a message of being a Phil Dunphy type of dealership and using the content from the show is a great way to drive traffic to your site and your dealership. Pulling from "water-cooler" talk type of shows is a great way to incorporate your message. Just think someone's shopping for a car right after lunch and they've just had a conversation about the Jay and Phil interaction in Modern Family. They do an Internet search and, low and behold, up pops your blog. What a connection.

You may be thinking, wait a second, I'm not a Toyota dealer, isn't this just going to help my competitors? The answer here is no. Sure the Toyota brand is emphasized on the show, but what people are really going to take away is that car buying isn't like it used and being a car buyer doesn't feel like, well in Jay's words "covering a baby goat in barbecue sauce and dropping it in the middle of the Serengeti." In truth, it's not about the brand here, it's about the idea, the idea that you are a Phil Dunphy dealership that is going to give a fair price on a good car and making that connection with your perspective clients.

So have you answered the question of whether you're a Jay or Phil dealership, and if you are a Jay type, are you ready to come into the Modern Dealership world? If you are still scratching your head on this, here are a few things to think about:

  1. Have you created a unique brand promise?
  2. If yes, does EVERYONE in your dealership know it?
  3. Do consumers get the same shopping experience whether in store or online?
  4. How is your lead handling experience?

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