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Today, most people have the perception that marketing is intrusive, right? Pop ups, banner ads, commercials, e-mail campaigns and junk mail are routinely considered annoying. Well, if this is what you think, you could be wrong. In fact, according to an article in AdWeek, consumers actually like being marketed to. Go figure – it’s pretty surprising that someone would actually ASK consumers if they like being marketed to. However, that’s exactly what research firm MarketingSherpa did. And guess what - only 8% said they didn’t want to be marketed to.
Does that surprise you? We struggle to get 4% open rates on email campaigns, click-throughs on pay-per-click ads, and the many other metrics that indicate our marketing campaigns are successful. So, why do we see low success rates on our marketing efforts, when consumers apparently WANT to receive them?
According to the study, it’s less about whether they want to see them and more about HOW they want to receive them. The article includes a very cool infographic which illustrates that consumers are pretty picky concerning how they want to receive ads. The top three methods include direct mail, e-mail and a company’s website.
But beyond that, some very telling statistics are the ways in which consumers actually discover new products. Right behind the obvious way of in-store browsing at 59%, the top way consumers discover new products is through word-of-mouth from friends, family and colleagues, at 57%. Add in the 20% that indicate that reviews shared by these same people also help them discover new products, and you’re pretty close to figuring out what actually motivates consumers to investigate new products.
We know that consumers visit up to 24 touch points in their online car buying experience. They’re doing the research. Part of that research is deciding which dealership they want to visit. With consumers now averaging less than two dealership visits before purchasing, it’s more important than ever to do everything possible to ensure that your dealership is one of them. Keep in mind that something planted a seed which started the customer’s journey. Sure, they may have wanted a new car. But, unless they’re a true brand loyalist, they may not know which brand is the best one for them. And who do you think they ask first? Their friends, family and colleagues.
So, don’t be shy when considering whether to market to consumers. Just remember that you need to think in an omni-channel way. Most dealerships already do this to some extent with a good mixture of traditional, direct mail and digital marketing. However, the one channel that typically gets neglected is indirect marketing - i.e. getting those friends, family and colleagues to share your message for you. According to the study, that is the most effective way to turn words into actions. Brand yourself and enlist your customers to help spread your message.
Get your customer to share their new vehicle and/or customer experience with their social networks. This will go far to keep your dealership top of mind when it comes time for their networks to purchase. People trust their family and friends more than any other resource. Leverage them for your benefit and you’ll see more business through referrals - whether you can directly attribute it to a previous customer or not.