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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Richard Holland

Richard Holland Managing Director

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Who Wants A Truck? Jimmy Fallon Does!

Last week, the newly appointed host of “The Tonight Show” mentioned on the air that he was in the market for a new truck. Of course, manufacturers couldn’t resist the golden opportunity to try and convince the star to choose theirs.

Ford responded first urging Jimmy to check out the 2015 F-150, within minutes of his proclamation.









Chevrolet came in second, about 11 hours later, with their nudge towards a Silverado:









And while Dodge’s pitch came in last, the day after the show aired, they won the day when they parked a Ram Truck outside the “Tonight Show” studio and tweeted the following:



















While this could be seen simply as an opportunistic moment for some free organic marketing on the “Tonight Show,” here are a few additional lessons that I think may get overlooked.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with being first. However, there is something to be said about the quality in which you communicate with your customers. Despite his television-star status, he’s still a potential customer. By actually taking the Ram truck to the studio for him to test drive, Chrysler gave him the opportunity to test-drive the vehicle rather than clicking on links and looking at online brochures. He did, in fact, acknowledge on-air that he knew the truck was out there and sent his MC out to test drive it. You can boil it down to a marketing gimmick. However, think how impressed your customers would be if you were willing to go out of your way for them when they least expect you to. This is all about providing an unforgettable customer experience. If nothing else, I guarantee that Jimmy Fallon gives the Dodge Ram a look when he’s ready to make his purchase.

Then there are the enterprising ones…

This salesperson at a Ford dealership in Regina decided that not only should Jimmy Fallon buy a Ford, but also that he should buy it from him! Take a look at his video:


I don’t know where Jimmy Fallon lives but this enterprising young salesperson took that extra step. There are a few people in our industry that make personalized videos for their customers. The salespeople that do use videos sell a lot of cars. Customers love that the salespeople took the time and energy to personalize their car shopping experience. It makes them feel special and helps build rapport faster. Videos are a wonderful tool in service too. They can be used to help explain needed repairs to the customer in a more visual way. It helps the customer better understand any service recommendations. As in sales, this quickly builds rapport and helps with credibility and trust.

It’s really easy to brush off as commonplace actions such as manufacturers tweeting to customers, making personalized videos for actors and other gestures. However, many think it’s cool. People write articles about it. It’s makes the news. We (the general public) expect things like this to be done for famous people. We don’t always expect it to be done for us, however.

Everything covered in this blog is replicable by any dealership in the country. In fact, the only expense involved is time. There are salespeople and service managers in dealerships doing these things right now. They are proactively reaching out to individuals; not just waiting for them to enter their in-box as a lead, or to walk onto the lot. These employees are leaving a digital footprint that future customers can follow right back to them.

If you don’t have time for your customers, why should they make time for you?

Mike Jeffs
Great post, Richard! Good social media lesson here.
Gary May
On point Richard. It's more than obvious that "any" dealer could replicate this however with the direction that the OEMs have taken with either recommending, endorsing or limiting social media and marketing vendors to a small pool of incompetent providers, that "opportunity" goes away, at least operationally, very quickly. Dealers still don't understand or use social or content marketing effectively, regularly, or safely. What's more the fact that the "cost" of content/social media management, whether a celebrity response or a responding to someone who's stuck on the roadside tweeting that their call won't start that your courtesy flatbed truck from your dealership will pick them up in 3 minutes, takes the forefront. And that dealers make poor decisions over $500-$3,000 a month (which is anything from a dinner to a trip to a conference that they won't learn anything at due to pitches and misinformation) is sad. While your example is great, it was prompted by someone who not only understands social as well as embraces it (talking about Jimmy, not Ford, GM or RAM), it demonstrates that the connective tissue is still not "alive". In other words, there are likely thousands of dealership sales/Internet staff that watch the show and likely less than a handful of stores that responded. In a world where Oreo, WestJet, FedEx, Virgin and WalMart (Ugh) are quick to respond with great content/social media marketing, hundreds of opportunities are missed per day because we're simply not listening, let alone watching. Again, this is not a reality based around an ad agency/marketing company type environment. We are talking about roughly 80% of businesses (my estimates based entirely on non-empirical data) that don't even yet have a digital component to their advertising/marketing budgets, nor the resources, nor the understanding to jump on what is such a great opportunity. I'm sure you understand this entirely from your time on the software/vendor side of the business. Great example, maybe...just maybe we'll get there some day. Just not soon. -Gary

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