Just as cars run more smoothly when their tires are in alignment, marketing for OEMs operates more effectively when you achieve alignment across tiers. What that means is presenting the consumer with a consistent message as they switch lanes from TV ads to digital ads to mobile messaging to the first time they come across your brand at an auto show.
The consumer doesn’t see these as separate tiers. In their eyes, a brad is a single entity that interacts with them in different ways. The absence of alignment across tiers sets up a cognitive dissonance for them that they can’t shake.
In a report by Ernst & Young on the future of automotive retail, researcher found that consumers expect and demand a better experience when it comes to buying a car. In fact, 72 percent of consumers feel that a better buying process would motivate them to visit dealerships more often. For 8 out of 10 consumers, using multiple devices and channels to research a car before purchase is simply the new normal.
Randall J. Miller EY’s Head of the Global Automotive and Transportation Sector, concluded, “In the short term, there is a clear need for stakeholders across the automotive retail ecosystem to undertake significant change management to catch up with the broader retail industry."
The upside of this is that car dealers and brands overall can start anywhere and make a significant impact on improving the buying experience: online, at an auto show, with the first test drive, or any other consumer touch point.
Just take a moment to experience misalignment of tiers from the consumer’s perspective.
A motivated, engaged car enthusiast takes his daughter to her first auto show. They wander through the booths, amazed at the spectacle of it all. They check out the latest features on new vehicles and fill out little slips of paper to win a prize or to be contacted for more information. Their expectations are low because the experience isn't personalized and they’ve filled out hundreds of little slips like that over the years, only to be inundated with spam about services they don’t want.
They go home after the auto show, tired but still excited about the event. As time passes, their attention is pulled in a hundred other directions and their memories fade. The father eventually receives several emails about models and offers that have nothing to do with what he and his daughter looked at that day.
He is a bit annoyed, but used to it. He’s still interested in taking his little girl for a test drive in the vehicle that made her light up at the show. A few days later, they take a trip to the dealership, where the salesperson on the floor has no idea who he is, what he has done online, what his daughter loved at the show, or even what he really wants.
Everyone is starting from scratch and the paper form filling begins again. His daughter is restless during the long, tedious discovery process, leaving the customer dissatisfied and turned off by the brand.
It doesn’t have to be like that. For leading brands, it isn’t like that at all anymore.
For premium brands, the buying experience is the product. Alignment across tiers is an essential piece of what they sell: the premium-ness of the brand itself. Porsche Cars Canada accomplished this by putting digital tools to work at dazzling consumers with experiential marketing tailored to their individual experience.
When a consumer brings his daughter to a car show, the two of them could spend time together at interactive wheel stands with face detection and interactive displays. Analytics from live marketing software at the show gather intelligence on how attendees feel and act, even after they go home at the end of the day. Personalized emails after the show boost open and click through rates on offers from the dealership.
That’s the kind of experience across tiers that customers expect from brands in every industry.
At the JD Power AMR summit in 2017, a panel of representatives from NBC Universal and Comcast Spotlight detailed how they managed planning, optimizing and measuring ROI for a major international client in the auto industry.
They used data as the link between their ad programmer and the distribution channel to strategically ramp up the effectiveness of their consumer outreach. Andrew Ward from the Comcast Media 360 team explained, “Historically, the distributor was in control of how you as a viewer consume content. But that dynamic has changed dynamically. Now the consumer is in control of how, where and when they consume their favorite content… It’s much more difficult to follow audiences across time and across devices.”
They combined third-party data of those in the market for a luxury vehicle with their own marketing data to optimize planning across tiers. The results they saw included:
How will your brand take advantage of data to target consumers across the entire sales funnel and be as efficient as possible across tiers? Companies throughout the automotive industry are shining a light on the road ahead using cross-platform ad campaigns and creative experiential marketing programs. Better use of data provides a better and more consistent customer experience, which works out in everyone’s favor.
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