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How Car Dealership Marketing is changing in 2018

Car Buying in 2018

Buying a car gets easier and easier every year. According to a study by Cox Automotive, car buyers spend an average of four fewer days in the market process than they did in 2017. They're still buying the same amount of cars, but the whole process is quicker. The greatest time decrease is among used car buyers who are driven by need rather than want for a new vehicle. It's now more critical than ever to have your dealership on the customer's mind when they think about a purchase.

What Purchase Intent Do They Have?

The Cox Automotive study reveals only 1 in 3 buyers are set on the exact vehicle they want prior to shopping. This leaves an opportunity to market both new and used vehicles. Understanding prior purchasing decisions can assist in the marketing process as a majority of buyers will have previously owned the same make. Since the majority of shoppers are undecided at the start of their shopping journey, the time to influence their choice is when they're online researching their options.  

 Online Research Takes Up 60% Of Their Time

Online research takes up the majority of time spent in the research phase. However, buyers will spend the rest of their time on other components to help make their decision. 

  • Talking with others - 3%
  • Researching & Shopping with Print - 2%
  • Visiting Other Dealerships - 13%
  • At the Dealerships Where Purchased - 21%

Walk Ins

Despite all the technology changes introduced to the market during the past few years, the most common initial contact method is still walking into a dealership. Half of car buyers will visit the dealership without contacting the store first. The process of optimizing your car dealership's marketing, then, starts by finding out what influenced them to walk in (or call, or email, or online chat--the key is knowing how they found you). A strong social media presence and awareness work wonders for a dealership. For example, if you know that 60% of the clients that come into your office discovered your site via a Google search, it's obvious where you should expand your online presence.

Assisting Picky Shoppers

Dealerships know that while the number of buyers who are visiting multiple dealerships has fallen, it's still nearly 60%. Sites like AutoTrader still recommend visiting as many dealerships as possible, so you can expect buyers to come by early and often. One of the keys to car dealership marketing should be giving the buyers a smart alternative when your competitors' dealerships can't provide them what they need. A clever dealership will invest in Geofenced Marketing, appealing to potential customers while they're literally entering and leaving competitors' lots.

The Bottom Line on Car Shopping

Only about a third of car buyers have an exact make and model in mind when they start their search. If your car marketing can get the buyer into the dealership, then you have the ability to find what option is best for them. The key is making contact. More than half of buyers start at a third-party website and figure out their desired car and dealership. It's critical to get out into the internet marketplace at the beginning of the buyer's journey.

Along with the changing trends keep in mind these 3 components for your automotive advertising in order to understand your ROI.

If you're interested in using the latest technology and cutting-edge digital marketing techniques to bring today's customers through your front door, check out more information on choosing the right car marketing agency. 

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Eric Thornsbrough
Eric Thornsbrough
As the Marketing Director for ePush! Eric Thornsbrough oversees business developement, strategic marketing and consults with dealer agencies who want to leverage complex data and new technologies.

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