The pandemic changed how most industries do business; they had to change strategies to survive. The automotive industry was no different, and instead of keeping marketing, sales, financing, and services in different boxes, everything has become more integrated. In 2020, Forbes reported “a chasm between manufacturers and dealers” that extended to all of their different departments. At the time, there were no all-encompassing marketing campaigns that prioritized likely consumers and ensured that sales and service teams were working together for seamless customer experiences. Has this changed, and what is the outlook for 2022?
Automotive Digital Marketing Trends
Things have not been easy for the auto industry these past few years. Even though there have been groundbreaking advancements like electric cars and smart technologies, EMarketer claims that the industry lost $210 billion because of a shortage of semiconductor chips. There could be a light at the end of the tunnel, though. The US House of Representatives passed a bill in early February to speed up chip production in America. This bill allocates $52 billion to build new factories here and fund research and development, plus an additional $45 billion to address supply chain issues.
This bill is good news, but once things get going, all the boxes need to be checked in anticipation of the possible boost in auto dealer inventories. Understanding how people buy cars in 2022 and the future is crucial for manufacturers, dealers, and marketing teams. While buyers will still be popping into showrooms on the spur of the moment, buying patterns show that the process is much more involved for most people.
Today’s Car Buyers Shop Online
Cars.com says it all: consumers now shop for vehicles online from start to finish. Their research shows that 38% of shoppers plan to complete their entire auto-buying processes online, while an additional 38% will likely do the paperwork online and buy their cars in person. Local dealers are in tune with this: 66% prefer buyers to carry out most of their financing activities online because it allows dealers the time they need to focus on their customers.
Autotrader emphasizes the importance of quality content on websites because today’s consumers are more educated than ever. They don’t want to read sales pitches. Details about a vehicle’s standard and optional features, performance stats, road tests, and special deals are all of more interest. Serious buyers can take weeks, if not months, to make their decisions. The next generation of auto buyers is also much more visual than past ones, and they are prioritizing still and moving images over the written word. Photos, videos, and interactive content are most important. They can show people how well vehicles drive, let them choose options and keep them interested long enough to be persuaded to make buying decisions.
Google prioritizes this kind of quality content, and better auto dealer websites rank higher on search engine result pages. It is also wise to set up a Google business profile. This profile is free to start and helps potential buyers find dealerships. You can also enhance these profiles with photos and other features to make your dealership stand out from the competition.
How Manufacturers and Dealers Work Together
Auto Dealer Today explains the importance of building long-lasting relationships with customers and the need for unified digital platforms for manufacturers and dealers to coordinate their marketing efforts. These platforms can share customer and prospect data, coordinate marketing efforts, and collaboratively cultivate customer relationships. Auto Dealer Today is all about using consent-based marketing and advanced analytics to engage customers and offer them personalized incentives and deals. BMW has already done this with its digital experience management platform.
Once your potential buyers find your website, the key is to create customized experiences for them so they can form their own buying journeys. A few ideas include providing all the information they need on your site and using AI-like chatbots and links they can click on to call your sales department. Also, remember that websites need to be mobile-friendly for consumers on the move, and you will also want to use social media to draw in more visits to your site and dealership.