experience

How to Make the Most of Your Marketing in a Down Market

Consumers have grown tired of the countless vanilla marketing messages many companies keep sending (and yes, that includes OEMs and dealers.) However, the marketing tactic that is enjoying success is relevant marketing directly aimed at a specific individual. Relevance is the key to winning today’s consumers. But, it’s not only about relevance, it also involves delivering that message in an engaging manner. Well, how do you best do that?

A recent article in Forbes shared that while ad spend is up 22%, the majority of marketing channels and methodology often produce an open rate of less than 19% and a click-through rate under 3%.  Video, however, performs much better. The article shares a story about a business that decided to shift its budget away from traditional marketing messages and instead use personalized video messages. The videos are personalized and available to the consumer on any platform. The results are incredible, with a 98% open rate and a total transformation in terms of reduction in early churn.

Personalization is vital to capturing a consumer’s attention. And there is no more effective way than through the medium they prefer: video.

There are many pieces to each dealership’s marketing puzzle. If your dealership is looking to cut its marketing budget because of a downturn in sales, first consider which pieces of that puzzle produce sales that can be tracked versus those that are shiny objects.

The great thing about sending personalized videos to prospects and current customers is that consumers tend to engage, and it is also one of the easiest types of marketing content to produce, the most affordable and performs the best.

It doesn’t matter which platform your prospective car buyers choose to engage with your dealership; videos perform the same regardless of platform. Videos emotionally connect with people and make them feel more special than an automated template shooting out from a CRM. Consumers can smell those a mile away. A personalized video, however, addresses them by name and shares the exact information they are seeking on the exact vehicle. Which is going to get a warmer reception and build rapport faster?

People like to do business with businesses (and people) that they like. As long as the customer is hiding behind an email address, or ignoring your phone calls, you are simply more noise that is not specifically relevant to them.

There is a reason personal videos made relevant to each individual customer perform better than other forms of communication. The biggest one being that the consumer recognizes that, while they may receive similar auto-responder templates both at the beginning and during the follow-up process, YOUR dealership chose to take the time to address them on a personal level with a video that answered their questions and welcomed their business.

Stop shooting for 3% response rates and think bigger. Video not only engages more customers; it generates more sales and builds loyalty as an excellent side benefit.

Don’t be Generic in Your Video Marketing

Today’s consumers want marketing that is personalized to them. In the past, marketing has always been about broadcasting the same message to everyone. Attempting to catch as many “fish” as possible. That strategy no longer works in today’s modern world of consumer shopping behavior.

To truly capture a customer’s attention and win their business, you must focus on personalization. Many marketers utilize generic, bland, stock imagery, and video to tell their “story.” This practice is so bad that a poet even created lyrics parodying marketing in a video titled, “This is a Generic Brand Video,” .

 

 

Somewhat ironically, this video ended up being supported and promoted by a company that sells stock photos and video. While the video may be a little dated, the message and lessons it implies still hold true today.

Technology has made it possible to personalize every video to every individual customer without having to do a lot more work. In the dealership world, that means that every personal communication, service video, vehicle walkaround, or employee introduction can be tailored and personalized. Sadly, too many dealerships are failing to take advantage of this ability.

It is well-documented how video content is hugely desirable and highly influential to today’s consumers. If you can engage these consumers with relevant content and become a resource, you are a step ahead of the game. Take it to the next level by then personalizing that video content, and you can blow your competition out of the water!

Your customers don’t want to feel as if they are part of the millions. They want to feel as if they are the most important one among the millions. If you can accomplish that, you will earn their business, trust, and loyalty. Watch the video again and be honest… how many commercials have you seen that employ those same generic marketing tactics? This video struck a chord with marketers because it is hilariously accurate. It did, in fact, go on to win awards.

People don’t care about you or what you are trying to sell them if you don’t care about who they are. Use today’s technology to leverage the power of personalization in your video marketing effort. You will find that anyone you are trying to win as a customer will choose to do business with you because you cared about them.

In Video Marketing, the Car Should Be the Star

Video marketing is becoming more important as consumers increasingly choose this medium over others. That’s exactly why almost every platform has shifted to a video-centric algorithm.

I’ve spoken many times about the types of video a dealership should produce outside of inventory videos to create an emotional connection to your brand, dealership and employees. However, there is one thing I have touched on in the past that needs more attention. It is, in fact, one of the most important pieces of advice I can give:

The car should always be the star!

What do I mean by that? Regardless of the type of video you produce, the sole focus of each is fundamentally to excite and persuade a potential customer to choose your dealership and come in to buy a vehicle. But what about personalized walkaround videos, personal e-mail responses, why buy videos, or customer testimonials?

If you’re creating video content for your dealership and only take one piece of advice from me, let it be this: Make sure that the brand you represent, and/or the vehicle you are trying to sell, is visible in every video.

It’s great to send a personalized video email response to a customer. It’s certainly engaging and puts a face behind the name. But, while the personal video e-mail response will do that, the customer ultimately is considering purchasing something you sell.

Imagine how much more powerful a personalized video response would be if, instead of filming in front a background consisting of a white wall or other desks, it was filmed in front of the exact vehicle the customer inquired about. I’m not talking about a walkaround. Simply a little product placement.  There’s a reason major brands pay big money for product placement in movies, television shows and video games. That’s because it pays off! That Pepsi can that the actor is drinking out of may never be mentioned or referred to — but I can guarantee you one thing… it was noticed.

Make sure that, when making a personal video response, why buy video, or while filming a customer testimonial, the background contains either a vehicle that you sell, the specific one the customer is interested in, or the vehicle they already purchased.

Video content is evergreen in that it doesn’t expire. It can float around the digital universe for an eternity if you want it to. Ensure that as many videos as possible promote not only your store and employees, but also the vehicles that you sell. You never know when someone will come across it and be impacted by it.

Many times, those accidental or unintended video views lead to relationships that span a lifetime. Make sure every piece of video content displays your vehicles – even if that’s not the video’s intent – and you’ll take your engagement and connection to the next level.

Think Virtual Reality is a Fad? Think Again.

by Tim James

Virtual Reality has been quite a craze recently with video gaming and other consumer electronics. However, the high cost of entry and expensive units limited its reach. Even Google’s cardboard VR glasses required smartphones that cost upwards of $700. The Oculus Rift Goggles were even more expensive and required high-end computers to work.

Now, however, Sony has provided a more cost-effective way for consumers to experience VR with the release of VR glasses designed for use with the Playstation 4 game console. With an installed base of 44 million Playstation 4 owners, the glasses instantly sold out on pre-order and are still hard to acquire, which illustrates the high demand for VR experiences. This release immediately made Virtual Reality readily available for mass consumption.

But if you think 44 million is a lot, what about rolling out Virtual Reality to over 2 billion consumers?

Well, that’s about to happen!

In a recent article, Facebook’s CTO revealed a roadmap for the future of Virtual Reality. As you may or may not know, Facebook owns Oculus Rift. However, according to Facebook, their plans for the future of VR for Facebook users do not include Oculus Rift. Instead, Facebook is working on a standalone product that will make Virtual Reality glasses which are integrated with Facebook “cheaper, easy to use and highly distributed.”

The project, named StandAlone, could instantly thrust Virtual Reality into almost every consumer’s hands, transforming it into common use in all areas including conversations via messaging (both audio and video), marketing and content on Facebook’s platform. Imagine experiencing all of the content posts and marketing messages in a VR setting.

Many automakers are currently implementing or actively working on their own VR experiences. And a few already have VR content in place. Virtual Reality is here and consumers are pursuing and embracing this technology. With the cost of entry decreasing and consumer adoption increasing, Facebook’s VR glasses could instantly change the game.

Dealerships that aren’t prepared or that have not already implemented VR experiences with their inventory merchandizing may find themselves scrambling as this technology is increasingly in the hands of consumers. VR isn’t going away, and it is not a fad. It’s also not the future. It’s the now.

Are you prepared?

Will You Be There Whenever Your Customers Need You?

In video marketing, many people think that to simply start making videos is enough. While it’s certainly a great start, there’s actually a lot more to it. In fact, I’d even go so far to say that simply beginning to make video at your dealership is more like showing up for your first day of football practice. The coach didn’t simply split everyone into two teams and have a game — chances are good that you did a whole bunch of running, pushups and other physical exercise until you threw up. You may have even done this twice a day — in the summer — and who knows how long it was before you actually — wait for it — touched a football! Do you think this practice, which happens every year on countless high school, college and professional football fields across the world doesn’t work? Of course it does. The point is that to be effective at the game, you must be in shape AND know the game plan!

I talk all of the time about the importance of having a strategy in your video marketing. That strategy includes multiple pieces — only one of which is actually picking up a camera and taking video. You have to know the game plan for the video before you can ever make an effective one. Just like you need to know where your wide receiver will be before you throw the football.

An article by ThinkwithGoogle.com perfectly captures this strategy. The article discusses micro-moments and describes them as Want-to-Know moments. Want-to-go moments. Want-to-do moments and Want-to-buy moments. These are the critical opportunities for brands and, according to the article, are the new battleground. In these moments consumers take immediate action, demand quality, relevance and usefulness. And will give their business to the brands that accomplish this the best.

So, what’s the strategy they recommend brands follow to win with consumers?

  1. Make a moments map. This means to simply identify the set of moments that your customer’s have in their journey. In a study released earlier this year by Google’s Automotive Division, the magic 5 moments are – which car is best, is it right for me, can I afford it, where should I buy it, and am I getting a deal. Keep in mind that these are only the buying moments. There are plenty of other moments. The buying journey is only one journey that leads them to your dealership. Service is another.
  2. Understand customer needs in-the-moment. While this is very basic, it is also one of the most important parts of the strategy. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes at each phase that you identified in your moments map and ask yourself what they want to know or what would be most helpful. Remember that to win the game, you need to provide quality and relevance. And, above all, be useful!
  3. Use context to deliver the right experience. Wherever possible, integrate context through geo-location or time of day to deliver experiences that feel as if your message was made just for them.
  4. Optimize across the journey. It is important to have a presence at each phase of the customer’s journey. And also ensure that your content is optimized for whatever device they are on. It’s very possible that one moment is visited on a mobile device, while the customer may continue their journey on a desktop. Make sure that wherever they are, your video content is optimized to deliver the best customer experience.
  5. Measure every moment that matters. This is one of the most important things in any marketing strategy, not just video. Inability to measure the successes (or failures) in your activities will inhibit you from discovering what actually works and will prevent you from increasing your effectiveness.

Don’t let the term micro-moments distract you. Each of these phases in the customer journey have always existed. The difference is that now almost everyone has the ability to access this information instantly from anywhere. So, the timelines have decreased exponentially. While it could take one customer months to get from the beginning of their journey to your dealership, it could very easily take another customer minutes to navigate through their whole journey.

Once you’ve created a strategy, the two-a-days are over. Now let’s pick up that camera and play some football!