Dr. Wayne Dyer once said, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”. Not since 2009 have we witnessed so much change in the auto industry. With production plant shutdowns, disruption of supply chains, and a major decline in showroom visits, dealers are scrambling to find ways to remain profitable in 2020 and beyond.
According to Wards Intelligence, vehicle inventory was down 33.1% at the end of June – creating a domino effect for many dealers resulting in less foot traffic, and fewer sales opportunities. North American auto production plummeted 42.9% year-to-date through May, according to CFRA Research’s Nelson. Is there really a new normal? Maybe, but one thing is certain, dealers are feeling the pain. The days of large media buys and waiting around for customers to walk into the dealership is yesterday’s strategy. Dealerships with a sound digital marketing strategy will be able to capitalize on today’s market volatility.
So, what does a sound digital strategy look like? It all starts with how you look at the current market and whether or not you embrace the changes permeating online shopping culture. Dealers MUST change the way they look at the market today so they can be competitive tomorrow. Those dealers who were excepting of the changing digital landscape long before COVID-19 are the ones better prepared to compete in their respective markets. Spending thousands of dollars on pay-per-click ads may have worked in 2005 but is not an effective strategy today. A balanced digital strategy utilizes local competitive conquesting with lookalike customer modeling, effective lead-generation tactics, frictionless digital retailing, and the use of big data to track attribution and quantify marketing spend.
In conclusion, Digital forms of communication are gaining in popularity and could be a key component in mitigating the consequences of the current market disruption. With less face-to-face contact, dealers must embrace virtual customer engagement to build trust with customers who expect a touchless experience.