Some of our readers may have noticed that I haven’t been posting very much on the various automotive networks since August. This wasn’t the result of an extended vacation or a trip around the world. My thoughts and efforts have been squarely placed on the evolution of the automotive industry and how that will affect car sales in 2016.
Now that it’s December, I’m pleased to report that things are looking very good. Sentiment towards the industry has been experiencing a slow but steady shift that has allowed the retail aspects of the car business to truly shine through. It’s not so much what dealers or vendors are doing to change it, though we’ve seen many positive changes over the last year. The real shift is happening in the way that consumers are viewing the process of buying a car.
For a while, we’ve held firm to the belief that the sale starts when people are in “research mode” online rather than the conventional wisdom that the sale starts once they drive onto the lot. To understand this, one simply has to look at the way that people are interacting when they come to the dealership. They are often extremely knowledgeable about the vehicles, the prices, the values of their trades, their potential for financing, and pretty much everything that is require to establish the base for a car deal. They know the inventory and often have the inventory itself pulled up on their mobile device as they’re shopping on the lot.
It’s more than that, though. They’re making decisions about what to buy before they contact the dealership. It isn’t like it was a couple of years ago when people were coming to the lot “armed” with information to use against the deal. Today, they have even more information but they aren’t necessarily weaponizing it like they were before. They’re viewing the transaction as one that can be streamlined with knowledge rather than as a roadblock to progress.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not so naive to believe that there aren’t obnoxious car buyers coming in with data in an effort to try to catch a dealership in a lie or get more money for their trade than it’s worth, but the shift within the industry towards transparency mixed with the embracing of a new buying paradigm has made it possible for some dealers to make the whole experience easier while maintaining gross profits and building strong relationships with their customers.
What does this have to do with automotive digital marketing? This isn’t just about an evolution. It’s about a revolution. As we prepare to launch the third iteration of our amazing set of digital marketing products and services, we’re coming at the entire situation from a fresh perspective. That’s why I’ve been away from the public eye for so many months. I’m blessed to have Subi Ghosh on the team to pick up the mantle and be the face of the company. This has allowed me to dive deeper into the lab to learn what will be the real gamechanger in 2016. We have it. Now, we’re ready for the process of revealing it to the automotive world.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be writing a lot more about the topic. It’s not something that can be easily explained in a single blog post but I have no intention of leaving you completely hanging on it, either. To understand where success will be easiest to find in 2016, we have to make an ever-so-subtle shift in the mentality that surrounds digital marketing. Today and for the longest time, the idea has always been about how dealers can make it easier to sell their cars to consumers. The subtle paradigm shift is almost imperceptible, but the effects on your sales will be profound. More details are coming, but here’s the teaser to allow you to start shifting your own perspectives:
Rather than using digital marketing to make it easier to sell more cars, it is more important to use digital marketing to make it easier for people to buy your cars. Like I said, it’s a subtle shift, but profound in the way that we position our clients for success.