Selling Vehicles in the Digital Age

In the digital age, it goes without saying that the retail industry is undergoing major changes, and the powersports industry is no exception. As sales channels and tools have changed, marketing solutions must also be adapted to effectively reach customers. Today’s online customer is no longer a passive person who mechanically absorbs information, but rather wants to be at the heart of a process that now extends far beyond the sale.

No to mass-marketing and annoying ads!

For the past few years, marketing fatigue has set in and you can feel it. Whether it’s in public transportation, on social media, on television or elsewhere, you can no longer see the ads because there are so too many of them. It becomes very difficult to catch the eye of your potential customers. According to a study conducted by Reuters, almost 47% of Web users have an ad blocker or decide to subscribe to premium offers from content providers such as Spotify, thus becoming ad-free. According to a Gigya survey, 1 in 2 consumers ignore brand messages when they receive a non-personalized email. The question is: how do you reach your customers?

Fortunately, the ultra-personalization that is slowly taking hold in modern marketing may well spell the end of advertising as we know it, much to the dismay of “conventional” companies, but to the relief of the hardened consumers we are in 2021. Millennials, in particular, are excited about this new trend.

Is “traditional” automotive marketing still relevant?

While motorcycles and other vehicles shows used to be a way to showcase your dealership and consolidate your company’s image, a growing number of manufacturers and dealers are questioning their involvement and have even started to desert them completely. Mostly because these gatherings attract only the professionals in the field and not the customers that we wish to court.

While dealers have evolved with more traditional techniques such as trade show appearances and newspapers, radio and television advertising, let’s face it, those days are OVER!

The powersports vehicle market has moved from a top-down, expert advice-based sales mode to a more horizontal mode based primarily on peer influence. If a neighbour has purchased a side-by-side to get around their farm, and you test drive it and like it, chances are pretty good you’ll purchase a similar vehicle! For several years now, the powersports market has been in crisis with rising gas prices, new green trends and, for the past year, the lack of inventory due to COVID. These trends are here to stay and evolve over time. The innovative companies are the ones that will pass the test of time.

New marketing tools in the field of motorsports

In recent years, the digitalization of communications has been in full swing and the realm of dealerships is no exception.

Through the development of communications between the customer and the brand, the digitalization of dealerships and the ever-increasing importance of data, the contribution of new digital technologies seems to have no limit other than the initiative of those who use them.

This digital shift reflects changes in consumer behaviour. Indeed, the way they buy a vehicle today has changed. Today, the consumer’s first instinct when buying a motorcycle, ATV or other vehicle is to browse the Web to find out as much as possible about the model they want. The dealer, who is supposed to be an expert, is rarely taken into account at this stage, because they are unfortunately not always considered a reliable and impartial source of information.

Since the consumer’s buying process has evolved, it is essential that dealerships adapt to this trend. To be a better seller, manufacturers need to move away from a vertical model. We must provide customers with full service even before they walk through your dealership door. How do you do this? By showing them the range of services you offer and by having an up-to-date inventory of new and used vehicles. Do we even dare to suggest a reliable inventory management system that is synchronized with your DMS and other online platforms (Facebook Marketplace, Kijiji and others)? Yes, we do!

Then, an exceptional service includes, among other things, mobile and personalized marketing, targeted promotions, documentation adapted to the individual, a contact before the visit, all with the aim of establishing a relationship of trust with them.

Indeed, manufacturers must be able to juggle between communication in dealerships, on social networks, on cell phones or through street marketing. This not only allows to target the consumer more precisely, but also to have a more personalized and effective message.

There are currently 4 main trends in digital marketing:

  • The great return of the newsletter and customer segmentation
  • Online shopping from social media
  • Web and social media advertising
  • Improve the user experience (UX) of its website

How well do you think your dealership’s digital marketing is responding to these new trends?

Beyond the sale!

The exchanges that digital marketing allows go far beyond the sale itself. It would be a mistake to believe that these platforms are only used to propel a simple passive advertising, because they allow first and foremost a two-way communication in a digital and interactive environment.

While social media can clearly help dealerships sell more cars, it can have a much greater effect on operations in a broader sense. At the end of the day, when most people buy a car, they are buying a brand, not a dealership. Social media provides an unmatched platform for customers to come and share their dealership experience and, in the process, develop a sense of belonging to your brand.

Add to that an email marketing campaign and you have a solid combination to retain and target your customers. Reaching out to specific customers with service reminders, pushing content like maintenance tips or providing special service coupons becomes much easier to do and oh so rewarding! All that remains is to add a touch of transparency and authenticity in your communications to win your customers.

For innovative dealers, this strategy will provide a serious competitive advantage against those who continue to use traditional strategies. The path of the Web is considerably cheaper to take now than having to catch up in a few years. Avoiding digitalization could certainly prove fatal for recalcitrant organizations.

What you should know…

  • The key to success on social media = diligence + authenticity
  • Digital marketing in the motorsports sector is constantly evolving and its technicalities are multiple and complex. These require a multitude of expertise and know-how.
  • Stay connected with Power Go to follow industry trends in marketing and Web best practices!

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