Forward thinking automotive advertising agencies understand that most changes in the auto industry are driven by technology; however, all of them are powered by human nature. The evolution from word of mouth referral systems relying on relationship based sales processes to today’s consumer driven social marketing messages can be traced to their common element; people like to do business with people that they like.
Auto dealers are constantly looking for ways to maximize profits and consumers are equally focused on getting the best possible deal. The key to satisfying all parties in a free marketplace is to focus on what both sides have in common and it isn’t short term profit or price.
The market has decided that the most efficient technology driven solutions are only effective if they also improve the customer experience. This has become more evident in today’s internet driven marketplace as social media has empowered consumers to gather the information they need to make a buying or servicing decision without having to rely on their local auto dealer.
Auto industry vendors have focused on providing consumer centric processes to complement social marketing initiatives. Their common agenda is to prioritize the needs of the customer before those of the dealer with the confidence that they are not mutually exclusive.
I have found the following vendors that represent best in class solutions for the sales and service process before, during and after the initial purchase that cater to today’s empowered customers:
Driving Loyalty; an automated marketing platform that delivers relevant transparent messages to customers in an auto dealer’s data base using emails, direct mail, personalized webs sites, out-bound call centers and social marketing content curation services.
Contrary to other direct marketing platforms, Driving Loyalty actually can time the market with their messages using their proprietary algorithms to identify customers that qualify for their vehicle exchange program. Equity alerts with VIN specific examples of vehicles a customer can exchange their vehicle for with little or no money down and similar payments are delivered only to those customers that qualify.
Similarly relevant messages with service alerts and information regarding a customer’s present vehicle are delivered on a monthly basis throughout the ownership experience to preserve the relationship for future sales and service. More uniquely, customers can access information on their personal website to research new or newer vehicle purchases including out the door prices and payments without involving a sales person.
CallRevu; a telephone monitoring platform that allows an auto dealer to monitor and manage their in-bound telephone calls to insure consistent application of best practices and processes through real time alerts delivered to the dealership.
Dealers are at risk of losing existing customers when they need to contact the dealer for service on their present vehicle or to get information about purchasing a new or newer one. Typically customers call the dealership to transition from their online relationship to a real world contact.
Unfortunately, their real world experience rarely matches the expectations they have of their friend in the car business based on the way that their call is handled.
CallRevu analyzes their auto dealer clients telephone processes to insure that all calls are handled efficiently. More uniquely, they monitor the calls and notify the dealership of lost opportunities as they occur allowing the dealer to preserve relationships, and sales, that would otherwise have been lost.
IntellaCar; an iPad based sales presentation and marketing platform that empowers sales consultants to compete with today’s educated consumers by providing relevant transparent and most uniquely credible third party information throughout the sales process.
As relationships earned through social marketing initiatives mature to the point where they need a new or newer vehicle the culture shock of transitioning from a personal online relationship to a real world contact at the auto dealership can be traumatic. IntellaCar resides on an iPad that the sales consultant can use throughout their presentation to collect customer information regarding their transportation needs while simultaneously delivering credible third party information specifically constructed to prioritize customer preferences.
DealerAppVantage; a dealer branded mobile application that connects customers to the dealer after delivery to enhance their ownership experience and preserve relationships.
Auto dealers recognize that their next sale starts the day after delivery. DealerAppVantage positions the dealer to be accessible on the customer’s smart phone as their service needs arise. They deliver service alerts in synch with factory recommendations to the customer which preserves their relationship to earn their business when they need a new or newer vehicle.
Helios; is an integrated Facebook marketing program hosted by xChangeAuto which includes Facebook page management, Facebook page marketing, and incentive based promotions integrated within a customer engagement application.
Social Marketers recommend Helios as an integrated Facebook marketing and engagement program that enables customer retention, loyalty and new customer acquisition. Their social-mobile marketing program integrates Facebook advertising and content marketing to generate greater local market customer care and acquisition.
Auto dealers with a dedicated Facebook content marketing and advertisement program will benefit from Helios Plus, which has an essential incentive based marketing campaign. The opportunity to provide customers with an integrated shopping process that allows them to stay on the Helios powered Facebook page without having to visit the auto dealer’s website or directly contact a salesperson insures that relationships earned through the dealer’s social marketing initiatives are preserved.
Automotive advertising agencies using social marketing are able to build on established sales and service processes applying proven best practices. These forward thinking agencies are not reinventing the wheel or abandoning their use of established vendor solutions. They are simply balancing it to fit current customer preferences and preserving vendor solutions that provide more scalable and efficient uses of social media to benefit their auto dealer clients.