LOS ANGELES – Nancy Adzentoivich thought she’d zip through her vehicle purchase at a local dealership.
After all, she knew what she wanted. She had a qualified trade-in. She arrived with check in hand. (Consumers think that’s golden at the dealership, but actually dealers disdain it because it cuts them out of potential auto financing.)
“I thought it would be a quick deal,” says Adzentoivich, vice president-worldwide for Canvas, a digital marketer.
It took five hours. That didn’t even include a vehicle walkaround.
The auto industry often cites lengthy purchase processes as a car-customer turnoff. And Adzentoivich beefed a bit about how long it took for her. But ultimately, she liked the dealership.
“I’d go back,” she says at the annual Thought Leadership Summits’ Automotive Customer Experience Conference here. “They’re good at follow-up. And they have a real good service department.”
Her experience shows that the road to customer satisfaction can detour here and there. (Nancy Adzentoivich, left)
Her conference co-presentation with John Gray of Pinterest is entitled “Driving the Customer Journey.” The travel routes have changed in recent years, due largely to the influence of digital initiatives and internet marketing.
Auto brands, which can track much of the online behavior of car shoppers, “need to introduce themselves at the beginning of the customer journey” and in certain cases use digital marketing to draw them away from a competitor’s product under consideration, says Adzentoivich, whose clients include South Korean auto brands Hyundai, Kia and Genesis.
Consequently, she says, a digital message aimed at tracked online car consumers may say something to the effect of: “Hey, even though you are not thinking about us, we have great models.”
Gray discusses life events that put some people in the auto market. Those events can include expecting a child, acquiring a pet, getting a raise or promotion and buying a new home, according to Intel data.
Sure, some people just want a new vehicle regardless of what’s going on in their lives.
But citing CarGurus research, Gray says, “People are three times more likely to purchase if there’s a life event.” Personalized marketing that ties into such events can pay off, he adds.
In auto retailing, tier one marketers (automakers), tier two (regional dealer associations) and tier three (individual dealers) can do a better job of “working together in creating a holistic customer experience,” Adzentoivich says.
Consumers don’t care about auto advertising’s different tiers, Gray adds. Still, marketers of all levels should “align on providing a consistent customer experience,” emphasizing early on why a particular vehicle “fits into (a prospective buyer’s) life,” he says.