Dealers Who Modernize Marketing Strategies Can Boost Market Share, Profits

“It's really about understanding the behavior of customers,” says Nissan vice president Marisstella Marinkovic.

Nancy Dunham, Principal Analyst/Retail

June 5, 2024

3 Min Read
Teads’ report underscores need for dealers, manufacturers to become experts on all models.
Teads’ report underscores need for dealers, manufacturers to become experts on all models.Getty Images

Dealers often hear they must train staff to overcome barriers that keep potential car buyers from their dealerships.

The problem is that macro viewpoint, while true, doesn’t give dealers the detailed information they need to retail traffic. Although every market is different, Teads, a leading cloud-based omnichannel platform that enables digital advertising, offers some details that apply to a broad range of dealers.

That data from Teads’ recent survey of 17 markets detailed in the report “Shifting Gears: Understanding the New Dynamics of Auto Buying Worldwide,” benefits both dealers and manufacturers, say industry leaders.

“Consumers are trying to understand what sustainability means for them and how much they should care,” says Russell Wager, vice president of marketing for Kia America. “(These) insights underscore the evolving market dynamics…”

And that, say industry leaders, points dealers and manufacturers toward a way to capture more market share. Consider some of the points in the Teads report that offer glimpses into consumers’ mindsets:

Brand Loyalty Wanes, Openness Soars: Consumer loyalty takes a backseat in the buying process. The majority (82% )of respondents globally report they are open to switching brands. That means auto retailers need to capture the attention of their market in a short time. One way to do so is to refresh traditional marketing strategies.

Faster Decisions Demand Proactive Outreach:  The urgency of a powerful marketing strategy is underscored by the finding that a significant portion (42%) of consumers only devote two weeks or less to researching brands and models. And since brand loyalty is not a prime consideration, on-point marketing offers dealers and manufacturers opportunities to win market share.

The Green Wave – EVs and Hybrids Surge in Popularity: Sustainability is now a key buying factor, with 42% of consumers solely considering hybrid or electric vehicles. As WardsAuto has reported, the trend varies regionally throughout the U.S., with hybrids winning the most attention and sales.

Those findings underscore the need for dealerships to join with manufacturers to ensure staff are experts on all models sold. As we previously reported, consumers want to shop at dealerships but are sometimes disappointed by the lack of expertise staff convey.

 “It's clear that consumer curiosity and interest are high. However, potential buyers are seeking reassurance from trusted sources—friends, family and acquaintances who already own EVs,” Jen Brace, Ford’s chief futurist, says of electric vehicles. “They rely on these personal connections to provide them with the confidence they need to make the transition. Additionally, there is a strong desire to alleviate concerns about charging, which remains a significant barrier to adoption."

 But consumers go beyond personal sources, with 43% of respondents reporting that online resources are now more important than ever.
Half of all car buyer respondents begin their research into different brands and models online. Of course, that means dealers and manufacturers should build user-friendly and informative digital showrooms.

Online ads are also important, with 81% of survey respondents asking them to take action. That’s especially true for youthful buyers and those shopping for BEVs.

Marisstella Marinkovic, Nissan’s vice president and chief marketing officer, says flexible marketing is key to boosting market share and profits.

“It's really about understanding the behavior of customers,” she says. “Some customers are online consuming different types of media, so we really have to be mindful of the different target audiences, how best to connect with them, and where they are."

 

About the Author(s)

Nancy Dunham

Principal Analyst/Retail, WardsAuto

Nancy Dunham became an auto journalist more than twenty years ago. She has worked as an editor and writer for the National Automobile Dealers Association, US News & World Report, CarFax, and various newspapers in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. Her work also appears in Costco Connections, AARP, the New York Times, Rolling Stone and other publications.

Before specializing in automotive retail journalism, she was a newspaper reporter, magazine editor and publisher.

She lives in Tucson, Arizona, with her three beloved cats.

Contact her at [email protected] or https://www.linkedin.com/in/nancydwrites/.

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