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Fifth of five steps: the purchase. “It is going to happen at some point,” IgnitionOne’s Frank Goldberg says.

It’s a Long Way to Buying a Car These Days

Five elements of today’s automotive customer’s journey: awareness, consideration, intent, decision and finally purchase. It all can take a while.

MARINA DEL REY, CA – It’s a long and winding journey – much of it online – before a consumer finally reaches the destination of a vehicle purchase these days.

“It’s not simple,” says Frank Goldberg, senior director-automotive North America for IgnitionOne, a customer-intelligence platform.

That’s because there are hundreds of automaker, dealer and third-party websites that consumers visit. Marketers are able to track shopping behavior, but it’s seldom linear. (Frank Goldberg, left.)

“In a way, I feel sorry for marketers,” Goldberg says at the Thought Leadership Summits’ 2018 Automotive Customer Experience Conference here.

Of the 24 touchpoints in car shopping, 19 are digital, he says, citing data from Google, a force in search-engine marketing and search-engine optimization, two power tools marketers use to feature their clients prominently on search returns.(Frank Goldberg, below left.)

In the pursuit of “engagement,” modern marketers deliver personalized messages to consumers today. For example, if tracking indicates an online automotive shopper shows an interest in pickup trucks, specific banner ads for Ford F-150s, Chevy Silverados and such are likely to appear on sites they visit. 

That specificity in digital marketing pays off. “Eight-six percent of customers report personalization influences their purchase decision and 73% prefer to do business with brands that use personal information to increase product relevance,” Goldberg says.

He lists five elements of today’s automotive customer’s journey: awareness, consideration, intent, decision and finally purchase.

For the average car buyer, a lot of effort goes into each of those stops, Goldberg says. “I’ve heard that people spend 10 times more time (online) looking for cars than they would if they had a heart problem and they were looking for a heart surgeon.”

As long as it can take to get to that final destination – the vehicle purchase – Goldberg notes, “It is going to happen at some point.”  

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