Every year, Google shares some valuable insights with their automotive partners in the form of their Think Auto study. Sifting through this goldmine of data, it made me realize that not enough dealers focus on conquesting and as a result they are missing out. To set the stage, here are a few points from Google’s research I found particularly valuable:
- 75% of the automotive research process is done online
- The average consumer only visits 1.5 dealerships in person compared to 5 back in 2005
- 87% of people consider multiple brands during the research and shopping process
- 71% of people switched brands with a new purchase (was driving a Ford and bought a Chev)
- 81% of people are using search engines during the shopping process and search leads to brand discovery
- People are open to influence from the start
- 63% start with a competitive brand in mind and buy something else
- 14% start with a brand in mind and buy it
- 23% have no brand in mind
Okay, so we can all agree that a bunch of stats can be boring, so what does this actually mean?
We know that the research and shopping process is predominantly done online, no surprise. However, what most dealers and manufacturers don’t want to admit is that brand loyalty is low, VERY low. Only about 12% of shoppers are brand loyal and about 14% of shoppers buy the brand that they first have in mind.
This is why you need to focus on conquesting!
So how can we do this?
Here are three steps to start a good conquesting strategy:
- Brand and model comparison pages on your website. Few dealers actually do this. You might have heard about this strategy in the past but did you actually go and write why the 2016 Ford F-150 is better than every other truck in the market?
- Incorporate a conquest strategy into your paid search campaigns. People use search engines in the research process and then discover new brands as a result. If you’re a Chevy dealer trying to compete with the new Tacoma maybe you want to come up in this search:
- Don’t forget about the 2nd most popular search engine in Canada, YouTube. Leverage the popularity of YouTube and film some comparison videos. Walk around your Dodge Ram 1500 explaining why it is superior to the Silverado and Sierra. With some simple editing software you can even loop in some stock footage of competing models.
The reality is people are not brand loyal, they are open to influence and you can take advantage of this. Why focus on first time buyers when they only make up 17% of the market, focus on the 71% of people who are open to switching.
Get Conquesting, Get More Leads.