The Digital Dealer 23 Conference & Expo covered a lot of great info about different kinds of emerging disruptive technologies in the auto world and measurement methods used to size up their effectiveness. There were also some super insightful sessions which provided leadership and management advice as well as ones on how to best use all of the new tools available to dealers.
With the sheer volume of new innovative digital solutions out there, it can be tough to determine which will rise above the rest and end up impacting the digital automotive landscape. There’s been a lot of talk about digital transformation and markets of the future spurred by changes that are affecting retail models in every industry.
Make no mistake, this is also happening in the automotive industry. The physical showroom now needs to merge with a virtual version and artificial intelligence can be the driver that matches up your customers with individual customized experiences.
This probably sounds very futuristic and there is a lot to consider when deciding how to best incorporate traditional principles into a digital world. However, by staying up to date with new things that are available and learning about what they have to offer, it’s definitely possible to keep your dealership up with the latest and greatest technologies.
The DD23 sessions covered a lot of varied topics, but here are some key takeaways I garnered from the ones I attended:
Before coming up with content, or any kind of brief, dealerships need to establish exactly what problem they are helping solve. One of the first things covered in Brent Wee’s session, The Mother of all Content Marketing Strategies, was the big question of why dealers are creating copy in the first place. Is your store offering the best prices in the area? Most unique cars? Why should a car buyer choose you over other dealerships that sell similar vehicles?
This sentiment mirrors a blog topic we have previously published talking about differentiation and messaging for dealerships.
Considering that most OEM promotions are applicable across all rooftops and most content revolves around special deals, the question of what other value propositions a dealer truly has is often downplayed or downright dismissed. So before setting up the actual messaging or choosing channels for a campaign, it is crucial to take some time and define not just the goals or static text that will be pushed out, but to dig a little deeper into what actually defines your dealership.
There are 24 touch points on an average car buyer’s conversion path. Measuring which digital channel or combination of multiple channels led to a conversion and what even constitutes as a conversion is a science and art in itself. There are three well known attribution models: first-click, last-click, and multi-touch. They each have their own advantages and disadvantages, but the general consensus among dealers (46% of them, according to Clairvoy’s 2017 State of Automotive Attribution study) is that last-click is unreliable and a multi-touch solution is preferred. In fact, Clarivoy’s study re-affirms what direct Google conversions often tend to hide. Unfortunately, 68% of dealers aren’t effectively using or are failing to use any type of attribution. Yikes.
So if buyer behaviour is not accounted for correctly, how can dealers understand what the best way to sell to them is? It’s a tough thing to answer, but thankfully there are a lot of tools available, particularly made for the automotive sector, which can help clear up confusion behind conversions.
The most important aspect of a dealer-vendor relationship is trust. A keynote panel focusing on this topic led to a lot of insights about why dealers choose to get involved with tech partners. Simply choosing a technology because others in the industry are isn’t enough, but rather, a solution should be selected because it is better than what a dealership currently has in place. Usually, vendors who always continue to do their research, don’t over-complicate processes, and remain consistent are the best fit. Understanding the ins and outs of a dealership from the bottom up is often tricky, but it is key for companies who want to stray away from the demeaning vendor label and instead transition into trusted partners.
That’s a lot to learn in three days in between dinners and drinks! But thankfully it wasn’t all about sessions and show floors, we got to have some fun too at the Midnight in Paris party that we sponsored.
In case you didn’t get to stop by, we’ll see you at the DrivingSales Executive Forum where we’ll be presenting results from our Most Valuable Insight study!