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Purchase triggers: How to address the top needs of car buyers

Posted by Michelle Keefe on August 26, 2014

Have you ever bothered to squint during a car commercial so that you could see the insect-small legal print? I have. In part it read: “Fantasy, do not attempt.”

Judging by most car commercials on TV, you might come away thinking that all drivers want a sleek, flashy car that will take them somewhere exotic and adventurous, a car whose stereo system rivals that of the best living room setup and whose size appears to admit more passengers than is legally permitted. If the commercial doesn’t show a party in a car, it shows the car navigating through an impossible obstacle course.

Most of us just want to get from point A to point B in one piece.

In its 2014 automotive study, “Driving through the consumer’s mind,” Deloitte identifies the top seven purchase triggers for car buyers as the following: built-in technology, vehicle size, family use, affordability, fuel efficiency, reliability and brand image.1 The triggers vary in order of importance for first-time and repeat buyers, but three remain in the top slots for both: built-in technology, vehicle size and family use.

This gives automotive marketers an idea of the demographics they’ll be targeting. But knowing what triggers a purchase can also help automotive marketers craft a campaign that addresses automotive consumers’ top needs. Using the top three triggers in Deloitte’s study, this article will show you how to address those needs using marketing communications best practices.Decision Drivers: 2013 Automotive Communication Preferences

Size does matter… if it’s a consumer preference.
According to Deloitte, the share of the personal car is expected to increase over the next five years. Whether this means increased carpooling or simply lending a relative (and his or her friends) the family car, it’s important to put a spotlight on vehicle size if that’s what the market currently demands.

Being able to identify consumer needs is essential to executing a successful marketing campaign. If you happen to know, through various marketing studies, that a consumer prefers a certain car feature, then your communications should call attention to that preference and leverage it as a product benefit.

J&C conducts annual studies that routinely enlighten and guide us through the concept development phase. Marketers, like consumers, benefit from knowing all the facts around a product and those who buy it. Car buyers come with a unique set of expectations. Make it your business to know them. It’s a great starting point for any campaign.

Built-in technology: A case for content marketing.
People have questions about technology because not everyone is tech-savvy (including the writer of this blog).

Automotive brand websites are essential to educating consumers about your product or service and persuading them to move forward on a purchase. Content marketing, or relevant, searchable information such as stats, facts and other brand details, helps consumers find you. Overlook this best practice and Google will get sassy: “Your search – [insert brand name] did not match any documents.”

Strong, focused content, especially data specific to your brand, puts you high up on a consumer’s search results list. And for products or services that deal in technology, it only makes sense to utilize as many tech-based channels as possible to distribute information about your automotive brand. A lot of the information found in content marketing can be repurposed in social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Family needs and the one-size-fits-all campaign.
The modern American family is anything but clearly defined. Your automotive communications should just as much address the live-in grandparent or aunt as they do the new teenage driver. Ideally, your campaign should deliver communications via direct mail, email, online and mobile channels.

Multichannel marketing ensures that you hit all the marks and reach all your targets. Allowing consumers to choose how they view marketing communications by providing multiple avenues of response shows how encompassing and inclusive your brand is. Engagement occurs when you speak your target’s language.

The goal for most automotive marketers is to compel consumers to visit the dealership. Direct mail is perfect for those who prefer a more tangible message or those who are wary of conducting business online. It also works to strengthen your company’s credibility because it delivers a trustworthy message that avoids the risk of being seen as spam. For the younger or more tech-savvy set, don’t forget to make your campaign mobile-friendly as well, because as Mobile Marketer reports, 70% of mobile searches lead to an individual taking action within an hour.2Sign up now to get your free content marketing assessment

And check out my other article Demographics and the automotive purchasing mindset for tips on how satisfy an individual consumer and a broad market in one campaign. Effective automotive marketing requires an understanding of shopping trends, as well as buyer wants and needs. Learn how to leverage content marketing to solve the challenges automotive marketers face today with Jacobs & Clevenger’s Automotive Content Marketing Assessment.

1. Deloitte, “Driving Through the Consumer’s Mind: Considerations for Car Purchase”, February 2014.
2. Mobile Marketer

Topics: Automotive Industry

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