Branding is an essential component of business growth, and as the car market becomes more competitive it is more important than ever for dealers to understand this important marketing strategy. Lisette Gole is the Head of Automotive Retail at Google, and has in-depth knowledge of brand practices and principles. On this episode of Inside Automotive, Gole joins host Jim Fitzpatrick to discuss branding and its relevance to retail automotive.
According to an S&P Global study, 53% of in-market buyers are “one-and-done” customers. This means they have no loyalty for any brand and instead purchase their cars from different dealerships. Gole notes this is the highest the number has been in a decade. Customers are changing in other ways as well. While household income used to average between $50,000 to $90,000, the majority of modern households have $250,000 or more. “We’re seeing real shift in the industry,” she notes, adding, “now the conversation is why should a consumer come and buy from me versus the dealership or the brand down the street…”
S&P Global notes that three customer groups exist: one-and-done (also called nomads), loyalists and super loyalists. While nomads purchase from different brands every time, loyalists buy vehicles from the same dealership twice in a row, while super loyalists stay with a company for three or more cars. “The exciting thing about this is that it’s actually very, very possible to turn this nomad group into a loyalist group, and retail branding can help us do that.”
While dealers have traditionally focused on price to bring in new customers, Gole explains that other strategies work even better for improving customer retention. Adding options such as vehicle delivery or mobile repair while improving the quality of customer service are all ways dealers can encourage buyers to make another purchase in the future. Expanding the reach of marketing can also have positive impacts on both exposure and loyalty. Gole recommends that retailers use Google products such as YouTube to promote their businesses online for free.