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6 min read

Mobile and Automotive Marketing

6/14/18 11:33 AM

Mobile marketing in the automotive life cycle
If you care about consumer engagement, you can’t ignore mobile. Mobile is arguably the most important part of a modern marketing mix because smartphones are indispensable to our way of life - constantly glued to our hands. Think, when is the last time you left anywhere without your phone? Just take a look around the next time you’re standing in line or, better yet, take a look at your dealership’s waiting area – what is everyone doing? They’re all preoccupied with their phones.

This type of connected consumerism requires a lifecycle marketing strategy that can address the ‘always on’ or ‘constantly connected’ lifestyle that defines the average consumer.


Mobile’s staying power is its helpfulness
Connected consumers reach for the closest device whenever and wherever they are to fulfill a need – and it’s usually a mobile device.

It’s fair to say that just about anyone you want to do business with is an avid smartphone user. This is because smartphones are small, transportable, and more importantly, they fill critical roles in our daily activities such as:

  • Making decisions
  • Productivity in spare time
  • Learning, discovering, comparing, and analyzing
  • Solving problems
  • Amusement

Connecting with any consumer and keeping them engaged requires an exchange of value – that value is almost always in the form of being helpful or by providing helpful information. Your dealership needs to consider how it is creating mobile experiences that help with, and cater to, consumers’ desire for efficiency and quickly finding answers. Creating this type of user experience will help build 1:1 relationships that last because your dealership is removing effort from the consumers’ path to purchase or service.

Value comes from a great consumer experience
In this context, your dealership needs to provide consumer value with a website that is fully optimized for mobile browsing, and by having a diverse digital strategy to help people quickly find your dealership. Without intentional design based on consumers’ expectations and behaviors, mobile websites will suffer. An impressive 79% say they’re more likely to revisit and/or share a mobile site if it is easy to use, meaning a website that is designed for mobile is an opportunity to win new customers.[1]

Having a diverse digital strategy will help your dealership be present for consumers in all stages of the automotive lifecycle, regardless of device or channel switching. This is particularly important, considering the average mobile shopping session in the U.S. consists of at least six visits to a mobile site or an app, including search, shopping, social, etc.[2]

Mobile is the gateway to digital advertising for fixed ops
With constant connectivity, mobile should not be treated as a singular channel. It is a tool for productivity and a gateway to all other digital channels (social media, display advertising, retargeting, paid search, SEO). In fact, 75% say their smartphones help them be more productive.[3]

Understanding when and why people turn to their smartphones will ultimately help businesses drive more leads and engagement with consumers. Luckily, Google has already cracked the code to mobile browsing behavior.

Moving at the Speed of Mobile
A recent Google study revealed a series of important patterns that help ‘humanize’ how mobile phones impact consumer journeys. These patterns, or ‘mind states’, describe when consumers turn to their phones. How does this impact your dealership? Understanding when a consumer uses their mobile device will help make your marketing content more relevant and match buyer intentions.

Google’s Mind States[4]

Spark_Google_Artboard 3

This refers to when something just pops into your head, or you’re triggered by something you see.

  • This is where Paid Search and SEO will help your dealership show up in searches and quickly be found.
  • Seeing a Display Ad will help remind consumers of maintenance they may need, a car they wanted to research, or parts they need to order.

 UrgentNeed_Google_Artboard 4

In the dealership world, this is mind state is often reactive. A consumer’s car starts making a strange noise, so he or she quickly Googles where to find the nearest service center.

  • Make sure your hours of operation, contact information, location, or click-to-call features are quickly accessible and visible on mobile.
  • Try geotargeting paid search queries for fixed ops.

InStore_Assistance_Google_Artboard 5

Besides comparing prices while in-store, consumers are also searching for coupons, reading reviews, or looking for guidance and recommendations.

  • Include service coupons in emails. If they leave their coupons at home, they can still access them via email on their mobile device.
  • Keep your service specials, inventory, and F&I information up to date.
  • Is your online reputation (reviews, social media posts) one that would attract other customers? If not, you might consider online reputation management to help your dealership attract new business.
     MicroProductivity_Google_Artboard 6

This refers to the small checklist of things that people work on or get done while waiting on something – waiting at a doctor’s office, sitting in the back of an Uber etc. All digital channels apply to this mind state; as consumers jump from website to website, your dealership should be present from point A to point Z. 

  • Booking a service appointment is definitely something that falls into this category. Have a click-to-call option to schedule service appointments or a short form that is optimized for mobile submissions.
  • Use Display advertisements to grab a consumers’ attention no matter what website they are browsing.
  • Retarget mobile users with service specials or inventory they already checked out on your site.

Planning_Google_Artboard 7

People are using search to plan things on their mobile devices – from mapping a route, to planning out a weekend vacation, or viewing a restaurant’s menu before deciding to go – smartphones are helping people plan. Your dealership can help consumers plan too! Think about how your marketing content can help consumers plan for buying or leasing a new car. All digital channels apply to this mind state.

  • Are your equity mining tools optimized for mobile?
  • Is your inventory optimized for mobile browsing?
  • Send lease renewal emails or notifications.
  • Retarget consumers with service specials, inventory, or parts they may want or need.

Mobile and Digital Advertising – The Dynamic Duo
If you are invested in digital advertising, you need to have a mobile strategy – and vice versa. In today’s connected world, you cannot have one without the other. Digital and mobile are critical investments because consumers can use them in every stage of the automotive life cycle. Whether your dealership is showing up in Search for a prospect, or you’re sending a confirmation text of parts arrivals, this dynamic duo works together to maximize engagement and your dealership’s visibility.

However, the best way to engage with today’s ‘constantly-connected’ consumer is through an omnichannel, Lifecycle Marketing strategy. This strategy ensures your messaging is available across multiple channels and is reaching consumers when they want or need information. By sending relevant and/or follow up information to consumers at common points of defection, your dealership will continually drive higher engagement and loyalty.


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1,2,3,4 Google/Heart+Mind Strategies, 2017: “Getting Things Done on Mobile”


Written by GSM

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