These days, Google searches are much more personalized and localized. For example, when a consumer types in a search query at their home it produces different results to the exact same search conducted at their office 30 miles away.
And, to further complicate matters, consumers increasingly shop and conduct their research using multiple devices, making it that much more difficult to follow them from the beginning of their journey to the end. A consumer may start their shopping journey on a desktop, browse a dealer’s inventory and then jump to a review site, then to a third-party listing site to compare pricing and availability. When they do find a vehicle they like, often they just go to the dealership to see it. Perhaps their visit is preceded by a phone call or internet inquiry to confirm the vehicle’s availability, or maybe they just show up. Once they arrive, they may be attracted to a different vehicle which prompts them to whip out that cell phone and start researching and price checking while standing on the lot. Most consumers don’t buy the vehicle they first inquired about and showrooming is now a common practice — and there’s nothing anybody can do about it.
That being said, understanding the POSSIBILITIES which exist along a consumer’s car-buying path, and ensuring your dealership is present with compelling messages at each touchpoint, can lead the shopper that much further down the funnel and, ultimately, to your dealership.
But when it comes to sourcing that customer, many salespeople only ask surface-level questions which rarely, if ever, provide accurate information needed to identify and accurately measure your marketing spend. Of course, many consumers themselves don’t remember all of the touchpoints they visited that led them to buying a vehicle from you so asking them more questions can still lead to inaccurate results. However, you should still ask customers these questions if only to understand the customer’s perception of what influenced them.
Today most consumers own multiple devices on which they use to shop and conduct their research – work computer, home computer, tablets, cell phones – and now voice-activated services such as Amazon’s Alexa and Siri (amongst others). It’s never been more important to have the data you need to make accurate and reliable marketing decisions.
While in the past, last-click attribution was used simply because the technology didn’t exist to see beyond that, now, successful marketers understand that there is no longer just one source responsible for influencing the entire customer journey. All of your marketing efforts work in their own way in a symbiotic relationship to influence the customer. A review site could be what convinced the customer to look at a specific make and model. A third-party listing site could be what influenced them to narrow their selection down to your specific vehicle. Another review site could then have given them confidence that they would have a good experience at your dealership and be treated fairly. Each of these touchpoints did their job and played a part in providing the customer the information they needed, which ultimately led them into your dealership.
It’s certainly possible that lack of presence on one or any of these touchpoints could influence the consumer into following a different path and onto a competitor’s lot. However, without the data and information showing you which touchpoints are influencing your customers, you’re simply guessing.
Author: Steve White
Steve White is CEO of Clarivoy, the auto industry’s leading provider of multi-touch sales attribution and advanced digital targeting tools. In 2014 White was named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in Central Ohio and he has over 20 years of experience working with clients to ensure they get the best results from their traditional and digital marketing campaigns. He knows that the key to success lies in understanding the performance of past campaigns and has used and developed a variety of tools to ensure marketers aren’t guessing when it comes to their campaign results.