Recent research uncovered specific differences in the way individual audience groups research and shop for cars. Women, Millennials, Hispanic and Asian car shoppers all search a different way, and they all shop a different way. Here’s what we now know, and what it means for your digital marketing approach.
Like virtually every other industry, data is providing more insight into the consumer’s automotive shopping process. For example, we’ve known for a long time that there are distinctions between the way men and women shop for vehicles. But audiences go beyond just gender differences. Should we refine the auto marketing for other groups, such as Millennials? And how about cultural differences, such as Hispanic and Asian car shoppers? Can we refine the marketing process even further to better reach these consumers?
New data says we may need to.
A recent in-depth study, jointly developed by Ipsos Connect and Jumpstart Automotive Group, shows that there are differences in how gender, age, and cultural groups shop for cars. Understanding these differences can help manufacturers and dealers tailor their digital and traditional marketing approach to fill the showroom more, and close more deals.
- Women Auto Shoppers: Focus On Practicality
Women are more concerned with practicality than finding the best deal or offer. They want to see how a car meets their specific needs and lifestyle, rather than just getting a great price. When communicating to women, dealers should convey the value of a vehicle’s practical attributes rather than just focusing on promoting a best offer.
- Women And Used Vehicles: Appeal To The Rational And Tout Features
In addition to getting a good price, women are interested in a used car’s features and in being reassured they’re making a wise decision by buying a used vehicle. Dealers should communicate the feature-rich attributes of a used car and tout low gas mileage, extended warranty or certification, etc. Digital marketing messages should help women not only understand the value of a used vehicle’s specific feature set (especially as compared to a new vehicle), but also give them more confidence in their used car purchase.
- Asian Auto Shoppers: Promote Brand Power And High-End Features
This group places a premium on high-end features and strong brand attributes—especially brands with reputations for great quality. Dealers should ensure their digital marketing strategies effectively shine a light on premium features and communicate the importance of a vehicle’s brand, including its reliability scorecard and particular characteristics it has established over time. Engagement strategies should still highlight strong value, but the overarching message should lead with brand attributes.
- Hispanic Auto Shoppers: Stay Focused On Purchase Price
This group places a big emphasis on keeping vehicles in the family, which makes trade-in offers much less relevant to them. They also tend to consider overall purchase more than monthly payment. Dealers should ensure their digital marketing strategies focus less on trade appraisals and trade-in opportunities when discussing what makes up the elements of a good offer and focus more on message clarity around the total cost of purchase.
- Millennial Auto Shoppers: Recognize Their Propensity For Constant Change
Millennials tend to change cars every three to four years. They enjoy the opportunity to experience something new and showcase it among peers and family. They are also interested in hearing about the technology- and feature-rich attributes that represent an upgrade to their current vehicle. This means dealers should ensure their digital marketing strategies include lifestyle messaging about vehicle upgrades and the latest features, in addition to strong offers with great value.
- Millennial Auto Shoppers: Speak To Their Online And Mobile Lifestyles
Millennials also shop with more technology—especially mobile devices. More than any other age group, they are constantly digitally connected to online resources and networks. Dealers should identify ways to engage with Millennials via mobile and a variety of social environments (Facebook, apps, gamification, and social experiences) as these environments shape their sphere of communication. Dealers should also ensure their digital marketing strategies extend beyond the traditional channels (radio, TV, email, etc.) and should consider connecting with this group via new social platforms such as Facebook Live and Snapchat.
- Every Group: Employ The Authentic Messaging They Crave
From clear, honest pricing to real photos, more interior shots, and messages that speak directly to them, auto shoppers look for authenticity throughout their entire shopping journey. Dealers should ensure all pricing messaging is transparent (i.e. communicate exactly how much they can expect to pay for a vehicle). Consumers also like to see how a car will suit their lifestyle, so dealers should provide more interior shots that depict real-life scenarios (e.g. How comfortably will adult passengers fit in the backseat?). Consumers also prefer personalized messages and common language to ambiguous and/or impersonal language, so dealers should remember this when developing digital marketing communications.
Understand that people shop for vehicles in different ways and what is important to one group may not be as important to the next. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. While manufacturers and dealers may not have insights into every shopping nuance, providing fair and transparent pricing along with a consistent experience will build trust and credibility. For consumers, buying a vehicle is a rational and emotional decision that needs to “feel right.” When consumers feel confident they’ve made a good decision, they feel more empowered, secure, and comfortable with the entire process.
Author: Libby Murad-Patel
Libby Murad-Patel is Vice President of Strategic Insights & Analytics for Jumpstart Automotive Group, a division of Hearst Autos, which offers high-impact and performance-driven marketing and advertising solutions that achieve optimum results. Email: LMuradpatel@digitaldealer.com.