According to Statista, the total digital advertising budget for the automotive industry was expected to top $15.6 billion in 2019. In just five years, the budget soared with an increase of approximately $8 billion. If anyone understands the importance of marketing, it’s the automotive industry. They understand that changing needs and attitudes require new ways of marketing. Experiential marketing for cars is critical if you want to capture the attention of Millennials and Gen Zers.

Car shopping isn’t always a pleasant experience. Ask a 20-something about what they think of car shopping. You’re likely to hear feedback like “it’s too stressful,” “the process lacks honesty,” or “salespeople think they can walk all over younger buyers.” Even older generations hate the bargaining, sales pitches, and sticker shock when dealer fees, bank fees, and tax, title, and registration are added to the MSRP. A stellar experiential marketing plan can turn any car shopping experience into a memorable, pleasant one. With the right campaign, everyone from manufacturers to dealerships can draw attention and earn impressive feedback. Here are the things to think about.

Car Buyers Are Moving Away From Traditional Showrooms

One of the biggest changes over the years is that shoppers have the power to research and shop for cars online. Dealing with a salesperson is not appealing to all car buyers, and some dealers realize this.

Have you seen any ads for Carvana? Shoppers don’t have to set foot in a showroom, which is exactly what many car buyers are after. Instead, they research, apply for credit, and purchase their car online. All used cars go through Carvana’s inspections and come with a seven-day money-back guarantee if you don’t like it after driving it for a week and another warranty of 100 days/4,189 miles. The car is then picked up from a car vending machine using a token you’re given if you don’t want it delivered. It’s a novelty that makes car shopping possible at any hour. Carvana even pays up to $200 for a one-way flight and transportation from the airport for shoppers who don’t have a car vending machine in their immediate area.

Professional, Intuitive Websites Make a Difference

You don’t have to go as far as Carvana goes, but you should have a website that loads quickly, provides all of the images of the interior and exterior of a car, has honest pricing available, and allows buyers to complete the purchase online without a hassle. If you’re forcing potential customers to come into your dealership to find out the car’s price, you’re missing out. You must come up with ways to enhance a shopper’s experience and online financial applications, online chat, and fast response to email inquiries are important.

There’s one more thing to consider when you’re looking at branding and design. More than half of consumers start researching on their smartphones. If your website is missing a responsive design, you’re going to drive shoppers away. You need a professional-looking website and design, but it needs to adapt to fit different screen sizes.

Social Media Marketing Makes Interaction Easy to Manage

Adults of all ages use social media every day. Your social media presence is a great way to embrace today’s consumers. Provide them with relevant content and news. Prove to them that your company is the better choice than another. Work on brand awareness by providing pictures and videos and paying attention to the pictures and videos that go viral. Interact with them and use comments to grow your social media message rather than take umbrage to negative feedback. If a consumer has a bad experience, apologize and see what you could have done to win them over. You can’t please everyone, but you can learn from things your staff got wrong.

Don’t Limit Your Marketing to the Car’s Looks

So many dealers focus on a car’s brand or look. Shoppers aren’t looking at that as much. They may prefer a specific brand, but Google found 4 out of 10 car buyers were looking at a specific brand. Many shoppers spend time looking at the cost of maintenance, replacement parts, and features. Of the car buyers looking for specific brands, 90% of them still considered competitors before finalizing their purchase.

Car buyers tend to start their search by looking for something more general like “interior space for families” or “towing capacity.” Features are ranking higher than looks or brand when shoppers begin their experience. They’re looking for 360-degree videos of interiors and videos of a vehicle’s performance when on the road experiencing different situations like a person running out into traffic.

Partner With an Expert in Automotive Experiential Marketing Campaigns

Finding the right experiential marketing for cars can be challenging if you’ve always stuck to TV and print ads. Factory 360 is here to help. We assisted with Fiat Chrysler’s brand activation in Florida when dealership traffic declined. To create memorable experiences, we partnered with the dealerships on events ranging from kid-friendly Jeep Power Wheels experiences to miniature golf while customers waited for quick pre-qualifying credit checks. People had fun, and the events were attended by more than half a million people. We’re ready to come up with a unique, successful experiential marketing campaign for you, too.

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