Constant consideration: Customer’s brand choice on the path to vehicle purchase.
Digital continues to change the purchase path for auto shoppers. For today’s consumers, vehicle attention may rise and fall, but influential brand moments are constant, stretching across a cycle that encompasses pre-market, in-market, and post-market phases. With 63 percent of new vehicle purchasers beginning their search with a specific brand in mind, but only 20 percent purchasing the vehicle they first researched online, it’s clear that brand consideration can be won or lost at any point throughout this loop. By harnessing the unique insights and immersive, personal experiences afforded by digital brand-building, auto marketers can adapt for greater sales and long-term loyalty.
We live in the age of engagement. Digital has amplified the opportunity for brands to connect with consumers at the moments that matter, across an array of platforms, screens, and devices. At the same time, however, there is a growing skepticism–even among ad agencies–as people begin to question whether consumers really care about brands at all.
According to Weiden+Kennedy Amsterdam, 72 percent of Pepsi fans also drink Coca-Cola. Their conclusion: Your consumers are just somebody else’s consumers who occasionally buy you. Is this true? And if it is, what is the real value of a fan, a Like, a +1, or a tweet? In fact, how do we define engagement at all?
Happily, our research suggests that there’s no need for doom and gloom. Yes, consumer behavior has changed with the digital revolution, but brands should see this as an opportunity, not a cause for despair.
For the auto industry, it means embracing a new model in which marketers no longer view potential customers merely as “shoppers.” Rather, they are owners who bring with them strong brand notions based on their experiences before, during, and after their last vehicle purchase.
They are on a continuous journey starting long before they are in-market and continuing long after they buy. Each moment leads fluidly into the next, from the instant the car is driven off the lot, when pictures and reviews are posted online, to servicing milestones and the everyday experience of the vehicle, which shapes consideration the next time the owner is ready to shop for a new vehicle.
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