The 4Ps of Automotive Marketing™ – product, price, place, and person – justifiably emphasize the importance of the lot as the place where a vehicle shopper becomes a buyer. The lot remains as important as ever – but dealers need to think about all the places that can attract customers to their lots. The tactics for attracting shoppers to the lot have evolved dramatically. In particular, mobile has been a game changer.

In recent years, the mobile device has shaped the online consumer journey. Mobile is the new TV and radio platform combined. Of course, the defining attribute about mobile is that consumers take their mobile devices everywhere.  The increase in mobile usage during the shopping process has led to approaches such as the creation of geo-fencing – or the new outdoor billboard, which gives the dealership the ability to choose the physical location in which they want to capture the mobile consumer’s attention.

In addition, dealerships need to respond to the rise of showrooming, or mobile consumers on the lot comparing competitors’ vehicles on the phones even as they browse a dealer’s physical inventory.

Evolution of the Consumer Journey

The rise of mobile marks an important landmark in the evolution of dealership advertising. Before the internet came along, dealerships’ main source of advertising was print, TV, and billboards. Regardless of your tactic, you wanted to make sure your product had the proper placement to drive consumers to your dealership.  Of course, TV and radio provided more opportunity to influence consumer choice through the immediacy of those media.

In the 1990s as the internet became more mainstream, publishers of print, radio and TV ad space began offering online ads to get your dealership in front of the online consumer. The internet would allow for the most in-depth, varied metrics to report results to advertisers.  With a massive change to the consumer journey, tracking new behaviors continue to evolve.

And now mobile has become a pervasive way for shoppers and dealerships to interact. According to the Mobile Influence on Car Shopping, 46 percent of consumers say they use their smartphones for all online car shopping activities; and more than half have used their smartphones on dealership lots to get more information ranging from vehicle prices to dealership reviews.

Dealerships can pursue several options in response, for example:

  • Optimize your vehicle inventory to be seen on smartphones.
  • Train your sales teams to identify consumers on the lot using the mobile phones and know how to engagement them.
  • Utilize geo-fencing as part of your mobile strategy and start collecting location data right away.

The recently published Guide to the New 4Ps of Automotive Marketing discusses the evolution of place in context of the 4Ps. Check it out and our Mobile Influence on Car Shopping to better understand how to respond to the interplay between mobile and location.