At NADA 2018, the entire Cars.com family – Cars.com, Dealer Inspire, and DealerRater — was busy connecting with customers everywhere, ranging from the exhibition floor to special events. What we heard during informal conversations and speakers onstage underscored the importance of the 4Ps of Automotive Marketing™ — product, price, place, and person – to the success of the automotive industry, including both dealerships and manufacturers.
In fact, the power of a dealership’s people emerged as the event’s recurring theme. As John Tutino, general sales manager at Henderson Hyundai Superstore in Nevada, said, “People still inherently want a personal touch.” And thought leader David Kain summed up automotive retailing this way: “It’s a one-person relationship.”
Following are 10 takeaways that sum up NADA for Cars.com. These are key headlines from the conversations we heard and had:
- Dealerships are the bedrock of automotive. “To love the product, you have to love the retailer” — Tom Doll, President and COO, Subaru of America.
- People and culture are the foundation of automotive. “What brings everything together is the 4Ps of Automotive Marketing. In particular, our people bring that extra experience to the consumer and let them know they have a friend in the car business. It’s a personal touch in the digital age.” — John Tutino, general sales manager at Henderson Hyundai Superstore in Nevada.
- Hiring women is good business. “Women can be the best employees in the industry, and 85 percent of purchase decisions are made by women. Not to hire women is crazy!” – Christy Roman, founder, Women in Automotive.
- The customer journey extends beyond the lot. “Dealers have to ask, ‘Where are my customers? Then go where they are.” – Cory Mosley, entrepreneur and strategist.
- Embrace disruption to succeed. “We embrace disruption. We enjoy it. We get excited about all the unknowns that make people uncomfortable. We look at embracing those things to provide a better product and service to our customers.” — Jeff Skobin, chief marketing officer and VP of business operations, Galpin Motors.
- Customer relationships are made in the service lane. “Vehicle maintenance is where you build customer relationships” — Shaun Skinner, President, Isuzu Commercial Truck of America.
- Predictive analytics unlocks customer insight. “Using analytics well is about personalizing the experience for shoppers throughout the entire car-buying process. Analytics now has the power to help dealers know who is buying their vehicles and also their preferences. Knowing your customer’s preferences makes it possible for the dealer to personalize the content and experiences they provide.” – Jeni Pecard, Cars.com.
- Manage reviews like an asset. “Word of mouth is everything. All our salespeople have the capability to use [the DealerRater reviews platform.] Our ratings have gone up. Customers like it, too. People see that we are a fun place to visit, and they talk about us. We tend to retain those people.” — John Barr, general manager of Findlay Toyota.
- Automotive manufacturers are redefining their fundamental roles. “We’re defining ourselves as a mobility transportation provider” — Larry Dominique, President & CEO, PSA North America.
- Innovation requires unprecedented collaboration. “OEMs need to collaborate with tech innovators. We must become creators at the speed of the tech sector.” — Dan Mohnke, Senior VP, Sales & Marketing Operations, Nissan Division U.S.
We are more than ever inspired to partner with the automotive industry to help shape the future of the retailing experience. Thank you to our customers. It’s an honor to be a growth partner for you.