Over the past few months it has been exciting to watch all the new product releases as each OEM continues to push the envelope of technology and creating a highly desired unit for the consumers. These product launches have rolled out in various ways from dealer shows, the AIM Expo to direct email campaigns to consumers. The amount of time in R&D to build new products each year is a lengthy undertaking for each brand to ensure what you build will resonate with your customers. However, the success of the launch is only as good as your ability to market the product and ensure that the dealer is just as enthusiastic about the product.
As I took part in a few launches at dealer shows, I was amazed at the number of dealers with their cell phones out taking pictures and videos (even pushing them via Facebook live) to be ready to share with their local fans, where the purchasing decision really happens. As I watched this happen, I quickly realized that as an industry we fall short in marketing from the brand to the consumer through our dealers. I watched the HD videos that an OEM spends tens of thousands of dollars to produce to only be displayed at the local dealer level like I was watching a bootleg copy of “Old School” on YouTube that someone recorded off their cell phone.
As an OEM, you have always been concerned about the consumer experience about your brand once they reach the dealership. How is your name represented on the sign? How is the inventory displayed? Are the brochures out? What about our parts and accessories? This is an old school way of thinking! Today’s shopper spends over 75 percent of their buying process online! Does your brand have a consistent representation across all fronts digitally? This includes the website, Facebook, Google Reviews, and the Business Listing information.
We have fallen short in our product launches by believing dealers will find the time to grab the digital assets and videos and know what to do with them in their marketing efforts. We have fallen short in insuring our consumers have a consistent brand representation digitally across all channels before they even walk into the dealership.
As you get ready for your next season product launches, I challenge you to think beyond just your launch, but how you will ensure your dealer network represents your brand consistently across all digital platforms to grow the business together as partners.
Jim Jabaay is the vice president of Sales and Marketing for LotVantage, a leader in digital marketing for automotive, powersports, marine and RV dealerships. Jim has grown up in the automotive industry with the family dealership in the suburbs of Chicago. Jim started at Manheim in sales and continued to grow his career running sales teams throughout Texas for nine years. Following Manheim, Jim spent two years at Dealertrack expanding his career in the software side of the business. LotVantage utilizes data to help dealerships understand which inventory to post and when to post it for a local, national and social presence. Jim’s number one goal is helping dealers succeed in an ever growing and changing dealership world.