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Kicking the post-Christmas blues

January and February are typically slow months for car sales as people count the cost of the festive period (in financial and calorific terms); many delaying a purchase until March’s plate change.  However, the tablets and smartphones gifted by Santa, which are currently providing consumers with hours of distraction, will soon become the car dealer’s friend, as 2013 will herald a new era in digital and mobile marketing.

Possibly most dramatic influence on the progression of mobile marketing is the introduction of 4G hotspots.  EE launched its 4G service late last year but because of high prices and restrictive download limits – and promises from better-established competitors to upgrade existing customers at a reduced rate – UK mobile users are yet to fall in love with 4G.

Be in no doubt, change is coming.  2013 will see the technology adopted by an increasing number of networks meaning that prices will be driven down and packages will become more attractive – remember, there was a time when people would pay ludicrous sums of money for a 3G service that barely worked.

In turn, 4G, coupled with more powerful processors on the latest range of tablets, will allow mobile websites to be more sophisticated, with online advertising following suit.  No more will mobile sites be strewn with low-resolution banners, instead advertising will be less intrusive and more interactive – in the words of a Marketing Week pundit recently, online advertising will become ‘more beautiful’.

Not only will the quality of advertising improve on mobile sites in 2013, but the way in which online users are targeted by companies will also change dramatically.  Analytics companies such as Adobe and IBM invested heavily last year so that this year they are able to offer companies far greater detail on how customers interact with their brands online – as well as their rivals’ – through social media, mobile and traditional web.

What this means for the consumer is that the advertising they are subject to will be more relevant to them, relating to brands, products and content that they are interested in.

The impact of digital isn’t limited to the web however.  Servicing is a sure-fire way to increase cash-flow for a dealership.  Pressing customers to spend can prove difficult, so service plans – promoted and managed online – are an excellent way to ensure commitment from a customer and manage appointments.  They offer peace of mind to all parties, with known cash flow for the dealer, and the assurance of maintenance for the customer.

Whilst the post-Christmas financial hangover is never easy to bear, it should come as some comfort that, by embracing digital, dealers are securing the future of their business.

One Comment to Kicking the post-Christmas blues

  1. Another way to get hard pressed customers to spend on servicing is to make it easier and more convenient than the competition does to have work done.

    Here’s an example.

    A BMW customer comes in for a regular service. During the eVHC inspection, the technician establishes that the customer needs two new tyres as they are on the legal limit.

    This can be a tricky decision for a customer.

    Firstly, how bad are those tyres really? Secondly, my BMW dealer is bound to want to charge me a lot more than the specialist tyre centre I would normally use.

    Typical result. Thanks for bringing it to my attention, but I’ll get that sorted elsewhere. I can also have a good look at the tyres myself and make sure that I’m satisfied that they do need replacing.

    Happens all the time.

    But what if the technician had taken a short 1 minute video of my BMW and pointed out the tread depth using an electronic metre so I could see the evidence for myself, there and then on the video. And what if the service receptionist had been able to allay my fears about price. We’re very competitively priced, this will be a professional BMW fitment and we can do it now while we’ve got your car on the ramp.

    Convenience and service are just as important as price.

    Have a prosperous new year.

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