Browsing articles tagged with " marketing"
Dec
12

You’re Not Going to Create Brand Loyalty with Urgency

By Mike Gorun  //  Uncategorized  //  Comments Off on You’re Not Going to Create Brand Loyalty with Urgency

For many marketers, most consumer messages have long been based on some sort of sense of urgency. Take dealerships, for example. Even when the customer is in the dealership, everything is about the “big sale” and the threat of “buy now or lose this deal.”

The problem is, it is no longer effective. Consumers have become numb to these messages; the simple reason being that they don’t believe them! There’s always a big sale and consumers fully expect that, if they come in next weekend, or a month from now, there will still be a big sale and a good deal to be had. They believe this because they have all the information needed to confirm it through the many Internet resources available to them.

But what does this have to do with customer loyalty?

First, by continuously throwing out these messages, you thoroughly destroy whatever credibility you may have built prior to them coming in. Rightly or wrongly, consumers are already jaded when dealing with car dealerships. This is simply exacerbated if they come in only to be met with high-pressure salespeople extolling how the dealership only wants to earn their business “right now!” Not in the future. Not for life. Not even for another day.

Imagine going on a first date and telling them that tonight is the only chance they get to have a relationship with you. You’d probably get laughed at right before your date gets up and leaves you standing there with a disbelieving look.

Relationships with your dealership are no different. In fact, it’s much harder for a business to build a relationship with a customer than it is on a personal level. And, by beginning the relationship with a message of “this is your one and only chance,” you send a message contrary to the one you should be sending.

Customer loyalty is built on emotion. That’s why we spend our money on brands we love and that make us feel appreciated. Those brands don’t focus on immediacy, or messages of “right now!” Rather, their message is focused on long-term customer relationships by catering to emotions.

Think of the last commercial you saw that brought tears to your eyes. What about that business involved in philanthropic efforts that you care about?  Or, if nothing else, the one that always delivers excellent customer service and fulfills its brand promise? Those are the businesses which build loyalty organically and enjoy a stable base of loyal customers built on a strong foundation.

The next time your dealership is tempted to push a customer into deciding “right now,” consider how that will affect the long-term relationship you have yet to build. If lifetime customer value means anything to you, and you would like to see hundreds of thousands of dollars flow into your dealership from repeat, service and referral business, you may want to reconsider your tactics.

Of course, if you are only interested in the immediate gross profit and don’t care about the future, you may find yourself in an eternal search for the next date. And that may be a lonely journey.

Apr
4

Porsche Plans to Bring some Disney Magic to its Dealerships

By Mike Gorun  //  Uncategorized  //  Comments Off on Porsche Plans to Bring some Disney Magic to its Dealerships

disneyIt’s no surprise that Disney has created one of the largest groups of loyal customers in the world. Of course, this isn’t by accident. Everything Disney does is by design. According to an article in Automotive News, Porsche wants to do a similar thing and create its own brand loyalists by bringing a little Disney magic to its dealerships.

Porsche has enlisted the Disney Institute to help train all of its customer-facing dealership personnel. It has also asked dealers to create a new position in their stores, Customer Experience Manager, responsible for ensuring staff embrace customer experience. The Customer Experience Manager will also watch and analyze customer satisfaction in their stores at each point of contact.

Customer loyalty begins at the first point of contact a customer has with a dealership. Regardless of if the first experience is in service, via the Internet, by phone, or in person, if this first experience is poor, it’s much harder to win over their loyalty. Through creating a company culture that focuses on the customer experience, similar to Disney, Porsche is on the right track to increase their Customer Satisfaction scores, along with dealership and brand loyalty.

The Disney Institute is a world-renowned training group that has ongoing relationships with other manufacturers, including GM. It has trained dealers in several areas, including leadership and management skills, and attendees largely have very positive things to say about the training.

Low CSI scores can cost your dealership thousands of dollars in lost OEM incentives, to say nothing of the loss of sales and service revenue and the scramble to replace those customers, along with high acquisition costs.

Take a look at what Porsche is doing and consider analyzing your customer experience at every touchpoint. Strive to improve areas that are lacking and reward any staff that perform well. Whether you choose to send your staff to the Disney Institute or not, an internal program designed to improve the customer experience at your dealership can certainly mean future business and revenue growth.

It’s great to see a manufacturer take this move to improve the customer experience and thereby loyalty. Hopefully, other manufacturers and dealerships will follow their lead. It can only mean an improved perception of dealerships by consumers. And that will lead to more business for everyone.

Mar
21

Do You Really Know Why Your Dealership is Growing?

By Mike Gorun  //  Uncategorized  //  Comments Off on Do You Really Know Why Your Dealership is Growing?

It’s a logical conclusion that customer retention and loyalty are important to the survival and growth of any dealership, yet many dealers focus on growth by intangible metrics, simply looking at numbers – 100 units last month vs. 125 this month, or $125,000 in service revenue last month vs. $175,000 this month – without knowing whether that growth was influenced by customer acquisition or retention.

Most dealers spend a lot of money on marketing every month and it’s very easy to attribute any growth to successful marketing campaigns, technology or vendors, when, in fact, it could very easily be coming from successful retention strategies.

An excellent article on Customer Think spells out precisely why loyalty in the automotive industry is incredibly important, and how you can better leverage retention, loyalty and acquisition strategies to increase growth, revenue and volume.

The article suggests the use of data to predict when sales are ripe as one way to help your dealership thrive. Your CRM has many data points which can help indicate that a customer is ripe for a new vehicle based on things such as marriage or kids, along with many others. Hopefully, these customers are coming to you for service, which gives you a running profile on what has changed in your customer’s lives. This allows for more targeted, personalized and relevant offers which ultimately will convert into sales.

Of course, service plans (pre-paid maintenance) are also huge retention drivers, with a retention rate of close to 60 percent, according to the article. Pre-paid maintenance keep customers visiting your dealership for years. Assuming they’re having a good experience, this also helps them decide to get their next vehicle from your dealership, rather than a competitor.

You can’t always rely on your customers to tell you when lifetime changes occur that could indicate they are ready for a new vehicle. Pro-active marketing and continual, relevant communication with your customers is imperative to retaining their business – for both service and sales. Without a continuous conversation, it’s very easy for the competition to conquest away your customers. This worst-case-scenario, when it happens, means it’s too late, in most cases, to continue the customer relationship. It may not even be that anything went wrong, simply that a customer was attracted by a competitor’s offer. However, it’s very hard to win them back. So, keeping in touch, being relevant and anticipating your customer’s needs, rather than reacting to them, is incredibly important.

Also, be sure that your dealership always offers a superior customer experience. It’s much harder to conquest a loyal customer than it is a satisfied one. Don’t mix the two up because they aren’t the same. A satisfied customer simply means that they are fine with the service they are receiving, but are still vulnerable to competing offers. A loyal customer, on the other hand, is much more likely to stick with your dealership.

In the end, it’s important to develop a way to measure, manage and cater to both new and existing customers. If you can’t differentiate between the two, growth is easily attributed to acquisition efforts, while retention gets ignored.

Remember that it’s much less expensive to keep an existing customer than acquire a new one.

Feb
7

Loyalty: It’s Not ALL About Millennials

By Mike Gorun  //  Uncategorized  //  Comments Off on Loyalty: It’s Not ALL About Millennials

A recent McKinsey podcast shared that when it comes to loyalty programs, a large part of the population is being ignored: elderly customers.

The podcast featured Jaana Remes, partner of the McKinsey Global Institute, and coauthor of the report “Urban World: The global customers to watch.”  According to Remes, the elderly population will grow by more than one-third in the next 15 years, totaling about 222 million people, and account for approximately 51 percent of urban consumption growth, which is equivalent to more than $4 trillion.

That’s a pretty large base of consumers with some hefty spending power that many fail to market to.

According to the McKinsey podcast, the elderly consumer (60+ years) has some attributes that Millennials don’t have and that are very attractive to retailers.

  1. They were raised in a time of loyalty. This is the demographic that would shop someplace because of a great customer experience, they like doing business there and have developed a relationship with the company. Millennials, on the other hand, have more fragile loyalty ties to businesses and will defect much more quickly.
  1. The elderly generation has much more financial stability and, in many cases, has the credit and disposable income to make large purchases very easily should they desire to. Millennials are more likely to make less money, be saddled with student loans and have less disposable income.

All generations have buying power but simply make decisions in different ways.

Jun
30

Food is the Way to a Man’s Heart… But Not That Kind of Food

By Mike Gorun  //  Uncategorized  //  Comments Off on Food is the Way to a Man’s Heart… But Not That Kind of Food

This common saying is certainly one that everyone knows. And, whether it’s true or not, has endured time. Why? Because someone cooking for you is an intimate act that is satisfying and elicits fond memories. In essence, this act accomplished on a regular basis is supposed to be the recipe (pun intended) to win the love of a man, or woman. The gender of a person has little to do with what it takes to win their hearts.

That being said, this simple saying can easily be transferred from the realm of interpersonal relationships to the world of business. How? Every time a customer visits or interacts with your dealership, you are essentially feeding them.

Customers have appetites for quality products and excellent service. Just look at the hoards that stand in line for hours (or sometimes days) for every new Apple product. With each commercial, tease, leak or ad, Apple caters to that appetite. But why do consumers do this? Well, Apple has created a brand trusted by the masses. Consumers believe the product(s) Apple develop will be of exceptional quality and that they will receive an excellent customer experience while using them. The food in this equation is multi-dimensional.

Let me explain:

Apple is, by nature, a very secretive company when it comes to product releases. However, there are usually numerous “leaks” for any product offering, which culminate with a very short period of time between the customer entering the restaurant (the official announcement) and the main course (product release). These leaks serve as teases to their customers and whet their appetites for the product or service. Without these, customers would be left in mystery, with little information to help in the buying decision, and a rather short period to decide whether they want to plop down the typically premium price, or perhaps wait.

Once the main course is served, all preconceived notions, hopes, wishes, dreams and speculation end and reality sets in. Either the product or service lives up to the expectations of the customer – or they do not.

Customers are constantly fed either the appetizers (your marketing) or main courses (the actual customer experience). How they perceive or experience both can weaken, or strengthen their loyalty. If the experience is everything that it was hyped up to be, and the product fulfilled their expectations, they will probably get in line a little earlier the next time and be less skeptical or trigger-shy.

All dealerships advertise. The messages that you put out there whether it is about price, experience, or other unique selling propositions, whet the consumer’s appetite and get them to visit your dealership. Once there, their actual experience can either reinforce your marketing messages or convince the customer that you made false promises and are insincere.

Make sure that the food you are feeding customers – whether it’s the appetizer of the main course – fulfills all of your customer’s expectations and you’ll find that with each visit, they love your restaurant that much more.

And when the food is great, people tell their friends. Which is exactly what you want.







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