“If I had simply asked people what they wanted, they would have asked me for faster horses.”
Most of you will recognize the author of this quote.
He also said this. “If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.”
These wise and influential thoughts might seem contradictory to each other, but the very next glance will tell you they are actually quite compatible.
They are the very definition of Henry Ford’s business success. He was a technical visionary who found a way to produce high-quality and low-priced automobiles while raising his workers’ wages. Quite an alchemical skill, don’t you think?
But he was even more than that. He was a great psychologist. Cars are bought by people. In order to sell anything, you have to realize what those people need today, and even more so – what they will need tomorrow. It means not only reading customers’ minds but going a step further – making up their minds and having them love you for it.
That’s what marketing has been doing for the past century.
That’s why digital marketing has almost been made into an art form in the course of the past decade.
Last week we busted a few common misconceptions about marketing. Now we’ll discover some benefits it can have for your automotive business.
Getting hip with Millennials
Business owners in the automotive industry often have this impression that they will sell no matter what. People drive cars. Cars need maintenance, and always will. There’s no deeper philosophy to it, it may seem.
Here’s a warning. Your customers base changes as we speak. Millennials are no longer toddlers. They make and spend money, and they want a different approach.
It’s a great thing that you still have 50-year old guys who don’t need the Internet to tell them what’s what and to get to know what it is they want. But you have to think digitally, along with the digital generation that you’re selling more and more to. You have to market to them on their terms, not yours. The Millenials’ share of the new-vehicle market in the U.S. was 29% last year. What’s more, the number is estimated to grow up to 40% over the next three years.
Marketing will never let your business methods grow stale. It’s an ever-changing field. And its greatest asset is that it always tries to get ahead of the trends and draw the best from them.
Here’s our own little success story. Our biggest client to this day has been CRS Automotive, a repair service and vehicle sales shop with two locations, Hamilton and Oakville, Canada. Until we began working together, they mainly employed traditional marketing methods – radio, billboards, sponsorship’s, flyers.
Today (mere 4 years later), the Internet is their own marketing channel. 90% of their customers were attracted online. The other 10% are a result of the word-to-mouth process. Not only has their business grown, but they have also become a leader in their field.
Hitting the right casino and getting a…
When a Millennial has a problem, chances are the first place they will look for a solution is the Internet. They prefer it even to the best possible auto service or repair shop because it provides everything they need – not only the soundest advice, plethora of catchy explanations and interesting materials, but also other users’ experiences. Why compete with Internet’s versatility when you can make a perfectly good use of it?
What if you are among the first things Google will serve to your potential customers?
Their click is yours. Better than to have a repair shop even at the busiest crossroad in town. If you give them the answer they’ve been looking for, their attention is yours. If the answer is good enough, chances are their coin and loyalty will be yours, too.
Basically, it’s called nurturing your potential customers before they even think of becoming customers.
If you have a neatly arranged and responsive website and social media accounts, whenever someone visits them and exhibits a certain kind of behavior (such as filling out a form), they are ready to enter a nurturing funnel. (Some call it sales funnel, but we like to keep things subtle.)
They will get things they are interested in. They will get emails tailored specifically to their needs. The technical term for this is marketing automation, but it doesn’t feel like automation when you are a subject to it. It’s elegant and personal, as personal as it can be.
Remember the story about our oldest client? 70% of their customers are returning, and the rest are new ones. That 70% isn’t returning because they feel like mere numbers in our stats and analytics.
Showing emotions behind the machine
Actually, there is no business without a story. If there was, it would be just a mere act of exchanging goods and services for money which happens to generate some profit to keep things rolling further. It would not deserve to be called a business.
One of the first things we do in our new client onboarding process is getting to know the client well. We ask them questions which should help both them and us in clarifying and defining the story behind their business.
The story is made of these reasons.
Your love for what you do is what gives your business this special and unique flavor, the secret ingredient without which everything would fall apart.
When starting a business, people choose between myriads of different options. Their choice is always based on affinities, besides practical reasons. This human side of your choice will make your story more accessible and appealing to other humans who are willing to engage with you. It helps us communicate your message and establish your brand as one of a kind, in a merciless environment where there are not only so many businesses but so many successful ones.
Many of your peers are already doing it. Get in the game and try become better than your peers.