“Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos
The marketers and advertisers that attended JD Power AMR this year were in for a serious treat. JD Power put together a stellar lineup of speakers and an interesting array of content. From artificial intelligence and messaging techniques to in-store experience and the changes the industry needs to make moving forward, JD Power was full of powerful thought leadership. Here are a few key takeaways.
1. With the ability to search any topic from their pockets, consumers are taking their time researching purchases online. On average, auto consumers spend 16 weeks researching a car purchase before setting foot in a dealership. Coupled with the increasing adoption of ad blockers, marketers have a large obstacle to overcome to close the online to offline loop. Marketers must figure out when someone is in-market without much knowledge about them. To come out on top brands must find the tools that fit their marketing strategies, and provide the most accurate campaign reporting to garner ROI and revenue.
2. Younger generations are not brand loyal, they take months to do research, they are averse to advertising, they use ad blockers and incognito settings, and they typically begin their car search with no more than two cars in mind. Because of this, auto marketers have an interesting challenge in front of them: figuring out how to place relevant advertisements in front of these consumers without much insight. To get on the “short list” of these younger generation consumers, brands must own their voices, be insightful by leading messaging with value and insights, and be anticipatory but unselfish. These younger generations abhore “fake”, “self-serving” advertisements and they will not give them any attention. Thoughtful, targeted advertisements and accurate campaign measurement have never been more important.
3. The auto in-store experience has remained relatively unchanged for far too long and it needs to innovate now. Incredibly, the in-store experience in the auto industry can last up to 5.5 hours, 1.5 of them spent solely filling out paperwork. AI and AR experiences could change the face of the in-store experience. What if you could answer a few questions about style and preferences and a computer showed you side-by-side comparisons of cars you would like? What if you could personalize a car from top to bottom in 3d? The brands that innovate and gear in-store experiences to customer satisfaction by anticipating frustration points and customer needs will be the brands that succeed.
At the conclusion of the discussions and presentations, it was clear the auto industry has a lot of room for growth. It was also clear, however, that with the use of new technologies and creative innovation the industry can thrive. As the auto marketers search for revenue among a tech-savvy and advertising averse audience strong branding, thoughtful messaging, and quality insights will generate coveted ROI.