Automotive communication: different roles between OEM and dealers.

Advertising and the art to manage the emotions of clients.  
Advertising is considered the most powerful tool of marketing, has no limits or borders and has become an integral part of the economy in the world. Dorothy Miller the 2011 Nada Convention has analyzed this argument, noting that in the United States today, nearly 40% of car buyers do not trust most of the traditional media such as press, TV and radio, but they consult consumer-to-consumer media as Blog, Social Media, Internet discussions, even via I-Phone and Internet Tablet to collect information before, during and after the purchase process.

NADA statistics - FOTO1


In Italy, the media as radio, newspaper, web and TV are ‘flooded’ of cars and questionable messages: “200 noiseless horsepower (!) ” – “designed upon your desires (?)” – “the car that loves nature (?)” – “approved by the automotive press (…)” and so on. But now we saw as well TV spot showing the stereotypical and negative image of the salesman.

Yet analyzing the interviews made by a generalist OEM who asked to more than 8,000 prospects “why did you decided to enter this dealership”, it follows that – besides having a strategic position – the dealer should invest more on ‘word of mouth’ and an excellent customer satisfaction rather than on generic advertising.


Why you entered - FOTO2

Of the 8.2 Billion Euro representing the advertising market in Italy in 2010, according to Nielsen Media Research,  the OEM increased of 2.5% their investments compared to the amount invested in 2009. It’s 1 Billion: a real flood of money: more than how much – according to observers of the financial statements – have earned all together in the years 2009/2010 the Italian dealers who have toiled, struggled and risked in their companies every day, Sundays included!

In the communication: different roles between OEM and dealers. But then if it is true that the advertising expenditures of the OEM increases even in times of crisis, it is also true that the dealers would pay attention to a very different communication: the one-to-one with who enters the dealership to ask for a quote.

Generally the manufacturers provides dealers with pre-chewed materials ready for local communication, which is almost always a variation of the national campaign. Often – on the same day – you can see on the same media both the campaign (national and local). It would be better to use these resources creating proposals ‘tailored’ to the customers, splitting the roles and redouble the efforts, without wasting resources.

Let’s start with the OEM that aims to create a communication of emotions through images and music. Okay, but the dealer must deal with the emotions and the expectations raised by the institutional communication with practical answers. The dealer should be able to handle emotions and states of mind of potential customers: the hope of being able to make a good deal, anxious to spend their money well, disappointment or surprise to have placed confidence in the organization right.

Soft skills training of those who are in contact with customer. This means salesmen and frontline staff must to be qualified and trained to handle the dynamics of contact with the customer. These people are the “face” of the dealer (but also of the brand) and need to be able to relate with customers – almost independently from the brand they represent at the dealership – establishing a bond of trust. In short, much more than just a one-on-one contact.

Persons - FOTO3

I suggest the Customer Care and the Net Promoter Score: the only question to ask the client is: “will you recommend us to friends or colleagues?” The goal is to satisfy him so much that he will promote our organization with a positive publicity that seems free but has experienced a great team work and training at all levels: the essential elements of who wants to be on the market for the foreseeable future.

This could be the next advertising of your dealership… think about it! “Andrew and Anthony were both very professional. All the formalities and documents have been clearly explained. From start to finish I was treated as a very valuable customer.” Francesca.

“I have not been contacted, as promised, to find out if the car was ready, and I had to call the service Dept. But when I saw my car washed and vacuum cleaned I really enjoyed, because with my job I never have time.” Massimo.

“The front office staff on reception were fantastic and when I enter I am welcomed as an old friend. During the last car service they gave me a good breakfast. Great idea!” Vittorio.

“I really thank Peter and the whole ‘team’ for solving what could be a nightmare. Thank you again.” Daniele.

“The purchase of my Ford Focus was quick and easy. I received the discount advertised and I was also given a bonus for the next two car services. I would recommend the dealership.” Antonio.

“Your salesman Matthew treated me as if I buy a new car and not a used car! It had been very professional and friendly and I felt very comfortable. I will recommend Matthew and the dealership too, thank you.” Pietro.

(Real comments taken from various consumers blogs)

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One Comment

  1. Maurizio Sala says:

    our Friend Mike commented:
    “Hi Maurizio. You are spot on with this article, the amount of money wasted on poor advertising in the ME is frightening, these are adverts that fail to deliver on there key purpose, to create showroom traffic, which in most showrooms in the ME is not measured anyway. Keep up the good work.”

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