“Why should I buy from you and not a competitor?”
It’s a question I routinely ask when building an advertising campaign with a dealer. The request is simple enough, but GMs don’t always have the luxury of enough free time for this type of thought exercise. Running a large dealership requires their attention be focused on any number of more immediate concerns. However, it’s a fundamental question for any business and one that can’t be ignored: “Why should someone buy from me?”
Students of Marketing will recognize the term Unique Selling Proposition, first coined in the 1940s. It describes the key benefit your brand messaging delivers that differentiates you from the competition. So, what makes you different from the competitors?
Your USP answers the question of why I should buy from you and not someone else. Ideally, it defines a sustainable competitive advantage that others can’t easily match. Most importantly, a dealership’s unique selling proposition is something that auto shoppers value. It’s literally the reason they would choose your dealership over your competition. Why is that important? Auto shoppers visit fewer dealerships in person nowadays because they have already done so much research online. In order to be considered for that one or two choice to visit in person, you need to get your unique selling proposition out there in your brand message.
What are brand messaging elements for car dealerships? Points of differentiation for auto dealers traditionally fall into three categories: selection, price and service. The Internet revolution changed the importance of these factors with much of the buying process now done online. Good selection, competitive prices and a pleasant showroom are still important. If you have the largest inventory in town, say so. But in crafting an appealing brand image and brand messaging for your dealership, think as well about experience, convenience and value.
Say It Loud and Proud
The customer experience starts online, maybe with your website but likely on a third-party site. Everything shoppers see should be helpful, informative and complete—especially vehicle descriptions. Websites should be easy to navigate and reinforce your brand messaging with text and images that convey the store’s personality. If you have great things to say about the showroom experience, say it here.
Your objective is to make shoppers familiar with your dealership and comfortable doing business with you. Remember that many shoppers have been through the car-buying process, but others are new to it. If you ignore dissatisfaction with (or misunderstanding of) the traditional dealer experience among consumers, you do so at your own risk. Brand messaging should speak to and reassure all buyers.
Convenience includes several points to make in brand messaging. A prime location is valuable especially if your competitors are less accessible. If you are open extended hours, mention that. Online shopping and home delivery will appeal to the portion of your audience who doesn’t care to visit the dealership. For those who do, can you guarantee 60-minute close? Inventory can be a convenience factor as well for those who haven’t decided on a specific model, trim or color. Or, if you have flexibility to help them find a specific trim you don’t have in stock, make sure they know that. To be successful brand messaging should make it clear why an auto shopper should choose you. How do you make the process better or faster? Craft an auto dealership brand message that shows shoppers how easy it is to buy from you.
Anything your dealership offers to add value can also be a point of differentiation. Free maintenance offers and loan cars are not uncommon, especially among luxury brands. Giveaways don’t provide much of an advantage as they are easily replicated and don’t necessarily sway buyers. A recent AZCentral.com survey found consumers much prefer an additional cash discount or guaranteed minimum trade-in value to a free big-screen TV. If you provide something of value that your competitors do not, include that in your message
So what makes you special?
It may be time to rethink your marketing strategy and how you meet the wants and needs of auto shoppers in your market. The industry is more competitive than ever and the need to stand out greater than ever. LOCALiQ AUTOMOTIVE provides brand messaging and creative expertise to help you succeed.
Contact us to learn more about insights-backed brand messaging strategy for your dealership.