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Advertise Authentic Experiences to Drive Shoppers to Your Dealership

Advertise Authentic Experiences to Drive Shoppers to Your Dealership

Magid expert, Bill Day, explains the significance of our research regarding automotive brands that could adopt strategies focused on the customer experience to increase future success.


Plan to adopt strategies used by non-automotive brands that have shifted the focus onto the experience, rather than price or financing.

Across the USA,  car dealers have not been known for their savvy, subtle advertising. Their commercials catch consumers‘ attention, but do they draw them to their dealership?

For 10+ years, Magid has conducted annual research in markets across the nation to study consumer engagement with local market advertisements—including those of hundreds of dealerships—and whether those ads drive purchase. These studies have evaluated more than 3,800 local ads, asking consumers to grade each advertisement on a range of measures including likeability, relevance, attention, brand opinion, purchase intent, and recommendation.

Through a combination of dial testing, follow-on focus groups, and comparison against a database of past ads analyzed, our research is able to measure ad receptivity levels among U.S. consumers.

Magid found that the best ads had three things in common:

  • Emotionally connective
  • Consumer-centric
  • Authentic

Through a recent Magid study including two automotive ads, we found that although price is the most important factor overall in the car-buying experience, it is not a reliable draw in getting customers to visit a dealership or make a purchase.

Our research shows that the industry’s history of selling on price has led to consumer disbelief. If consumers believe a certain price or payment plan is too good to be true they are often skeptical of how long these “deals” last.

Through another study, Magid also found that it’s important to strike the right balance when trying to come across as authentic. For example, using comedy in ads would not promote engagement or remove the distrust that consumers have toward the car-buying experience.

“Humans are driven by emotion, and if a dealership can connect on that level and deliver on its promise, consumers will choose the friendly face rather than funny voices or fireworks.”- Bill Day


In order to remove the “dealer dread” that consumers feel, dealerships should turn the focus to the consumer. Rather than boasting about how many awards they’ve won or trucks they’ve sold, a dealership would see better results focusing on vehicle safety, quality of service, or a vehicle’s fuel mileage or its reputation, all of which were highly ranked in importance among consumers when it comes to car buying.

Connecting with a customer, or community, on a personal level humanizes the dealership and makes a customer more willing to visit.

Overall, dealers would be best suited to adopt the strategies used by other successful brands that have managed to shift the focus onto the experience, rather than price or financing. In a dealership, it’s critical to create a personalized and authentic experience that strives to achieve the same level of connection with your customers.


To read the full article at Dealer Marketing Magazine, click here. 

For the past two decades, Bill Day has been working in and with automotive companies, helping to build and implement market-leading solutions. In projects from major metros to the smallest communities, he has listened to hundreds of local consumers talk about their frustration with the automotive-buying experience and car dealer marketing tactics. At Magid, Bill leads the revenue strategy practice focused on helping media companies, advertisers, and agencies drive improved marketing ROI.

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