If you’re in the car sales industry, you’ll be familiar with the impact lockdown has had on new car sales – slumping by more than a fifth last month alone (their lowest August level in eight years). But while lockdowns may have forced cars off the road, this trend can also be seen as a result of big shifts in consumer behaviour during the pandemic – and it’s how the industry responds to these trends that will be key to it’s growth.
First and foremost, the rise of hybrid working means most people are likely to be staying at home more, and those that are commuting are increasingly inclined towards more environmentally friendly alternatives. The upshot is that, whilst its true sales of petrol and diesel cars are down, the popularity of hybrid and electric vehicles continues to climb (up 46% and 72% in August respectively), so there are huge opportunities for future growth in this space.
Not only has the pandemic changed the type of cars people are looking for, it’s changed the way people buy them. Prior to the pandemic, most car sales were made in showrooms after a bit of online research. When showrooms were forced shut in 2020/21, this drove more car buyers online than ever before, forcing an unprecedented shift towards digital marketing. This is a trend that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
So how can automotive marketers respond to the changing buying habits of the UK consumer? Here are three big watchouts that we’d suggest you try NOT to do when planning your next video marketing campaign.
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Don’t 1 – Don’t throw all your budget at TV
Automotive companies are used to making big budget TV commercials for the most sought-after prime time slots. It takes some courage to break with tradition, but in order to steal a march on your competitors, it’s time to adapt your strategy to put the focus online. It’s less expensive, more targeted and a lot easier to measure success.
Taking your campaign online gives you so much more opportunity to engage with your audience and – excuse the pun – put them in the driving seat. Doing so creates a campaign they can get involved with; whether that’s through a hashtag, competition, filter, app or any other of the myriad options to build real connections.
Don’t 2 – Don’t make it all about the car
There’s no arguing with the fact that buying a car is a significant purchase, and so of course people want to actually see it before they buy it. But buying a car is also driven by a host of emotional factors – and making a deep connection with your audience is actually not about the car at all, but making them identify with your brand.
Effective video marketing campaigns work by tapping into these emotional drivers, creating the impression that your car will give your audience the lifestyle they are looking for. Setting the tone for look and feel is the most important thing to cultivate through your content.
Don’t 3 – Don’t create a ‘one-size-fits-all’ campaign
We know that in order to make an emotional connection between your campaign and the buyer, you have to address the different drivers that lead people into buying a new car – and these can vary massively from one person to the next. Whether it’s for family, work, or adventure, trying to create a ‘one-size-fits-all’ campaign won’t successfully reflect all the passion points of your target audience.
Repurposing your budget to create multiple digital campaigns targeted at varied audiences will stack the odds for marketing success in your favour – and by moving away from traditional big budget TV commercials, you’ll have the extra wiggle room to do so. Plus, this targeted approach will give you some insightful data that can be used effectively to make small, personalised tweaks to each targeted campaign along the way.
All in all, there’s no longer a need to blow your budget on cinematic TV adverts that boast about your vehicle’s sleek design, racing through deserted mountain roads in the far reaches of the world. By reshaping video marketing campaigns to mirror the digitised buying habits of UK automotive consumers – using data collected online to uncover audience needs – you can effectively navigate the changing world of automotive sales with multiple targeted campaigns.
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