Marketing: Balloons Suck

Marketing: Balloons Suck
Brent Wees has been a thought-leader in the North American automotive digital marketing landscape for almost 20 years, developing brand and content strategies, as well as software, for all three tiers of the industry. Based in Toronto, he is a much sought-after keynote speaker around the globe. (Photo: Brent Wees)

When sales slump, forget the helium and turn to technology.

“There’s one word that comes to mind when you see a balloon in an ad, excitement!” This phrase was utter by the head of an advertising agency at a creative pitch I was involved in years ago for a certain Tier 2 association. I was pretty certain that moment was a good time to blow my brains out, however, I decided to stick around and see how the campaign would roll out.

Nothing says ‘lazy’ like placing a single balloon in an ad and hoping for record sales. Needless to say, the campaign did not win major awards for its efforts.

I thought of this as I drove by a dealership recently with one huge balloon floating above the store, not once was I compelled to be pulled into the wonder and celebration that the balloon was promising. I didn’t pull over, cancel all my plans and drive back to that dealership. I thought of it again the other day when a dealership placed a video online telling everyone the staff was extremely busy tying balloons to cars for their big event.

The only thing I thought was, “What if your customer experience sucks?” What happens if someone walks into your helium saturated pleasure palace and gets stuck with Lorne, the guy who burns through ups and doesn’t really care for the process or the culture you’re trying to build? He’s a bit of a jerk. The jerk you get to work with when purchasing your next car. Don’t worry the balloons make it all better.

Balloons won’t fix your sales woes

I say all this because traffic, is in fact, down and balloons aren’t going to fix it… but some technology can. I was looking at showroom traffic numbers in Nextup’s platform recently and in the past year, in some instances, showroom traffic is down 50%! Here’s something I found interesting. Those stores, with sagging walk-ins, have their appointment traffic way up. Why? Because they are leveraging a simple piece of technology that is showing them a different way to build efficiencies and profits when they can’t really on walk-in customers.

So let’s consider a few technologies that I feel can do a much better job for your bottom line than some stupid balloon. All of the platforms are relatively unknown and performing incredibly well for those who are employing them.

  1. Oribi (Analytics) – I have mentioned this platform before but the evolution of this product is worth mentioning them again. Compare their analytics visuals and comprehensiveness to Google Analytics and it’s no contest. Easily build funnels to core landing pages to best understand the effectiveness of your website or go into their visitor journeys to help you build on to your customer personas. The newest wrinkle is their email integration—any customer information you capture on a form can identify specific visitors by their email address, which means you can track their full journey and connect all sessions across different devices. Brilliant! Check out – io
  2. Quick Quotes – If you owned a restaurant, you wouldn’t have your customers buy a hamburger from you, and then have someone else sell them their fries and a drink, would you? From one of the creators of Canada’s first mobile tire business comes Quick Quote, a mobile solution that reduces the quotation of tire and wheel packages to mere seconds. On top of that, the platform saves the quotes for later retrieval which allows your part department to instantly email customers for improved CX and sales. Salespeople can have this right on their phones so they can source packages for their clients without abandoning them to visit the parts desk. I’m hearing reports of a 200% increase in package sales. Quick Quotes has also recently moved accessories into the app as well, not too shabby. I had a demo and it’s easy to use and very well built. Check it out – qquote.com

Appraisal Grid – Your dealership’s appraisal process may be leaving money on the table, so the Appraisal Grid was created not to disrupt a dealership’s operations but rather create efficiency and profitability. Appraisal Grid provides data-driven metrics that allow dealers to see that having insight and control over the physical appraisal process enables your team to work on small things, like getting appraisals done in under 30 minutes. This simple task, as some early adopters are seeing, can double the number of appraisals they’re winning. Check it out – appraisalgrid.com

  1. Maintain – The concern over our showrooms getting stagnant often has us overlooking the largest profit centre in the dealership, service. So much potential revenue is flowing through the service drive that it’s important to make sure those teams are running as efficiently as possible so that the customer experience is optimized for longterm loyalty. That’s why Nextup built Maintain, the rotation and process tool for the service drive. It allows your advisors to properly work each RO and build value with your customers. Through a simple rotation built on top of their existing technology Maintain allows advisor teams to work with new customers coming in while having the proper amount of time to follow-up with others. Management can quickly assess if service drive customers are being processed in an efficient manner against their arrival time, helping reduce wait times and increasing CSI scores. Check it out – http://thenextup.com/maintain

You have a choice: rubber and helium or technology that will make you efficient and profitable. I know, balloons are easier, reclaiming your market share after a flat market may not be. I hope you take some time to get the jump on some strong products.

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