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Is the Sales Funnel Dead in Automotive?

Sales Funnel Marketing Concept

You’ve heard it said that change is the only constant. It’s as true in the advertising industry as it is for anything else. And in a world that is increasingly dependent upon digital strategies to make it go ’round, change is something you’ll have to embrace if you’re going to succeed. Today, lightning-fast is the new normal and your customers have evolved to expect limitless options and instant gratification.

Compared to those in the pre-digital age, today’s consumers are much more likely to arrive at your dealership this way:

    • Informed
    • Qualified
    • Ready to purchase

Does this mean, as some marketing insiders insist, that the traditional sales funnel is dead? No.

It just means that it has changed, evolved, adapted, and that so must your advertising approaches if you want to keep pace – or better yet, pull ahead.

How the Sales Funnel Has Changed

The traditional sales funnel is a five-stage linear path that starts with awareness and continues through consideration, preference, purchase, and loyalty. This foundational marketing model has been around for a long time – more than a century – making it ripe for the changes that we see today.

Those changes have a lot to do with the amount of information that a modern-day consumer has access to before they enter the funnel. Whereas sales used to be driven largely by the salesperson from the get-go, today’s consumers have access to tons of information that’s just a few clicks away. The sales associate is no longer the information gatekeeper – that role now belongs to customers themselves.

They have likely done their research and are already beyond the awareness, consideration, and preference stages before they arrive at your dealership or have their first interaction with a sales associate.  They’ve compared makes and models, brushed up on dealership reviews, asked their friends and neighbors for opinions, and formed a pretty good idea of the direction they want to take.

The question of whether that direction leads them toward your dealership … well, that depends a great deal on the effectiveness of your marketing strategies.

Content as a Driving Factor

With so much information out there for consumers to access on their own, your sales team has less opportunity to influence purchasing decisions. But that doesn’t mean you’re a mere bystander, hoping for their home-based research to point them in your direction.

This is a place for your content to really shine. Content that’s informative, thorough, and compelling is a valuable tool in your marketing toolbox – and one that gives you an edge in the modern-day sales funnel model.

…They Will Come

Using a full-scale marketing approach is your best bet when it comes to drawing in today’s well-educated consumers. Target them with relevant ads, smart campaigns, and fresh and helpful content that informs their decision-making process. This will put you in a prime position to move customers toward the most important parts of that classic sales funnel – purchase and loyalty.

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John Paul Strong

John Paul Strong combines his two decades of automotive marketing experience with a team of more than 150 professionals as owner and CEO of Strong Automotive.

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