Automotive ZMOT

Before the dawn of the Internet car dealer advertising strategies revolved around three important phases. At first, customers received sensorial stimulus coming through different advertising platforms including: radio, TV, cable, newspaper or billboards. During the second phase of automotive dealers´ traditional marketing model – also known as the First Moment of Truth, potential buyers called the dealership or walked into the store, where they interacted with the sales staff, performed a test-drive or researched for convenient financing options.

At the Second Moment of Truth, automotive buyers experienced the vehicle, received prompt service for the dealer and demanded additional support from the car store. As a result of this experience, customers would spread the word through positive or negative referrals. However, prior to the development of the Internet, the influence customers could exert was rather limited.

Zero Moment of Truth

After the implementation and expansion of the World Wide Web, the strengthening of telecommunications and the propagation of search engines usage, a new service encounter appeared between the automotive dealer and its potential and present customers: The Zero Moment of Truth.

Although customers receive a high volume of stimulus through traditional media efforts, the pivotal instant within the vehicle buying process occurs subsequently. Shoppers are increasingly in need of finding and analyzing data for themselves. Therefore, they browse the web for automotive news, vehicles reviews, dealerships reviews, safety ratings, car value assessments, service costs and spare parts availability.

This worthy information deeply influences car buyers before even walking into your franchise store. If the dealership´s brand is not visible during the Zero Moment of Truth, it could be completely out of the game.

Thus, dealerships must focus their online marketing efforts towards creating press releases, reviews, blogposts and videos highlighting their capabilities and competitive advantages over other dealers operating in their PMA. This rich content must be adequately optimized so it appears on relevant positions in the top search engines for the most popular local key phrases.