Product & Content Marketing

Vitamin (C)ontent Deficiency

It seems the recommended prescription for America’s automotive dealership websites is giving the middle finger to a differentiated user experience. Nearly every Home page has thin, copied content, similar carousal images, and confused widgets.

Body content can be copy & pasted, with only the geographic location and the dealership name changed. It can then be used by any dealership in the country:

“Welcome to [dealership name], our New & Used [brand] dealership has been providing drivers from around the [geographic keyword] area for years with a comprehensive collection of vehicles, in-house auto financing and reliable auto repair and service.”

If you’re interested in purchasing a new car, truck, SUV or van, we’re conveniently located on [address] in [location], and we’re ready to serve you with the best car buying experience!

It’s not like buying or leasing a vehicle isn’t a considered purchase.

The images dealerships are using above-the-fold advertise the latest deals from original equipment manufacturers. The copy is mainly industry jargon with small text detailing lease rates that probably few consumers understand.

This quote sums up the industry’s need to improve:

“If I looked at your website would I see that you are community minded or just another dealer wanting to sell me a car? Better put your “Relationship Building’ and “Trust’ messages right on your landing page, else you will look just like everyone else – and then it becomes all about best price.”

– Chuck Barker, Dealer Magazine, “Shifting From Crisis To Opportunity”

This could be as simple as a photograph of the principals of the business and of the staff. Or highlighting the aesthetics of a vehicle showroom, with text content detailing dealership history, community involvement, or whatever else makes the business unique.

Or get creative. Imagine landing on a dealership website during your search, and — emerging from the dullness of your experience — seeing a video of these guys flapping around like crazy:

dancing car guys

Our Prices Are NUTS!“, they could say.

And as a customer progressing their purchasing journey, this and these kinds of user experiences will have certainly influenced your awareness and interest.

Key Takeaways: Obviously Awesome

“…every single marketing and sales tactic that we use in business today uses positioning as an input and a foundation.”

Obv!ously Awesome, April Dunford

These are the Five (Plus One) Components of Effective Positioning:

  • Competitive alternatives. What customers would do if your solution didn’t exist.
  • Unique attributes. The features and capabilities that you have and the alternatives lack
  • Value (and proof). The benefit that those features enable Unique attributes. The features and capabilities that you have and the alternatives lack.
  • Target market characteristics. The characteristics of a group of buyers that lead them to really care a lot about the value you deliver.
  • Market category. The market you describe yourself a being part of, to help customers understand your value.
  • (Bonus) Relevant trends. Trends that your target customers understand and/or are interested in that can help make your product more relevant right now.

“…it’s critical to start with understanding what the customer sees as a competitive alternative, and then working through the rest of the components — attributes, value, characteristics, market category, relevant trends — from there.”

The flow looks something like this:

Key Takeaways

Your best-fit customers hold the key to understanding what your product is.

“Your first instinct might be to consider your product and its special features
and position around them. Understandable! That’s the part you understand —
and possibly enjoy — the most. But that’s a trap.

If we start by laying out our unique features, we are unconsciously comparing ourselves to a set of competitors. The trouble is, we frequently see our competitors much differently
than customers see them.

…keep in mind that most of your target customers have never heard of you or your rival
startups — they simply want to know how your product compares to what they
use today. Customer-facing positioning must be centered on a customer frame
of reference.”

A positioning process works best when it’s a team effort.

“Ideally from across different functions within the company. Each team, from sales to marketing to customer success, can bring a unique point of view relative to how customers
perceive and experience the product.”

Market confusion starts with our disconnect between understanding the product as product creators, and understanding the product as customers first perceive it.

“Freeing your mind from patterns of the past isn’t always easy. Thoughts about
the evolution of a product, from its conception to launch, are often baked into
the initial positioning. Customers don’t have the same baggage — they know
nothing about the history of the product when they first encounter it.”