Only 23% of brands are offering customers and prospects comprehensive multi-channel communications (i.e. post, phone, web and email), according to Navigator Customer Management’s 2008 report on marketing in the UK automotive sector.
Though this marks a slight improvement from a figure of 20% in 2007, investment in the area is still modest compared to the vast sums invested in above-the-line advertising.
Well executed customer contact management allows automotive marketers to inject much greater transparency and accountability into their hitherto unmeasurable above-the-line spend, making a real commercial difference.
Although the report located some good practice, for example in the
11% of firms that display phone, web and SMS contacts in their advertising campaigns, it also uncovered plenty of examples of bad practice.
Astonishingly, a quarter of car advertisements provide no telephone number for prospective customers to ring and a third of automotive marques still do not offer the capability to book a test drive through their website.
In another surprising trend, the proportion of manufacturers displaying a contact email address on their website dropped from 44% in 2007 to 15% in 2008, and the amount of brands that offered an SMS response in their print advertisements halved from 22% to 11% in the space of a year.
This suggests that many manufacturers are failing to fully integrate new media channels into their existing communications facilities.
On the positive side, engagement with existing customers is improving more rapidly. Owners clubs are now clearly accessible on the website in 26% of cases (up from 15% the previous year) and 39% of marques now offer a newsletter or e-bulletin.
Also, 57% of manufacturer websites now offer a feedback/enquiry form, an increase from 27% in 2007.
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