[Posted 26 June 2013 by DealFinder]
Once upon a time, people who wanted to buy a new or used car had to go to various car lots and speak to dealers in person, and dealerships marketing materials can achieve this. It was the best way to know what kind of selection an auto dealership had. Yes, dealerships and private sellers could advertise in newspapers, but newspaper advertising has always been expensive for the average person. The dealership is where most of the sales and haggling took place. Much like most brick-and-mortar stores, good dealers had to get customers to come to the dealership and speak to them face-to-face if they ever hoped to make a sale.
Obviously, the days when someone can walk onto a car lot and make a purchase are far from gone, but modern auto dealership marketing has changed a lot in the 21st century. Salespeople still can be seen convincing would-be customers to make a purchase, but that doesn’t always happen in person anymore. These days, a lot of auto dealership marketing happens online.
Marketing and the Internet
The Internet has drastically changed the world of marketing, and not just for the auto industry. Just about everyone in the United States has access to the Internet, either from home computers and mobile devices or from hubs in libraries and college campuses. People get their news from websites, they interact with friends on social media, and they are sometimes more likely to watch YouTube videos than television shows. Marketers who want to reach potential clients need to do so online, especially if they want younger customers. The current generations of teenagers and twenty-somethings, who will be in the market to buy their first cars, see the Internet as a way of life much like their parents may have looked at television the same way. They are used to logging onto websites to order browse merchandise or read consumer reviews, so it stands to reason that they would gravitate to a "virtual showroom" to look at vehicles on the market while bringing up important specs and statistics at the click of a mouse.
Newspaper advertisements have always been invaluable to private sellers of used cars, but the Internet has an answer to that as well. Newspaper advertisements can get expensive, with advertisers having to buy space in magazines and pay for printing costs. Meanwhile, sites like Craigslist lets people advertise practically anything they want for free. A private dealer can give a detailed description of a car for sale along with some high-quality photographs and contact information without spending a dime, and potential buyers can access this information 24 hours a day as long as they have a device that connects to the Internet.
The notion that salespeople are a thing of the past is, of course, absurd. Many people see the sale of new and used vehicles as a relationship between buyer and seller, and there’s something reassuring about speaking to a person face-to-face while a potential purchase sits on a lot nearby. Still, marketing in the 21st century is very different from the way it was a couple of decades ago, and it will no doubt continue to change as time marches on.