Customers are Smart, Well-Informed & In Control. Now What?

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automotive-social-media-markting-consulting-trainingMass marketing is in a death spiral and every two days, we create as much information online as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003. This is giving marketers new opportunities to earn and sustain the consumer’s attention without paid media.

What this means for automotive retail businesses is a culture shift in the way their products and services are marketed. The consumer can learn just about everything they think they need to know before they approach you to buy. The goal then is to add your insights to their knowledge. Help them in ways they didn’t think of and that will be the deciding factor in their purchase choice.

The challenge is how to create and maintain relevance both with the consumer and the thousands who are connected to her (or him). When the goal is to increase sales to a consuming public who is smart, well-informed and in control, your only answer is to produce information that teaches rather than sells.

Start thinking like a media company. The foremost activity of a media company is publishing content on a continuous basis. Build a proprietary community for your customers so you can seed your store’s messaging.

The most valuable content is that which you own. Owned Media is content your company creates and publishes.

  • Website
  • Blog
  • Social Media
  • Newsletters
  • White Papers

Identify ways to produce this content within your daily operation. Employees help feed the content engine. Keeping pace with that continuous production is impractical if not impossible for a single person. Enlist employees to stop, look and listen for content opportunities. Empower them to produce blog posts, videos, and other forms of relevant content.

When customers consume your self-published content prior to sale they have a stronger connection with you. Marcus Sheridan notes that if a potential customer has read 30+ pages of your OWN content, you have an 80% better chance of closing the sale. Produce content and promote it using Social Media.

You may just be ready then for the ultimate marketing coup  – Owned Media so awesome it becomes Earned Media. Customers become the channel and they’re empowered to publish content on your behalf, inspiring buzz. Word of mouth is most credible, plays the biggest role in most of your sales and lives on in the minds of everyone involved.

So don’t be afraid to allow the customer to learn everything there is to know about the purchase process. In fact, make it your business to see they have every bit of information they need to consider. Add your insights to their knowledge. They’ll appreciate the effort you showed to help them cut through the noise. Isn’t that the goal of any great marketing campaign?

Kathi Kruse
Kathi Kruse is an Social Media Marketing Expert, Consultant, Blogger, Speaker, Author and Founder of Kruse Control Inc. Born in the heart of Los Angeles to a family of “car people”, Kathi’s passion for the car business spans a 30-year career managing successful dealerships in Southern California. Kathi is the author of “Automotive Social Business – How to Captivate Your Customers, Sell More Cars & Be Generally Remarkable on Social Media”. Her Kruse Control Blog is the leading Automotive Social Media blog in the US.
Kathi Kruse


Social Media Marketing, Online Reputation. Consultant, Trainer, Blogger, Speaker, Author. Founder/CEO Kruse Control Inc. Yoga, horses, animal advocate.
5 Components Of A Social Media Policy via @RealSocialShark - 4 hours ago
Kathi Kruse
  • Carol Lynn Rivera

    Love the title of this post. I think this idea scares a lot of people but I’m a big cheerleader for smarter consumers. When it comes to marketing via content, it really has to be great or again, businesses just treat customers like dumb terminals. I think one of two things is important: content has to surprise (learn something new, share a unique viewpoint) or reinforce a belief (get people to feel connected and part of the community). Great advice!

    • krusecontrol

      Thanks so much for your insight here, Carol – those 2 components (surprise and reinforce a belief) are so right on!! I’m a cheerleader too. Perhaps we should start a squad of our own?

      • Carol Lynn Rivera

        The customer cheerleader squad… love it :) get me a pompom.

  • Monica Nastase

    More businesses need to know this about customers. Loved the title!
    Also, quite powerful finding, that with 30+ pages read results in 80% better chance in closing the sale. Long live content marketing! :)

    • krusecontrol

      Thanks Monica! Yeah, pretty interesting stat and as you you read it, it sounds intuitively right on.

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