If you just turned a used Ford pickup or a certified pre-owned Chevrolet crossover, there is a strong chance it’s because your dealership customer just saw some form of branding campaign pushing the Blue Oval or the Bowtie.
The Nielsen Auto Marketing Report 2018 showed that by the time car shoppers are ready to buy, they have twice as many brands under consideration than when they started their search, reinforcing the dizzying array of choices buyers confront along their path to purchase.
Findings from the report then highlighted the importance of being top-of-mind with vehicle buyers, which accounts for 90 percent of a brand’s purchase intent, according to Nielsen.
“When it comes to automotive brand building, quality awareness is more important than quantity. Brands need to build salience and relevance with consumers, not awareness for awareness’ sake,” said Damian Garbaccio, executive vice president at Nielsen.
“To account for the nuances in a buyer’s path to purchase, automotive marketers need to employ an omni-channel strategy,” Garbaccio continued. “This means cohesive messaging that elevates the brand and converts shoppers into buyers. You need the right combination of buyer-based data, technology and measurement capabilities to make this happen.”
The report provided deep insight into the car buyer’s path to purchase. It looked at how advertising, demographics and brand market share impact buying behavior.
Six of the most significant conclusions included:
• 90 percent of all purchase intent is due to unaided — or top-of-mind — awareness
• Vehicle shoppers with unaided brand awareness have 10 times the purchase intent as those with only aided awareness
• 71 percent of vehicle shoppers recall the advertising they see on linear TV in the final days of shopping
• Purchase consideration for social media users is 25 percent higher than non-social media users
• Millennial purchase consideration nearly doubles during that demographic’s vehicle-buying journey
• Large brands have four to five times unaided brand awareness of smaller brands, leading to three to four times the purchase consideration
The Nielsen Auto Marketing Report is meant to help auto marketers better understand and act on the key drivers of long-term brand equity, shopper engagement and — most importantly — vehicle sales.
Nielsen says this year’s report makes it clear that marketers need to build deeper connections with consumers and balance brand building (for top-of-mind awareness) with customer acquisition tactics to encourage purchase decisions late in the buying process.
The research is based on quarterly online surveys of more than 9,000 respondents planning to purchase a vehicle in the next two years. Since 2012, Neilsen said more than 220,000 of its surveys have been completed.