Automotive ZMOT Infographic Simplifies Strategy Discussions

This Automotive Zero Moment of Truth Infographic is a great discussion piece to have with your dealership team about how the car shopping eco-system is working today.

Stimulus Investments Drive ZMOT Activity

Stimulus investments (Radio, TV, and Newspaper) for a majority of consumers do NOT create a direct beeline to the dealership (FMOT).  Stimulus investments encourages further online research prior to direct dealer contact.

This research, prior to dealer contact, is called the Zero Moment of Truth.  This term was coined by Jim Lecinski in his book “Winning The Zero Moment of Truth“. (download book)

It is at the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) that dealers need the most help in creating an effective strategy.

For many dealers offline stimulus investments are a large part of their budget. However when a consumer goes online to research, the dealer is often not showing up to the party to the same degree as their offline influence.  You could make the case that dealers who are weak at ZMOT are actually funding traffic to their competitors.

Consumer Reviews Impact ZMOT

Prior to the Internet, whether a consumer was treated professionally or poorly they had little power to hurt or help a dealer’s sales goals.  Today, consumers have tremendous power to negatively or positively influence sales during the Zero Moment of Truth.

Sites like Google Places, Yelp, PrestoReviews, and DealerRater often appear on Page One of search results when a consumer researches a dealer by name. This fact should remind all members of the automotive community to treat every consumer, regardless if they purchase, with utmost respect and clarity.

Not all sales that are “lost” result in a negative review. Consumers in the end will choose who they feel most comfortable with and the dealer not getting the business could have done everything right accounting to their playbook.

However, for some dealers that still use “bait and switch” advertising will find a a tsunami of negative press building that will educate future buyers to stay aware from unethical business practices.

Improving ZMOT

So, how do you know if you have a well balanced budget for marketing in today’s eco-system?    I have listed some actions that will help improve your visibility in the Zero Moment of Truth.  If you are not doing all these things, you should revisit your overall strategy and rebalance your budgets.

•Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
•Search Marketing (SEM) – Desktop & Mobile
•Improving Online Reviews
•Publishing Quality Content
•Publishing Relevant Videos
•Engaging in Social Media
•Merchandizing Your Cars Better
•Pricing Your Cars Competitively

Improving FMOT

Once a consumer has narrowed their choices and has decided to contact you, it is very important that your sales team recognizes that the consumer has been shopping.  They most likely are considering more than the ONE car that they inquired about.  Failing to ask “what other cars have you been considering?” would be a mistake considering the Infographic above.

I would also like to add that dealers who are not recording their incoming calls, inspecting, and scoring how consumers are being handled most likely have a big profit leak.  Compared to overall operating budgets, phone inspection companies like are worth their weight in gold.

Here are some investments that will make the FMOT a stronger and more positive experience for consumers:

•Creating Phone Handling Processes
•Recording and Inspecting Phone Calls
•Improving The Listening Skills of Your Team
•Perfecting Lead Response Processes
•Incentivizing Leads To Show
•Adding 24×7 Chat To Your Websites
•Offering A First Class Mobile Shopping Experience
•Initiate In Store Customer Surveys & Reviews
•Upgrades to Service Waiting Lounge
•Opening Up SMS Channels

Improving SMOT

Once a consumer has purchased a car or serviced a vehicle with your dealership how do you keep them connected?  Leveraging a consumers positive experience with your dealership can be worth thousands of dollars of equivalent advertising.  Here are some thoughts to consider:

•Creating Loyalty Programs
•Proactive Service Programs
•Filming & Syndicating Testimonial Videos
•Sharing Buying Experience On Social Media
•Leveraging Google +1 buttons
•Dealership VIP Events
•Ongoing Customer Education
•Branded Mobile Apps

Do You Have A Comprehensive Strategy?

The Infographic can not cover all the aspects of the consumer shopping experience but your marketing and operating budget must connect at all touchpoints of the ZMOT, FMOT, and SMOT.  Dealers only can invest in strategies that they understand and measure.  The good news is that measurement is getting much easier.

If you would like a copy of the ZMOT budgeting spreadsheet I created to help dealers see how their marketing and advertising investments fall into each of these categories, you can request a copy by sending me an email, simply click on this link: or send me an email and in the Subject Line please add “ZMOT Spreadsheet Request“.

See you at the 2012 Automotive Boot Camp where we can discuss in greater detail the opportunities to expand your reach during the Zero Moment of Truth.

Brian Pasch

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