Millennials Want it All: Digital, Social and Face-to-Face Interaction When Making a Big Purchase, Says FordDirect Survey

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DEARBORN, MI--ct. 22, 2013: FordDirect announced the results of its Automotive Consumer Marketing Survey. The findings confirmed the importance of having a strong online presence and reputation while continuing to communicate to consumers in a tailored manner.

"Consumers are bombarded with multiple pieces of communication throughout their day, and how dealers communicate to those consumers is important to cutting through the noise," said Stacey Coopes, chief executive officer for FordDirect. "The results of this research indicate just how crucial it is for dealers to tailor their communication outreach to grab their customers' attention."

The study, conducted in June 2013, gathered responses from more than 1,300 automotive consumers on their communication preferences, vehicle shopping behaviors and automotive brand loyalty in selecting a dealer and purchasing a new and used vehicle.

Email and traditional mail methods were identified in the survey as preferred methods of communication from a dealer, with 84 percent of shoppers indicating they would prefer emails. Millennials, in particular, preferred email compared to other possible channels, including mail, social media, phone and text. The 91 percent of them would rather be contacted via email.

The research also found that 62 percent of shoppers visit a dealer's website when searching for a new vehicle. And while paid advertising may be beneficial, the majority of shoppers are just as likely to click on an organic search result as a paid listing.

"Our findings show the importance of developing a strong, multi-channel marketing platform that includes new and traditional communication channels," said Coopes. "We also found that a website's SEO is just as important as paid online advertising, further reiterating that maintaining established channels is just as important as building out new ones."

Other key findings from the study include:

Nearly half (50 percent) of consumers have proactively searched for automotive specials or offers for their new vehicles. 60 percent of consumers are loyal to one brand the majority of the time when purchasing a new vehicle. While quality and value drive loyalty, price and fuel economy are the two major factors consumers consider when switching brands.

Today's consumers expect a personalized and consistent experience during their auto shopping process. FordDirect offers several communications solutions to help dealers customize their content allowing them to brand their respective dealerships and create brand differentiation.

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