The impact of COVID-19 on the automotive industry has been significant. Big consumer events like auto shows and sporting events are cancelled. Customers aren’t visiting dealerships. They aren’t test driving vehicles. These were critical parts of driving consideration, traffic, and leads in the automotive industry.

The epidemic has already cost the European auto industry over $2.5 billion.

Euro auto industry

How can automotive companies generate consideration at scale without events and traditional ways to reach customers? By using conversational marketing with chatbots to deliver AI-driven personalized interactions at scale. Digital experiences that are as close to in-person events and shopping as digital experiences can be.

Conversational marketing reaches customers where they already are, creates personalized conversations, and assists them in making informed purchasing decisions. This is crucial as automotive customers demand greater assurance, safety standards, and the latest information.

This can be achieved through the use of intelligent marketing chatbots on channels like Facebook Messenger and Google AdLingo. These empower marketers to drive traffic to virtual events, educate customers about vehicles, and capture leads.

Here is how automotive brands can generate more consideration and leads during uncertain times with conversational marketing.

How automotive consumer behaviour has changed with COVID-19

Consumers want the latest information and the greatest safety standards when purchasing a product. Their demands for quality goods and assurance are higher than ever in these uncertain times. They are willing to use technology-assisted solutions to help them achieve this.

In fact, 15% of automotive customers are willing to use a chatbot to help them shop online.

Consumers aren’t as likely to visit physical dealerships or test-drive vehicles right now. They are putting safety first. 

However, they demand the same calibre of experience on mobile devices or channels where they spend time such as social media. They are still interested in attending events they love like auto shows. Brands must be able to accommodate these desires and adapt  as the environment changes.

How automotive companies have been impacted by COVID-19

How has all of this impacted automotive companies? 

What originally drove traffic and brand love is no longer available. These include live events. Auto shows. Sporting events. These would generate foot traffic that converted into consideration, awareness, and leads. 

Automotive brands have to adapt their messaging and provide the latest information on digital channels. Auto companies must clearly communicate why their products are safe and can improve the customer’s life. They must do so in a personalized way. They must meet customers where they already are and test new channels like social media and mobile marketing.

They have to connect with consumers at scale in a non-intrusive fashion. Like a friend speaking to a friend. A casual conversation. Something meaningful, fun, and relaxing. 

The same experience customers have visiting a dealership and test driving vehicles have to be transformed into a digital experience. Guided shopping solutions like marketing chatbots are one of the best channels for this.

How conversational marketing can solve COVID-19 automotive challenges

How can automotive brands help customers at scale in a personalized way to increase consideration and ultimately drive action? 

Conversational marketing chatbots. These chatbots can be used on platforms including Facebook Messenger, Google AdLingo, Instagram, and others. They provide personalized interactions and adapt to each user’s unique intent for maximum conversions.

Google AdLingo turns display ads into AI-driven personalized conversations. Consumers get what they want before they even leave the site they were already on. They don’t get general marketing messages and responses aimed at everyone. Conversational display ads deliver customized answers, suggestions, and maintain a genuine relationship with each customer individually.  

Auto brands can direct car buyers to existing inventory versus new models. Replace cancelled tentpole events to boost consideration and leads. Guide consumers from discovery to conversion in fewer steps.

Facebook Messenger can be used to emulate the experience of normal auto shows and increase consideration. For example, Ford hosts virtual events on its YouTube channel for customers and enthusiasts to enjoy, see their latest vehicles, and engage with the brand online.

Ford YT

Ford has also used conversational marketing chatbots built with Spectrm to increase considerably in competitive markets like Thailand. 

Ford wanted an innovative way to boost favorability and purchase intent for the Ford Ranger model. How could they stand out from the competition, increase demand, and capture new leads? By engaging prospective buyers with a conversational AdLingo campaign.

Ford has also used conversational marketing chatbots built with Spectrm to increase considerably in competitive markets like Thailand. 

Ford wanted an innovative way to boost favorability and purchase intent for the Ford Ranger model. How could they stand out from the competition, increase demand, and capture new leads? By engaging prospective buyers with a conversational AdLingo campaign.

Ford has also used Facebook Messenger to create virtual test drive experiences. The global automotive brand wanted to connect with customers in more places than dealerships, drive more leads, and increase customer acquisition. They needed to connect with them where they already were: online and on social media.

The solution? A car finding Facebook chatbot built with Spectrm. The Facebook Messenger chatbot allowed people to customize their dream car and take it for a virtual test drive. This helped Ford build their audience, drive traffic, and capture leads for new car sales.

These are both of Ford’s chatbots built with Spectrm.

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Final thoughts on COVID-19’s impact on the auto industry

The automotive industry has been shaken by the impact of COVID-19. Big consumer events that drove traffic, revenue, and consideration for auto companies are cancelled. Auto companies have to generate consideration at scale online and in a less invasive way than consumers are accustomed to.

Consumers are demanding the most up-to-date information as the environment changes. They want more assurance that they are making a safe purchase. People have greater motivation to use technology-backed solutions to assist in shopping such as conversational marketing chatbots.

Spectrm’s conversational marketing platform dynamically adapts to consumer’s unique questions and preferences to consistently provide a delightful personalized experience. They can be used to educate customers on product benefits, specific safety standards, and drive traffic to online shows that are replacing traditional tentpole events. They can also be used to generate demand for new car models and capture leads interested in test-drives or further information.

Interested in learning how your brand can increase customer acquisition and apply what you learned in this article? Watch our on-demand webinar to learn how you can accelerate growth with conversational lead generation.

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