J.D. Power Marketing Roundtable focuses on tech

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LAS VEGAS – Vehicle subscriber services have been touted as an alternative for consumers who prefer a buffet with options instead of being stuck to one vehicle.

But Hyundai Marketing Chief Dean Evans said that most consumers do not need so much choice.

And if they are in a place where they need a vehicle with a bit more versatility, Evans said, they can easily rent an SUV for the weekend.

"You can not let it work financially," said Evans about subscriptions, during a discussion with media on the J.D. Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable last week.

"You can try luxury, such as Cadillac and Audi, certainly, at $ 1,500, you can do it," he said, but "you can not do it for mainstream and a $ 399, $ 499, $ 599 or even $ 699 [subscription fee]. You just can not make it. We do not want to start paying to give away cars. & # 39;

The subscription talk was just one of the many interesting insights and ideas that emerged from the J.D. Power event. Here is an overview of some topics:

Bots that learn

Hyundai used chattrobots to engage customers from Kona, Veloster and Santa Fe in online conversations before those vehicles became dealers this year. The bots were placed on special landing pages on the Hyundai website. A bot for the Veloster N, which is expected to arrive before the end of the year, is still active.

The automaker discovered that the bots, which were programmed to give users information about functions and help them set up test drives, were able to understand user input and provide a relevant response 92.9 percent of the time.

In addition, 27.7 percent of users clicked on "tell me more" when the bot offered the option.

The bots not only calculate answers to questions, they also learn along the way.

"The bot analyzes its own interactions, how successful it was in answering a user's question and applying it to the following user interaction," says Patrick Leber, senior digital manager for Innocean, the Hyundai advertising agency.

"Consumers become more accustomed to landing on a page and then say:" I am looking for this, can you help me? " " he said. "It is a more guided experience."

Augmented reality

While Snapchat is conducive to ads that tell stories within seconds, BMW used the platform last fall to provide a compelling experience with the X2 crossover that users around the world have achieved.

BMW was the first brand that the augmented trial lens & # 39; from Snapchat, which placed a 3D version of the X2 for users when they peered through their phone. Users can do a virtual walkaround, change the color and view it up close before it enters the showrooms.

"Consider how much more exciting this is than going to a website like bmw.com," says Jeff Miller, Snapchat's global head of creative strategy. "You get an experience that shows intent and offers the possibility to learn more."

Miller said that Ford Canada also used the augmented reality tool from Snapchat to emphasize the EcoSport. In addition to the virtual walkaround, Ford gave users the opportunity to enter the car and view the interior.

Funnels are not funnels

The number of brands that consumers are considering does not decrease as their shopping trips progress, according to the Nielsen Auto Marketing Report.

The company, known for its TV rating system, reports that people on the one to two year brand for the purchase have two to three brands in consideration. That number then grows to five brands when a consumer is ready to buy, where millennials are more likely than other groups to add to their recital.

Nielsen said the finding is important because it shows that potential buyers are open to considering more brands, despite a "top of mind" option.

Nielsen also reminded marketers of the power of old media, such as direct mail.

"You can personalize it, it comes to your house … it's just there," says Ameneh Atai, Nielsen's Senior Vice President Business Development. "If you want to buy a car, you will look at it and you will remember it."

Search for more video

Video is no longer just a branding tool, said Kelly McNearney, Google's senior retail strategist for the automotive industry.

In the last weeks before the purchase, McNearney said: customers are looking at vehicle bypasses, comparisons, and feature-focused video to refine their choices. Google research showed that 88 percent of video watchers knew what they were buying when they attended a dealership, compared to 78 percent for those who did not watch video.

"Even two weeks before the purchase, they look at five different YouTube videos that are trying to make the decision," McNearney said. "These are not ads, they are people who search for auto content on YouTube to make their final decisions."

Keyword coordination

Only about 2.3 percent of the car buyers have Kia on their recital when they are six months away from a purchase.

That is a challenge for Kia marketers and their limited advertising budget. That is why Kia works with Google to determine which keywords the dealers should concentrate on for their marketing efforts. This ensures that Kia and its dealers do not waste money on the same search terms.

Kia dealers have performed well in searches when buyers try to figure out where to buy. "We're not stumbling over each other's toes," said John Schurger, national manager of marketing for retail at Kia Motors America, "and we're doing our best to cover all possible keywords within the limits of our budget."