The 5 Biggest Takeaways from NADA 2023
At the end of January, industry experts came to Dallas from far and wide to share insights into the future of the automotive industry. The conference was jam-packed with a mountain of great information. The status of the industry, both present and future, could be talked about endlessly, so we wanted to focus on the 5 most important points that were covered.
Let’s dive in.
The Customer Journey Has Evolved
The days of a customer showing up on a dealer’s lot to learn about a car are long gone. By the time they get to the lot, they’ve already evaluated a variety of different models, consulted KBB, and may have even taken a look under the hood. There’s a wealth of information online, and customers are undoubtedly going to leverage it for such a big purchase.
In many cases, visiting a dealership may be the last stop in the buying process. Dealers need to reach the customers where they are when it matters most; that means taking a digital approach and ensuring you get your ads and marketing materials in front of them as soon as they start looking for their next ride.
Supply Has Increased, But Demand is on The Decline
Now that many supply chain issues have subsided, inventories are leveling out. Unfortunately, demand has dropped off in recent months, and it’s taking car prices with it.
Lower demand and lower prices mean both dealers and those advertising on their behalf are going to be fighting for a smaller market opportunity. As a result, this battle for the consumer’s attention will be fought in a digital arena.
Most dealers and agencies are adapting to this reality by investing heavily in digital marketing capabilities. If consumers are navigating their journey mostly online, then that’s where sellers need to meet them.
Not only do they need to be reaching customers faster online, but the information provided needs to be hyper-relevant and personalized. Harnessing the power of consumer data and putting it to practical use will be another competitive measure worth its weight in gold.
The Complete Platform
One prevailing idea from the conference is what we’ll coin the “Complete Platform”. Automotive marketing platforms know they need to provide their clients with a more comprehensive solution to adequately market their inventories.
It’s not enough for a vendor to develop websites, offer a dynamic CRM, or run ads individually. Dealers want a platform that can do it all. They know digital marketing will separate the winners from the losers, and they want a one-stop shop to streamline their marketing needs.
Not only will this evolution benefit the dealers, but the race to get their first among automotive marketing platforms will largely determine how the market share shakes out.
While it’s still on the horizon, that distance grows shorter every day.
Agencies Are Looking to Pivot
With the advancement of more and better tools, dealers aren't as reliant on agencies anymore. And the ones that use agencies often hop from agency to agency as their needs are often unmet. And now that automotive platforms with tremendously innovative solutions are becoming more and more popular, agencies realize that they have to transform digitally in order to compete.
Agencies who once relied on their creativity and/or industry expertise as their main differentiator will have to embrace new and developing technologies in order to stay relevant. Creativity in conjunction with new tech that enhances and scales their output will be the winning recipe moving forward.
Technology, Technology, Technology
It should come as no surprise that tech innovation reigned supreme at the conference, and by a large margin. From exhibitors to vendors to dealers, technology was the biggest topic of conversation.
Even the most resistant dealers now realize that beefing up their tech stack is inevitable if they want to keep the lights on.