What’s driving automotive marketing strategy in 2019?

September 6th, 2019 | Christina Han

Reasonable pricing and past experiences matter

When it comes to what consumers think about various auto brands, the price remains the most influential factor, followed by previous experience. Given that previous brand experience is such a large influential factor for consumers, there is a lot of opportunity for automakers to retain consumers and secure repeat purchases if they create a positive, stress-free – even fun! – experience.

Consumers report sedans and SUVs as top choices

According to Mintel research on car purchasing, many automakers have announced that they will scale back or almost completely discontinue sedans from their lineup. The move, made popular by Ford, was done in an effort to cater to the popularity of SUVs and crossovers. Despite this scaleback from automakers, consumers are still interested in sedans: Mintel research on car purchasing reveals that 45% of US consumers report sedans or SUVs as the top choice for their next car.

As the industry’s top direct mailer, Ford’s marketing strategy relied on a mix of media to highlight the 2019 Ford Edge, a new performance SUV. 

Buyers want direct-to-consumer purchasing options


According to Mintel research, younger consumers are attracted to a direct-to-consumer (D2C) model. This means that younger consumers prefer to buy directly from the automaker and cut out the middleman when it comes to car purchases.

For consumers looking to cut out the middleman, Carvana provides a straight-forward car-buying option, similar to that of Amazon. Carvana is dedicated to the simplicity of online transactions and a no-questions-asked return policy. The D2C online startup also sent direct mail pieces to new customers, emphasizing the ease of its “streamlined and stress-free online car buying experience,” reaching out to customers outside of strictly online channels. Cars.com also provides customers with a shortcut to aid the decision-making process, offering its vehicle selection process via a car match-making quiz. Auto retailers should seek to create fun yet effective ways to make the car purchasing processes simpler.

Opportunities moving forward

  1. Make the car purchasing process more enjoyable: With two in five consumers reporting that they find the car purchasing process unenjoyable, dealers and auto retailers have an opportunity to create more curated customer experiences. 
  2. Cater to women and their lifestyles: Female car buyers are more likely to be brand loyal; therefore, automakers and auto retailers should examine what strategies will resonate with women. 
  3. Personalize messaging: Auto brands can capitalize on consumers’ familiarity by crafting more personalized messaging within direct mail and email marketing for existing customers. 

Overall, the auto industry has an opportunity to start catering to specific consumer lifestyle preferences and offer a more personalized purchasing experience in order to enhance and prolong the relationship with consumers who are brand loyal. 

Christina Han

Christina Han

Christina is an Associate Research Analyst at Comperemedia, responsible for writing proactive, syndicated, and custom reports providing marketing insights across a range of industries, with a special focus in direct mail and email marketing strategies.