Electric vehicles (EVs) have become an extremely polarizing topic over the years. Every day there seems to be dozens, if not hundreds, of articles talking about this segment of the automotive market. However, EVs still make up less than 5% of the total number of cars and trucks sold today.1 That being said, global passenger EV sales rose by 94% year-over-year in the third quarter last year, reaching nearly 1.7 million units,2 which translates to more than one million EVs being sold for four consecutive quarters.
China and Europe are two global markets that have significantly driven up the demand for EVs, as they both see consumer’s appreciation going far beyond emissions mandates. Here in the U.S., relaxed fuel economy targets and weak charging infrastructures have caused demand to be more stagnant, but it is furiously picking up. New fuel economy regulations are being passed, and the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act shows much promise of a stronger national charging infrastructure.
EV Growth Will Only Get Bigger
Experts believe 2022 will be another record-breaking year for EV sales growth, with the potential of more than 10 million units sold globally. China will be a key player, but U.S. EV sales are forecasted to double this year — and U.S. dealerships continue to take note of the EV movement.
With hundreds of EVs quickly headed to showroom floors, industry leaders, EV experts, and progressive dealers offered candid conversations at the recent NADA Expo in Las Vegas. There were endless sessions, workshops, and demonstrations at the show to help dealers better understand the importance of and how to best sell EV cars and trucks.
How Can Dealers Advertise for EV?
So, you’ve made the electrifying decision to sell EVs at your dealership, but the question remains — what’s the best way to locally advertise EVs to consumers who are still on the fence about making the switch?
Major auto brands and EV startups have begun to introduce smart, progressive advertising strategies for their new cars and batteries, along with modern sustainability commitments in hopes of making EVs the ultimate driving experience in the coming years. General Motors aired a prime-time Super Bowl ad with a star-studded cast, while Hyundai is now airing EV ads starring Spider-Man. Ford hired an Oscar-winning director to illustrate how many of their most famous models have gone electric at the Tokyo Olympics, and Mercedes-Benz and startup Lucid have unveiled lavish showrooms in NYC to demonstrate benefits to inquisitive crowds. The list goes on and on.
Making a Stronger Ad Push at the Tier 3 Level
While a large majority of EV advertising remains at the Tier-1 OEM level, dealers must rev up their local EV-centric advertising strategies in order to educate consumers that they can shop and service new EVs right at their local dealership. It could be a very costly mistake — missing out on potential buyers because they think they can only shop for and order an EV through the manufacturer.
Don’t Forget the Fundamentals
Some of the fundamentals of automotive advertising will ring true for EVs as well, and as always, the biggest key is knowing your audience on the most personalized level possible. EV buyers are extremely savvy shoppers, so focus your messaging on education as much as features and benefits. Keep service and maintenance in mind when illustrating your dealership’s full value. These savvy shoppers are also quick on their toes, so be sure to align your advertising with real-time inventory levels.
In short, building concise advertising strategies that eliminate wasteful spending on your part and wasted time for your buyers, will help to achieve the best ROI. Reducing advertising waste is crucial to boosting dealership profitability, especially during a heavy advertising period like unveiling an exciting new EV model. Today’s advanced advertising data and marketing technology can help dealers follow and capture demand during these launches by identifying which vehicles they should be aggressively marketing — all with the goal of optimizing to the lowest cost per sale, rather than vanity metrics like CPC and impression volume.
Sophisticated AdTech Will Play a Key Role
Dealers should also take advantage of the tools, technologies, and resources available to them via Connected TV (CTV) – a platform that aligns well with an EV-centric audience. You should be leveraging uniquely personalized ads with messaging targeted at specific households. Messaging with offers to buy an EV, trade-in their existing vehicle to augment dealer inventory, or personalized and interactive CTV ads allowing a user to click their remote to schedule service or get a trade-in quote are just a few examples. This same clickable interactivity could also give viewers access to payment calculators and real-time inventory on a dealer’s website, allowing them to get pre-qualified and matched with a vehicle while instantly negotiating payment terms, all from the comfort of the couch.
Additionally, smart retailers should leverage a top-notch engagement/conversion strategy, along with tools that help them to efficiently align their internal processes to serve their EV customers in order to stay competitive in their market. These dealers are recognizing the importance of integrating a seamless e-commerce strategy with their lead-gen strategy and media mix, to reap the benefits of drastically lower costs per sale, faster processes, increased customer satisfaction, and surging service retention.
Last but not least, leveraging payment-first technologies that provide a one-on-one personalized shopping experience could easily seal the deal. This allows buyers to simultaneously shop for EVs and financing options across a dealer’s entire offering: real-time inventory, all terms financing programs, with all rebates, incentives, specials, e-pricing, and trade-in equity calculated and applied at the end.
With these advertising strategies in mind, dealers focusing on promoting EV cars and trucks will certainly gain a leg up on the competition and electrify more interest in their local markets.
Jeff Allen has worked in the automotive industry for more than 20 years and has been at the forefront of transforming shopper data into information across all three automotive tiers. Before coming to PureCars, Jeff was the director of analytics at 22Squared. He currently serves as vice president of CX for PureCars, working internally as well as externally with clients to remove blindspots to realize performance.