Don’t Waste Your Consumer’s Time—Just Give Them What They Want

clock and money in trash

Adapting to the mobile world means more than just doing what looks cool to keep up with the latest mobile technologies—it means knowing exactly why and how to use these vital channels of communication.

Be honest with yourself, how many times have you thrown QR codes (that checkerboard square looking graphic that consumers can scan with their phone to connect to a webpage or perform other actions) onto all of your marketing materials ’cause it’s what the cool kids are doing? It’s gotten kind of ridiculous; I’ve even seen QR codes on buses! Like I’m going to run alongside a bus just to scan a QR code?

Dealers that adopt cutting edge technologies like QR codes, but then use them everywhere to feed people irrelevant sales messages or general product and business information, are not only wasting the customers’ time, but also their own time and money.

So how can you be sure that the information you feed consumers is actually of any substance and therefore adding value to their everyday life? Well, strategically choose your channels, and use them wisely.

During the past year, less than a fifth of service customers report having scanned a QR code. And those that did were typically directed to product information or links to a webpage they could have otherwise easily navigated to themselves. QR codes are a “scan and go” channel—to be used as a way of directing your customers to an immediate call to action, not a fancy way of sending them to your website (and not to mention with an empty purpose).

These simple links to existing pages are a waste of time. If you are going to offer a QR code it needs to provide the consumer with value and functionality that they couldn’t otherwise get just by going to your website. From a direct consumer survey conducted by DMEautomotive, we know that auto service customers are looking for coupons, discounts, store promotions, and the ability to schedule online appointments.

And when it comes to mobile apps, twice the number of customers (44 percent) report using a mobile app versus a QR code, and actually two in three auto service customers are using them at least once daily, providing more opportunities to embrace this always-on consumer behavior. Unlike QR codes, mobile apps provide a constant customer connection.

Mobile app-using customers report accessing coupons, discounts, the latest dealer incentives, and rebates the most, with accessing service reminders, vehicle history, and service appointment scheduling, following close behind.

It’s the digital age…if you’re not giving the consumer what they want, they’re going to find it somewhere else. And now, knee deep into the second wave of technology adoption, it’s time for dealers to get it right—aligning their offerings with what consumers actually demand, and to quit this game of follow-the-leader.

*Findings are based on a national survey of 2,000-plus U.S. vehicle owners conducted by DMEautomotive’s strategy and analytics division.

Mike Martinez is chief marketing officer of DMEautomotive, the industry leader in science-based, results-driven automotive marketing that provides a range of marketing services to the biggest and most innovative automotive organizations in the industry. For more information, email

Michael Bowen


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