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Redesigning the Auto Show Experience

Historically, auto shows were organized so car companies could reveal their innovative designs and latest models to the general public. Consumers from all around the world would flock to these events, eager to participate in “history in the making” moments. Today, auto shows have evolved to showcase the groundbreaking technological advances in the Automotive Industry – technology that is sure to redefine the auto show experience for consumers.

So Much Data, So Little Time, Streamlining the Data Collection Process

With auto shows come lots of consumer data to be collected. Oftentimes, the amount is overwhelming – more data is collected than we even know what to do with. In order to streamline this process and eliminate clutter, companies should find a data collection partner that can pinpoint what data is meaningful and what can be excluded when collecting data from consumers.

Collecting the right information can provide extremely beneficial insights when reporting engagement rates, KPIs, etc. Sales matchbacks, for instance, allow brands to understand where they first interacted with a customer – information that is increasingly more and more crucial as it now takes on average seven touchpoints with a brand before a consumer buys a vehicle. Knowing where and when you are interacting with different consumers can aide in your brand’s targeted experiential marketing efforts.

Seventh Time’s the Charm, Building Engagements that Move the Needle

As a luxury good, cars require time-intensive thought before purchase and when making the final decision, consumers rely heavily on their experience within the car. This is the biggest reason why car companies have shifted to experiential marketing when advertising new models. Auto shows are seeing greater implementation of immersive technology as consumers rely on these technologies to facilitate their purchase decisions.

If the typical consumer requires seven engagements before purchasing a vehicle, then your brand must carefully consider what those engagements will look like. How is the customer journey laid out? Whether engaging onsite at an event or though pre- and post-event contact, these experiences need to leave consumers wanting more and encourage repeat visits.

How you reach your consumers is key: they want to be engaged with on their own terms. The most important step you can take is ensuring your technological engagements are device-agnostic. Consumers want to see solutions that are catered to them and that includes the devices they use. Whether handling an iPad, a large touchscreen, or your run-of-the-mill kiosks, using programs that are compatible with different devices will ensure no consumers are left out of the fun!

Try Before You Buy, Altering Reality with Consumer Technology

It should come as no surprise that consumers prefer to test drive a vehicle before they commit to the purchase. However, because technology is advancing so rapidly, consumers now have the option to experience vehicles in other, less-intrusive ways. A recent consumer survey found that 82% of potential car buyers want to explore and configure their vehicle via immersive technologies like virtual and augmented reality.

There’s no doubt Virtual Reality has become extremely popular for showcasing new vehicle models and product features. When executed well, VR can be an exciting and emotional way for consumers to explore and interact with your brand – but, if your goal is to connect with as many attendees as possible by maximizing throughput, VR’s specific (and expensive!) hardware does not lend itself to a communal experience.

In contrast, Augmented Reality, by its nature, is far more active and participatory, making it a great substitute for VR at auto shows and other live events. Because AR can be executed on attendees’ own devices, there is no need to wait in a long line to try on a headset worn by many. Throughput is always a factor that should be considered when deciding upon on-site engagements.

Customizing Consumer Content, Not Always “One Size Fits All”

While some brands turn to templated engagements for events, others recognize the importance of customized consumer content. Consumers have a better overall experience with personalized engagements and are more likely to share the results of that engagement online when they design the content. Despite the ease of offering templates, consumers are looking to brands to provide unbeatable experiences at events and customized content is the way to do that.

Katie WalkerKatie is the Creative Marketing Coordinator and a recent Georgia Tech grad. She is the resident cat-lover and can usually be found with a book in hand.