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Mike’s Car Dealership Adventure

Today one of our marketers, Mike, reflects on his experience at a car dealership today and gives some perspective on effective use of stickers and labels.

Sitting in the waiting room at our local car dealership, waiting for my wife’s car to be repaired got me thinking.   There was no access to the Internet as I hopelessly tried to retrieve email from my laptop, which left me no other option than to browse their showroom (probably by design).  Walking from car to car, I got an overall visual impression of each vehicle then ended up in the same place, staring at the window sticker reading each option, its details and associated costs.  Looking at the window sticker I began to think more critically about the uses for stickers and labels and what qualifies one as either good or bad.

By most standards the window stickers that I was looking at were utilitarian, used strictly to

  1. Communicate costs and pertinent details about the product
  2. To further strengthen the dealership’s brand through some visual, although some would argue “appealing” graphics.

What makes these functional stickers work, is that the automotive industry has studied the role that these stickers play in the selling process and have taylored the size, color and amount of information in which they provide to maximize their odds of getting the prospective buyer into the salesman’s hands.  So why does any of this matter?  I’m getting to that.  What the automotive industry has successfully done is take the time to understand what role the window sticker plays in the buying process for the consumer.  The window sticker (or product labels in many cases) provides enough information for a prospective buyer to make a qualifying decision about the purchase of the product, then leaves the complex task of upselling service contracts, financing options and ultimately closing the deal to the salesman.

Now in other industries we don’t always have this kind of control, the ability to figure in the human element of persuasion in the sale of our product.  Your product may be cheaper, more expensive, sold on the Internet or sold in the checkout line at Walmart.  With an inherent lack of control over the selling environment and your competition, it’s worth taking the time to think more critically about what role your label plays in the selling process, and ultimately how the contents of the label will influence the decision to buy.  Thinking about size, use of color, placement and the very written contents of the labels are critical in cases where your label is doing the selling.  In essence, the product label or sticker may very well be your salesman. Is he saying the right things?

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