Contrary to the assumption that print is dead, brochures still play a very large role in a vehicle buyer’s decision-making process, according to a report.
Detroit-based auto marketing agency Latcha+Associates conducted a research study exploring the car-buying process and the role that brochures currently play for dealerships. Conducted with market research firm GfK, this study was composed of focus groups, mobile surveys, phone interviews and in-person interviews.
A large majority (89%) of car shoppers still find printed brochures helpful in the decision-making process. Millennials (34%), Gen X (33%) and Boomers (32%) most often go to a dealership as the first step in the car buying process and utilize printed brochures with similar frequency.
Printed brochure utility is highly consistent across gender and generation breaks, with female Boomers being the highest. Demographics for usage broke down with all females (91%) out-using males (88%) while Boomers (94%) led Gen X (89%) and Millennials (88%).
According to shoppers, printed brochures offer benefits that cannot be duplicated by online resources including “It’s all there” to be referenced as opposed to online which requires moving from screen to screen. There is no need to turn on computer and navigate to a website. Pictures display correctly, with no horizontal or vertical scrolling to see the entire image.
There is a high-quality feel to brochures and “online isn’t on thick glossy paper.” The shopper can make notes on it as research proceeds and they are portable. The shopper can lay out several brochures side-by-side to compare vehicles/models.
Forty-four percent of shoppers think the number one barrier to printed brochure usage is the fact that dealers are not offering them.
Dealers mentioned the growing popularity of online resources, the diminishing relevance of printed resources, and tools, like iPads, being perceived as “better” as the top reasons they don’t offer shoppers brochures.
“Our study reveals that there is a clear perception gap between dealers and shoppers when it comes to a shopper’s desire to utilize printed brochures during the vehicle purchase journey,” said Steve Stepanek, head of research at Latcha+Associates, in a release. “While digital options have certainly bolstered marketing efforts for dealers, printed brochures also enhance the consumer’s decision making journey. It’s the interplay of both print and digital that provides the strongest possible shopping experience.”
High-volume dealers are more likely to see the value of printed brochures with 32% of high-volume dealers find printed brochures to be very impactful while, conversely, 14% of low-volume dealers find printed brochures to be very impactful.