Messaging for Inspiring Action: Focus on Why, Not What

In a fantastic video by Simon Sinek titled “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” there is a resounding message in how to create change with your audience that drives action towards your cause. This message is: “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” In the video, Sinek uses examples of inspiring stories from Martin Luther King Jr. to the Wright brothers. In these stories he shows how they inspired others by relaying what they believe and getting others to join in. He also talks specifically about businesses such as Apple, and how they have gained customers and customer loyalty through the way they relate their message. These people and businesses focus on “Why” not “What.” After watching his speech multiple times it inspired me to pursue some ideas for helping our dealers create more effective messaging to help get better buy-in from their audience.

The Problem: Messaging Noise

Prior to getting into suggestions, let’s first identify where I see the problem. The very purpose of marketing is to inform people about some sort of message, whatever that may be. The first problem is that there’s so much information available to any individual at any given time through TV, radio, internet and any other medium. In order to compensate for this non-stop influx of advertisements, it is important to have a message that breaks through all of the noise and hits the right audience at the right time. While more and more late-adopters are willing to explore new marketing outlets, mainly focusing around digital, one of the biggest holdups still seems to be willingness to break outside of the standard messaging mold. For example, if I were to go online right now, I would be able to find ads that mention pricing of products that I may or may not care about, and “Buy Now” messaging that does very little to inspire me to take action. However, with some simple tailoring these ads can be more effective and inspire me to take interest in the product or service.

The Solution: Messaging Done Better

Through digital offerings, we’re now allowed the opportunity to target our audience better to help get our messages to people when they’re searching for the information. However, the problem of providing unique messaging that inspires change (or action) to that audience is far too often lacking. Let’s take a page from Sinek’s book and consider messaging that inspires action. Where do you get started? I’d suggest a two prong format. 1) Consider why your business (dealership) exists? *As a note, Sinek mentions that the answer “to make a profit isn’t a why but rather a result.” Does your dealership exist to solve a problem and if so, what problem? Do you believe strongly enough in the product that you must share it with the world? And if so, why? There are numerous reasons and this answer should take some time to craft. This information should resound throughout your dealership from your store interactions to site information and marketing messages. 2) Consider why your customers would and should care about your dealership. In the automotive space specifically, why should they care enough about you to choose your dealership over another option? You should show this in your marketing messaging as well as any other prior-to-visit interactions with your dealership.

The Results: Examples of Success in Marketing Efforts

One of our clients is a Chevrolet dealership in North Carolina. They had been running with us for a few months and are constantly looking for ways to improve their efforts. I had recently read an article in regards to improving click through rate (CTR) for display and retargeting (or remarketing) banners that talked about removing pricing. Originally, I was a bit skeptical, but I thought if we try and fail, we can at least say we tried. In September of 2016, we created a second set of banners for the client which featured different vehicles, but instead of offers had copy aimed at “tugging on the heartstrings” of the viewer (examples below; the name has been removed for privacy). 1 2 The examples above show our copy was unique to the particular vehicle and tried to play to the audience that would be interested (in general) in the vehicle in question. With this simple change we saw a general CTR in retargeting go from an average of 0.9%-1.6% to 2.8%-3.6% and were able to repeat these results monthly. Also, it's important to note this is simply one of the clients that we’ve seen this type of success with. As we’ve begun to adopt this overarching “why” messaging style, we’ve spread it to other dealerships around the country and have seen similar results. Now it’s your turn. Take the time to understand and relay your “why” message. It’s important not only to your customers (current, potential and past), but to you as well. This why message provides purpose for the end goal of your dealership. In addition, it's uplifting to know why you do the day-to-day operations and it gives people a reason to choose you!