Auto shows are one of the best marketing tools available for small share marketers. Why? Because the exposure achieved by auto shows is many times greater than the brand’s US sales. So for example, FIAT sells about 35,000 vehicles in the U. S. market, and Foresight Research estimates that over 1.1 million auto show attendees recalled visiting the FIAT display. For Mitsubishi it’s a similar result – 100,000 sales and 1.1 million visitors. Of course the luxury brands and the high volume brands benefit more, but small share brands have a huge opportunity to expose their product on a near level playing field. Despite display floor size differences, location on the floor, competitive glitz and glamour, competitive media buzz, potential consumers can explore all brands, experience the new vehicles in a hands-on-way, and connect with experts and fellow fans. All this provides an opportunity to discover brands for the first time. With this discovery can come making the consideration list, for any brands at the show.
For the 2017 – 2018 season, 12 month intenders added an average of 1 brand per household to their consideration list. Of course the luxury brands and the high volume brands gained the most but small share brands expanded consideration the most on a percentage basis. We asked auto show visitors, ”as a result of attending the auto show, have you added any brands to your consideration list that you weren’t previously considering”.
When we compared the results to pre-show consideration, the lift for these brands is huge. FCA was the big winner – Maserati up 78%, Alfa Romeo up 48% and FIAT up 41%. The average for all brands was 22%. Even in the digital media age, the likelihood that a person would click on a Mitsubishi website as frequently as Ford, Toyota or Chevrolet is remote, but the auto show provides a more level playing field. So, as brands consider taking a pass on auto shows, consider the consideration that will be lost and the consequences in the dealer’s showroom.
This information was gathered from an annual study produced by Foresight Research. In 2018, a total of 16,111 interviews were conducted in 55 markets and results published in “2018 Auto Show Season: Attendance, Attendees and Results”.