This article is the true story of my own personal buyer's journey. Like everyone, I'm a consumer. I'm probably what you'd consider a power consumer actually, I buy a lot of stuff. It seems like I have my credit card out several times a day. Between spending often to keep my digital marketing agency running, keeping up with my kids and the cost of their sports, to my handful of outdoors hobbies, I'm always shopping. I believe I'm a pretty good representation of a modern consumer, and my buying habits exemplify the age of the consumer. The story of how I bought brakes for my truck is an example businesses would be wise to account for with their digital marketing strategies.
My personal buying journey is a great example of how business is done in the age of the customer we now live in. I hope that by understanding my immediate need that triggered me to buy, the simple process I went through for selecting a business, and how one company very clearly won my business you'll see how important it is to compete online.
When I think brakes, I think Midas
I'll hand it to Midas, they certainly knew how to market for top-of-mind. When you think Midas, you think brakes. They've been all over my TV since I was a kid. They advertise a lot, and the frequency that they've reached me with their message over my lifetime cannot be ignored. When I need brakes I think of Midas. I'm not loyal to them however, I've never actually taken my truck to them but I was certainly thinking I'd look up the closest one as my brakes continued to grind worse and worse.
A cancelation drove opportunity, and desire for convenience
I had a packed day of appointments the day I finally got my brakes changed. I wasn't planning to get them done on that day at all actually, but a late morning appointment canceled. I had an extra hour to work with and I wanted to make the most of it. Like I said, I'm always in a hurry. Convenience was my #1 motivator as I decided to quickly find the closest place to drop my truck off for the day.
I did what anyone else would do, I went to Google for help
Already sitting at my desk, I opened a new window in Chrome and searched "brake service lakewood, co". I could have used a few different methods of searching but I chose Google because I knew they would give me the results I was looking for. In this case, I received 529,000 results in less than one second.
I found the closest place I recognized
If you think I clicked through 3 or 4 pages of search results to shop brakes you're out to lunch. No one goes past the first page of Google afterall. At the top of the page I found the local map with several pins and three listing results. Midas was nowhere to be found but I did see Brakes Plus on the map and instantly made my decision. I know Midas can't be everywhere, it appeared that Brakes Plus was just more convenient for me. Convenience was going to win over all that conditioning.
Eventhough there was no Midas on my results page, I did have other choices. By looking at the reviews it seems like I could have went another direction easily. However, Brakes Plus interested me more than the other two results for two reasons:
- They were in fact the closest location to my office. Convenience was my primary driver after all.
- I had positive association because of my history with that company. I'd used them before, and had good experiences at other locations. I knew their model and knew I could drop off and pick up later without hassel.
The Brakes Plus was only 10 minutes from my office. I called, made an appointment, and headed out the door. An employee of mine was going to follow me there, pick me up as I dropped off, and we'd grab lunch on the way back to the office. I could pick my truck up at the end of the day and this was just too convenient to pass up. But what happened next makes my entire point.
Why did I pass a Midas on my way?
On my way to drop off my truck I passed a Midas. What? On the same road, just a few blocks closer than where I was going, I drove past a Midas? "Oops Midas, you might be missing out on the digital revolution" I thought as I pulled into Brakes Plus a couple minutes later. How could a large company, with a monster advertising budget fail to show up on Google Local?
It costs less money to show up in local results as it does to run a 10-second ad on cable at 3am.
Why did Midas miss the boat?
Midas lost my business (and likely other people's business every day) for one of two reasons. They either don't understand the way consumers shop in the digital age of the customer, or they don't understand how to execute properly. As I researched for this article I found they did show up on the map results for several other similar searches. I found them on the map above by searching 'brake service golden'. So, their physical location is very much in Lakewood:
- If a searcher typed in 'brake service golden' they'd find them
- If that same searcher typed in 'brake service lakewood' they'd only see their competitors
It's not that they don't understand the need, it's that they haven't how to actually serve the people that are looking for them. No one in Lakewood is going to search for brake service in Golden, it's too far away and we're all in a hurry. Fewer and fewer people watch TV. NOBODY watches commercials anymore. It's too easy to pause the TV, build some saved time, and fast-forward right through 'em. People are on the move, they're in a hurry, and they have very short attention spans. If you want to market to them you better understand how they operate and where they look for help. Be there, or lose sales.
My single purchase ended up being a lot bigger than just brakes
Because I'm a procrastinator, there were other things I needed. Because my time is valuable, I wanted to get the most out of a service visit. I ended up getting my oil changed and my wiper blades replaced too. Because I waited too long, my rotors had to be replaced. A little brake job ended up just shy of $1,000. That's not a big deal in itself, but that wasn't all that Brakes Plus earned with my visit.
Brakes Plus had me in their system from my visits to their location in Highlands Ranch by my old office. They knew I was a valuable customer and their staff treated me like it. They were responsive, knowledgeable, and friendly. They earned my trust and I have to say I really am brand loyal to them at this point. The next time I think brakes, I'll think Brakes Plus instead of Midas. I'll give them a call, drop off my vehicle, and hand them my card when I pick it up later that day.
What are you doing to maximize your presence online?
How does your business stack up? Do you even know what people are searching for and who they're finding? Have you ever considered using software to nail down those answers instead going to Google and guessing? Are you even aware that what you see when you search is different than what others see when they search?
If you don't want to fall to a similar fate, you should learn how to market to today's on-the-move consumers in the places they go when they're ready to buy. If you're not very good at doing your own learning, we have a pretty cool agency that does shit like this for businesses that need help.