Automotive Industry Marketing Funnel Explained

Automotive Industry Marketing Funnel Explained

Are you tailoring your marketing to speak directly to your audience? If you’re generically producing content without a specific audience in mind, then you are missing the mark. It’s time to take your digital marketing strategy to the next level. The automotive industry marketing funnel walks people through the sales funnel. 

Are you creating content that speaks to potential buyers in each phase of the car buying process? 

The Car Buyer’s Purchase Journey

When talking about marketing funnels, you are referring to the journey that car shoppers take when going through the decision-making process of buying a car. This takes them from becoming aware of a brand or product, learning about the company and product, and finally deciding to purchase. There are five stages to the marketing funnel: 


If this sounds complicated, don’t worry, you can condense the automotive industry marketing funnel down into three easy-to-understand phases, awareness, consideration, and conversion. The earliest phases are the widest part of the funnel. It’s the broadest because it casts the largest net of potential leads. These are people that go from having no idea who you are or the product or service that you sell to becoming aware that both exist.  It’s the broadest because this will be a large group of people. There are many people in this group that are aware of your brand but will never move past this phase to become interested or make a purchase. 

The middle portion of the funnel gets more narrow. During the consideration phases, consumers will take their awareness to the next level. They will take active efforts to learn more about the brand, company, product, and service. As people learn more, some lose interest and drop off, and others grow more interested. This is represented by the funnel narrowing. 

The final and bottom part of the funnel is the narrowest. This is when you have the next drop off where people decide to purchase and then whether or not to keep purchasing. Not everyone that learns about your brand and product will want to buy. Then out of those who buy, not everyone will want to buy again or encourage others to buy. Consumers who make it all the way through the funnel are the most dedicated and profitable because they are ready to buy. 

The goal of automotive marketing is to move as many new leads as possible from the top of the funnel to the bottom. When you effectively optimize your automotive advertising, you increase auto sales for your your dealership.

1. Car Brand Awareness 

In the awareness phase, your marketing should introduce potential leads to your brand and product. This is a high-level introduction that should simply introduce your brand. You aren’t going to talk about nitty-gritty features or complicated how-to videos. Think of this marketing as “hello, nice to meet you” content. Consider this a brief touchpoint where you announce a new car model.

Content Type to Produce 

The type of content you should produce needs to be introductory. Focus on creating short, to the point, and shareable content. It should be engaging and memorable. It’s also smart to create content in different formats. This will ensure you have repeat exposure, helping the message to stick with your audience. 

  • Branded ads
  • Social media 
  • Viral campaigns
  • Direct mail
  • Videos 

2. Car Model Interest 

At this stage of the marketing funnel, your audience has seen enough of your introductory ads that they are now interested to learn more. Give more information, but not too much information. The idea is to provide enough information to get them interested in learning more. Depending on your product, this stage could be relatively quick or take several months. It can help to generate ongoing content that nurtures your audience through this phase. 

Content Type to Produce 

The type of content that you produce during this phase needs to go more in-depth. Start developing a relationship with your audience. Webinars create the perfect platform for making an introduction. Blog posts are also good at this point to provide more information to an interested audience. 
You can create a targeted landing page that speaks directly to the audience’s interest. Car dealers could offer to let the reader come and test ride the vehicle they are interested in. Include a form where people can submit their contact information. Now you have automized lead generation system in place. The sales team can follow up with interested individuals to keep the sales process moving along. Enter all potential leads into a CRM to ensure your salespeople follow up with each potential lead.

  • Blog guides
  • FAQs 
  • Live chat 
  • Targeted ads 
  • Webinars 

3. Automotive Desire 

You might see this phase referred to as the consideration phase. At this point in the marketing funnel, your audience has learned enough that they are ready to consider making a purchase. They desire your product or service but aren’t quite ready to take the plunge and buy.

Content Type to Produce 

The content you produce for your audience in this phase needs to highlight your biggest strengths. Show why your product or service is better than competitors. Point out the qualities that customers consider the most important. Depending on your business, this could be how it improves the driving experience, the performance of the car, or enhance the looks. It could also be business-related, such as family-owned, veteran-owned, strong heritage, or awards won. 

  • Product videos 
  • Free trials 
  • Demos
  • Emails 

4. Car Purchase 

The purchase phase of the funnel is when the potential lead takes the plunge to hand over their hard-earned money in exchange for your product or service. At this point, the customer has done enough research and information finding to convince them to purchase. 

Content Type to Produce 

The content you produce at the purchase phase should enhance the buying process. This could be onboarding materials that help customers get started with their new purchase. It could be a guide that shows how the buying process works. Maybe you need content that explains the warranty included with the purchase. Aim to install confidence in the customer. 

  • Purchase process explanation
  • Warranty support 
  • Getting started video 
  • New owner materials 

5. Brand Loyalty 

Once someone has made a purchase, it is time to turn them into loyal advocates. By developing an ongoing relationship with your current customers, you increase their repurchase rate. This reduces your marketing costs because it costs less to convince a current customer to repurchase than a new customer to purchase. 

When a customer becomes an advocate, they help promote your brand by becoming educators to other potential customers in the awareness, discovery, and research phases of the marketing funnel. Several points encourage people to become loyal advocates: 

  • Great customer service 
  • High-quality product 
  • Emotional connection 
  • Financial reward 

Content Type to Produce 

The type of content that you need to produce should make the customer’s life easier, strengthen their emotional connection, and provide solutions for any ongoing problems. Focus on creating content that can help your customers use your product. Show them how other customers use your product. Develop a community where people can communicate with each other. Encourage feedback that you can use to make your company better. 

  • Beta testers
  • Surveys 
  • Events 
  • How to blogs and articles 

Move Leads Through the Automotive Industry Marketing Funnel 

The automotive industry marketing funnel may sound like a technical and complicated multi-phase process, but in practice, it doesn’t have to be. Using the marketing funnel, you can create a structured strategy for the type of content you produce. Once you have the different types, you can tailor your content to speak directly to people in each phase of the marketing funnel. 

Let’s chat about how we can create engaging content that will move more leads through your marketing funnel. 

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