As with almost every other field in the 21st century, change occurs fast and the rate of change accelerates, so no one would be less surprised to see Texarkana's Toyota dealership embrace digital marketing than the late Eddie Robbins.
Faced with younger buyers who are well-educated, well-informed, adept at researching things online, are creditworthy, who know what they want and how much they want to pay, Robbins Toyota and new General Manager Charles Pankey are developing ways to meet those customers' needs.
The average new-car buyer now spends about 15 hours on research. Information is at the consumer's fingertips. A lot of times buyers will narrow things down to the one or two cars they want to see. Then they will get pricing before they even go see it, and then they will go drive it. They are a smarter consumer than in the past.
If that's the case, then the smart thing to do is to provide the information-hungry consumer with facts they can trust, early in the process. And hence, Toyota is creating an all-new digital sales department.
"We will have an average response time of under five minutes. When someone sends in a vehicle inquiry, the response will include a 'best price' of the vehicle they are looking at, as well as pricing options of other vehicle options they may not have considered."
- Charles Pankey, General Manager, Toyota