With weeks of quarantine and businesses learning to cope being shut down, everyone is wondering when the COVID-19 pandemic will finally be over. These are unprecedented times and manufacturers and dealers are wondering what the “new normal” will look like. The Great Recession changed our financial habits and COVID-19 could have a broader effect. 

Digital consumption across the globe has increased dramatically. More than ever, people are relying on the internet for entertainment, socialization, and information. In March, the local social app, Nextdoor, stated they had an 80% increase in the number of people using the app compared with the previous month. Netflix added over 15 million subscribers in Q1 alone, and Forbes published an article in March stating internet use has surged up to 70%. As a society, we are now more digitally engaged than ever.

The sudden increase in digital consumption is not the only change that manufacturers and dealers can profit from. COVID-19 has instilled, in many consumers, a greater interest in buying local. Consumers want to support their local retailers so they don’t go out of business, but most dealers aren’t set up for the changing ways that potential customers are searching for products. Retailers are finding that they must adapt to make their storefronts and products easier to find online and more relevant digitally. This is where manufacturers can play a big role in assisting their dealers with their marketing efforts. More people will now conduct research online before walking into a store to browse items they are looking for. The dealer brands that are easily found and local will be the brands that will benefit their dealers the most and help them bounce back.

For many manufacturing companies, now is the opportune time to anticipate and plan for what these behavioral shifts in society will be and strategize how to embrace these changes. Most manufacturers rely heavily on their distribution networks and many of these networks are local dealers who have been hit hard by quarantine. This could be an optimal time to embrace your dealers and grow your local brand presence. Local dealers who are known in their communities and can offer trust to local consumers will add value to the brand. What manufacturers are realizing is that the start of this transition period has made brand-building even more vital and helping their dealers locally gain this market traction is more crucial than ever. Local search is vastly misunderstood and its value is often underestimated. 

Once the economy starts opening, this will create opportunities for brands through their local dealers to focus on local marketing and get a leg up on their competition by helping their dealers get new leads via local search. With over 85% of consumers relying on the internet to find a local business and almost one third are searching for a local business at least once per week, this is a channel that just can’t be ignored.

When consumers are looking for a specific brand, they will usually go to the manufacturer’s website to find a dealer locator. From there, they will search in their local area to find where they can buy the brand. This can be good and bad. With many dealer locators, it will either give the consumer the address information to locate the dealer or have a link directly to the dealer’s website. This is where the customer journey can become rocky. The customer is looking for a specific brand, but once the customer enters the dealer site, they are met with products, information, and competing brands they weren’t originally looking for, disrupting the overall brand experience.

PowerChord seamlessly solves this by helping brands gain traction through their local dealers and launching local marketing campaigns with websites that act as a doorway to your dealers. This creates a new channel for local brand presence and a stronger partnership with dealers. These co-branded dealer sites coupled with digital and social media marketing programs can give your dealers a huge advantage over their local competitors.

Take advantage of the changing digital landscape by leveraging the PowerChord platform and creating consistency on a locally-targeted level to generate and distribute local leads. Request a demo today.