Thursday, June 9, 2016

Lessons in Marketing As Taught by Ferris Bueller

Ferris Bueller drives a Ferrari
Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures
The school year is wrapping up for many students across the country, so we popped the iconic '80s film "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" into the DVD player (we lost our VHS copy — and our VHS player) so we could reminisce about some of our own experiences playing hooky from school.

In case you need a refresher, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" is about a popular high school senior who skips school with his girlfriend and best friend to have an adventure in Chicago before graduating.

Believe it or not, Ferris Bueller and his principal, Mr. Rooney, provide some useful lessons for how to approach your dealership's marketing (just don’t skip out on work — you’ll likely get fired if you do).

Be Creative and Strategic

Throughout the film, Ferris seems to be inches away from getting caught and sent back to school, but his creativity helps him always stay one step ahead. His most creative diversion is when he takes advantage of the mind-blowing speed of high school gossip in order to convince the entire school and community that he's extremely ill, minimizing the chances that school staff will come after him — all but Mr. Rooney. Ferris's creativity makes him a natural-born marketer, except that he uses his creativity to market his own popularity rather than a product or business.

While Ferris uses his creativity to divert attention away from his day off, being creative and adaptable can help your business stand out from other dealerships and get the attention you want. For example, let's look at word-of-mouth advertising. It might be enough for your competitors to sit back and let a customer tell their uncle about a good experience, but what if they share that good experience on social media or a review website like Yelp? If your customers are bragging about you on the Internet, you need to be creative in leveraging those posts within your own social media marketing. Let people know your customers are happy.

However, as priceless as positive word-of-mouth is, negative word-of-mouth reactions can be absolutely devastating (especially since people are more likely to share negative experiences). You need to be prepared for negative reviews and have creative ways to address them.

Don't be a Rooney

One of the funniest aspects of the whole movie is the plight of Mr. Rooney to prove that Ferris is a masterful liar who isn't actually sick. Mr. Rooney becomes obsessed with catching Ferris and ends up in some ridiculous situations, including a phone conversation he thinks he's having with irate parents. Of course, we know the offended father is actually Cameron, Ferris's best friend.

If call tracking software had been around in the 1980s, especially if it synced to a database of student information, Mr. Rooney would have seen the caller's information and saved himself a lot of unwanted embarrassment. Knowing who is calling your dealership can spare you some embarrassment as well. Inbound call tracking that syncs with your dealership's CRM can help you manage all the customer information that comes in on a daily basis. Don't humiliate yourself in the search for customer information like Rooney does in his search for Ferris.

Know What's Going On

Ferris has a knack for tricking people into doing his bidding. Much like Ferris baffles Mr. Rooney through an awkward phone conversation with Cameron, Ferris conceals his true identity through a confusing exchange with a maƮtre d' to get a table at an upscale restaurant. Time and time again, Ferris makes people look foolish because they don't know what's really going on.

Not knowing what's going on with your marketing campaigns can make you look pretty foolish too, especially if you don't realize one of your most expensive campaigns isn't actually working. To measure the success of your marketing campaigns, take advantage of the value of phone leads by applying unique toll-free numbers to different pieces of advertising. By tracking the resulting calls you can find out which campaigns are performing to expectations and which should be cut to improve your marketing ROI.

Ferris always finds ways to stay a step ahead of his pursuers. If you want to see some ways automotive brands have stayed a step ahead of the competition, check out these great auto marketing campaigns!

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