TradePending TV

The Dumbest Wars of All Time – The CTA Wars

History is littered with some truly dumb wars. The Pastry War saw a French pastry chef demand reparations when his shop was looted just outside of Mexico City in 1832. The Opium Wars in the 1840’s began when China was trying to stop the British from trafficking opium in their country. The War of Jenkin’s Ear apparently stemmed from a misunderstanding when Captain Robert Jenkins of the British Navy had his ear severed by Spanish coast guards in 1731.

But perhaps the dumbest war of all time is brewing on dealership’s websites: The CTA Wars.

Say what? There’s a growing trend amongst us software vendors to “own the CTA stack”, with everyone competing to take over the call-to-action (CTA) buttons on a dealer’s website. We’re sparing no one here: the trade-in tools, the chat tools, payment tools, and the digital retailing tools. We’re all guilty. 

The reason this war exists is that if you can convince the dealer to make every CTA on the site point to your tool, voila, like magic, you’re now the highest performing & highest ROI tool on the site, but only because you’ve pushed everyone else out. Plus, you sold a bunch more products. Take that, competition!

Here’s why this war is so dumb: the CTA Wars completely ignore the dealer’s goals along with how best to achieve those goals through the ideal user experience. 

The best salespeople know that a consultative sales process wins trust, builds credibility, and earns future business. What I’m preaching on behalf of the sales people (and marketing teams) that follow this approach is to keep spending those extra few minutes understanding what the dealer’s goals are. This will then dictate what type of tools are best to accomplish those objectives. 

If a dealer’s goal is to send everyone into a chat experience because they want everyone to have a human interaction, then by all means, push every call-to-action into a chat. 

If the dealer’s aim is to steer everyone into a digital retailing process because their corporate objectives are structured around that, then make every CTA do that.

If the goal is to convert as much website traffic as possible into first-party leads, then push that call-to-action traffic into the highest converting tools, based upon what your data is telling you. 

Clearly, each of these approaches has their own drawbacks. 

  • Not every user on your site wants to chat, so they’ll be confused (and abandon at a higher rate) at the mismatch in user experience when they land in a chat bot. 
  • Not everyone is willing to spend the 20-30 minutes to complete the digital retailing process. 
  • Not everyone wants to complete a form in exchange for a payment range or trade-in value. 

The result? Dealers need multiple solutions to accomplish their different goals, while meeting the different expectations of consumers when they’re coming to your site. It’s our responsibility to be partners and not vendors, to match the right products to the right objectives to the right user experience, and to bring a truce to the dumbest war of all time.

BONUS! Here’s Round 2 of the CTA Wars with data from 15 months across two stores.