Many Knoepfler Chevrolet customers find the videos on their own, but the dealership also trains sales staff to use them as talking points and to direct consumers to them should F&I questions arise during the sales process. The videos are not used in the F&I office, Knoepfler said.
Though his store doesn't have a separate marketing budget for the F&I department, Knoepfler said F&I product marketing is a line item in the sales department budget. F&I training is part of its training budget.
Those reallocated funds have been "beneficial to the growth of that department," he said.
Rick Kurtz, senior vice president of distribution at Protective Asset Protection in Chesterfield, Mo., said vehicle shoppers have an "unquestionable thirst for knowledge and information — the product and the process — and certainly F&I is a component of that."
Dealers should focus F&I marketing messages on channels important to consumers such as dealership websites, social media and "wherever the consumer is researching the potential transactions," he said. But he recommended against including prices in F&I marketing because products have variations and options.
"Think about tire-and-wheel products," he said. "That may depend on what part of the country you're in, how much you're driving and what kind of coverage you want. That same basic assumption is applicable for almost every F&I product. So to put pricing out there — it could be confusing."
Paragon Honda and Paragon Acura, both in Woodside, N.Y, tout express checkout on their websites under their "buy from home" banners. Though express checkout is targeted to consumers who want to complete the entire purchase process online, its information is there for anyone who chooses to click through.
Along with posted vehicle prices and calculators to estimate trade-in values and monthly finance and lease payments, each dealership has a page devoted to service protection plans such as service contracts, key replacement and prepaid maintenance — with individual products' prices and monthly payments.
Brian Benstock, vice president of both dealerships, said customers have a right to accept the prices, try to negotiate better prices or reject the prices and products altogether.
"When I go to Amazon to buy something, they tend to tell me how much it's going to cost," he said. "Transparency is the only way to do business online. If people are educated and know what they're getting, they're able to make better decisions."
F&I marketing is part of Paragon's advertising budget for new and used vehicles, Benstock said. The stores sell about 10,500 Hondas and 3,500 Acuras annually, of which about 65 percent are new.