Champion boxers like Muhammad Ali are not made overnight; training is fundamental to their success. Similarly, leading dealerships are not built overnight; it takes a lot of training and effort – especially in marketing. What does your training look like?
Take a tip from the pros and align your training to these four steps:
Fuel Your Body – Data
Diet is the foundation for successful boxers. Eating the right foods in the right quantities helps build their endurance, puts more power behind their punches, and enables them to outlast their competition. The same can be said for marketers and their data. The kinds and amount of data that marketers use helps determine the strength of their marketing efforts. To get the right message to the right people, marketers need the right foundation. Collecting data for data’s sake bloats your system, laying a weak foundation from the start.
Take a look at what’s fueling your dealership’s marketing database. What attributes of the following data sets are you collecting? If you don’t know, it might be worth asking.
- DMS Transactional Data.
- Customer and Visitor Behavioral Data.
- Demographic Data.
- Market Data.
Look at how your marketing partner is using your data to enhance the relevancy of your communications. Are they really a data-driven shop, or are they just telling you what you want to hear? It is easy to spot a marketing partner that has too much data or doesn’t know what to do with the data. They focus on the amount of data they have access to, not its relevance to your customers or your dealership.
Relevant data creates relevant leads which turn into real customers.
Take Notes – Information
Every boxer has a coach who provides guidance and insight into what will make the boxer successful. Your dealership’s data should act in the same way. The data is already telling you how it should be used. The trick is identifying the information that will set up a solid marketing effort: audience, direction, timing, and content.
- Who are you going to market to (audience): Existing customers, potential customers, conquest customers –Who are they? Without a marketing database, how do you know who falls into these customer segments?
- Where are these customers and where do you sell cars (direction): The data in your DMS can help answer this. Is your current marketing partner using that data to its full potential? Do you know where your real Primary Marketing Area (PMA) is?
- When are these customers in the market to buy (timing): Do you have predictive analytics to tell you when to talk with customers? How is your marketing partner tracking online behavior to understand the level of interest of your prospects and customers?
- What should your communications say (content): Do you know your customer demographics and understand the context in which you should be talking with the different groups?
Your marketing partner should act as your coach and corner man to give your data purpose so you’re not swinging wildly, hoping your message hits the right customer segment. Having this information – purposeful, useful data – is key to making your message timely, personal, and on-target.
Choose Your Approach – Activation
Today most of your marketing likely is going toe-to-toe with your customers and prospects by putting messages in their face, their inbox, mail boxes, on TV and online. If so, it’s likely flailing away at your customer much in the same way George Foreman did against Muhammad Ali in “The Rumble in the Jungle.” This spray-and-pray style of marketing is quickly becoming ineffective and many online providers are making it harder to execute.
If you continue to go toe-to-toe with your customers, you will continue to be less and less relevant to them. When that happens, your messages will be ignored or, even worse, blocked.
Data turned into actionable information allows your dealership to:
- Talk to customers and prospects rather than at them.
- Target offers based on customer geo-location.
- Customize message context with different looks based on customer likes and interests.
Talking to customers who are truly interested in what you are selling will help you activate them, rather than flailing away until they become tired of hearing your message.
Respect the Ring – Action
For a boxer, no two fights are the same; for a dealership, no two customers are. Recognize these differences and avoid sending blanket email messages (e-blasts). Instead, use your data to create a tailored message. Stay focused on the goal for which the data is supposed to be used: starting a conversation between you and your customer. Respect your customers’ time by interacting with them when they want it, rather than when you do. It’s the difference between talking at someone versus to them.
Marketing is a conversation, not a monologue. Understand how your marketing partner is using your customers’ behavior to have these conversations.
The more sophisticated your opponent, the more important it becomes to use all of the above to be effective. To deliver successful punches, you will want to make sure at the beginning of every training session and fight you are preparing your tools to be delivered with the most power behind them. That includes cultivating your data to help ensure your marketing packs the most punch and adds the most value. If you lose focus of what it means to have all of that data at your disposal, it is going to work against you.
Muhammad Ali was the greatest, not because he was the biggest or even the fastest, but because he knew how to use his tools. In a dealership, marketing is one of your most powerful tools to attract customers to your store, so it’s important to know how your marketing partner is using data and information to activate your customers through every action.
Visit NakedLime.com and check out the Data, Information, Activation, Action How To guide and start marketing like a champion today.
Author: Larry Bruce
LARRY BRUCE is a 30-year veteran in retail automotive dealerships and digital marketing. He currently is founder and CEO of OnlineDrive, a digital marketing firm recently acquired by Reynolds and Reynolds. Larry has successfully launched three tech companies, all of which intersect with automotive retailing and digital marketing. He started AIMData, a targeted marketing suite of tools for automotive retailers and ClickBuyDrive, an online vehicle buying application, both of which he sold in 2008.