For 25 years, the Browning Automotive Group’s Dodge Chrysler Jeep dealership in Cerritos, CA, has had a lot of success.
However, a shift in marketing strategy three months ago enabled Cerritos to target the right customers within its primary market and has sent the dealership skyrocketing. Sales are up 75% (50% over the same period in 2010), while the number of vehicles serviced jumped 410%. Service ROs for vehicles in Cerritos’ primary marketing area increased 210% over the same period last year.
Like many dealers, Cerritos Dodge faces ongoing challenges of how to grow their dealership amidst a recovering economy surrounded by tough competitors with a brand that was down 0.3% in its market compared to March 2010.
“We recognize the value of effective advertising and have always invested in marketing, but we felt we weren’t reaching the right customers,” says Jack Ameen, general manager of the Cerritos store. “There are well over a quarter of a million consumers in our immediate market, but obviously not everyone is a potential customer, so earlier this year we decided to invest in research that would help us more clearly define our local market.”
First, the dealership completed a comprehensive five-year historical analysis of its sales and service transactions to determine customer trends. Those findings were then compared to leading third-party and industry data to establish consumer patterns within the local market.
Using this data enabled Cerritos to identify vehicle owners with the greatest probability of buying or servicing with the dealership. The research also pinpointed same-brand owners who had never visited Cerritos Dodge Chrysler Jeep and off-brand owners with a greater percentage of crossing over to the brands it sells.
“We were up 5.3% in market share in March over last year – more than anyone else in our market,” says Ameen. “While Dodge and several of our competitors’ market share was down. This research data is empowering. We know exactly who to target.”
“We were up 5.3% in market share in March over last year – more than anyone else in our market.” – Jack Ameen, General Manager
With their ideal market identified, Cerritos implemented a comprehensive targeted marketing strategy using mail and email campaigns that consistently speak to its customers and prospects with custom messaging.
Cerritos sends high-end campaigns promoting its best sales offers. The campaigns always include service messaging that is relevant to the vehicle’s service status with the dealership. For example, customers who are active with their dealership and come in for regular service receive $24.95 oil change coupons.
Customers who are categorized as lost, or who do not return to the dealership for service regularly, receive a coupon for a $14.95 oil change. The same goes for Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep owners who have never been to Cerritos.
“In three months my service department has seen a 522% increase in ROs from the customers in our immediate market, and our total service units are up 410% from the previous three months before starting this program,” Ameen says.
“Cerritos’ sales inside their primary marketing area have increased 153% over the last three months, up 50% from the same three-month period in 2010 because they are targeting the right customers in their own backyard,” says Budd Blackburn, owner of
www.TeamVelocityMarketing.com, the targeted marketing company Cerritos Dodge began using in February.
Not only are sales and service up significantly, Cerritos has been able to shift away from the more expensive traditional mass media, like television and radio, while directing that money toward strategies that generate the best response.
In order to sustain the level of excellence and customer service Cerritos is known for, the store regularly trains and communicates with its employees so they are fully knowledgeable when customers call or visit the dealership.
The training includes having the entire sales team participate in monthly campaign kick-off meetings where all the details, offers, and promotions are thoroughly explained. Cerritos also provides phone scripts for each campaign to help improve appointment ratios. Even the receptionist is instructed to always answer the phone with the appropriate campaign greeting; “Good afternoon and thank you for calling Cerritos Dodge Chrysler Jeep. Are you calling about our Let’s Trade Keys Program?”
“It’s important that we have an infrastructure in place to properly handle every customer for both sales and service,” says Ameen. “A knowledgeable and informed staff is a great asset that instills confidence in our customers. We don’t want to miss a single opportunity.”
The Bottom Line
Cerritos Dodge Chrysler Jeep increased sales 75% and service 410% in just three months by changing their existing marketing strategy and implementing a targeted digital marketing strategy.
What They Do:
- Conduct in-depth market research to determine their perfect primary marketing area and identify in-market consumers with the greatest statistical probability of purchasing or servicing with their store.
- Implement a targeted marketing strategy using direct mail and email that contains a custom sales and service message relevant to the vehicle’s service status with their dealership.
- Effectively target in-market prospects with a historical trend of crossing over to the brands they sell.
- Establish best practices that include campaign kick-off meetings with all sales associates for every campaign and provide phone scripts to help sales members improve appointment ratios.
Resources They Use:
1.DMS: ADP Dealer Services (www.adpdealerservices.com)
2. CRM Platform: iMagicLab (www.imagiclab.com)
3. Targeted Marketing Company: Team Velocity Marketing (www.TeamVelocityMarketing.com)
- Perform extensive market research to clearly define your primary marketing area.
- Complete a historical analysis of all sales and service transactions to determine specific consumer trends in your market place.
- Identify and target in-market consumers who have the highest statistical probability of doing business with your dealership.
- Establish and maintain best practices that help your sales, service and administrative teams to be as knowledgeable and informed as possible on the products, promotions and services you offer so that customers have confidence in your store.
“Cerritos’ sales have increased dramatically over the last three months since implementing a new marketing strategy that includes targeted direct email and mail.” — Budd Blackburn, owner, www.TeamVelocityMarketing.com, the targeted marketing company Cerritos uses.