Dealership marketing has changed drastically in the last decade. Dealers used to allocate their budgets across a limited set of options—TV, radio, newspaper, and billboards. Today’s dealership marketers have an astounding number of options for getting their messages across. Digital mediums and tactics—including social media, web banners, retargeting, paid search, native advertising, and content marketing—have opened new possibilities to car dealerships. In a world where dealership marketers have access to such an impressive variety of tools and technology, they lack only one thing—focus.
For all of their promise to simplify dealership marketing, most of the new mediums and tools have created a more complex environment that distracts dealership marketers from their core strategies. Here are four simple steps for refocusing your dealership’s marketing efforts:
- Simplify your areas of focus.
Dealership marketers feel pressure to stay on top of the rapidly changing environment of automotive advertising. As a result, they chase every new trend and split their focus across an overwhelming number of tactics. Smart dealership marketers simplify their focus by selecting three to five core marketing methods that they know can make a difference in their businesses. For marketers, it takes courage to ignore all the latest industry fads, but failing to do so can divide our focus and cause us to lose sight of our core strategies.
- Get the right tools to support those strategies.
Once you’ve selected your core set of strategies and you’ve successfully shut out all of the noise, you’ll need to find the right tools to support those strategies. With all of the options available, it’s easy to get caught up in buying new marketing technologies and trying new modern mediums. To get the most out of your marketing tools, you should only buy technology after you’ve settled on a firm strategy. And, only engage with tools and mediums that provide a direct path to accomplishing those core strategies. Avoid falling for bells and whistles that will never find a practical application within your dealerships and remember that many modern marketing tools are over-serving the needs of most dealerships. If a tool can’t help you achieve or track one of your key performance indicators, it’s not worth implementing.
- Hire the best talent that you can.
Marketing technologies aren’t the only thing that dealership marketers are overdoing. It’s also easy to get caught up in hiring every type of marketing talent. While some dealerships may benefit from employing separate social media, digital, and content marketers, most companies can do a lot of work with a relatively low headcount. Rather than hiring a lot of people, focus on hiring the smartest, most analytical people you can to drive your dealership’s promotional efforts.
- Stay Consistent.
Making the decision to focus on core strategies and key tactics is a great start. But we all have a tendency to get distracted by the pressure to change course or to add in new mediums. Once you’ve selected a message and a strategy, consistency becomes the key to success. While making reasonable adjustments, stay the course long enough to evaluate its success or failure.
Auto dealerships now have every option available to them for promoting their businesses. In some cases, though, new mediums have become more of a distraction than a benefit because they divert dealers’ attention from core strategies and spread their focus thin. Dealerships need to remember that it’s not about doing a lot of things; it’s about defining a set of core strategies, then focusing on the mediums and the tools that can accomplish those strategies. By defining a set of core strategies, then focusing on the mediums and the tools that can accomplish those strategies, dealerships will find that they have the most important marketing of all—focus.
Author: Candy Lucey
Candy Lucey has run marketing efforts for large automotive groups and currently directs all marketing efforts for Dealertrack DMS as the Senior Director of Marketing.