As we move into the second quarter of the year, now is a good time for dealers to assess their marketing strategies to see if they’re maximizing their marketing efforts.
One of the major challenges that dealers have today is breaking through the clutter and figuring out how various marketing strategies, efforts, and tools are the best fit for them and how they can most benefit their dealership. The process can be easier to tackle if dealers consider some new approaches, such as customer lifecycle marketing, buyer detection, predictive analytics & machine learning, cross-channel integration & targeting, and results attribution.
While developing your marketing strategy, it’s important to focus on the buyer lifecycle through consumer touch points. Each person’s journey is going to be different. For example, there could be many different variations and sometimes that can be difficult to manage. Dealers are acquiring customers through many different channels, and marketing technology can assist in focusing on the customer lifecycle. Once the prospect becomes a customer, you need to remember that their lifecycle never ends so neither should your marketing.
Buyer detection is vitally important for dealers today to help them learn more about current owners re-entering the market, current customers who are out shopping, and those that might defect. Buyer detection also provides opportunities for other profit centers such as F&I, service, intelligence on existing leads, and those leads dealers bought months ago, because it alerts the dealers when those dormant leads are coming back to life and are in market. Buyer detection is a great example of how analytically driven communications produces results.
To be truly effective, dealers should also be able to communicate across channels and be targeted in those communications. Cross-channel or omni-channel marketing is all about engaging with your customer or prospect across every engagement channel and any device, like predicting lifecycle stages, customer preference centers, being more effective with direct mail and email, and communicating on social media.
Attributing results and going beyond the “last click” is another important technology-based marketing strategy. The goal of revenue attribution is to know what is working and to understand which levers to adjust to optimize your marketing spend. Allocating too much credit to the marketing channels’ “last-click” could lead to overspending in an area that may not drive the anticipated incremental sales. Buyer detection technology can also help dealers weigh different touches and can automatically change the weighting based on cross-channel communications on an individualized basis.
With a multitude of initiatives competing for a limited pool of dollars, it’s a good idea for dealers to take a hard look at their marketing strategy. Many dealers are ditching traditional marketing – such as newspaper and radio ads – and going completely digital. Why? Because unlike traditional marketing, digital marketing can easily be personalized, works great on mobile devices, and most importantly, it’s measurable so dealers know what return they are getting for every dollar spent.
So how can dealers maximize their marketing efforts? First, optimize multi-channel marketing to improve engagement. Second, collect behavioral data and apply predictive analytics to improve the accuracy of marketing outcomes. Third, create a robust customer engagement toolkit. And lastly, impress the audience with value via dynamic and accessible content delivered across channels.
I’ll cover this topic more during my panel presentation at the 22nd Digital Dealer Conference & Expo with David Kain of Kain Automotive Group, Kristy Elliot of Sunshine Chevrolet, and Billy Frank of Clear Lake Infiniti.
Author: Valerie Vallancourt
Valerie Vallancourt is a dynamic, strategic marketing professional with expertise in creating and executing marketing strategies for revenue growth. Valerie has more than 10 years of experience in digital marketing, and is currently vice president of marketing at Outsell, which helps auto dealers drive more revenue by transforming how they engage customers and prospects throughout their lifecycle.