Wesley Gregg at Guadin Ford in Las Vegas once managed a variety of marketing vendors which undercut the full potential of his capabilities. After a reevaluation and vendor removal process at Gaudin Ford, Gregg and his team began to see how change meant a higher return on investment. It’s no wonder the 2013 year for Gregg and Gaudin Ford was one for the record books.
Wesley Gregg and Gaudin Ford’s story is similar to the many dealers who coordinate with several vendors to execute various components of their marketing strategy. His previous strategy contained inconsistent messaging; poor campaign recognition and produced fragmented results.
Gregg said, enough. He needed more time to manage his sales team and less time managing vendors. “We really took an inventory of the companies and partners that we have. We found that there was a large number that we didn’t see a need for,” admitted Gregg.
The reform of his marketing strategy was a big undertaking, and several components needed to be considered with online mediums.
The shift in consumer shopping habits calls for engaging experiences that will mostly be obtained through digital mediums like internet, mobile and social media. Dealerships that do not understand digital marketin
g continue to get diminishing returns with mass marketing that is expensive and nearly impossible to measure.
Cutting the fat out from marketing plans
Many successful dealers, like Gaudin Ford, are using more targeted digital mediums that are less expensive, more measurable and give a better return on investment than traditional mass marketing. The average customer will visit 20 websites before they visit a dealership. The key to success is integrating all their traditional and digital advertising to maximize their results.
“Our goal was to blend our sales and service marketing. We were spending separate advertising dollars in service and sales and marketing to the same customer,” says Gregg. Along that line, Gaudin Ford saw a need to have one strategy, with one message that they deliver through all tiers of marketing: research, traditional, digital, targeted direct mail, publicity, reputation management, niche, merchandising, and retention, while also consolidating vendors and spending less to implement a more effective, integrated campaign that obtains measurable, high quality results.
“Our goal was to bring our marketing pieces under one umbrella. In the past, these were handled by so many organizations.” Gregg explains, “We eliminated some vendors and went after our marketing with a real systematical approach.”
Gaudin Ford conducted in-depth market research by analyzing five years of historical data for both sales and service, compared that to third party data and determined their true customer base. With that, they identified consumers who have the highest statistical probability of doing business with their dealership now and in the future. Thus, these customers had the highest lifetime value for Gaudin Ford. Gaudin Ford implemented an integrated marketing strategy that targets customers who are in-market to buy or service the vehicles they represent, and speaks to them with messages based upon that criterion.
“I think initially we underestimated and underspent in our service marketing. You look at any dealership and their service advertising pales compared to their sales advertising. About 12 to 15 percent of our market is in need of service and about 3 percent is in the market for sales. We’ve found it’s a good idea to target service customers because it’s a bigger demographic,” says Gregg.
Gaudin Ford promotes all its profit centers with both sales and service offers through mediums like mail and email, but what has been the source of their success is their online advertising presence.
“We’ve integrated sales and service and are now using video, search engine marketing, online display advertising, direct mail and more.” Unlike traditional media, this digital approach to marketing is measurable and presents unmatched truths about in and out of market customers.
Marketing ads direct consumers to a custom campaign conversion site www.gaudinfordoffers.com. This custom site showcases all Gaudin Fords’ sales and service promotions, not just the featured ad, so if a customer is not in the market for the particular offer they received, they can easily find something that suits their needs with just a couple clicks. The offer site has boosted Gaudin Ford’s internet lead conversion ratios, as high as 88%, when compared to their main dealership website.
Gaudin Ford’s consistent communication strategy has dramatically increased the loyalty and the frequency in which their customers are servicing and buying from their dealership. The latest information shows that Gaudin has increased their active customer base by 14% in the 2013 calendar year. Active is defined as customers who have been in the store within the past 12 months.
This consistent communication of custom service offers based on what their customers need at that time has generated an 11 percent increase this y
ear for ROs, and a 34 percent increase in service visits since January.
Today, Gaudin Ford is engaging with over 2,000 fans on Facebook. In 2013 alone, their digital strategy which encompassed Search engine marketing, Online display advertising, social media advertising and Pre-Roll generated almost 7,000 clicks to their website per month.
When customers take delivery of their new vehicle, Gaudin Ford stays in contact with them by thanking them for buying and asking for referrals and online reviews, which helps to build their reputation when consumers search for the dealership online.
“We’ve migrated all of our dollars out of traditional media to a holistic digital strategy and that’s been the plan of attack,” Gregg explains. “We’ve consolidated our previous program and put it into the hands of one company and now they handle almost everything.”
Gaudin Ford has worked with Tier10, www.tier10marketing.com, for much of their recent marketing initiatives. “Every dealership says, that’s my customer, when you want customers to say, that’s my dealership.” said Justin Byrd, President of Tier10. “We’re there every step of the way to achieve that goal.”
Gaudin Ford certainly appears to have the advantage in their marketplace. They are the No.1 Ford dealer in Las Vegas, including No.1 in CSI. They are ranked No.99 nationally, and have jumped 42 spots since they implemented their new strategy one year ago.
Gaudin Ford reduced their advertising costs by consolidating the marketing companies they work with and they increased their revenue by implementing one strategy with one message delivered through all 10 tiers of marketing. Gaudin Ford integrated all their traditional and digital marketing to promote all their profit centers, which resulted in more traffic, sales and service revenue for less cost than mass marketing.
Gaudin Ford also takes advantage of press opportunities whenever possible to help build brand awareness. They work with their marketing company to create and distribute relevant press releases to generate interviews with local press and receive positive exposure in local media outlets.
“It’s one thing to be up; it’s another to be above the industry. [Traditional media] is a real hatchet approach in today’s world,” Gregg concluded, “You need to attack your marketing strategy with a scalpel.”