Dealers share many ongoing challenges like how to effectively reach the right customers with the right message, bring those customers into their showrooms and service bays, and keep them coming back again and again. As consumer shopping habits have shifted in recent years, so too must a dealer’s best practices of how to effectively attract them. Many advertisers today are shifting away from traditional mass media platforms like TV, print and radio, toward more targeted and digital mediums that include targeted direct email and mail and the internet. Dealerships that do not recognize the value and advantage of targeted and digital marketing mediums continue to see diminishing returns with traditional mass marketing that continues to be costly and nearly impossible to measure.
Today, the most successful dealers are using targeted and digital mediums that are less expensive, more measurable and give a better return on investment than traditional mass marketing. The key to their success is integrating all their targeted and digital advertising to maximize their results, however, this can also present a challenge as the average dealer works with multiple vendors to execute their entire marketing strategy which results in different strategies, messages and designs that too often are not integrated with one another – often confusing customers, and even employees.
Liberty Buick, No. 1 in Buick sales in Arizona and a member of Liberty Automotive Group, has found a solution by implementing an integrated targeted and digital marketing strategy across multiple mediums using one marketing partner to attract, sell, service and retain more customers for less cost than traditional mass marketing.
“Since implementing this new marketing strategy we have steadily increased our service and sales numbers. Our new Buick sales have increased 21 percent and our pre-owned sales have increased 18 percent from the same period last year, and service profits are up 12 percent,” said Autumn Henderson, General Manager of Liberty Buick.
Liberty Buick began with a comprehensive five-year historical analysis of their 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. The results enabled Liberty Buick to identify vehicle owners with the greatest probability of buying or servicing with their dealership, as well as identify same-brand owners who had never visited Liberty Buick, and off-brand owners with a historical pattern of crossing over to Buick.
Once Liberty Buick had more clearly defined their market, they implemented a comprehensive targeted and digital marketing strategy using variable direct email and mail campaigns that consistently speak to customers throughout the 60-month life cycle of their vehicle with custom messaging that includes: a thank you and welcome message for recent purchasers, maintenance reminders for newer vehicles not yet in-equity but that may be due for recommended maintenance, and ongoing targeted email and mail sales communications to customers in an equity position. Using high-end creative campaigns, Liberty Buick promotes its best sales offers with custom service offers that reflect the service status of the customer’s vehicle. For example, active service customers who routinely come in for service receive a $29.95 “The Works Oil Change” coupon, but customers who are categorized as lost, or who do not regularly service with Liberty Buick, receive the same offer but for $14.95 to encourage them to come back.
Liberty also aggressively targets conquest service customers within their primary marketing area who own Buicks but did not buy from them. This is unique because most dealers use the manufacturer’s service marketing program which often limits a dealer to only communicate with customers that have purchased directly from their store, but also limits the dealer from contacting numerous conquest opportunities within their market. If a dealer only has 30 percent market share, they are essentially missing out on an additional 70 percent of the area’s service market. Liberty recognized the opportunity to broaden its service marketing program with conquest and has greatly expanded their reach of potential service customers.
Another component to Liberty’s strategy is that every outbound targeted email and mail campaign directs customers to an online Campaign Conversion Site that not only displays the featured promotions of the email or mail campaign they have just received, but also shows them every sales and service offer that Liberty Buick is currently running. If a customer is not in the market for the specific offers they just received they can check Liberty Buick’s campaign conversion site, www.LibertyBuickOffers.com, for other available offers.
“This site is already proving to be invaluable. It looks incredibly professional, it ties in with all our sales and service promotions,” said Henderson. “Plus it’s completely low maintenance for us because it’s updated every month by our marketing company.”
When customers visit the dealership they see POS merchandising throughout the store that validates the advertising message they recently saw online or received in the mail, further building credibility and helping increase the closing ratio.
Once a customer takes delivery, Liberty Buick 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 them online. Having a positive online reputation is critical. According to a Group M Study 2011, 76 percent of consumers use a combination of web search and social media as their first step before making a purchase and 70 percent of online consumers report that they consult reviews before purchasing according to Business Week 2011.
Right message, bring those customers into their showrooms and service bays, and keep them coming back again and again. As consumer shopping habits have shifted in recent years, so too must a dealer’s best practices of how to effectively attract them. Many advertisers today are shifting away from traditional mass media platforms like TV, print and radio, toward more targeted and digital mediums that include targeted direct email and mail and the internet. Dealerships that do not recognize the value and advantage of targeted and digital marketing mediums continue to see diminishing returns with traditional mass marketing that continues to be costly and nearly impossible to measure.
“The best customer you can find is one that you already have,” said Budd Blackburn, owner of Team Velocity Marketing, the company that Liberty Buick uses for their sales and service marketing. “Active customers are seven times more likely to purchase from a dealership when they have an ongoing relationship with them.”
“We were the only Buick dealer in Arizona to become Certified Elite in 2012 for our service and parts department. We have also been No. 1 in the state and No.1 in the Western Region for new Buick sales,” stated Henderson. “This new marketing strategy has helped us do this, as well as maintain our spot within the top 3 in the nation for Buick sales.”
What They Do
Liberty Buick Increases New Sales 21% and Pre-Owned Sales 18% Year Over Year with Integrated Marketing Strategy
- Conduct comprehensive market research to clearly define their local market
- Identify the perfect customers and prospects with the highest statistical probability of buying and/or servicing with their dealership.
- Speak consistently to their customers throughout the 60-month life cycle of their vehicle.
- Drive consumer traffic to their custom campaign site that promotes all their sales and service offers.
Resources They Use
- DMS: Reynolds & Reynolds www.ReyRey.com
- Targeted Marketing Company: Team Velocity Marketing www.TeamVelocityMarketing.com
- Define your ideal local market by finding the perfect customers and prospects with the highest statistical probability of buying and/or servicing with your dealership now and in the future.
- Create dynamic, cohesive campaigns that consistently speak to your customers throughout the 60-month life cycle of their vehicle.
- Consistently target in-market same-brand prospects, and consumers who drive off-brands with a historical trend of crossing over to the brands you sell.
- Drive consumer traffic to a custom campaign conversion site that promotes all your sales and service offers to help increase your internet sales and service leads.
“We have been #1 in the state and in the Western Region for new Buick sales. This new marketing strategy has helped us do this as well as maintain our spot within the top 3 in the nation for Buick sales.” – Autumn Henderson, General Manager of Liberty Buick
“Rather than wait and hope that the customer will buy from us when they’re ready, we proactively try to sell the customers in service, before they enter the market and shop our competition. ” – Autumn Henderson, General Manager