As consumer shopping habits change, so too must a dealer’s marketing best practices. The value of traditional mass marketing platforms like TV, print and radio, continue to weaken when compared to targeted and digital mediums like targeted direct email and mail, internet, social and mobile applications. Dealers face an ongoing challenge of 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. Dealerships that do not understand targeted and digital marketing practices continue to see diminishing returns with traditional mass marketing which remains costly and nearly impossible to measure.
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.
Wiesner of Conroe, whose Texas stores include Hyundai and Buick GMC, has successfully implemented a cohesive marketing strategy that delivers one message through all 10 tiers of marketing: research, traditional, digital, targeted direct mail, publicity, reputation management, niche, merchandising, and retention, while also consolidating vendors and spending less money to implement a more effective, integrated campaign that gets better results.
“We were able to trim our marketing budget, yet we increased new car sales in 2011 by 48 percent over 2010, and so far this year we’re beating 2011 stats,” said Terry Hatfield, General Manager, Wiesner of Conroe.
First, Wiesner conducted in-depth market research to identify their perfect prospects by analyzing five years of historical data for both sales and service and comparing their findings to leading third-party consumer data for their local area. This enabled Wiesner to identify consumers who have the highest statistical probability of doing business with their dealerships now and in the future, and thus had the highest lifetime value.
Next, Wiesner implemented an integrated marketing strategy that delivers the right message to the right customers who are in market to buy or service the vehicles they sell. Wiesner’s most recent campaigns promoted the messages of the Wiesner BuyBack Program and the Wiesner Triple Zero Event through multiple mediums including their traditional advertising, targeted email, text, direct mail, as well as online channels that include search engine marketing, online display ads, social media, and mobile marketing.
Wiesner promotes all their profit centers with sales and service offers on all their marketing materials. Every Wiesner ad directs consumers to their custom campaign websites www.WiesnerHyundaioffers.com and www.WiesnerBuickGMCoffers.com.
These campaign conversion sites showcase all Wiesner’s 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.
“WE WERE ABLE TO TRIM OUR MARKETING BUDGET, YET WE INCREASED NEW CAR SALES IN 2011 BY 48 PERCENT OVER 2010, AND SO FAR THIS YEAR WE’RE BEATING 2011 STATS.” – Terry Hatfield, General Manager
Wiesner’s offer sites have boosted their internet lead conversion ratios as high as 44 percent when compared to their main dealership websites. And when customers visit the dealership they immediately notice point of sale merchandising throughout the store that validates the message they recently received, further building credibility and helping increase the closing ratio.
Once a customer is at the point of delivery, and waiting for finance, the dealership helps them download a free mobile app that is custom branded for their store. This app gives the customer free tools to improve their ownership experience and customer satisfaction. The free Wiesner Auto App features a one click to roadside assistance, a car finder to help them find their vehicle in a crowded parking lot, a parking meter alert, a flashlight, a gas savings navigator, links to navigation and notifications that remind the customer when their vehicle is due for service and when they are able to upgrade their car for the same payment or sell their car when they have equity. Customers like the tools because it gives them everything they need in the palm of their hands, and Wiesner likes the Auto App because they are always in the palm of the hand of their customers when the customer needs them most.
When a customer takes delivery, Wiesner 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.
Wiesner also provides customers with minor and major service reminders and contacts them when their warranty is about to expire to offer them an extended service agreement, as well as notify in-market customers about the vehicles that are available for the same payment they are currently making and the advantages of exchanging their current car for a new vehicle with compelling offers delivered through email, text, direct mail and a personal phone call from the dealership.
Wiesner’s consistent communication strategy has dramatically increased the loyalty and the frequency in which their customers are servicing and buying from their dealership. Customized service offers based on the customer’s need at the time has generated more ROs, average dollars per RO, and increased their customer pay.
“We’re seeing continued growth, not just is sales but in service too. Our service department wrote over 1,200 more ROs in 2011 than they did in 2010,” said Terry Hatfield. “We have seen a 15 percent increase in the number of our customers who actively use our service department.”
“When customers are active in service they are seven times more likely to buy, so service activity increases sales loyalty,” said Sean Wolfington, owner of Tier 10 Marketing, the company Wiesner uses to create and implement all of their marketing. “By notifying customers once they can upgrade into a newer vehicle for the same payment the dealership generates revenue for 3 profit centers: New, Service and Pre-Owned. They sell a new vehicle for higher gross profit because the customer hasn’t shopped, they generate a $1700 RO to recondition their trade and they resell a Certified Pre-owned vehicle faster and for more gross because they buy it for less than auction and can price it to market with a healthy margin.
This cycle repeats itself when the certified pre-owned vehicle is sold to a customer that has a 5 year old trade-in that generates another service RO to recondition and another pre-owned sale to a consumer that may otherwise not have been attracted to the dealership if that car wasn’t in their inventory,” explained Wolfington.
Wiesner also uses a number of niche marketing strategies to grow their business like their “corporate purchase program” which is a buying program that provides special pricing and service to employees of large local organizations in their market.
“Dealers develop custom information packages to send to the HR department of the largest organizations in their area to ask them if they want to give this free benefit to their employees,” said David Boice, co-owner of Tier 10 Marketing. “If a company wants to join the program they receive a communication kit from the dealer that explains the program to the organization’s employees. Companies have the option of having brochures customized with their logo and sent to their employees directly so they don’t even need to stuff their payroll envelopes.”
In the end, Wiesner has utilized this integrated strategy to simultaneously grow their new, used and service profits, while reducing their overall advertising expenses and has consolidated to one marketing partner to successfully execute their strategy.
“Now we have fewer vendors that do more, it’s all integrated and has generated more revenue for less cost which has dramatically improved our profitability,” said Hatfield. “Hyundai was up 53 percent for the first four months of 2012 when compared to the same period in 2011, and Buick GMC was up over 40 percent,” said Hatfield.
The Bottom Line
New Car Sales Are Up 48% and Service Jumps 45% at Wiesner of Conroe
WHAT THEY DO
1. Conduct comprehensive market research to clearly define their local market.
2. Identify the perfect customers and prospects with the highest statistical probability of buying and/or servicing with their dealership.
3. Speak consistently to their customers throughout the 60-month lifecycle of their vehicle using targeted direct email, text messaging and mail.
4. Drive consumer traffic to their custom campaign conversion site that promotes all their sales and service offers.
5. Provide free mobile apps to improve the customer ownership experience.
6. Create niche marketing programs like their Corporate Purchase Program that provides special pricing and service to employees of large local organizations in their local market.
7. Implement a cohesive marketing strategy across multiple mediums to build brand awareness.
RESOURCES THEY USE
1. DMS: Reynolds & Reynolds www.ReyRey.com
2. CRM: Reynolds & Reynolds www.ReyRey.com
3. Advertising Agency: Tier 10 Marketing www.Tier10Marketing.com
4. Targeted Marketing Company: Team Velocity Marketing www.TeamVelocityMarketing.com
5. Mobile App: DealerApp Vantage www.DealerAppVantage.com
1. 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.
2. Create dynamic, cohesive targeted and digital marketing campaigns that consistently speak to your customers throughout the 60-month lifecycle of their vehicle using email, text and mail.
3. 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.
4. Provide free mobile apps to your customers to help improve the ownership experience and foster ongoing relationships with your dealership; creating customers with the highest lifetime value for your dealership.
5. Develop niche marketing programs that provide special pricing and service promotions for employees of large organizations in your local market.
6. Develop and implement an integrated marketing strategy across all 10 tiers of marketing: research, traditional, digital, targeted direct mail, publicity, reputation management, niche, merchandising, and retention; consolidate vendors, spend less money, and get better results.
“We have fewer vendors that do more, it’s all integrated and has generated more revenue for less cost which has dramatically improved our profitability.”
– Terry Hatfield, General Manager, Wiesner of Conroe