After clearly defining their primary marketing area, Spring Branch Honda’s next step was to create and implement a marketing strategy with the right message that would include clear calls-to-action and consistent communications, targeting their ideal customers and prospects. They developed a comprehensive targeted and digital marketing strategy using variable direct mail and email 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 mail and email sales communications to customers in an equity position. Spring Branch Honda’s campaigns always include sales offers with custom service offers that reflect the service status of the customer’s vehicle. For example, active service customers who regularly come in for service receive a $29.00 “Oil & Filter Change” coupon, but customers who are categorized as lost, or who do not routinely service with Spring Branch, receive the same offer but for $26.00 to encourage them to return to the dealership.
A unique part of Spring Branch’s sales and service marketing strategy is to target conquest service customers within their primary marketing area who own Hondas but did not buy from them. Many dealers that only use the manufacturer’s service marketing program may be limited by the manufacturer to only communicate with customers that have purchased directly from their store, and are constrained from contacting conquest opportunities within their market. This considerably limits a dealer’s opportunity to expand its service audience. 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. Recognizing this was a great opportunity to broaden its service marketing program, Spring Branch extensively expanded their reach of potential service customers by identifying and communicating with this demographic in a new way.
“Our service business was relatively flat from January through September of last year, but over the last 4 months we’re up 8 percent in service across the board, and we’re actually up 13 percent in service within our primary marketing area,” says Fontenot.
As part of Spring Branch Honda’s digital strategy, all their mail and email campaigns direct customers to an online Campaign Conversion Site that not only displays the featured promotions of the mail or email campaign they have just received, but also shows them every sales and service offer that Spring Branch is currently running. If a customer is not in the market for the specific offers they receive in the mail or by email, they can check Spring Branch’s campaign offer site, http://springbranchhondaoffers.com, for other available offers.
To complement their targeted and digital campaign as well as complete their integrated marketing strategy across the entire dealership, Spring Branch has also implemented a unique strategy that specifically targets vehicle sales within their service department. This program, the “Vehicle Exchange Program” is integrated across Spring Branch Honda’s website, campaign conversion site, the showroom and service lanes, as well as their direct mail. The customer receives a confirmation call from a dedicated call center to confirm their service appointment. If a customer is in an equity position, the call center representative informs the customer that they are eligible to upgrade into a new vehicle for the same payment as their old vehicle. Now, Spring Branch is proactively reaching out to eligible in-equity buyers before they have a chance to enter the market and shop the competition.
Spring Branch has seen a noticeable increase in their database of active customers since implementing their new strategy. Active customers – those who do business two or more times within a twelve month period – grew by 350 customers in just a few months’ time. Through consistent communication with their customers and effectively targeting conquest consumers across multiple mediums, Spring Branch Honda is changing the dynamic of their customer base, increasing customer activity and creating customers with a greater lifetime value to the dealership – customers who are more frequent and loyal, as well as more inclined to refer family and friends.
“The best customer that any dealer can find is one they already have because customers who have an active service relationship with a dealership are seven times more likely to purchase with that dealership,” says Budd Blackburn, owner of Team Velocity Marketing, the company that Spring Branch Honda hired for their sales and service marketing.
The Bottom Line
Spring Branch Honda sales increased 25% and their service business is up 13% in their primary marketing area
WHAT THEY DO
1. Conduct comprehensive market research to determine their perfect primary marketing area and identify ready in-market consumers with the greatest statistical probability of purchasing or servicing with their dealership now and in the future.
2. Create dynamic, cohesive campaigns that consistently speak to their customers throughout the 60-month lifecycle of their vehicle.
3. Consistently target in-market same-brand prospects, and consumers who drive off-brands with a historical trend of crossing over to Honda.
4. Sell vehicles from their own service bays, through a sales-in-service program, to in-equity customers before they shop the competition.
RESOURCES THEY USE
1. DMS: Reynolds & Reynolds
2. Targeted Marketing Company:
Team Velocity Marketing
3. Call Monitoring: CallRevu
1. Research and identify the best possible in-market customers with the highest probability of purchasing or servicing with your dealership.
2. Identify and 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 – to get them in your store.
3. Establish a sales-in-service program to sell vehicles from your own service department before they shop the competition.
“The best customer that any dealer can find is one they already have because customers who have an active service relationship with a dealership are seven times more likely to purchase with that dealership,” – Budd Blackburn, owner of Team Velocity Marketing, the company that Spring Branch Honda hired for their sales and service marketing