Many dealers face the 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. Consumer shopping habits have shifted in recent years, away from traditional mass media platforms like TV, print and radio, toward more targeted and digital mediums that include targeted direct email and mail, internet, and mobile. Dealerships that do not understand targeted and digital marketing 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.
Team Honda, located in the heart of Louisiana’s capital city of Baton Rouge, 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.
“Our new and used sales are up 36 percent YOY from 2011 and we had our best December and January ever,” said Joe Stansell, General Sales Manager of Team Honda. “With this new strategy we’ve jumped from 15 to number 9 in our zone and are now in the top 100 Honda dealers nationally.”
Team Honda 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 Team Honda to identify vehicle owners with the greatest statistical probability of buying or servicing with their dealership, same-brand owners who had never visited Team Honda, as well as off-brand owners with a historical pattern of crossing over to Honda.
Once Team Honda 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, Team Honda 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 $48.95 “The Works Oil Change” coupon, but customers who are categorized as lost, or who do not regularly service with Team Honda, receive the same offer but for $39.95 to encourage them to come back.
Team Honda also aggressively targets conquest service customers within their primary marketing area who own Hondas 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. So, 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. Team Honda recognized the opportunity to broaden its service marketing program with conquest and has greatly expanded their reach of potential service customers.
Another component to the Team Honda’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 Team Honda is currently running. If a customer is not in the market for the specific offers they just received they can check Team Honda’s campaign conversion site, www.TeamHondaBROffers.com, for other available offers.
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.
Team Honda sustains its level of excellence and customer service by regularly training and communicating with its employees so they are fully knowledgeable when customers call or visit the dealership. Training includes having their entire sales team participate in monthly campaign kick- off meetings where all the details, offers, and promotions are thoroughly explained. They also display point-of-sale banners, brochures, and hang tags throughout the dealership and on the lot that complement the dealership’s current sales campaign. Everywhere customers turn they are encouraged by a special service or sales promotion to exchange their current vehicle for a new one for the same or lower monthly payment.
“Tying all our advertising together to provide one consistent message has really produced results. Filling the showroom with POS material and training our sales staff to anticipate the customer’s questions about our campaigns instills confidence in our customers and has created a showroom atmosphere that gets deals done,” said Joe Stansell.
Team Honda provides customers with minor and major service reminders and contacts them when their warranty is about to expire to offer extended service agreements, as well as when the customer is in an equity position and can sell their vehicle or upgrade into a new car for the same payment with compelling offers delivered through email, text, and direct mail.
“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 Team Honda uses for their sales and service marketing.
Up 36% in Sales and 14% in Gross Service Profits, Team Honda Increases Profitability with Integrated Marketing Strategy
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.
4. Drive consumer traffic to their custom campaign site that promotes all their sales and service offers.
Resources They Use:
1. DMS: ADP Dealer Services www.ADPDealerServices.com
2. Targeted Marketing Company:
Team Velocity Marketing www.TeamVelocityMarketing.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 campaigns that consistently speak to your 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 the brands you sell.
4. 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.