Where Your Service Marketing is Going Wrong – And How to Make it Right

Consider the number of vehicles your dealership sells a year. With each sale comes the potential for customers to return for regular service until they need a new car from you again.

Your dealership offers customers extended warranties, service packages, service promotions, loyalty programs, and more, all in the hopes of getting them into the drive. And then you send an email, and another, and another. Maybe you even send a mailer in case the email addresses in your CRM are wrong.

When a few customers come back for customer-pay repair work, you give yourselves a pat on the back and hope the rest file in.

But what happens when they don’t?

You have to make your marketing relevant.

With bigger data and shorter attention spans, thousands of brands are vying for consumer buy-in each second, with the end consumer seeing 4,000-10,000 ads daily. It may seem like a large number, but consider the faces of modern advertising: clothing, social media, email, direct mail (yes, it’s still here and working), paid advertising, television, radio, retargeting, reviews, “influencers,” and MANY more.

It’s hard to break through the noise without relevant messaging, but if relevance were easy, everyone would have it. You can get lost in questions. How do you know who to target? Who in your database has changed addresses, either physical or email? Do any of them still have the same car that's in your database? How do you attract new customers? What about the old ones who haven’t been back?

Everyone tells you it’s important to know these answers, but most can rarely tell you how to find them.

Imagine these scenarios:

  • Your customer Angela receives a piece of direct mail from you advertising discounted brake pads and promptly throws it away. You send a follow-up email to customers that received the direct mail piece, and she deletes it without opening it.
  • Ron lives twenty miles away and his car’s “check engine” light flickers on as his car approaches 90,000 miles. He bought the car from you, but since he’s so far away it’s been inconvenient to come back for service. He’s been hopping from quick-change stores to independent repair shops for years out of convenience.

You lost both of these customers because you failed the relevant marketing test.

What if we told you Angela’s husband took the car in six months ago to have the brake pads repaired, and one of your advisors entered his information instead of referencing Angela’s customer information?

Or, even though Ron lives so far away, his ten-year-old car is actually due for a coolant service and transmission fluid change by OEM schedule standards—both maintenance items which aren’t always best serviced in an independent shop.

Both scenarios and thousands like them can be avoided with relevant marketing from an accurate database. If you’re running targeted campaigns, you have to beware of inaccurate CRM information: emails, VINs, and home addresses which are constantly in flux.

Personalized, relevant marketing has shown improved response rates of 300-500% for direct mail and up to 40% for email. The key is an accurate database.

Think of your marketing strategy like a boomerang. Unlike a Frisbee, which you throw out and chase after, the right approach will drive a boomerang—and your customers—back to you.