Stop Using the Same Playbook as Your Competition

automotive dealership targeted marketing


How do you communicate with customers in a market where every message counts?

Laptops, tablets, and smartphones all provide consumers with more information at their fingertips in one instant than they could look up in their entire lives 20 years ago. And, that’s profoundly changing how consumers shop for a car and how dealers attract consumers to the dealership.

In what Google has defined as the “Zero Moment of Truth,” consumers now are engaging in extensive research, both online and off, well before they set foot in a dealership. They search for information, read reviews, watch videos, and use social media to ask their networks for recommendations – all starting about four months before they buy a car. By the time they’ve made the decision to go to a dealership, they know exactly what they want, what they should expect to pay for it, and where they want to go to buy it. According to a study by McKinsey, consumers will visit an average of only 1.6 car dealerships before buying a car.

That’s why it’s becoming more and more important for dealers to make the right impression with consumers early in the car-buying process. Here are three tips on how to improve the effectiveness of your dealership’s outreach efforts early on:

1. Clean Up Your Contact Databases
If you are using targeted marketing, it’s important to make sure you’re hitting the right target. Imagine how turned off a customer would be if you called them the wrong name when speaking face-to-face—it’s the same with direct mail or targeted emails. Scrub your contact databases so that your name file is accurate and up to date to help ensure your message is reaching the intended recipient.

2. Target Your Marketing
Today’s consumers are looking for an experience, not just a product. Especially with Gen Y car buyers, personalization is imperative. Use this to your advantage and demonstrate you are aware of consumer preferences by making sure they’re receiving marketing intended specifically for them. This way, as consumers move through the buying cycle, they’ll remember your brand and be more likely to buy from you.

3. Use the Best Service for You
When looking for a marketing service, it’s important to sit down and determine what really matters to your dealership and what your business goals are before you approach potential vendors. Sometimes, what your OEM provides will be enough. Sometimes not. Compile a list of needs and wants, and then look for a marketing partner who can meet your needs and has a proven track record of delivering results.

(This post was originally submitted to Digital Dealer Conference and Exposition and appeared online in Dealer Communications magazine.)

Kristen Adams, Naked Lime Marketing ConsultantKristen Adams has been delivering marketing and advertising services for Reynolds and Reynolds and Naked Lime Marketing for nearly five years. An expert in all things targeted marketing, Kristen has excelled due to her passion and dedication to her dealers. Kristen graduated from Ohio State University and is currently located in Charlotte, NC. Her primary responsibilities include consulting with prospective customers and educating them on how to attract today’s consumer with effective targeting marketing and advertising. Her success in helping her dealership customers succeed in the digital marketplace earned her Naked Lime’s highest recognition for sales excellence in 2012 and 2013.