4 Secrets to Proactive Dealership Marketing

Proactive marketing to grow future profits

In Zach Vaughn's recent post about the differences between reactive and proactive marketing, we talked about how good marketing is more like mind reading.

But looking deep into someone’s mind and revealing their innermost thoughts and desires isn’t real. It’s just a magic trick.

Or is it?

In today’s world of measurable, quantifiable digital actions, many marketers are adding “mind reading” to their list of skills. Marketers now can use data to predict what messages consumers should hear and when they should hear them.

Instead of a traditional one-size-fits-all marketing strategy, marketers send targeted marketing messages that appear to read customers’ minds and entice those customers to take notice – and take action.

Zach gave you a high level overview of how to get started, but we know you want more. Here it is:

1. Clean up your database

Be honest: When was the last time you really scrubbed your customer database?

The following “quick hits” can clean up your database – and get you one step closer to reading customers’ minds:

  • For direct mail, check with the U.S.P.S.’s National Change of Address registry to verify where your customers currently live.
  • For email, send verification emails to customers in your database. Or, ask customers coming into the dealership to verify their email address.

If your customer database requires further cleaning and organizing, find a service provider to help keep it clean for you.

2. Tailor messages to customers

Once your database is clean, determine how you can target each customer data point with a specific message. You can create these targeted messages customer by customer, or develop message templates for each type of data.

Some examples:

  • Remind customers about their upcoming service interval.
  • Reassure customers in times of a recall by sending a message from your dealership in addition to your OEM’s message.
  • Entice out-of-warranty customers with promotional offers to make your services more attractive and affordable.

Your targeted messages can feel like mind reading to customers by anticipating their vehicle needs. As customers begin to trust your dealership knows who they are and what they need, their increased loyalty can turn into increased dealership revenue.

3. Send messages consistently

Take full advantage of your targeted messages by sending them consistently throughout the customer lifecycle:

  • Send customers offers on their next oil change before they’re due for one.
  • Reach out about vehicle inspections in advance of their next deadline.
  • Offer special trade-in offers to customers whose vehicle warranties just ended.

The more sales and service history you establish, the greater your chances are of reading customers’ minds with marketing messages that keep them coming back to your dealership.

4. Predict customers’ futures wisely

When customers arrive at your dealership, how does their experience match with the marketing messages you’ve been sending?

The trick to being a successful “mind reader” is to be authentic. If you deliver on your predictions that customers will have a great experience at your dealership, then customers can trust future “mind reading” marketing messages you send.


Want to entice customers and prospects to do business with your dealership? Abandon older ways of marketing and start using data to appear like a mind reader to customers.

  • Keep a clean database.
  • Create targeted messages.
  • Send consistent communications.
  • Deliver a great customer experience.

Being a “mind reader” can increase your ability to give customers exactly what they want, sometimes before they know they want it – which means, ultimately, it can improve customer loyalty and increase revenue.

A version of this post appeared in the May/June 2015 issue of Fixed Ops Magazine.