Your Dealership Marketing Strategy: Efficient Machine or Gas Guzzler?

 What does the term “gas guzzler” mean to you? Think back to the mid-2000s, when fuel efficiency was not yet a real selling point and oversized SUVs were all the rage. Back then, you would probably equate a gas guzzler with big bucks since consumers were scrambling to buy the most expensive models in your dealership.

Know what today’s consumer equates a gas guzzler with? Waste. And, as fuel efficiency has become an increasingly important consideration for an emerging generation of car buyers, manufacturers and dealerships have adapted accordingly.

It turns out this concept applies to your marketing efforts as well. Just as vehicles have become more efficient in response to changing consumer needs and demands, your marketing efforts also need to adapt to consumer behavior.

Through analysis and innovation, engineers have shown that it’s possible to go further on less and still deliver a quality experience. In the same way, dealers can get more out of their existing budget by marketing more efficiently, effectively, and intelligently.

The question is: How?

Marketing Smarter

The key to turning your dealership’s marketing into an efficient machine is marketing smarter – that is, leveraging the resources and data available to better target and reach your customers.

What resources could you be overlooking? There’s one in particular that gets consistently forgotten: your customer data.

If you have a clean and accurate database, you have a qualified lead-generating engine on your hands.

Consider what happens when you combine your customer data (including past transactions and current make, model, and equity position) with:

  • A demographic analysis of your market area that includes the population’s income, home and vehicle ownership status, buying tendencies, and other characteristics that help guide marketing decisions.
  • Sales trends in your market to identify market share leaders, geographic predictors, and seasonal effects on your marketing.

Suddenly, you can build out comprehensive buyer profiles and sort your customer base accordingly, improving sales and retention rates. Not only that, but with your knowledge of customers’ current vehicle situation, you’re positioned to disrupt the trade cycle and turn routine trips to the service department into unique sales opportunities by offering them an upgrade that matches their needs and circumstances.

This represents a dramatic improvement over the old, expensive approach of casting the widest possible net to try and pull in some prospective buyers.. Marketing smarter means using the available data to target likely buyers with laser precision, resulting in more qualified leads from comparable – or even less – money spent. That’s efficiency in a nutshell.

In fact, this data-driven approach even goes a step further by giving you the tools to predict future buying behavior. Not perfectly, of course, but well enough that your entire approach to selling can shift from reactive – as in, reacting to the customer who takes the initiative to reach out or walk through your door – to proactive, activating the soon-to-be-buyers who already exist in your data.

At this point, you may wonder, “If all this is so simple, why aren’t more dealers doing it?” Well, turning data into an actionable dealership marketing strategy isn’t easy. If you commit to marketing smarter, it’s a good idea to find a proven marketing partner who can identify what works, where you can improve, and how to play to your strengths and your competitors’ weaknesses.

If you’re ready to take that step and convert your operation from a gas guzzler to an efficient machine, be sure to check out our upcoming presentation at Digital Dealer 2021. Senior Marketing Consultant Chris Hartman will go in-depth on what it means to develop an intelligent marketing engine – and how to find a trained driver who knows how to handle it.