Wouldn’t our selling experience be so much easier if real life imitated Kevin Costner in the movie Field of Dreams, “If you build it, He will come”? In 2016 the auto industry spent over $8 billion in digital advertising trying to capture the consumers attention; with anticipated spending escalating to $14.14 billion by 2020, as reported by eMarketer®.
There seems to be a philosophy that if you blanket-market to the masses or data mine from your DMS or CRM, without knowing who is in the buying-market, they will just come. But at an individual dealership level, are they coming in the droves that you anticipated based on the monies spent?
The truth is, probably not. However, without discounting the value digital marketing plays in reaching the consumer, there are ways to improve your ROI that will impact how you grow your customer-base while being more efficient and effective.
Consider putting your marketing on autopilot. Using big data to automate your prospecting and setting up a program to automatically reach the top prospects will give you more bang for your buck. Its purpose is to streamline and make your efforts more efficient, while helping you reach your goals quicker. A consistent program to regularly identify and reach new prospects will give your dealership a new tool to conquest and also protect current clients who may be cross-shopping without your knowledge.
If done properly, putting your marketing on autopilot will help you nurture your leads through the buying lifecycle, and provide communications that are relevant for the specific purchase. Even with this tool, try to avoid email blasting one after another in the hopes that one of the messages will stick and create activity. Not only will you be wasting valuable time and money trying to communicate to the wrong people, but you’ll also be burning through your list and be flagged as a spammer or email nuisance by your customers. It’s best to use multiple marketing methods to reach a prospect.
A sound and results proven approach is combining the strategy of email, digital, and direct mail with a twist of predictive analytics.
Using data science to power marketing is a fairly new concept for dealers, as it’s taking the efforts of lead conquest to a whole new level. True predictive marketing involves:
- defining a radius around your dealership,
- using data science to listen for and identify those consumers who are actively engaging in market research and are exhibiting online/offline buying behavior for a new vehicle;
- targeting the top 10-20 percent that have the highest propensity to buy
By zeroing in on these individuals, you are increasing your sales opportunity. This isn’t a 30 day campaign either. To do it right, you need to follow these people as long as they are in market. That is typically 90-120 days for the average car shopper. Create a campaign that talks to their buying needs and keep them engaged while they are actively in the sales funnel, which includes email, digital display marketing and direct mail. Dealers who use this approach consistently, on average, are adding an additional 8 to 15 new sales each month. And for many that number is much higher.
Combining marketing automation and predictive analytics will enable you to identify the right target audience and successful stay connected to them when it matters the most.
Be smarter and strategic with your marketing spend. Just as Terrance Mann says to Ray Kinsella, “People will come Ray.” How you get them to your dealership is equally as important to as why they are considering you, as it impacts your bottom line.