By DJ Wehby National Business Director for HP360
Marketing today, as much as ever before, is a ROI game for dealerships. The many different traditional and digital marketing tools have blurred the lines of return on investment. This is a major issue for profitably running your dealership. These different marketing tools, that once had been a guessing game with ROI, have now transformed into one powerful marketing strategy called omni-channel marketing. Those who have embraced this style of marketing have seen a measurable increase in ROI by cutting down the waste in marketing dollars.
First of all — and most importantly — these campaigns start with data. This is the birth of any great marketing campaign. Data must have two qualities: It must be unique and it must be accurate. Accuracy is the easiest part of the campaign; just make sure your list is complete and current. Gathering unique data, naturally, is more difficult. It involves narrowing down the data to your specific auto consumer. That sounds easy enough. Every GM and GSM knows what their customer looks like, so look at the information your dealership has gathered in past few months pertaining to your customers’ vehicles, their credit, their location, etc. This is strong data that has kept that dealership flourishing. This is a necessary step, but not unique. This will produce some ROI and will maintain the status quo. To push your marketing campaign from stagnant to thriving, however, one must push the boundaries of the data. This is achieved by a strategic combination of current and conquest customers. There are, no doubt, current customers in your dealership’s market share who are ready to buy a car. You have rapport with these consumers and, with a marketing push, they will be your customers again and again. This is the baseline for the campaign. This will help you attain a certain level of ROI. It’s good — but it’s not great. Conquest will push the ROI and make a campaign successful.
Conquering market share from the competition is a true campaign, and a formula that results in great ROI. The customers who are sitting idly in your competition’s market share waiting for a marketing push to buy are your conquest campaign’s target. You will produce results by combating your competition’s marketing to these consumers. It is crucial to have a strategic blend of conquest and current consumers’ data as the foundation for any auto marketing campaign.
Now, how do we get those customers into your dealership? The message is the next piece to the campaign. Every great message is a three-layered pyramid. The top of the pyramid, the peak, is a fine, sharp and accurate message. You want to keep the data you have targeted in mind when forming this part. Consumers should feel like the message was directed at them. The middle part of the pyramid is a slightly more general message that can hit home if the sharpened direct message doesn’t resonate. Finally, the base of your pyramid is a broad, general message. This should be something that resonates with any auto consumer. Using this process, you can come up with a message that will get across in the finite amount of time you have available to market to the consumer. Pair that with a visually creative touch and the message is complete and effective. The final part is the vessel used to deliver your creative message to consumer. Marketing today, more than ever before, has powerful tools to carry out any variety of messages. Some auto dealers will be more inclined to do it the traditional way with direct mail, newspaper, radio and TV. Others will try a more cost-effective forward digital approach using email, banner ads, social media and SEO/SEM. The question, however, is not what the GM of the dealership likes, but what resonates with the consumer. Each marketing tool has its own place and function, will resonate differently with consumers and will produce a certain level of ROI when used individually. However, like most things in life, a blend is stronger. Diversify and blend your marketing tools, and your ROI will improve. The catalyst for this success is a consistency. Without a consistent message, you’re not blending the tools to make a stronger campaign, and will continue to waste your marketing dollars with different marketing campaigns. This proper blend of marketing is known as omni-channel marketing. Omni-channel marketing is the strongest form of automotive marketing. In it, each part plays a role, strategically blending the different marketing tools, accurate and unique data, and a solid, creative message that will increase ROI for any dealership. With time, the evolving omni-channel marketing campaign will sharpen to cut through the waste and produce an increasing ROI.