Option Paralysis: The tendency, when given unlimited choices, to make none. — Douglas Coupland
Effective marketing means more than just spreading the word that your dealership is open for business and hoping customers find vehicles they might want on your lot. This approach might have worked for previous generations of dealerships, but today’s customer has evolved. Generic offers no longer interest them; they demand to be treated as individuals.
These new customers are also far more educated about the vehicle-buying process. More than ever before, they know more about the makes and models they want, how much they should expect to pay and what prices and perks your competition is willing to offer. Thanks to the transparency provided by the online marketplace, they are no longer dependent on dealerships for this information.
Transparency can be a double-edged sword, though. Having access to this mountain of information is one thing; sorting through all of it to find the best deal is quite another.
Effective marketing helps the customer make sense of this situation by narrowing their choices.
AI and Your Marketing Message
With the advent of artificial intelligence (AI), marketing technology became smart — and customers have noticed. Now, they’ve come to expect a shopping experience like the one they get with huge online companies like Amazon, which presents them with a curated choice of items they’ll probably be interested in purchasing.
The technology now exists where your dealership can give them this same experience.
AI-driven marketing allows your dealership to create personalized email campaigns and social ads based on the consumer’s own unique shopping habits. Their searching history, patterns and past purchases help the dealership’s AI platform build personalized content that is relevant to their interests.
Guesses — even educated ones — about what message will resonate best with customers all fall far short of the results AI-driven marketing efforts can bring. There’s no better way to predict what the customer will do in the future than by analyzing their past behavior.
To do this, artificially intelligent solutions sift through the tremendous amount of data that we all generate in our online and real-world activities and make that data work for both the business and the consumer through dynamic communications. Instead of being bombarded by generic offers, customers would rather be presented with the options that are relevant to them.
And the results are clear. Studies have found that dealerships providing their customers with the Amazon-like experience increase their conversion rate by 157 percent.
Instead of having to comb through your dealership’s entire inventory, AI allows you to present a customer with specific vehicles currently on your lot that are predicted to best meet their needs. With this sort of personalized email campaign or social ad, you can also present specific VINs to customers who would be most interested in purchasing them, giving a boost to the vehicles you want to sell the soonest.
These email interactions are meaningful to the customer and allow you to rise above the noise of the marketplace to truly connect with them as individuals. The customer still has options and choices, of course, but option paralysis isn’t allowed to set in. They’re still in control; you’ve just become their guide.
Be Their Companion Along the Journey
Depending where they are on the road to the sale, the same customer will need different types of support. Someone just starting to consider their options when it comes to a new vehicle will want different material than someone who is actively comparing makes and models. When they’re ready to buy, they will want to know more about specific VINs, along with information about trim packages, service contracts and other items necessary to close the deal.
By providing the marketing communication the consumer wants when it’s most relevant to their current position, your dealership is not just the place where they can buy a vehicle. You become a trusted partner on the journey.
Part of Their Automotive Life
This deeper understanding of your customers allows your dealership to not only make the initial sale but also keeps them close throughout the life cycle of the vehicle and the buying life cycle. Using AI, your sales and service departments no longer have to keep up with maintaining contact with the customer, guessing about what service they’ll need next. Timely, relevant, regular messages will flow from your dealership reminding them of regular service needs and keeping the lines of communication open.
In addition to service notices, your dealership can use this marketing interaction to ask the customer for reviews, check in to see if they’re still satisfied with their vehicle, provide information about alert and recall notices and more.
If customers see emails and other communication from your dealership as regularly useful to their needs, you’ll avoid the dreaded spam filter or, worse, the opt-out link. Then, when it’s time to buy a new vehicle, your dealership is where they’ll start — and most likely finish — their search.
Smarter Marketing for Happier Customers
Instead of hoping the customer will fit your marketing message, AI-driven platforms allow you to tailor your marketing to the individual consumer. Be the dealership that makes their search easier, their transactions simpler and their experience richer. With effective AI-powered marketing, their options become clear and your dealership will become their dealership.
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