You’ve no doubt been there — that time when you had to move a lot of a particular vehicle, fast. Maybe you wanted to take advantage of a manufacturer spiff, or needed to clear out slow-moving inventory or unexpectedly got stuck with some less-than-desirable vehicles. Whatever the reason, the pressure was on. At the time, you may have panicked a bit. Cut prices lower than you had to. Blasted out emails to your entire customer base. Threw in a bunch of free services.
There’s a better way.
The next time you find yourself in this situation, follow this strategic, yet simple data-driven game plan to sell that model quickly without compromising gross.
- Investigate how a model is selling in your market. Don’t go whole hog into promoting a particular vehicle until you’re sure history proves your model goal is realistic and worth the investment. How do you know? Go beyond your own sales data and check recent registration data in your broader market to see how many units have been sold. We recommend going back at least 90 days. A little research may convince you the spiff on the model isn’t worth the advertising dollars, or the rock-bottom margin you’d need to make to take advantage of it. On the flip side, maybe you’ll discover the model is flying off your competitors’ lots and there’s plenty of opportunity for you to grab some of that market share.
2. Scope out shopper intensity. One of the great things about our industry is all the data available to help shape sales strategy. In this case, Dataium’s shopper intensity scores can be your best friend when it comes to determining campaign radius and timing. Dataium ranks online vehicle searches by market. If your model’s popularity ranking in your market is on the rise, and has been trending positively over time, your job is going to be easier since a lot of low-funnel shoppers are likely getting ready to pull the trigger on a purchase. You’ll want to hold as much front end gross as possible. Alternatively, if the search intensity scores are low or decreasing, you may need to branch out far beyond your target market, be open to aggressive pricing and/or take a volume approach to hit your goal.
3. Find and harness demand. This is the fun step that allows you say goodbye to those “spray and pray” campaigns that waste your money and rarely work. Here is where you hone in on the areas within your determined radius that are most interested in your model. Put both your sales and registration data on a map, and see which ZIP codes represent the most opportunity for you on a model basis. This allows you to visually narrow down neighborhoods until you’ve found exactly where your model is hot and recent sales have been strong. Now you can find and harness buyers who may be coveting that new SUV or coupe that recently showed up in their neighbor’s driveway.
4. Drill into your buyers. Now that you know where to market, it’s time to determine who to market to. This is where that wealth of data comes into play again. Research companies like Experian and Nielsen closely track consumer behavior and preferences — making it easier for you to do homework on your target ZIP codes. Research the makeup of car buyers in each town, drill down to see what interests the buyers of your particular model and what they value in a marketing message. Are you dealing with SUV drivers or sedan fans? Do they respond to digital messages or snail mail? You can even see what type of messaging resonates to further refine the offers and benefits you feature in your advertising.
5. Create your hyper-targeted campaign. Now that you’ve gathered pertinent data and done your research, you’re ready to create a hyper-targeted campaign designed to appeal to the preferences of your specific buyers. Share your ZIP code hit list and profiles of your target buyer with your agency, SEM provider and other vendors working on your campaigns so they can work with you to create an efficient media plan. Be prepared to execute more plans, and more personalized plans, than you have before. Based on your data, you may be creating a direct mail campaign promoting a financing special on your model of choice, an email campaign highlighting excellent safety reviews, or upping your PPC spend to encourage test drives in certain areas — or some combination of all three.
Next time you have a lot of a particular vehicle to move, don’t panic. When you follow these five steps you can feel confident that your spending is cost-efficient, you’re effectively targeting the right areas and you’re using a message that has the best chance of resonating with prospective buyers of your particular vehicle. It’s a solid strategy backed by data, and a winning model for success.