Driven by rising transaction prices, higher interest rates and an abundance of leased vehicles returning to dealerships, sales of light-duty vehicles have declined 2% year-over-year in 2019. To capture their share of the ultra-competitive market, savvy auto dealers are trading outdated marketing tactics for a more effective approach: data-driven marketing.
As the buyer journey becomes increasingly more fragmented and complex, traditional mass marketing campaigns alone no longer work. The days of one-size-fit all marketing campaigns are long gone. Car shoppers expect personalized, engaging experiences at each step of their journey, and if a brand fails to deliver, they’ll find another that can. By tapping into the power of data, dealers can create better customer experiences, boost acquisition and retention, and maximize revenue. Here are four ways dealers can use data to drive more successful marketing campaigns.
1. Amplify customer insight with relevant third-party data.
While auto dealers have a wealth of purchase and demographic data at their fingertips, it should be considered the tip of the iceberg. To truly understand current buying patterns, dealers must supplement existing customer data with third-party information to paint a richer, real-time picture of each shopper.
What does this mean for dealership marketers? The usual demographic data like age, gender, household income and location is the starting point, not the be all end all. Today, marketers must go deeper and gather information about a customers’ web browsing history, app usage, video plays, life events, product interests and more. Armed with deeper insights, dealerships can create highly targeted offers, promotions and content based on evolving buyer interests and preferences.
2. Use data insights to craft relevant content.
Mining the data is one thing but understanding how to use it to effectively with each individual car buyer is a completely different challenge. In a data-driven age, large-scale TV or print campaigns with generic messaging aren’t cutting it for consumers. By investing in customer insights, forward-thinking dealerships can create customized, real-time communications that break through the noise to target shoppers at the right “micro moment.” This level of personalization is becoming a must-have for successful brands.
As a highly effective technique to accomplish personalize communications, branded content allows marketers to create valuable content targeted at interested consumers at various touchpoints throughout their car-buying journey. Branded content is delivered through articles, infographics, photo galleries or even compelling video content published on a variety of engagement platforms, and then promoted via social media ads and targeted display ads. When executed effectively, personalized branded content can help auto marketers educate, inform and connect with buyers.
3. Find the ideal mix of digital channels.
Video. Social media. Retargeting ads. With an explosion of marketing technologies over the last few years, finding the ideal combination of channels is no easy task for dealerships. However, it helps to use a digital marketing partner that combines deep expertise with advanced digital tools so dealers can find the best mix to connect with customers along every step of their journey.
In today’s auto marketing world, outsmarting the competition is proving to be much more effective than outspending the competition. In order to achieve digital marketing optimization, many are turning to the following tools to target in-market buyers:
- Social Media Advertising, which puts dealerships in front of in-market customers with proprietary smart optimization technology.
- Search Engine Optimization that drives online presence, using proven techniques so dealerships show up where and when it matters most to a prospective buyer.
- Targeted Email Marketing that connects dealerships to in-market auto shoppers with emails designed to increase brand awareness, drive website traffic or promote a special offer or sales event.
- Targeted Display Advertising, which expands a dealership’s reach across thousands of websites with multiple targeting and optimization options.
- YouTube Ads that help you reach new customers on the second most visited website in the world.
- Addressable Geofencing Ads are designed to drive customers in specific locations to a dealership.
Armed with the right combination of consumer data and advanced digital marketing tools, dealerships are able to trade outdated, one-size-fits-all promotions for customized content and real-time engagement that attracts buyers and drives sales.
4. Don’t go it alone. Find experts to help.
Sifting through mountains of data to spot larger trends and opportunities can lead to “analysis paralysis” for dealerships. A better bet? Work with a partner that can serve up ready-made automotive intelligence and marketing data that has a measurable impact on performance.
By partnering with an expert that can couple consumer data with best-in-class digital marketing tools, dealerships can see granular metrics in a broader context and understand how they’re stacking up against the industry. Based on these insights, it becomes easier to optimize campaigns that generate shopper interest and customer loyalty.
While competition for customers is becoming even more fierce, dealerships that focus on a data-driven marketing strategy will lead the way. With the right techniques, auto dealerships can feel confident they’re marketing to the right audience to achieve their sales goals in 2019 and beyond.
Michael G. Salicco – LOCALiQ AUTOMOTIVE