Automotive News recently reported that September 2016 sales fell about 2 percent, a decline for the second consecutive month. J.D. Power and LMC Automotive reported that this is the fifth month in the past seven to show an overall retail sales decline. As we head into the final quarter of 2016, auto dealers are understandably nervous that they are not going to meet their sales goals. The simple truth is, not as many people are shopping.
Jeff Schuster, lead forecaster at LMC, said that “group and brand performance is beginning to diverge, as competitive pressure is at an all-time high.” To stay ahead of the competition and finish 2016 strong, dealers need to focus on these three tactics:
- Retarget based on consumer behavior.
- Start with service — 85 percent of customers stated that their experience with the service department influenced their likelihood of purchasing another vehicle from that dealership.
- Engage long-term prospects and customers.
Dust off your automotive marketing and use the latest in marketing technology to beat the competition. Try something new and look for vendors that don’t make marketing overly complicated. Today’s tech-savvy world requires marketing tools that are both “set-it-and-forget-it” and hands-on, depending on your goals in any given month.
Kristy Elliott, executive manager for Sunshine Chevrolet, had a goal this year to move from traditional marketing to 100 percent digital marketing. This might seem extreme to some dealers, but by taking a calculable risk, Kristy has seen increased sales:
- Up 42 percent in new car unit sales CYTD
- Up 87 percent in new car front and back gross CYTD
- Up 20 percent in service department sales CYTD
- Up 26 percent in service department gross CYTD
Another example: When Auburn Volkswagen was looking to lower email opt-out rates and send personalized communications based on customer behavior, they didn’t increase their marketing spend; they reduced it by removing two other point solutions and switching to a customer engagement platform that worked for them.
By using new digital marketing technology, Auburn VW was able to sell more than 60 additional vehicles a year, and reduced their time spent on email marketing by 75 percent.
With auto sales declining, now is the time to utilize personalized offers with automated tracking and follow-up to help strengthen customer relationships and identify in-market buyers.