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Will the Real Automotive Customers Please Stand Up?

It’s no secret that automotive dealers have inventory that appeals to a specific audience. Dealers know that consumer preferences on makes, models, fuel types, colors and technology can differ from person to person, based on their location and life stage.

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Amy Hughes is the senior director of dealer intelligence for Experian.

It’s no secret that automotive dealers have inventory that appeals to a specific audience. Dealers know that consumer preferences on makes, models, fuel types, colors and technology can differ from person to person, based on their location and life stage.

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However, not every consumer is in the market for a new vehicle, so it’s imperative for dealers to ensure they are reaching the right car shopper with offers and inventory that matter to them, and at the right time. Otherwise, dealers could be wasting significant ad dollars on irrelevant audiences and, perhaps more important, miss an opportunity to sell cars more efficiently, increase profits and build relationships with consumers that last a lifetime.

There are many elements to consider when developing a marketing campaign, but reaching the right prospective car shoppers doesn’t have to be as daunting as it seems. Effective marketing comes down to a few simple steps.

Enhance the Customer Identity
Recent research from the Data & Marketing Association and Winterberry Group shows only 15 percent of businesses can identify their audiences accurately and consistently. Many dealers rely solely on their CRM data to understand their customers. Since people are far more complex than their vehicle purchase or service appointment history, marketing efforts need to reflect this. Do they enjoy outdoor activities? Do they have children involved in sports? Which devices and media channels are they most receptive to?

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These types of insights can help a dealer better understand their customers’ lifestyles, interests and spending habits — and how to best connect with them. However, when relying solely on CRM data, these insights are likely out of reach. Quality third-party data is the key to unlocking those answers. Data is a powerful resource, and when used appropriately, it can help dealers make the best marketing decisions.

When dealers embrace identity enhancement, it can be the gift that keeps on giving. It creates an opportunity to get customers onto the lot, but also help them understand how to keep them coming back for future vehicle transactions.

Find the In-Market Consumer
Effective marketing goes beyond understanding who the customer is. Dealers also need to understand if an individual is in the market for a vehicle.

Thankfully, there are certain moments in a person’s life that often lead to the purchase of a new vehicle. Perhaps the individual just got married, divorced, had a child, retired or graduated. Each of these events could be reason for the need of a new car. Third-party marketing data can help pinpoint when these events occur. The dealers that understand these events will be better positioned to connect with prospective car shoppers when the right moment arrives.

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Be Relevant
In the past, consumer brands have always mass marketed to audiences. In an environment where consumers are bombarded with advertisements, dealers need to cut through the noise. The key? Relevancy.

Consumers want advertisements that matter to them. For example, an individual with a family of five and a baby on the way likely doesn’t want to see an advertisement for a two-seat sports car.

Or, if a consumer isn’t in the market for a vehicle purchase right-now, that doesn’t mean a dealership needs to stop advertising to them altogether — just alter the approach. Every dealer knows that service is a valuable pathway to dealership loyalty. Knowing which consumers to target for service campaigns today will both increase ROI and build relationships that can pay dividends for years to come.

The combination of identity enhancement and insight into in-market consumers can help dealers achieve relevancy in a new, game-changing way.

Successful marketing rests on a dealer’s ability to connect with customers on a personal level. The more marketers understand about an individual, the more meaningful a conversation they can have. Ultimately, that can lead to a new customer, as well as one that they can keep for a lifetime. Just as cars and trucks are unique, so are their drivers sitting behind the wheel. Taking the time to understand their differences is one of the ways that effective dealers can outpace their competitors. Amy Hughes

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Click here to view more solutions from Amy Hughes and Experian.

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