How well do you know your sales and service customers? Not just the customers who have purchased a car in the last month, or the ones who get their cars serviced on a regular basis, but all of your customers?
Considering your dealership has thousands of contacts in its DMS, it’s highly unlikely —and unrealistic—that you know your customers well. Yet as a business today, it’s critical that your customers feel like you know their needs and appreciate their business.
Sending out the wrong marketing communications at the wrong time sends a glaring message to your customers; that you don’t really know them and you’re just looking to make a sale.
How do you think your customers feel when they receive a coupon for an oil change, and they just had an oil change a week ago? What if they just bought a car from you and receive a message for an upcoming sales event? One time I received a coupon in the mail but forgot to bring it to the dealership when I took my car in for service. The dealership did not honor the coupon. Needless to say, I never went back there for service.
Effective marketing is not about sending out offers, then counting how many coupons were redeemed or dollars in ROI you received for every campaign. Marketing is about building and maintaining a relationship with your customers. If your marketing strategy isn’t equipped to accomplish this goal, it’s failing.
To gauge the effectiveness of your marketing strategy, answer the following questions:
- Is your messaging the same across all marketing channels?
- Does your dealership send out consistent, ongoing communications to your customers?
- Are your sales marketing efforts communicating with your service (aftermarket efforts) and vice versa?
- Have you identified any unnecessary communications that were sent to customers who just recently took an action at your dealership?
- Are your communications always relevant to each of your customers?
Building a Comprehensive Strategy
To build a marketing strategy that’s personalized and relevant for each of your customers, you need to ensure that all of your marketing solutions and products work hand in hand, and not against each other.
Many dealers are expanding their marketing channels from traditional print and email into the digital realm. Digital ads, SEO/SEM and social media are all great channels to use for different purposes.
But are all these channels working in sync with each other? If you’re using different products from different vendors, probably not. Yet keeping multiple channels in sync with each other is critical to creating a consistent customer experience.
Ideally, your customers will see the same message delivered across all of your channels. When a customer clicks on a Facebook ad, that click becomes a piece of data that is analyzed along with other data, to determine what the next message should be for that customer, and which channel it should be delivered on.
Integrating the in-store customer experience with your marketing efforts is also important. When a customer declines a service, when and how do they receive a message reminding them that the service needs to be taken care of? When a customer schedules an appointment online, do they see the same offer that they saw in their email or mailbox yesterday?
A unified marketing platform solves many of these issues, but it’s not enough to just have all the different channels talking to each other. Every message that gets sent out, and every offer delivered, must be for a particular reason. And no, the fact that your service revenue is still 30% away from goal with one week left in the month is not a good enough reason. The reason must be individualized and relevant for each of your customers.
This can only be accomplished with a unified platform that utilizes customer data and machine learning. When every piece of customer data and every customer action is analyzed, it’s possible to predict with a high degree of certainty what that customer needs and where they are in the ownership lifecycle. Then, an individual offer or message is created that’s appealing to that customer. We know what’s appealing based on that customer’s past behavior; which ads did they click on and which did they ignore? Do they respond more to emails, print or social media?
When it comes to marketing, the more customer specific you can be, the better the results. Studies show that customers prefer a personalized shopping experience, even more than they want savings.
It may be impossible to get to know all of your customers, but your customers don’t have to know that. With a unified marketing platform that integrates messaging across multiple channels and utilizes data-driven algorithms to deliver a personalized experience, your customers will feel valued. As a result, your dealership will see a boost in both marketing ROI and customer satisfaction levels.
Sales | September 10, 2021