Closing the Manufacturer Marketing Gap: A Customizable Approach to Enhance OEM Marketing & Drive More Revenue

All | August 27, 2021

Author: Devon Applewhite, VP & General Manager, Luxury Group

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Now more than ever, auto dealers are feeling a next-level competitive spirit as the industry faces ongoing challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. With the chip shortage bringing vehicle production to a screeching halt, dealers across the U.S. are fighting to gain and retain both clients and inventory, causing entirely revised dealership operations and marketing strategies. 

As part of standard procedure, most auto dealers incorporate manufacturer marketing into their overall marketing strategy, and most commonly, an owner retention program (ORP). Sometimes referred to as a service retention program or automated reminder communications, dealers are able to stay in touch with sold customers, bring them back for service, and continue servicing their vehicles until they are ready to purchase again. While this works as a good starting point for ownership marketing, it often omits important components that ensure dealers leave no stone unturned.  

Filling in the Gaps 

Dealers today cannot afford to let revenue opportunities fall through the cracks. To help our customers drive repeat business during these challenging times, Affinitiv offers fully customized wrap-around marketing packages that are retrofitted to pair with existing ORPs. Much like health insurance, ORPs come as preset packages that include standard coverage. However, these packages don’t allow you to customize certain areas of coverage you may need most. That’s where supplemental insurance, such as Aflac®, comes in to help fill the gaps by providing the option to modify missing areas of coverage. Affinitiv uses this same supplemental method to help dealers fully customize the missing pieces of their programs, helping dealerships reach thousands of potential customers per month through our optimized lifecycle communication strategy. 

Improved Customer Penetration 

As daily drive miles finally return to pre-pandemic levels, dealers have a huge opportunity to grow by driving loyal and repeat business to their service lane. While ORPs’ approved and specified touchpoints match a cadence of service intervals aligned with the vehicle, they don’t cover all opportunities within the DMS. Owners of older vehicles, owners outside a dealer’s trade area, and off-make customers are often overlooked in a dealer’s communication strategy. That omits a substantial opportunity to create motivating offers that move these customers to take action. By delivering personalized marketing to these underemphasized audiences, dealerships can expand their reach while still hyper-focusing messaging to increase opportunities from their DMS.  

More Autonomy & Complete Customization

On that same note, manufacturer-based programs often come with very limited opportunities for localized branding and messaging. With this being an important part of differentiating stores, especially in today’s competitive market, it is critical for dealership and dealer groups to have creative that stands on its own. With the wrap-around approach, dealerships are not held to the confines of OEM branding and can further customize their offers, unique selling position (USP), and eye-catching creative that attracts and retains customers. 

Along with new creative opportunities are new channels to explore that may not be included in the manufacturer mandated ORP. Affinitiv executes on a variety of different tactics—selected by the client—to continuously drive service lane traffic. Our multi-channel marketing approach includes digital and social advertisingtext messagingdirect mailemail, and more. This best-in-class method has helped dealers see an increase in ROI by 33% with digital-first communication cadences, ensuring lasting customer relationships. 

Less Monetary Waste 

The biggest win to the wrap-around approach? Car dealers will ultimately spend less and gain more. In many cases, dealers end up adding extra marketing programs that are not aligned with their existing ORP from their manufacturer, and this can actually dilute marketing efforts and reduce the return on investment.  

Consumers are bombarded daily with many advertising messages they will ultimately consider, and without the right strategy, dealers can accidentally end up adding to the noise and confusion. The same audience may receive conflicting, irrelevant, or too-frequent messages, and ultimately go with a competitor that offered a more relevant offer. With a fully consultative approach, ad dollars will only be focused on filling areas that drive the most revenue. And helpful to the dealership revenue all around, it also adds the ability to gain more financial opportunities from the variable side

Wrapping it Up 

Dealers today need the flexibility to develop a customized communications plan that helps best reach their marketing objectives and revenue goals. While ORPs are a proven piece of the retention puzzle, they are not enough to reach the lofty goals that are being put in place as front-end sales decrease and fixed operations become the primary revenue driver until inventory replenishes. In the increasingly competitive space between dealerships and independent repair facilities, it is critical for dealers to differentiate themselves and capture every service opportunity available from their customers. 

To create loyal customers, your marketing needs to hit home. Target them with precisely the right message at the right time on channels that matter to them the most. A comprehensive wrap-around approach means dealers can reach more customers more often, foster loyalty to their brand, and cut wasted ad dollars on unnecessary or redundant tactics. Through these turbulent times ahead, it is vital to minimize your cost and maximize your profit. Contact Affinitiv today to learn how to better connect with your customers and address critical gaps in your OEM ownership marketing program. 


Take action now! Affinitiv’s experts are ready to help drive new and repeat business your way. Contact us today for a consultation.

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