As the new year begins, it is more important now than ever that automotive dealerships prioritize marketing efforts, even with limited inventory. With ongoing trends continuously shifting in the automotive space, it is imperative that marketing managers are able to craft marketing tactics, specific to the success of their dealership, that can successfully target their desired audiences.
Other important contributors to this competitive time of the year include ongoing microchip shortages and continued production delays. With limited inventory and few OEM incentives, dealers need to rethink how they approach their marketing efforts to maximize available opportunities in 2023.
Mastermind can help dealers develop these personalized marketing efforts and, in this blog post, we’ll highlight 3 specific ways to do so, including:
- Predictive Marketing
- Customer Conquest Marketing
- Service Drive Marketing
Maximizing Dealership Marketing Efforts
December’s monthly projected sales volume of 1.19 million units set a familiar tone for 2022, according to S&P Global Mobility reports. The SAAR reading would be the lowest for a month since May 2022, bringing the full year’s U.S. light vehicle sales total to 13.8%, an 8% decline from 2021.
Additionally, according to early S&P Global Mobility forecasts, U.S. sales volumes are expected to reach 14.8 million units in 2023, an estimated increase of 7.0% from 2022. “The U.S. auto market is struggling, impacted by supply chain, labor, logistics, inflation, and wider economic concerns,” said Chris Hopson, manager, North American light vehicle sales forecast, S&P Global Mobility.
To engage new customers and retain their loyal audience, it’s critical dealers keep their foot on the gas pedal when it comes to their dealership marketing efforts. However, in today’s increasingly challenging and competitive market, spray-and-pray marketing simply isn’t effective, requiring dealers to optimize efforts with a targeted approach instead.
Tip #1: Predictive Marketing
Technology is constantly transforming the way customers interact with dealerships, and tools powered by predictive analytics are quickly becoming key to maintaining efficient and effective internal and external dealership processes. These tools aren’t just becoming important for sales success, they’re becoming catalysts to dealership profitability. With tools and processes powered by predictive analytics, dealers are empowered to:
Build a stronger team
No matter the time or place, connecting every department to work from the same information is the key to dealership efficiency and success. By unifying customer insights dealership-wide to connect the dots between departments and unify their team’s approach, dealers are able to leverage predictive analytics to effectively build stronger dealership teams.
Do more with less
Predictive analytics can aid dealerships of all sizes in removing costly inefficiencies by automating tedious and manual processes, such as:
- Sifting through leads
- Targeting the best prospective customers
- Delivering personalized messaging at-scale
Mastermind takes this approach one step further, using proactive data analytics to predict when customers are preparing to return-to-market, and automatically engaging them with personalized messaging. This is how our dealer partners report a lower cost-per-sale by an average of 80%.
Simplify process & operations
There isn’t one perfect way to sell a car, much like there are as many ways to communicate as there are customers. Advanced marketing tools like Mastermind help dealers simplify complex processes and operational challenges, like balancing vehicle acquisitions and inventory strategies with sales and marketing operations.
By providing a comprehensive view of who’s in-market and mapping these insights to a dealer’s available inventory and any inbound inventories, Mastermind empowers digital marketing dealerships to prioritize and focus on their best sales opportunities and simplify their sales process.
Promote customer loyalty
By using car dealership marketing technology that integrates with their CRM and DMS, some dealers are proactively promoting customer loyalty. This is done by automatically engaging customers at key relationship-building touchpoints, such as using conveniently timed and personalized service notifications and developing a positive connection with each household until they are ready to re-enter the market.
Tip #2: Customer Conquest Marketing
As inventory shortages fuel diminished customer loyalty, dealers are being presented a unique opportunity to conquest new customers that previously may not have considered their brand or dealership. But without access to their purchasing history within their DMS, dealership marketing tools powered by predictive analytics are critical to identifying and engaging prospective conquest sales leads.
Another increasingly valuable source of conquest leads is the dealership service drive. According to research from S&P Global Mobility, customers are holding onto their vehicles longer than ever, with the average age of light vehicles on the road reaching 12.2 years in 2022.
Not only does this aging fleet mean more repair orders, but research also finds service loyalty begets sales loyalty, highlighting the importance of a dealership’s service-to-sales operations. In fact, Mastermind data finds customers who service their vehicle at the dealership are about 2.5X more likely to purchase their next vehicle at that dealership.
Tip #3: Service-to-Sales Drive Marketing
In addition to sourcing conquest customers, there are numerous revenue and sales opportunities within a dealership’s service drive, including proactively identifying prime vehicle acquisition opportunities.
Leveraging dealership marketing technology like Mastermind, proactive dealers are mining their upcoming service-to-sales appointments to identify and engage customers who represent their best future trade or service-to-sales opportunities. This includes customers who are:
- Out of warranty
- Over their lease mileage
- Could benefit from a lower monthly payment
Taking this approach one step further, some dealers have reconfigured their BDC to dedicate one (or a small number) of their most tech-savvy team members to act as a service-to-sales liaison. This strategy enables service teams to efficiently identify proactive trade opportunities and engage prospects before they enter the service drive, setting the stage for an excellent buyback experience.
It’s critical that dealers look for ways to maximize their marketing in 2023, amid issues including:
- Ongoing inventory shortages
- Diminished customer loyalty
- Threatened demand
By taking a data driven approach to dealership marketing, dealers are empowered to not only engage their best customers, but also to acquire profitable trades and fuel their service operations.
By automatically assessing factors like a vehicle’s estimated trade-in values or current programs and incentives that may be available to the customer, dealers can engage prospects proactively with personalized messaging. Using dealership marketing technology like Mastermind, dealers are can further maximize their marketing efforts by:
- Automatically identifying prospective leads
- Discovering the key factors driving a prospect’s purchasing decisions
- Uncovering critical insights (such as a customer’s CARFAX history report or vehicle maintenance history) before buy-back or trade
Want to learn how Mastermind can help your dealership maximize its marketing efforts in 2023? Contact us today for a free consultation.