Conquest sales have often been regarded as the cherry on top of a dealership’s regular monthly numbers. Rapid digitalization, changing consumer preferences, and ongoing inventory shortages are creating additional opportunities for dealers to acquire more sales in 2022.
Developing a successful conquest marketing strategy empowers dealers to not only conquest sales from the competition but also to expand their market share to new audiences. But as dealers focus on engaging conquest customers and expanding their portfolio, they also need to protect their existing customer base from competitors trying to do the same.
In this blog post, we’ll share three emerging conquest opportunities for dealers in 2022 and how dealers can optimize their conquest marketing strategies in the year ahead including:
- Promoting loyalty and retention strategies together
- Proactively engaging leads with personalized messaging
- Tapping into the service drive for opportunities
Promote Loyalty and Retention Strategies Together
As inventory challenges linger on, customer brand loyalty has diminished. According to IHS Markit, as the auto industry’s SAAR plummeted from 18.5 in April to 12.2 in September 2021, brand loyalty followed with a correlation coefficient of .79.
By August, IHS Markit reported brand loyalty dropped to a six-year low, due in part to the inventory crisis. At the same time, loyalty attached to body style grew 1.1%, with sedans, pickups and sports utility vehicles all experiencing improvements – and showcasing customers’ willingness to switch brands to purchase the style of vehicle they want.
This presents dealers the unique opportunity to conquest new customers that possibly wouldn’t have considered their brand in the past. But without access to their purchasing history, dealership marketing tools powered by predictive analytics are critical to identifying and engaging prospective conquest sales leads. For example, with access to household and vehicle ownership insights, dealers who leverage Mastermind’s Market Conquest feature gain up to 15 incremental sales per month.
At the same time, it’s important dealers proactively protect their customer base, especially when faced with ongoing inventory shortages, aggressive offers from competitors and rapidly expanded online retailing options. To promote customer retention while conquesting new customers, dealers need to take a holistic approach to identifying prospective leads across their loyalty, service and conquest portfolios, by leveraging behavior prediction technology to engage the prospects who are most likely to respond to their dealership’s available offers.
Proactively Engage Leads with Personalized Messaging
Building trust with conquest customers is key to capturing their business and when establishing a new customer relationship, it’s important to reach buyers early in their buying journey, preferably before they start shopping around.
The previously mentioned dealership marketing tools are critical to this process, enabling dealers to easily identify which customers are preparing to return to market, such as those approaching the end of their lease. These tools also empower dealers to engage conquest customers with personalized offers that “plant the seed” that right now is the time to buy.
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Dealership Templates for Customer Communication Amid Inventory Shortages
In a sea of spray-and-pray offers from the competitors, highly-targeted, personalized marketing campaigns empower dealers to stand out from the crowd by factoring in considerations such as financial insights, OEM incentives and more to craft offers designed to convert.
Look for opportunities to connect with your audiences – including loyalty, conquest and service customers – across channels and develop brand-focused messaging that keeps your customers informed about the topics that matter to them most. This includes messaging related to both your available inventory and current promotions as well as how you can assist with their unique needs. For example, ensure those seeking specific vehicles can find those purchasing options, that service customers are informed of any seasonal specials and that your loyalty audience is aware of any referral programs.
Working the Service Drive
The service drive has become an increasingly valuable source of dealership revenue in recent years. According to research from IHS Markit, customers are holding onto their vehicles longer than ever with the average age of light vehicles on the road reaching 12.1 years in 2021.
Not only does this aging fleet mean more repair orders, research finds service loyalty begets sales loyalty. 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.
Of course, not all service customers will be interested in purchasing or trading in their vehicle nor will all be well-qualified. To improve the efficiency and efficacy of the service conquest efforts, dealers need to take a proactive approach by mining their upcoming service appointments for opportunities.
It’s important to remember your DMS only gives you a small piece of the puzzle. Take data from your CRM, maturity manager and, ideally, a comprehensive data mining solution to engage the best prospects before they arrive at their service appointment.
Consider shifting a member or two of your BDC to serve as a service-to-sales liaison to support this process by engaging prospects with personalized offers, as well as transitioning customers from the service lane to the showroom. Some dealers have taken a similar approach to mining upcoming service appointments for prime trade or buy-back opportunities, empowering dealers to acquire in-demand trades and flip existing inventory all from their service drive.