Thursday, 11 December 2014 07:23

Automotive Dealerships: The Perfect Candidates for Marketing Automation

If you recall, last month we talked about marketing automation and content marketing,

And how it’s generally a good strategy for most businesses that handle a lot of customer data. Any business that has a large clientele, or is trying to generate a larger client base can benefit from a client nurturing tool like marketing automation software.

As we’ve recently been working with an Automotive Dealership as a prospective client — one who is currently considering doing marketing automation with us — we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to showcase a perfect example of exactly how automation can benefit a particular business model. In this example, the business is a car dealership, and as you can imagine they handle a lot of customer data.

First we should address why an automative dealership is the ideal example of a business that can benefit from marketing automation and content marketing…

Automotive Marketing is Quickly Changing:

Automotive marketing is changing – as people spend more time on the internet, dealerships must take on digital marketing strategies. With the rapid growth of technology, there are more ways than ever of engaging potential consumers and then drawing them into the showroom – bring in sales and build revenue, whether through new car sales, used car sales, or automotive services. But the means of attracting these sales are undergoing a shift. Dealers must integrate yesterday’s most effective techniques with the more advanced strategies of today.

Let’s dissect the challenge…

Keeping the Customers from Getting Lost:

In the digital age, few customers even consider buying a car without doing their own research. Often times this research comes from a Google search, which brings the consumer a barrage of competitors ads alongside millions of results among which he or she has no guidance. For automotive dealerships, the consumer distractions caused by search engine marketing can be very costly. Often a dealership will spend money on a marketing campaign that convinces consumers to search for new cars, only to result in a consumer’s Google search that is sometimes not optimized for the dealership. With every search result clicked, it becomes less and less likely that the dealership will be the one eventually closing the deal.

The solution? Keep the consumer from ever leaving the safety of a dealership’s website…

Doing the Research for Consumers (Content Marketing):

The first step in blocking potential customers from search engine distractions is content marketing – doing the analyzing for the consumers. Content marketing is a dealership’s distribution of informative and helpful material that an automotive consumer will find interesting. Instead of a dealership sending potential customers off to search the web and hoping that they land on the dealership’s web page, content marketing allows a dealer to effectively do the research for the consumers and then present it in an attractive and engaging way. The use of content marketing as a means of customer search control is even more effective with the addition of personalization.

For example, a personalized content marketing campaign could be the distribution of fuel economy statistics to consumers who have already purchased a car from the dealership. Based on the car that the customer purchased, he or she will receive an email listing the newest model of his or her car as compared to competing cars from other brands. By personalizing a consumer’s content by his car model, a pickup truck owner will not see a content piece comparing luxury sedan fuel efficiencies; instead he will see a chart suggesting that the newest model of his truck is more fuel-efficient than its competitors.

However, a merely useful and informative email does not guarantee that the consumer will stay away from Google. Further direction is needed, as the dealership must operate under the assumption that consumers are not satisfied without further research. The inclusion of a personalized URL link along with the promise of more information online grants consumers a sense of control over their own research, while at the same time holds them within the boundaries of the dealership’s controlled information zone. With this personalized network of information, the dealership has provided consumers with the information they would have otherwise searched for on Google, thus protecting their dealership loyalty and vastly increasing the likelihood that their next purchase will come from the dealership that distributed the useful information.

Personalized Automotive Marketing:

Personalization is the best and most cost effective way for a dealership to make its own marketing campaigns stand out from those of its competitors. Using list data captured from CRM systems and list building campaigns, car marketers are able to tailor messages and offers to multiple list segments.

Automotive marketers can use new, intuitive personalization techniques to display specialized offers to consumers based on age, income, current car model, etc. to ensure that the offer received is relevant. These offers direct consumers to personalized landing pages providing more information about the offer, the vehicle, or the dealership in general. Under this strategy, customers don’t need search engines, and dealerships keep them within their “safe spaces” throughout the length of the sales process. Thus, landing pages are the ultimate solution to protecting campaigns from Google.

List Segmentation and Drip Campaigns:

Personalized campaigns are great for automotive marketing, but what if a dealership wants to follow up with only one segment of the initial campaign blast? That’s where drip marketing comes in. Drip marketing allows a marketer to send out secondary rounds of campaigns to specific segments of the targeted audience.

For example, an auto marketer, after sending out a direct advertisement with a landing page URL to a broad list of prospective consumers, may choose to continue the conversation with only those consumers who opened their URL. The marketer will then use a marketing automation system to send out a “drip” email to the addresses of all the designated consumers.

Using this technique, a dealership is able to quickly identify and nurture the best leads from its campaign and thus more efficiently convert those leads into sales.

Service Department Marketing:

While a lot of dealers focus efforts on car buyer acquisitions, more are starting to look towards the service department as an opportunity to expand relationships. Gaining customers is often a very costly and timely process, and as profit margins on new car sales grow slimmer, dealerships are turning to their service departments to generate more revenue. Service department marketing usually requires far less time and money. This is because a dealership already has all the data it needs as well as a proven relationship with the customers it is trying to reengage. Using information from its database, a dealership may create personalized campaigns and drips specific to a past customer’s model, last service date, number of miles driven, or more. By reminding the customer of the dealership’s services, highlighting excellent staff, value, or convenience with testimonials of others with the same car, all in a format personalized to the individual’s automotive needs, the dealer drastically improves the department’s exposure and revenue. Service department marketing is and will continue to be a rapidly growing sector of automotive marketing, and it represents an exceptional opportunity to boost the entire dealership’s revenue.


Now that we’ve showed you an example of how marketing automation and content marketing can benefit one type of business, let’s conclude this article by overviewing all the advantages of marketing automation, applicable to any business:

1. Marketing automation is a huge time saver. You can create multiple campaigns and posts ahead of time and schedule them for a time and date in the future.

2. Marketing automation allows you to reach each one of your unique customers. Rather than having to manually segment customers based on their needs and preferences, marketing automation allows you to simply create restrictions that will allow customers to be automatically separated.

3. Marketing automation makes the most of your staff resources. With an automated solution, a single staff member can execute complex and ongoing campaigns and can connect with many more customers than would be possible manually.

4. Marketing automation helps you to maintain consistency. If, for example, you are manually posting to Twitter or Facebook, you may remember to post on most days yet other work may take priority on some days. If you have automated posts or tweets scheduled, your account stays fresh and up to date so visitors know that you are an active and engaged business.

5. Marketing automation provides detailed reports. Automated marketing solutions keep track of each campaign. A great solution will provide you with detailed graphs, statistics and other report data that you can analyze in order to optimize future campaigns. Having data from your campaigns automatically collected and organized makes it simple to review essential data.

6. Marketing automation saves you money. If you are looking to efficiently manage your budget, marketing automation is an ideal solution. By reducing the need for staff to spend as much time and effort creating and distributing messages and collecting data, you can make the most of your resources.

7. Marketing automation makes it possible for any business to create a consistent brand presence on multiple channels. Maintaining a consistent brand helps customers to identify your business and connect with you. Allowing customers to interact with your business in multiple ways makes it easy for customers to reach you in a way that is convenient for them, and it increases your visibility which helps to draw in new customers.

8. Marketing automation makes lead nurturing easier. No longer do you have to only connect with each lead manually, which can be time-consuming. An automated marketing solution can help you reach out to a potential lead right from the beginning of their interaction. If, for example, a customer visits your website and signs up to receive your newsletters you can connect with them right away with an automated solution. They will receive a welcome and confirmation message, and you can also tell the solution to send all new customers a discount coupon and a survey about their preferences.

9. Marketing automation helps you to build more useful and detailed customer profiles. An automated solution is always gathering information based on customers’ purchases, email opens and responses, selected preferences and more. All this data is stored for future use, to allow you to reach out to each customer more effectively.

If you would like to learn more about how marketing automation could benefit your business, please contact us.