The fact that automotive manufacturers have a very low customer retention rate is both an unfortunate fact and a ripe opportunity.
Sadly, only 51% of consumers1 return to market loyal to a brand. Of those who do remain loyal to a brand, many do not stay loyal to a specific dealership. The opportunity exists for today’s dealers to increase revenue by focusing on new customer acquisition — not only from other brands, but also from other dealerships. To accomplish this, a strong acquisition strategy must be set in motion.
Such a strategy embraces a significant trend in buyer behavior: vehicles that buyers drive home often look very different than the ones they initially researched. Google indicates that 80% of consumers purchase something different than they anticipated when first entering the market. What drives this phenomenon?
Mainly, it is the depth and breadth of available information online and the extensive research through which shoppers consume it. Strong dealer advertising, surfacing throughout this research, can highly influence a shopper’s decision-making.
To address these potential car buyers, the effectiveness of a dealer’s advertising rests on two key components:
- the data used to identify and define customer target segments, and
- a marketing message that is properly aligned with shopper’s wants and needs throughout the sales funnel.
Key 1: Acquisition Data
A well-crafted marketing message is useless until it’s aligned with a specific customer segment.
Today’s technology provides dealers with the ability to identify new segments, namely from social and search data networks. As consumers reveal details about who they are through their search behavior and social profiles, these networks richly avail interest, intent, life event, and demographic data to the progressive dealer.
Moreover, these networks certainly offer more cost efficient ways to generate (and measure) new customer opportunities through increased conversions, appointments, and sales.
Key 2: Conversion Messaging
Assuming powerful customer segments have been created via search and social information, dealers then craft specific marketing messages via channels that acquire in market customers in the moments that matter. Significant opportunities to acquire customers include:
- Marketing to service intenders through the Google Search Network and acquiring customers from 3rd party and non-franchise service centers. This results in dealerships getting their share of what could be as much as 3.3 million in Parts and Service revenue within an average DMA.*
- Marketing inventory direct to consumers by targeting the highest quality shoppers with messaging that speaks to their interest in a specific vehicle in inventory. With 40% more page views and 90% more time onsite than standard web traffic, this approach proves how effective funnel-specific messaging can be for automotive dealers.
- Utilizing audience marketing through social networks to drive both inventory and campaign messaging to acquire additional shoppers.
Once a dealership has acquired these shoppers, converting them to leads through stronger conversion strategies is vital. The right conversion solution can increase monthly organic leads by 40%. That same conversion solution should result in leads that engage in the buying cycle at a rate on average of 75%, eclipsing 3rd party lead generation results.
Armed with the right data and powerful messaging, dealers simply need the right solutions to get it all done — truly providing customers with the content they are looking for throughout the shopping journey.
* Revenue for an average dealer marketing area 3rd party and non franchise business at an average RO of $236
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