Omni-channel marketing is no longer an option – it’s a necessity. The problem is, everyone is doing it and, if you’re not, you’ve already lost the game. The automotive industry relies on the latest marketing trends in order to resonate with their customers, but, in today’s world of ultra-specific messaging, dealers must know that cross-channel marketing takes more than just the integration of digital advertising into their direct marketing strategies.

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Dealers are missing the purpose of omni-channel marketing if they think a few generic advertisements will evoke the emotional responses they’re hoping for. A well-placed ad serves a specific purpose, but it can’t carry the weight of an omni-channel marketing campaign on its shoulder – it’s just the starting point.

Start With the Buyer’s Journey

In order to develop a successful omni-channel campaign, you must consider the buyer’s journey. The best way to catch the attention of your ideal customers and encourage them into your dealership is by following them throughout each step of their vehicle shopping process and providing relevant information according to their personal shopping needs.

Every current, former, or prospective customer begins their journey undecided to one degree or another.1 The average car buyer often hits five specific “micro-moments” during their journey.

The key is to develop consistent and informative marketing from the beginning of their journey to the end. If you can accomplish this, you’ll have the reigns to an omni-channel marketing strategy that meets the needs of each customer – and you will sell more cars because of it. One Google study stated:

”Being there and useful in consumers’ initial auto searches leads directly to dealership visits. The brands that want to win sales on the lot need to first win these early micro-moments.”

Google went so far as to say that these interactions influence shoppers’ decisions as much as (and possibly more than) a salesperson on a lot. Gaining this type of influence over your ideal customers is why your marketing must engage vehicle shoppers throughout their journey – micro-moment by micro-moment.

You Must Be Contextually Relevant

So what does your marketing need to accomplish? You must be contextually relevant. Your marketing should provide information and incentives throughout the customer journey via every marketing channel. This is how you out-market your competition.

Vehicle shoppers are trying to find answers. They want to know which vehicles are best, which of those vehicles will work for them, and which vehicles they can afford. Do you know how they find this information? They start online. You have to be there to provide that information.

If they’re on Facebook, be on Facebook. If they’re on Google, make sure they can find your dealership. How much more likely are they to attend your private sale if you’ve been answering their questions and solving their pain points throughout every step of their journey?

Consider where your customers will be and what they will want. Then you must use that knowledge to market to them where they’re at, with what they want, in a way that will move them down your marketing funnel and into your dealership. If you market the right information at the right time, you will influence their decisions!

You’ll only be able to reach your customers every step of the way if your information is there every step of the way. And, though much of the buyer’s journey appears to occur online, contextually relevant communication throughout each step of your buyer’s journey can only happen through omni-channel marketing – that’s display ads, social media ads, emails, direct mail, the in-store experience, and more. So how can you create a contextually relevant omni-channel marketing campaign so you can sell more cars?

You Need the Right Strategy

If “being there and being useful” leads to more dealership visits and more dealership visits lead to increased sales, then you must figure out what strategy you need to create that type of customer experience.

Learn where to market, when to market, what to market, and who to market to in order to have the highest response-rates and sales. Consult your agency to make sure they’re utilizing the latest trends to accomplish a seamless omni-channel marketing campaign – like Google AdWords,  advanced conquest marketing methods, and optimized direct marketing.

Consumers today demand more. They’re ready and waiting for your marketing to provide them with relevant information throughout their vehicle shopping experience. They want you to utilize data to provide them with the most up-to-date and helpful information across every marketing channel.4 If your target customers are able to find valuable information about your dealership no matter how they choose to engage with you, they’ll discover why your dealership is superior to others before they even walk into your showroom.

  1. http://agameautotrader.com/agame/pdf/2016-car-buyer-journey.pdf
  2. https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/tools/customer-journey-to-online-purchase.html#!/the-us/autos-and-vehicles/small/generic-paid-search
  3. https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/articles/consumer-car-buying-process-reveals-auto-marketing-opportunities.html
  4. https://www.emarketer.com/public_media/docs/eMarketer_Personalization_Retailers_Roundup.pdf