In the world of digital shopping, it remains more critical now than ever before to ensure your marketing strategy meets consumers in their domain — online. For auto dealerships, this remains increasingly true. Recent data indicates that 92% of car buyers, including your previous customers, research online before buying.
However, beyond just having an online presence, you need a marketing strategy that harnesses the power of detailed data. Gone are the days of guessing about your audience, what interests they have, and how to best message your product to them.
In today’s world, an incredible amount of data exists that can help cultivate a strategic marketing plan for your business.
In this guide, you will learn more about how data changes the marketing scene and what data points remain relevant for dealerships. Finally, you will learn more about the real-life application of those data points in your marketing strategy.
In the past, market research represented an arduous task. Gathering information about your audience and learning more about their persona consumed time and involved costly research studies. Envision research groups gathering over coffee and doughnuts while being interviewed about their buying preferences, their potential budget, and their interests.
Today, all that has changed.
With the use of social media, search engines, and online shopping tools, consumers constantly share a large amount of data, without any effort on their part. This data covers everything from consumer’s interests to what they last searched for to what holidays they celebrate.
The amount of data being gathered on users is staggering, and this data has created a major influence on the world of marketing.
According to an article on data analytics and marketing by the Wharton School - University of Pennsylvania, a third of Amazon’s sales now come from its recommendation algorithm. This means that Amazon constantly digests user data and marketing products based on the specifics of that user. Also, they point out that YouTube’s algorithm has driven 70% of the content watched on its platform.
These numbers reflect how data has changed the marketing scene. Rather than simply paying to run an ad online, companies need to be thinking about how to analyze data about their audience and turn that into actionable insights.
For the auto industry, this becomes critical to outpace the competition.
For dealers, data used to be gathered on the car lot. Sales members would walk the lot or showroom with a potential customer and get to know them. During these conversations, they gathered a lot of critical information, which would then help lead to closing the sale.
However, with more and more consumers looking to make car purchases online — or at the very least — begin their research online, this data has to be gathered differently. Fortunately, with the right toolset, dealerships can surface critical data that will help them know their potential buyers in an individualized way before that person ever sets foot in the showroom.
Dealerships can attain each of the following data points today, each offering a unique set of benefits as detailed below.
You can easily see the value of knowing what vehicles your customers have spent the most time viewing. This data point gives you an incredible leg up on your competition. Knowing what vehicles interest a client before you even talk to them allows your sales staff to drive the conversation.
For example, if you know someone has spent the majority of their time viewing vehicles with all-wheel drive, you can focus your sales tactics and marketing on vehicles that match those needs. This eliminates conversations where you miss the mark with a client by offering them a vehicle type for which they have zero interest.
Additionally, knowing what vehicles the consumer viewed online can help you create a marketing campaign that resurfaces those vehicles as ads to the consumer across platforms. Often referred to as retargeting, this campaign type allows you to follow your customer from website to website, constantly providing them information about the vehicle that most interests them.
A wonderful data point to have on hand involves the payment range a potential customer considers. Like the point above, with your sales staff equipped with this insight, they can start the car-buying conversation from a much more intelligent place.
Rather than wasting time discussing vehicles outside of a customer’s payment range, a sales member can do research ahead of time and hone in on the vehicles that make budgetary sense.
Not only that, but understanding information about financing ahead of time can help empower your staff. Financing conversations can be difficult to navigate and more uncomfortable for sales staff than discussing a car’s paint job. Providing your staff with this information upfront allows them to feel more in control.
Additionally, ads can be created that target consumers in a specific payment range. You can tweak the language to reflect the needs of this audience segment. For example, those who might be more concerned about their budget could be provided ads that showcase the friendly and knowledgeable financing team at your dealership.
Down payments can also play a critical role in the conversations regarding financing. Knowing what down payment a customer can afford before bringing up financing options can help teams tailor their options.
This will allow financing teams the chance to provide outstanding customer service that meets customers at their exact point of need.
High on the list of items that affect customers’ purchasing power involves their credit tier. Dealerships can use this information to determine what offers will make the most impact on potential buyers.
For example, if you know a particular customer has a lower credit tier, highlighting financing options geared toward low credit scores can help close a deal faster.
Another interesting data point that dealerships can tap into involves gauging a customer’s interest in a loan or a lease. For dealerships that primarily focus on one or the other, this data can help sales staff choose the strongest leads with which to follow up.
Ultimately, all the above data points and relevant demographic data should be used to drive your business’s marketing strategy. Rather than simply running an ad in the paper or paying to place an ad on Google search, a quality marketing strategy should pull in the above data points and allow for a customized marketing approach.
In today’s world — if your marketing team does not discuss the use of data — rethink your conversation.
Any data set remains only as good as the analytics around it. You can easily get lost in a sea of data, losing the relevancy of the information presented. Conditioning data to produce actionable insights will allow your business to build a strategy that makes sense for both your customers and for your operation.
Imagine this — a potential customer has been looking at Toyota Camrys — almost exclusively. He or she has a low credit score and wants to lease a car for the time being because of the inability to procure a down payment.
Before this person ever sets foot on your dealership lot, your sales staff already has these key insights. Additionally, your digital marketing team has started the conversation for you.
This potential customer recently received a social media ad on their Facebook account showcasing the incredible leasing deals your dealership currently runs with little to no credit requirements. This ad, which targeted specific pain points for this customer, has driven them to visit your online showroom, where they quickly found your Camrys.
After viewing a few vehicles, the customer uses your online contact form to fill out their information and set up an appointment with your team. As this form gets filled out, all their previous search data gets pulled into your contact management system.
Armed with the background knowledge of this customer, your sales staff researches available Camrys and talks to your financing team about leasing options.
When the potential customer arrives on your lot, your sales team delivers a targeted pitch, aligning to the marketing campaign this customer already encountered.
As a result, your team can close sales at a higher rate, with less time wasted.
While this scenario might feel far-fetched, it truly isn’t. Data comes at our fingertips much more robustly than ever before.
At J&L Marketing, we firmly believe that data has changed the way companies should handle marketing. For auto dealerships, the right customer data can be a game-changer. However, as with any data set, the data must be analyzed intelligently, and a quality strategy must be put into place.
This is where our team can come into play. We are experienced in not only accessing the data you need for your target audience but also in creating a strategy that utilizes that data to build a powerful digital marketing blueprint.
If you are interested in learning more about how to gather data on potential customers, talk to our team today. We will be happy to help you explore the incredible options that data offers, as well as assist you in building a custom-built strategy.