Archive for August, 2010

Steering Online Automotive Sales Through Social Media

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Missy Jensen - DMEautomotive

Traditionally, automotive marketing for manufacturers and dealerships has relied upon television, radio and newspapers as a way to grab the attention of customers as they undertake their journey towards a car buying decision.

However, there’s been a transfusion that’s injected energy and added some much needed horsepower to an already robust marketing plan of attack.

Today’s economic times dictate it’s now vital to explore new, practical ways to reach consumers on a level that traditional advertising may not be able to deliver.

As a cost-effective automotive marketing tool, social media can serve as an immediate connection that’s not only calculable by analytics but it offers reach to an all-important demographic that car manufacturers and dealers crave – the young, tech-savvy consumer. At present, these same young buyers are in-tune with the digital culture, a society that uses technology as a primary method of getting information.

Just how much? As much as a whopping 46 percent of Americans surveyed in a Pew Research Center study stated that they get their news from four to six media platforms on a daily basis. Rather than being left in the dust, dealers can drive the social media vehicle to deliver new sales opportunities in a marketplace that’s accustomed to using the Internet for information and has gone largely untouched by the automotive industry.

In Facebook, the popular social media network that connects users around the world, there’s an audience that registers upwards of 500 million. By using social media as another tool in your marketing arsenal, carmakers and automotive dealerships can quickly gain traction in increasing car sales.

Ford Motor Company, producers of the popular Explorer sport utility vehicle (SUV), unveiled the redesigned 2011 version on Facebook, becoming the first major manufacturer to use the social media vehicle for a new car reveal. In doing so, it allowed for their Facebook fans to concurrently experience it, something that an auto show or mass mailing can’t do.

The sooner that car dealerships embrace such social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to reach consumers, the sooner they can begin to engage in building and managing customer relationships with the expectation of driving a consumer from start to finish in their automotive purchasing decisions.

~ Missy Jensen, Social Media Manager at DMEautomotive


Bio:
Missy designs, deploys and maintains the social media initiatives for DMEautomotive in an effort to increase brand awareness, distribute company and industry news, provide updates on products and services and promote consumer engagement. Missy enjoys the process of learning; researching and watching projects come to fruition!

Prior to her transformation into a web specialist and work with DMEautomotive, she has 10 years of experience in the marketing and communications industry. Missy served as the Director, Handicapping & Communications for a regional golf association and helped successfully launch and maintain a cutting edge technology-based ticket resale program on behalf of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Missy attended St. Lawrence University where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BS in Psychology. She also holds a Master’s Degree from Miami University in Oxford, OH. She can be reached at missy.jensen@dmeautomotive.com and check her out on LinkedIn.

Automotive Marketing – It’s All about the Data

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

In reviewing your dealership’s marketing efforts, what do you look at first?   Do you just consider the budget?  Or the offer?  Or is it just your intent to send out a direct marketing campaign, blanketing your entire database in the hopes of driving traffic to the store?   You can spend money more efficiently! You need to be looking at the ROI, customer segmentation and responses based on marketing channel used to be smarter about your marketing.

Integrated Data Segmentation

The data behind the automotive marketing campaigns will tell you most everything you need.  It’s all about the data – how it works, what it means, how your customers are responding, the current offer, and the channel used.  All of this can drastically improve how you should market to customers in the future.

Data segmentation is the key to your marketing program, understanding your customers and how they respond.   Are you going to market with the same creative message and offer to your active service customers vs. your inactive service customers?… your lease customers vs. your finance customers? Of course the answer should be “No!”  You want to reach your customers with the right message at the right time.  By segmenting your customers by their purchase information, service needs and behavior, distance from the store and loyalty, you can market more effectively.  You should send different offers, pricing and creative based on the needs of the particular customer group or the results you want from that target segment.  Using your ROI you can determine if you are marketing successfully to those segments or not.

Control groups can be an important gauge on your marketing as well.  You are going to have a certain percentage of customers that will come back to your dealership for service, warranty, parts/accessories and purchase of another vehicle based on their relationship with your dealership.  But what incremental lift are you getting from your marketing?  Test cells can measure communication type, communication channel, offer groups and creative.  Control groups are an effective way to test a new program or new creative.  Your marketing company can best recommend a hold out sample criteria.

ROI Data can be analyzed in so many ways but the key factors in determining your marketing and dealership process success are:

  • Response Rates – this measurement is more of a transactional gauge than a traffic meter.  Your marketing piece may have generated appointment calls, informational calls or ups into the dealership, but your marketing company would need to rely on your team to provide this information.  So the data captured is the responders that have generated an RDR and RO.
  • Dollars per Response – Are you taking in more than you are incentivizing your customers?  How much more?

Now the data can only do so much… marketing drives traffic to your store, but it is up to your people and processes to help sell and upgrade a customer in the showroom or on the drive.

For more information on why processes within your dealership are so important, see related articles by Steve Dozier of DMEautomotive:

How To Improve ROI and Increase Revenue at Your Car Dealership

6 Steps to Work Through Change at Your Dealership

~ Marcie Hopey, Product Manager @ DMEautomotive - “Superior Marketing For the Automotive Industry”

Bio
:

Marcie has 15 years of extensive experience, of which 10 are in the automotive industry, with strategic planning, market research, media and events. She has a successful track record for implementing new marketing plans to expand market share and grow revenue. Marcie possesses a forward thinking approach to business with an emphasis on bottom line results. As DMEautomotive’s Product Manager Marcie is responsible for the company’s Direct to Dealer Program, product development and data analysis, client services, and customer retention.