Archive for October, 2010

Social Search & Database Management: How Can You Adapt?

Friday, October 29th, 2010

In today’s technology-based environment, businesses and consumers have turned away from the traditional mainstays for information gathering.  Rather, they are utilizing other avenues to obtain information and share amongst peers.  Missy Jensen - DMEautomotiveSocial networking, topic-specific RSS (Really Simply Syndication) feeds and blogs like this one highlight three such avenues people are using to get information and thus be embraced by automotive direct marketers.

As marketing techniques continue to progress, the ability to target specific locations for automotive direct marketing campaigns is made easier.   Now, rebates, service specials and pricing are no longer unique to just a specific marketplace.

So how do these tools impact your automotive dealership’s direct marketing campaigns? How do they affect their database management systems?

On the surface, the answer to both questions is simple: it will have an affect on both.

Social search not only provides almost instantaneous feedback for direct marketing efforts, but it also connects marketers to others who share some of the same interests.  Consider these stats that a June 2010 study from ROI Research Inc. revealed about the desire of social media users connect with brands:

  • 50% of Facebook users click on ads to “like” a brand
  • 37% learned about a new product or service from a social networking site
  • 32% of respondents have recommended a product, brand or service to friends and associates via a social networking site
  • 32% of Twitter users “re-tweet” content provided by a company and/or product
  • The want for printable coupons (49%), sales notifications (46%) & new product updates (35%) ranked high on consumers lists

These results show how the social search relationship can provide direct marketers with an invaluable amount of information that can also easily be sorted by parameters such as dates and time for easy reference.

Database management systems stand to benefit from the development of practices in searching social networks.  These portals can provide details without actually getting your hands dirty searching through your database records by making your data more relevant and timely.  There are tools available to marketers that allow for users to “check in” to locations their area, giving marketers instant feedback on their campaigns

Going forward, using search portals like social networks to gain customer insights for your direct marketing efforts will become vital to any campaign.  Any direct marketing campaign is sensitive to factors like third-party influences.  By monitoring social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, your marketing strategies will be guided by real-time views and thus, make your programs both relevant and timely.

~ 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.

Make Those Sales Doors Swing: Use Themes In Automotive Marketing

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

In my last blog, we discussed how “Tracking Your Targeted Direct Mail Campaigns Can Reap Returns”.  We emphasized that putting together a solid strategy and creating a theme for those particular pieces can grab your customer’s attention and drive them to your automotive dealership.

Over the last few months, we have also discussed the important facts concerning the following: “How many times does your door swing and your cash register ring?”

Let’s discuss a big facet of making your door swing and how you can grab your customer’s attention and to want to visit your dealership: “What would quickly create a ‘Call to Action’ today?”

Themes are an excellent avenue for car dealership marketing

Each season of the year generally has an artistic theme or concept that is used for that particular season in direct Paul Ryan, DMEautomotivemarketing campaigns.  In most cases, you can usually break down themes based upon either the month or the current quarter of the year.  In doing so, there’s usually a theme that typically pops into mind and – geographically speaking – these themes can often be different.

Themes also change for more reasons than just climate-related: there are certain areas of the country that have particular traditions in place that revolve around certain seasons.  These traditions can range from education, recreation, cultural and other activities that can create intrigue for your target audience.  By formulating these strategies, one must consider what your customers think of for that particular season.  But have you thought about doing something completely the opposite or different than what you’re doing?  Sometimes the obvious is too obvious while the different creates intrigue.

The following are questions you can ask when brainstorming for a themed products direct automotive marketing initiative:

  • Is there something going on locally of interest that would bring your customers to the dealership?
  • Can you tie your identified themes to that interest or occasion?
  • Does your theme make your consumer want to visit your dealership to observe what is going on?
  • What is the state of your market currently and can you get involved with your community? If you get involved and invite them to an event at the dealership, why would they want to visit?

Identifiable Valuable Seasonal Product & Services

Seasonal products are the nuts and bolts of targeted direct mail initiatives (TDM).  In putting together these campaigns, you must consciously think of a reason why your consumers would want to visit your dealership when they’re in the market for a vehicle.

Not only that, you have to map out how quickly – and for how long – you want to make your theme-centric plan last.  You will have to become creative with your themed offerings and how often you want to roll them out (daily, weekly or even monthly).  But most of all: make your event fun!  Furthermore, what incentives can you offer to get your customers to trigger an identified value to your campaign that gets them to think “I need this!” or “I want this!”

Additionally, you need to ask yourself if there are services that most vehicles need during a particular season.  For example, the fourth quarter of each year is generally reserved for winter-related automotive marketing programs like “Winterization”, “Car Care” or “Year End Closeout”.  With events like “Year End Closeouts”, you need to be able to relate to your targets why they need to buy now and would  any financial “pain” be incurred for making a purchase now.

Overall, the key to your themed automotive marketing order of business is how it will create a “Call to Action”, who is your strategy directed towards and what will drive them to your dealership.  So create a theme and ask your customers to visit, citing the fact they do not want to miss it in order to drive them into your car dealerships doors.

Next month, we will discuss how do you determine your “Hook” and the “Pain” for your TDM efforts.

Happy planning…

~ Paul Ryan, Field Account Manager @ DMEautomotive

Bio: Paul Ryan brings over 25 years of experience in sales, sales management, marketing, and client services. He joined DMEautomotive in February of 2008, as a Regional Territory Manager. With proven success as an inside sales representative selling the FullCircle Solutions’ Bullseye program, he was recognized frequently as Sales Person of the Month and received the highest honor of Sales Person of the Year for 2008. In August of 2009, Paul managed, “Direct-To-Dealer” – Mail Division, responsible for overseeing the sales for the “Direct-To-Dealer” Mail Division. Currently he is traveling in the Midwest as Field Account Manager. Paul graduated with a B.B.A, in Business Administration from Iowa State University in 1982.

Times Are A-Changing: Trends in Marketing Hit Digital Highway

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Dealerships have begun incorporating current trends such as social media and digital marketing in their traditional marketing plans.   By doing so, car dealerships are on the road to building bigger — more robust — marketing plans to drive retention.

As time goes on, strategies will change again – or get tweaked – to capitalize on the ever-changing trends in marketing circles.  Currently, the following three trends are starting to make themselves more relevant in automotive direct marketing campaigns.  Missy Jensen - DMEautomotive

It’s all about the digital content. While the website is the face of your organization or dealership, what fills the “walls” of that site – and related content to the site via varying social media vehicles like Facebook and Twitter – is vitally important.  With access to the Internet at an all-time high, thanks to such product innovations as Apple’s iPad® or smart phones/iPhones®, the desire for those seeking information has concurrently increased.  Interesting and engaging content helps build trust with your site visitors and makes your dealership’s site become a destination for news and information.

Cutting coupons is hip. Today’s economic climate has definitely had a profound impact on the spending habits of consumers.  With that mindset in place, it has made more people trend to discounts/couponing in non-traditional couponing verticals.  Integrating coupons and incentives into automotive service marketing programs not only offer discounts to your customers, but it also allows for a nice way to drive traffic into your service centers.

Location based marketing. As DMEautomotive expert Steve Dozier touched upon in his recent blog highlighting automotive customer retention, the uniqueness of your product or service should be more directed towards a franchise and its location.  Regions of the country are being affected differently by the recent economic decline.  By integrating campaign data results as part of your automotive marketing campaigns, it’ll serve as an important starting point in planning successful future initiatives

As you pause and take a look at the effectiveness of your automotive direct marketing initiatives, keep the three marketing trends mentioned above as a starting point in your evaluation efforts.  Implementing just one of these can help give your automotive direct mail campaigns a kick-start that it may need.

~ 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.

Email Marketing for the Automotive Industry

Monday, October 18th, 2010

DMEautomotive is pleased to announce the release of our latest whitepaper “Email Marketing for the Automotive Industry”.

The white paper gives the following overview:

  • Why email marketing is still a viable tool for the automotive industry
  • How data segmentation improves your message
  • How to integrate social media into email marketing
  • Best practices about email marketing that everyone should know

Click here to gain access to “Email Marketing for The Automotive Industry” today.