The newsLINK Group - Changes in Digital Marketing

Editorial Library Category: Automobile Topics: Digital Marketing Title: Changes in Digital Marketing Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: It used to be the car-buying experience was a fairly linear one. People who needed a car would come in when they were finally serious about buying, take a look at what was available, make a choice, and buy something. That isn’t the way it works anymore. Editorial: Changes in Digital Marketing 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ thenewslinkgroup.com │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 It used to be the car-buying experience was a fairly linear one. People who needed a car would come in when they were finally serious about buying, take a look at what was available, make a choice, and buy something. That isn’t the way it works anymore. People usually start their shopping experience by doing some online research, but since most everyone is already overloaded with data, it often paralyzes them no matter what it is they are looking to buy. And although people do still come into the showroom, there’s always a chance they will conduct the entire purchase online. The car market today is highly competitive. That means you can’t really afford to make too many mistakes with your digital marketing. But for many car dealers, a digital strategy can be difficult to develop. It’s not that car dealers haven’t made some sort of effort toward online marketing. The problem usually has to do with a couple of strategic mistakes: Not all marketing platforms have the same message. When car dealers use multiple vendors, programs, and services, the result is a disjointed digital footprint that only looks good if you don’t get too close to it. Some car dealers come up with a campaign strategy, implement it, and forget about it. You can do much better than that. What you want to aim for instead is a personalized experience for your potential customers, and make sure it is specifically driven by data you’ve gathered about them. The best way to make sure the marketing message is a unified one is to put one person in charge of it. That person, of course, might supervise other people, but what you want to avoid is management by committee. It doesn’t work. Make sure you train more than one person in how to use the system, however, so that you have multiple employees with the skills. Salespeople should be interested because these skills are marketable ones; you will be helping them. You should also see whether your brand or regional dealer network already has a customer relationship management system or a digital engagement platform for its dealers to use. It’s possible the cost might even be subsidized, and it should have corporate content for you to use, too. If you don’t have a tool to help you with digital marketing, then you will need to find one. Don’t forget the power of newsletters. Yes, people still read newsletters; they are great to have and are far from obsolete. Start by sending one version to customers and prospective customers. You might want to think about tailoring newsletters as well, however, so that people get something that is personalized to their own needs. If someone is clearly interested in a wagon, for example, it would work well for that customer to get a newsletter with articles and ads about wagons. You need to use every opportunity given to you to connect potential customers with the right message, regardless of the digital platforms they use. That customer who likes wagons should probably get emails aimed at her specific interest, too, and your website should reflect her interest in wagons as well. It’s likely that anyone who uses an online chat feature is really pretty serious about getting a car; these potential customers are the equivalent of someone who has actually driven to your showroom and come in to talk to a salesperson. If someone chats online, therefore, maybe it’s time for an online coupon offer. Online chat can be handled by a service or by your dealership. Outsourcing online chat is somewhat like having an answering service. The difficulty with outsourcing it is that a third party may not be able to do as good a job answering questions as someone who actually works for you. You might want to consider having people work shifts where they focus on monitoring and answering chat messages. How can you tailor information so your sales efforts are a good match for potential customers? You need to collect information about your customers while they make their

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