Industry Trends – Going Digital with Your Marketing

The Automotive industry has finally decided they need to join the internet revolution. Dealerships are hiring Internet Managers, Setting up BDCs, and looking for website providers for their dealership, but are they looking for the right things?

The big push has been Websites and CRM across the industry, but those who really sell true volume know the answer is much more. The focus should be marketing.

Dealerships have always known marketing is key to staying alive, and they still continue to pay outrageous amounts of money to traditional media like newspaper, radio, TV, and direct mail even though they know they are dying mediums. The average reader of the newspaper is 55; however this is where the majority of their advertising dollar goes.

So where has everyone gone? Dealerships know the Internet is booming, however they still do not focus on reallocating their marketing efforts and their marketing dollars. GMs, Owners, and Internet Managers feel a good website and CRM tool is all they need to do business on the web.

The truth is a website is a reactive tool. What I mean by that is the website is waiting for people to show up. It serves no purpose to those who are not seeking it out. Dealerships advertise in traditional mediums to capture those people who might be in the “Buy Now” mode and to entice them to visit their dealership. There are rebates, incentives, sales specials, services specials, parts specials, etc. going on every week at every dealership. However, how many dealerships actually provide this information electronically on their website or pro-actively sent this information out to current customers? The answer is most of them don’t. They have not bridged the gap between having their promotions/events converted from static mediums to digital mediums, which is why we tell dealerships it is time to “Go Digital”

For those dealerships that have digital coupons for parts and service, marked inventory for sale, rebate and inventive ads, sales events, etc. all digitized the whole world opens up. Now all of these things can be sent out as campaigns, sales inventory can be sent out as notifications, coupons can be send to service customers automatically without any effort from the dealership, the website can contain all current promotions/events and ongoing marketing efforts can be initiated to all your past customers to have them be new customers. Basically advertising just went digital and the cost to get that message to the end consumer is nothing.

For those who realize this are ahead of the game and have already started to mass collect email addresses for marketing, just like they used to collect us mail addresses. These dealerships know if they get ahead in the race it will be very difficult for competitors to catch up.

Brian Cox
Dealer Impact Systems

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