Unlike many other industries, where consumers plow though a product and immediately buy more (i.e. milk, office supplies, soda) the auto industry has a slower consumption cycle. The average consumer keeps their car 2.5-3 years and at any given time only 2% of consumers are in the market for a new car.
So how much of your marketing is targeted at that 2%?
All of it?
If you’re like most dealerships, the overwhelming majority of your marketing is focused on the “buy now” customer. And that’s the only customer that your sales team is interested in. So you run television commercials, radio and newspaper ads, special limited-time sales events and the like. But in spite of your best efforts, you can’t create need in the mind of the consumer.
Because you can’t create need, the best you can realistically hope for is to ensure that when a consumer decides to buy, you’re at the top of their list. So that raises the question: What are you doing to proactively market to the 98% of customers that aren’t in “buy now” mode?
Are you staying in touch with them using something other than an offer of 1.9% financing or a free oil change coupon? This business is about relationships — all sales-centric businesses are — and that means building loyalty that goes beyond their pocketbook. It means turning customers into friends.
That can happen with your customers. And it will when you embrace the idea of proactive communication.
Marketing Strategist/Creative Consultant