Digital Differentiation

Use digital media to set your dealership apart from the crowd.

Look out across your dealership and you’ll see rows and rows of shiny new cars… All with that new car smell, low low financing and a pile of customer cash. All were just washed and are priced to move. There’s just one problem. The Chevys, Hondas, Toyotas and Cadillacs on your lot are the same Chevys, Hondas, Toyotas and Cadillacs that a customer can find down the street at a competing dealership. The vehicles were made in the same factory by the same workers to the same exacting quality standards and are selling for an all but identical price. And we know that a few dollars here and there won’t sway customers as much as we’d like.

So if the product is a commodity, all that’s left to set your dealership apart is the customer experience — how a customer feels during and after interacting with you and your people. And as more and more of that interaction shifts online, so does that portion of the customer experience. And with that comes the opportunity to use digital media to influence and enhance their experience at every stage of the sale.

You can use automatic responders and other email technologies to find and cultivate brand awareness with those customers who aren’t yet in the market. Then, use video and other multimedia to create a user experience on your web site that is unmatched and keeps prospects on your site as long as possible. Once they show some interest in a particular model, entice them by sending a coupon or an eBrochure. Then stay in touch with automated email technology. Are you doing any of these things today?

Using these sorts of digital media tactics allows you to interact more frequently, more effectively, more efficiently and in a more personal way than your traditional methods of phone calls and direct mail. Not to mention that, because of the time and cost associated with staying in touch, traditional methods force you to eventually cut ties. Not the case with digital media because it is not cost dependent. So staying in touch or following up with 10,000 prospects costs virtually the same as a few dozen.

Digital media can help you de-commoditize your undifferentiated product offering in this time where consumers are more fickle than ever. It’s all about the customer experience and increasingly that experience is taking place in cyber space. And because so many of the country’s dealerships have yet to jump on board the digital marketing bandwagon, there’s ample opportunity for those that do to find a true competitive advantage in the battle for brand awareness, customer retention and sales.

D. Jones

Marketing Strategist/Creative Consultant

SmackDabble, LLC

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