How to Be Your Own Marketing Scientist

When it comes to your marketing, do you feel like a mad scientist, or are you struggling to make the grade?

How good are your chemistry skills? When it comes to your marketing, do you feel like a mad scientist, or are you struggling to make the grade?

Marketing is a form of science—it’s not rocket science, but there are formulas that should be consulted when trying to design an effective program.

Even in 2017, dealers I know still struggle to make a decision on how to best approach their consumers. They battle with the notions:

  • Where should their target lists come from: DMS, CRM, or another source?
  • How long should the campaign last?
  • Do you stay with the standards (digital, email, direct mail, and some social) or do you expand and add Snapchat and Twitter into the mix?

These are relevant concerns. But the science behind a strong marketing initiative is identifying a targeted audience that is listening and staying in touch with them for the entire sales life cycle (and beyond), which is typically 90 to 120 days.

eMarketer reports U.S. digital media usage is still strong and remains consistent between 2016 and 20171 .

  • 273.3 million internet users
  • 191.1 million social network users, up 2.9% from 2016
  • 70.4 million Snapchat users, up 14.2% from 2016
  • 77.0 million Instagram users, up 12.5% from 2016
  • 78.5% of internet users are on dual devices

Approximately 223 million Americans are using their mobile phones to access the internet. With more people using mobile devices to access the internet, your marketing formula should emphasize your desire to be present when they are shopping and offer specific messages during this engagement.

Have you heard of Google’s term micro-moments? It to refer to moments when people “reflexively turn to a device— increasingly a smartphone—to act on a need to learn something, do something, discover something, watch something, or buy something.”

In these moments, consumer expectations are higher and they fuel their consumer buying desires.

As consumers natural reaching for multi-channels to receive messages, you should be taking advantage of these micro-moments, using them as a means to encourage your in-market buyers to seek your dealership for their next purchase.

Create messages, for example, that are tailored to shoppers who are coming off a lease, new college graduates, or have expanded their family. You can leverage technology that will identify real-time, in-market buyers that are within a specific radius of your dealership to hone your messages to the right buyers at the right time.

Although it may be tempting to run a campaign and cut it loose within 30 days if it doesn’t “provide proven ROI,” I suggest looking at your formula again, because it’s important to be engaged while there are in your sales funnel.

Research shows that automotive customers spend on average 10 hours or more researching their next purchase; more than 50% want to only allocate 45 minutes or less for a dealership visit and test drive.2

This indicates the majority of their data collection is done outside the dealerships. So it does become more important to create repetitive influential touch points.

Consumers are more active with their car buying than we give them credit for. With this much time to research, explore, research some more, and look to social media for advice and references, you need to be present and stay engaged while they are comparing models, pricing, and incentives.

Be a part of these moments by being your own marketing scientist. If you appear at each stage of the shopping process, then you are much more likely to be seen as the go-to dealership when they are ready to purchase.

As senior vice president of marketing solutions for AimLogic, a product of National Credit Center (NCC), Jim Cunningham is responsible for NCC’s Marketing Solutions. As a seasoned automotive veteran, Jim has extensive experience overseeing digital and predictive analytic marketing solutions that enable dealerships to market, and acquire new customers through innovative marketing tools.

1eMarketer, U.S. Digital Media Usage A Snapshot of 2017, March 2017

2Deloitte, Driving through the consumer’s mind: Steps in the buying process, December 2016

Jim Cunningham

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