Best PracticesDec 14th, 2017

How to Leverage Geofencing to Boost Conquest Sales


Achieving vehicle sales and service goals is becoming increasingly difficult. Your current customers may be looking at other options, while those that you’re trying to win over are targeted by all of your competitors.

New strategic marketing initiatives are needed to succeed in today’s competitive environment. That’s where geofencing can help boost your sales floor and service lane traffic and sales.

What is geofencing?

Geo-fencing uses smartphone cellular data, GPS, and radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology to define geographic boundaries.

In other words, these technologies can recognize where a phone is located, and when the phone enters the defined area. For example, we often see GPS phone tracking used on TV crime serial shows.

With it, triggers are set up that alert an administrator when a smartphone enters or exits a defined boundary. Geo-fence boundaries can be active or passive.

Active geofences require the owner of a smartphone to opt into location services, and have a mobile app open.

Passive geofences are always on, and rely on Wi-Fi or cellular data instead of GPS or RFID, working in the background on a mobile device.

Marketing applications

Brands and business of all types can text an opt-in prospect or customer an offer when that individual’s smartphone enters or exits a defined geographic location.

An example of this is a convenience store texting food and beer offers to a boater’s smartphone when that person enters a geofenced boat-launch area.

Similarly, a manufacturer of breakfast cereal could text a coupon code to grocery shoppers entering or exiting a geofenced supermarket.

Conquest and retention applications

As an automotive dealer, you can use geofencing to build business in a number of ways. First, you can use geo-fencing to identify competitive dealership locations, and text new or used vehicle offers to customers shopping there when they enter the vicinity of the new-vehicle showroom or used car sales lot.

This gives you the opportunity to “hit customers with your best shot” before they pull into your competitor’s lot. A second approach is to send service offers via text to your existing customers when they enter a competitive service provider.

Finally, you can geo-fence business locations that compliment your dealership’s business.

For example: gas stations, car washes, auto parts stores, and other high-traffic retail locations, like big-box stores. This will extend the reach of your retail marketing.

Play offense and defense

What does all of this mean for you as a dealer? It means you need to be prepared to play both geofencing offense and defense. Your offensive playbook should include optimized conquest offers to counter the strengths and leverage the weaknesses of each competitive dealer in your area.

Additionally, you should consider inbound and outbound new and used sales, service, and parts offers triggered by your own geofence around your dealership. Think of these offers as an extension of “nobody walks.”

It’s important to remember that you can’t take down a geofence your competitor has set around your dealership, but your defensive play should include a deep understanding of your competitors and their current offers.

With this knowledge, you can develop your own set of countermeasures to remain competitive. You’ll also want to develop special offers to your dealership’s inbound customers (those who cross your geofence).

Geofencing is no longer a marketing tool of the future. It’s here now, and it’s time to make it part of your dealership’s marketing and sales strategy. The more quickly you familiarize yourself with its capabilities, including how it can help and hurt your dealership, the sooner you’ll be increasing your conquest sales and separating your dealership from the pack.

Steve Stepanek is a strategist at Latcha + Associates in Farmington Hills, Michigan. He has built meaning and business behind some of the world’s best-known brands, including Ford, H.J. Heinz, Marlboro, GM, and Goodyear, and served in senior strategy and executive management positions at JWT, Ogilvy, Leo Burnett, and BBDO. His client-side experience includes leadership positions at Audi of America and Acxiom Corporation.

Authored by

Steve Stepanek

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