Best PracticesJun 12th, 2013

Personalized Marketing of Vehicle Service—the Better Way Forward for Dealers


With market competition increasing, it’s time to reexamine the current approach to service marketing. New technology is enabling dealers to develop customer lifecycle communications based on the individual customer’s needs, making each customer’s marketing plan unique. The frequency, format, tone, and offers within each communication vary depending on what the available data dictates.

Outsourced marketing: use experts and technology

By using a marketing solutions provider leveraging relationships with the manufacturer and dealers, dealers can enjoy the benefit of combined data sources to develop a comprehensive database. Data sources include:

  • Vehicle information: purchase type, model, model year, engine type, recall, real time mileage
  • Past behavioral history: past services performed, appointment scheduled status, geographic driving conditions, change of address, roadside assistance usage, telematics usage, survey results
  • Demographic and psychographic data: age, gender, propensity to buy, etc.

With such a comprehensive database in place, dealers can apply predictive modeling to guide each communication. With the internet and smartphones today being so widely used, you can sharply target your messaging to reach your vehicle owners at the right time with the most relevant offer to “make it easier for them to buy” from you. Personalized digital remarketing combines data with traditional and digital marketing strategies and channels to deliver a highly targeted marketing solution through retargeting ads.

Personalized digital remarketing: a new application for service

Retargeting already exists in the area of new vehicle sales. Thousands of customers visit automotive manufacturer websites daily while shopping for a new vehicle and are retargeted with digital banners on other popularly visited websites, usually driving them back to the manufacturer’s website. In addition, remarketing emails may be sent to customers who provided contact information while visiting the website.

However, when it comes to service maintenance, customers rarely visit a dealer’s website.

Due to the availability of other lower-cost, independent repair facilities, manufacturers need to constantly remind customers about the services, value and offers their dealers can provide. In addition, as customers become more internet savvy and more actively price shop online, dealers need to stay top of mind with customers to decrease the risk of defection.

Predictive modeling: smart ROMI

A fully automated platform makes it easy for dealers to “set it and forget it” when customizing campaigns. The software queries the customer database against all data fields to determine which customer is due for a communication:

  • Determine the format based on a combination of customer preference and tested formats to maximize ROI.
  • Decide on frequency based on where that customer is in the ownership lifecycle, including vehicle ownership type, model, mileage, time, and triggered milestones.
  • Define your messaging and tone of voice by customer satisfaction, customer preference, history, behaviors, demographics, and other outside triggers.
  • When the customer opens your email message a cookie is placed on their computer with the corresponding display ad.

When all factors are combined and the database is mined, your communications will be unique to each individual customer, establishing a one-to-one relationship. This makes it more likely that they will find your offers relevant to their specific needs and decide to drive their vehicle in for a service.

Tim Bowles has worked in automotive marketing for 8 years, with the past 6 years at Minacs Marketing Solutions. Visit www.minacs,

Authored by

Tim Bowles

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