Top 6 Tech and Marketing Trends for Dealer Marketers in 2014
2014 is upon us, and savvy dealer marketers are looking ahead to better understand the most important trends impacting them and affecting their bottom line. Outsell, is a SaaS digital marketing firm, and we work closely with companies such as Toyota, Chevrolet, Volkswagen and their agencies and dealerships to help ensure the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns. Here are the big technology and marketing trends we see shaping up for the year ahead that marketers should be aware of:
Democratization of analytics
Although customer analytics has been hot for the last couple of years, the cost of analytics software and the availability of people with the skills required to do it right have been out of reach for all but the largest companies. In the latter half of 2013, marketing vendors began offering industry-specific analytic models that enable any business to apply advanced analytic techniques, such as predictive modeling, to their own data sets. Look for this trend to accelerate in 2014 as analytics becomes “table stakes” for data-driven marketing.
Don’t dismiss Big Data
While it’s true that dealers don’t tend to have massive datasets, they can still leverage the power of Big Data. How? By supplementing their own in-house data with third-party behavioral data on car buyers, such as shopping intensity and what other brands a buyer is considering, dealers can hone their sales strategies to focus on the best prospects, match their efforts to the buyer’s timeline and tailor incentives to competitive realities – improving sales close rates and increasing overall sales.
In 2013, there was a huge transition from PCs to mobile devices. In 2014, marketers should assume that for the majority of consumers, a significant amount of their on-line automobile research will take place using a mobile device. This has several important ramifications.
First, the use of responsive design so that emails and websites can dynamically adapt to the consumer’s size screen will become a must-have, rather than a nice-to-have. Second, use of SMS (text message) marketing will increase dramatically. With a 99+ percent delivery rate and 90 percent open rates, this is one of the most effective, and most overlooked, channels for automotive marketing.
Online chat continues to be an extremely effective tool for automotive marketers. Anyone who’s taking the initiative to chat with a dealer is almost always a great lead and is probably nearing the end of their buying cycle. If you decide to go this route, make sure your chat technology is mobile ready, and consider making it proactive – using a pop-up that invites the shopper to engage – rather than waiting for prospects to click the chat button on your website.
Embedded social marketing
Social marketing is a huge challenge for automotive marketers because it’s difficult for them to control. Beyond thinking of social as a discrete channel, marketers need to also look for ways to embed social in all that they do. Give prospects the ability and incentives to share or tweet an email offer, pin or comment on a photo and follow your brand or dealer via social media. Layering social on top of all your marketing initiatives is an effective and low-cost way to promote your brand and extend your audience.
Orchestrated offers and messaging
Too many marketers manage customer engagement with separate tools for each channel. The meta-theme for 2014: marketers will need to think about customers holistically, and be able to create an orchestrated, analytics-driven dialogue that transcends individual devices and channels. The fact is, your customers aren’t using just one channel – they are using all of them, and they expect continuity from one channel to another.
Dan Smith is the vice president of marketing at Outsell.