Best PracticesDec 31st, 2013

Top Five Resolutions for Dealer Marketers


The New Year is just around the corner. It’s the time when we reflect on the past year and devise a list of personal New Year’s Resolutions. It’s also a great time to think about professional objectives. Here’s a list of the top five resolutions for dealer marketers to consider in the New Year:

1. Resolve to maintain engagement after a purchase

The job is only half done once a customer drives a new car off the lot. Make this the year when you stick to strategies that keep these customers engaged in the months and years after. Ssolicit feedback on their purchase experience, which helps in your reputation management efforts.

Follow up to encourage a return visit when a customer is in need of routine services. Share relevant news and information, such as best practices for safe winter driving. All of those communications keep the customer engaged with your store, even when they are not in the market for a car or car service. Make continued communication throughout the entire ownership cycle a standard practice.

2. Resolve to tailor communications strategies based on the sales cycle

The typical sales funnel reflects the stages of engagement — from awareness and consideration, to decision and purchase. The content that best engages customers and prospects at each of these stages is often very different.

For example, delivering monthly email newsletters containing a mix of content has proven to be effective to engage customers three months post-purchase, while triggered campaigns, such as ones that encourage routine maintenance, are most effective six months post-purchase. Ditch the one-size-fits-all content strategy and instead, match communications to where each customer is in the buying cycle.

3. Resolve to use the data you already have

Dealers have a wealth of valuable data within their dealer management systems, and through reporting supplied by their communications tools.

Linking data with behavioral data makes marketing campaigns more effective. More effective campaigns drive greater results, both in sales and in customer and prospect engagement.

4. Resolve to align budget allocation with marketing priorities.

According to the results of our second annual content marketing survey conducted this past summer, content marketing was a medium or high priority for 90 percent of respondents, but for nearly half of respondents (46 percent) it represented less than 10 percent of the marketing budget.

This shows that while content marketing is a priority for marketers, the marketing budget that is being allocated to it does not necessarily reflect its importance. 2014 is the year to reexamine this and make sure that budgets align with priority.

5. Resolve to have more fun!

Customers and prospects are people, just like dealer marketers. Sometimes, we can get so laser-focused on our end goals that we miss the bigger picture. In 2014, let’s have some fun with our marketing efforts, whether it’s running contests or including content in email newsletters geared towards vacation (such as best road trips to take in the summer or favorite songs for long drives).

Do you agree? What other resolutions should the dealer marketer community consider in the New Year?

Craig Fitzgerald serves as editorial director for IMN. He leads IMN's editorial strategy and oversees content for the company's customer email newsletter and social marketing service. Additionally, Craig writes consumer news features and other feature material for the Boston Globe, Concord Journal and AAA Southern New England. Previously, Craig was the editor in chief for Hemmings Motor Sports, an automotive magazine publisher.

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