CommentaryJun 4th, 2018

Why Dealers Should Care About Real-Time Marketing


Real-time marketing solutions are finally gaining traction in the automotive space — and that’s great news for your dealership. Real-time marketing allows you to interact with your customers in timely and personal ways that have been shown to increase site activity and page views by 65%. There’s still confusion in the space about what real-time marketing is, however, and how your dealership can benefit. Let’s start with a definition.

What is real-time marketing?

Simply put, real-time marketing means giving consumers the exact information they want at the exact time they want it, through the channel they prefer. This is accomplished with plug-in website modules that use all kinds of customer data to help dealerships understand how customers behave. In this way, it’s customer-centric and highly personalized — the exact opposite of a TV commercial, for example, which targets everyone watching a particular program but may resonate with only a few. Because real-time marketing is so personal, it can make your website visitors feel like the car-buying journey was created just for them. This level of personalized attention naturally accelerates the sales cycle and delivers proven results.

How does it work?

Real-time marketing solutions can help you automatically create a seamless path to purchase that is unique to every customer. For example, consider a customer searching for a Lexus ES 300 Hybrid through a search engine. An ad for this specific vehicle instantly pops up in the sidebar. That ad connects to your inventory details page, which connects to a payment page with a best offer (including incentives, cash back, etc.), which follows through to that actual car in your inventory. You’ve just scored a highly qualified lead without having to update pages, calculate offers, or coordinate with your various marketing assets. It was all done automatically. Real-time marketing solutions are especially powerful when it comes to creating offers for every single variation of vehicle you have in inventory. They can do it in microseconds and instantly push that info to all of your marketing assets, including landing pages for special offers, inventory detail pages, search engine text ads, and digital remarketing banners. This capacity means that every shopper searching for a specific vehicle will get the exact information and user experience he or she expects at the best price available at that moment. That’s a huge advantage for your dealership.

Who’s doing it right

Because real-time marketing is still catching hold in the automotive space, it’s helpful to look outside of the industry for companies doing it right. One stellar example is eBay, whose real-time marketing strategy makes it easy to find exactly what you’re looking for, automatically shows you similar items in the sidebar with best offers, and sends an email after purchase with best offers for items that complement your purchase. Amazon is arguably even better at this kind of targeted, personalized marketing. The retail giant processes browser data in real time and gives recommendations during a user session. This creates a personal shopping experience for each and every customer, which encourages users to stay on the site longer and purchase more. If you think it’s far-fetched that your dealership could market as effectively as eBay or Amazon, think again. There are powerful real-time marketing modules available that can supercharge your website and launch your marketing strategy into the big leagues.

The payoff is a personalized, seamless customer experience that accelerates the sales cycle and delivers proven results, all while lowering your agency bills. Steven Couture is the founder of DealerDNA, a leading provider of real-time, automated digital marketing solutions for the automotive retail industry. He can be reached at [email protected] or by visiting

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Steven Couture

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