It seems like every article about dealership marketing ideas have the same vague and boring lists. Email marketing. Responsive websites. Social media. These are all well and good, but they aren’t new ideas, they’re the standard (or what should be the standard). We’ve gotten sick of seeing page after page of the same old, so we put together seven absolutely brilliant and different home-run car dealership marketing ideas. Not every dealership can accomplish all these ideas, but any dealership can be inspired by them.
Prime Auto Group, NY
In a time when people are getting more and more turned off by the pushy-salesman tactics of many car dealerships, what better way to attract customers than by declaring, in the most obvious way possible, that your business is different. Prime Auto Group did this by literally turning their ads upside down. On billboards across freeways and all the way to their website, they’re advertising that Prime isn’t like other dealerships. At Prime, you can forget everything you normally expect from a traditional dealership sales process. Clever, simple, and so much more powerful than just saying “we’re different,” this is a dealership marketing idea that blows the standard boring billboard out of the water.
Galpin Motors, CA
All dealerships care about their customers, at least on paper, but Galpin takes customer experience to a whole new level. Customer centricity is what has distinguished Galpin for decades, and what continues to drive their massive success. Galpin has a Customer Bill of Rights, with rights like “Honest information when you request it, without evasiveness,” and “Be invited to buy without feeling pressured.” Beyond this powerful central set of rights, Galpin goes the extra mile to make being at the dealership a pleasant experience. They have a full-service Starbucks and a restaurant. Sure, not every dealership can afford such luxuries, but it’s a testament to Galpin’s dedication to the customer that they invest heavily in customer experience.
The most successful dealerships are those that know their communities and their customers. Sewell is one of those dealerships. Sewell knew that Mini’s target audience are known for being creative, and figured a great way to reach them would be to go right to the art. In a truly inspired show of car dealership marketing, they got a Mini into the opening of a pop-culture art exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art. They dressed the little car for the occasion, wrapping it in a fantastic graphic celebrating artist Roy Lichtenstein’s style.
Thompsons Toyota, CA
How do you get people far away to care about your dealership? You bring your dealership to them. Thompsons’ enlightened dealership marketing uses technology to achieve what it would normally take about a hundred semis to do. Thompsons sends Google Cardboards to target audiences in large population centers far from their dealership. With the cardboards is an easily-scanned QR code that links right to a video that introduces the dealership, their culture, the showroom, and a few of the most popular featured cars. Prospects can experience the dealership from the comfort of their own home, and even if they aren’t looking for a car at that exact moment, it’s guaranteed to be memorable.
How do you get people far away to care about your dealership? No, that’s not déjà vu. We started the last paragraph with that question too. That’s because it’s an important question, a problem lots of dealers struggle with. Instead of taking the dealership to customers, like Thompson, Woody’s proves that they’re worth the drive. On their website, they have a map of the surrounding area, with drive times and reviews from customers who have personally made that drive. It’s a wonderfully simple yet inspired way to convince customers that making the drive is worth it in savings and service.
When it comes to subtlety, Billy Fuccillo is not your man. But he doesn’t need to be. Already famous for his commercials, which everyone watches (if only to unravel the mystery of the blonde woman featured in most commercials), Fuccillo goes in for grand gestures and spontaneous give-aways. Among Fuccillo’s biggest marketing tactics is the ‘Cruise With Huge’ sales event – in which everyone who bought a car during the sales event is invited on a 5-day cruise – which Fuccillo buys out every year. This year, the event was so huge, there are two cruise trips. This dealership marketing strategy’s power lays in its multiple benefits. First, it incentivizes customers to buy or lease during the sales event. Second, it mitigates the cost of the car, because you get a free 5-day cruise thrown in. And third, the cruise serves as a really nice ‘thank you’ to Fuccillo’s customers. You really can’t beat marketing that stretches the whole way through the buying process.
Toyota of Plano, TX
How do you buy word-of-mouth? Well, you can’t. Not really. But you can make sure your name is on a lot of lips. Toyota of Plano realized that Uber patrons might well be in the market for a car, or soon to enter it. A shiny new car rolling up with a Toyota of Plano license border is great advertising. Even better advertising, is the conversation the Uber driver and patron might have about the car, and by extension, the dealership. By offering awesome deals to Uber drivers, Toyota of Plano builds a word of mouth empire that more than pays for itself in referrals.
Everyone wants to stand out, but most people just do their work and hope inspiration will strike, they’ll yell ‘eureka,’ and within six months they’ll be on top of the world. That’s not how it works. Regardless of how brilliant all these ideas are, we can guarantee that most of them were created through a mixture of creative thinking, open-mindedness, and hard work. But that’s the tough news. The good news is that when you come up with your awesome idea, you can tell us and we’ll add you to the top of this list.