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Automotive Marketing Strategies That Suck and How to Replace Them

Car dealer drowns in bad ideas

Famously, there are only two inevitabilities in life; death and taxes. Everything else, within reason, is up to us. So why would we put up with bad automotive marketing strategies when we don’t have to? Avoid the frustration of doing quality work only to see zero return thanks to poor decision making higher up the funnel. Set your sights correctly using the following tips and watch the dividends increase. Here are a series of strategic misfires we’ve seen time and again, and some suggestions on how to realign.

 

Automotive Marketing Strategy: Social Media Snooze

Bad Strategy:

It’s a common automotive marketing strategy to use social media like a machine gun, strafing potential customers with hourly information about every deal and sale. Multiple posts a day will exhaust and annoy all but your most die hard customers, and give your social media accounts a spammy reputation. Think about it this way: Your customers have access to near infinite attention grabbing sources. They don’t have to even glance at your dealership’s post, they can look at that cat video their friend retweeted. Or worse, they can look at the funny post your competitor just made. If you are boring on social media, or worse yet, both boring and spammy, you will be ignored.

The Solution:

Scale back the number of posts you make a day, and be really careful what you post. Only create posts containing information that car shoppers would be interested in. Mostly, use Twitter to listen to your potential customers. Look for mentions of your dealership, and reply to them. Try to start conversions by asking questions of your audience.

 

Automotive Marketing Strategy: Poor Reputation Management

Bad Strategy:

The problem with bad reviews is that most dealerships have no strategy to deal with them. They just sit there, turning away customers, like a troll under a bridge. It can be intimidating. Having to face your critics is never a pleasant experience. But thankfully, people in the car business are famously thick skinned. If you can handle a customer yelling at you for five minutes, you can handle online complaints.

The Solution:

Turn those bad reviews into marketing pieces for your dealership. If someone has a complaint, reach out and reply to their comment. Ask what you can do to mend it, offer suggestions, and remain polite. This shows that not only are you flexible and understanding, you are also willing to go far out of your way to ensure an excellent customer experience. If you want, you can ask the user to delete the comment once their issue has been dealt with (although hold off on asking until they are satisfied), or ask them to edit their comment with an update about how you helped them after learning of the issue. Grow your good reputation and eliminate the bad in one easy move.

 

Automotive Marketing Strategy: Set it and Forget it Marketing

Bad Strategy:

Many dealerships operate their marketing on a set-it-and-forget-it basis. They set up their marketing campaign, run it till it doesn’t make sense anymore, and then make a new one. As a strategy, it isn’t necessarily going to add up to failure, but it certainly makes dealers fall short of success.

The Solution:

Measuring your marketing ROI means that you are four times more likely to see an increase in ROI. This may sound like yet more work, but it’s actually a huge positive. If you audit for ROI, or any other success metrics, you can begin to tailor your marketing campaigns. More information never hurts, and knowing exactly what type of marketing works best for your dealership and your audience is only going to make you money in the long run.

 

Automotive Marketing Strategy: Sequestered Sales

Bad Strategy:

Many dealerships, and many companies in fact, have the strategy of separating marketing and sales. The reasoning, in part, is to not confuse salespeople with marketing information, and leave them to do what they do best, sell. But this leads to a lot of issues, revenue lost by conflicting messages, leads going to waste, etc. You’ve surely heard marketing grumbling that “sales are ruining our leads by not knowing how to follow up on them” and sales muttering that “the leads marketing keeps sending us are weak.” Keeping marketing and sales segregated is a bad strategy.

The Solution:

Integrate marketing and sales. If you get your sales team and your marketing team working together, they can work more effectively and waste less time on misunderstandings and bickering. Outline exactly what you want from the collaboration. For example, marketing agrees to a certain number of leads, and sales agrees to follow up on them within a specific time frame. Or something as simple as how sales can work the marketing narrative into their pitches, or how marketing can focus on traits that make stronger leads. Marketing and sales both want to generate as much revenue as they can. That’s their job. It’ll be easier if they work together.

 

Automotive Marketing Strategy: Dealer Centric Marketing

Bad Strategy:

For decades, dealers have been able to more or less run the whole car-buying show. People had fewer sources of information and relied more on dealerships. They couldn’t shop online and so they had to shop around. There were no reviews and ratings and so shoppers had to go with their gut. Dealerships were comfortable being one of the only sources of information and based their marketing on that. And now this old strategy is dragging dealers down. The fact is that a traditional, tiered, dealership centric strategy which that constantly churns out bland channel-specific messaging is no longer a viable strategy. Sticking with dealer-centric marketing means approaching business with an outdated mindset that ignores the fact that we are in the Age of the Consumer.

The Solution:

This is perhaps the biggest contrast between a bad automotive marketing strategy and a good one. It will require the most effort, because it not only necessitates a change of marketing and advertising tactics, but also the culture of the dealership. Customers want a different interaction with dealerships. They have other sources of more reliable information, now they want personalization of interactions, targeted promotions, and mobile and social experiences. Most of all, they want acknowledgment that the tables have turned, and they are in control of their shopping process now.

Got a different strategy you’re stuck with and want advice without being sold to? Got a new strategy you’re proud of and want to tell someone? We’d love to add to this article with your example. Feel free to shoot us an email at marketing@jazel.com.