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How to Choose the Right Marketing Channels for Your Dealership

Direct mail, email, digital, mobile… what’s a dealer to do? The rise of dealership internet marketing has created a changing environment in which many dealers wonder what the “best” marketing method is for them to engage with prospects. 

In reality, there isn’t one marketing channel that’s better than all the others in all circumstances and for all prospects. The answer to dealers’ questions is not in picking a favorite marketing tactic and doubling down on it. Rather, the most important aspect of an effective dealership marketing strategy is to have a personalized omni-channel marketing strategy in place at the right time to deliver the right message to the right prospect – whatever those might be.

In this column, Mastermind shares dealership marketing best practices and tips for finding the right marketing channels, including: 

  • - It all starts with predictive marketing capabilities

  • - The importance of a multichannel marketing strategy

  • - How to enrich your customer’s experience via personalized marketing

How to Use Predictive Analytics to Create a Multichannel, Consumer-Based Marketing Strategy

While the rise of new marketing channels such as email and digital tend to grab the most attention when dealers look at the changing marketing landscape, the real revolution has happened behind the scenes. That’s where the data and analytics revolution took place that changed what dealers know about consumers and how they can identify the best prospects in ways they never could before.

This is why Mastermind developed Market EyeQ’s predictive marketing capabilities, connecting automotive data and predictive customer analytics directly to personalized marketing campaigns. Market EyeQ’s direct mail campaigns contain actionable offers personalized for each consumer’s situation, but pre-approved from the dealership.

Best of all, predictive marketing means not having to sacrifice lead quality to keep costs down. The process of automated lead identification of the most qualified car buying prospects  for your dealership means that you’re only spending to market to the highest quality leads in your market. That’s why Mastermind’s dealers report a marketing cost-per-sale of just $128, compared to the $632 industry average.

Finding the Right Marketing Channels for Every Prospect

Different people care about different things – and prefer different ways of communicating. Market EyeQ is designed to engage with potential car buyers in the most effective manner possible, matching its customer insights about each prospect to the most appropriate mix of more than 100,000 campaign variations.

Those connections can change based on where the customer is in the car-buying process. Some touch points might work better in the form of a letter, others in email, others through a slickly designed – yet personalized – brochure or other collateral. Each connection is made at the appropriate time in the customer’s journey with the most appropriate messaging to maximize the potential of the prospect showing up on the showroom floor for your sales team to close the deal.

Part of choosing the right channel at the right time is knowing what works and when, especially when it comes to direct mail vs. email. Direct mail’s response rates are still solid, averaging 4.4% in a recent Direct Marketing Association study compared to email’s 0.12%. For many consumers, there’s still value to receiving something in the mail that digital channels can’t replace. This is why more than 40% of people still at least scan every piece of mail they receive.

However, that’s not to say that digital tools like email don’t matter. The low cost of sending each message means that while email’s response rate is much lower, its ROI is significantly higher – averaging $28.50 versus $7 for direct mail. But at the volumes at which dealers are working, it can be challenging to drive sufficient response with email to reach those industry-wide ROI figures. To put that into perspective, a 0.12% response rate means emailing more than 80,000 prospects to average one response.

As a result, Market EyeQ’s analytics-driven campaign personalization often begins with direct mail’s much higher response rates and then moves to the immediacy – and low cost – of email once the original connection has been made and the prospect is much more likely to engage with the dealership’s messages. It’s this mix of traditional and digital marketing tools, driven by personalized insights into each prospect, that makes predictive marketing a powerful tool for automotive dealerships.

The Importance of Customer Relationship in Marketing

The first interaction a customer has with your dealership might be with your marketing messaging. Regardless of what marketing channel that connection is made through, it will set a precedent for their overall customer experience with you. 

This is one of the many benefits of predictive marketing, as dealerships that pride themselves on personalized service can set that tone at the very first touch by communicating with an offer relevant to them, through a channel and in a manner that demonstrates your understanding of the customer and their unique needs.

The evidence is clear that today’s customers value – and increasingly expect – a personalized dealership customer experience. They reward dealers who provide that experience with profitable loyalty and punish those who don’t by purchasing from a competitor who will give them what they want. When you’re developing your dealership’s marketing strategy, are you starting off your relationship with potential customers in a way that grows that personalized experience, or are you putting yourself at a disadvantage from the start? 

If your dealership’s marketing strategy is focused too much on identifying the best marketing channel and not enough on understanding what your prospects want and need from you, it’s time for a change. Contact us for a free consultation on how to make all your channels more efficient and effective through predictive marketing.

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