Marketing is becoming increasingly complex, with the proliferation of ‘Big Data,” predictive analytics and new mobile and digital channels. To leverage the power of these new technologies, a new marketing approach is needed.
Many dealers use multi-channel marketing to reach their customers, but fragmentation of channels presents a challenge. Reach is only one part of the marketing equation. When you factor in frequency and the fact it can take several customer touches to drive action, the cost of marketing across all channels can be prohibitively expensive.
Yet limiting channels is not the best solution. When it comes to communications, we are all omnivores. We consume different messages through different channels at different times.
Although the terms omnichannel and multi-channel are sometimes used interchangeably, omnichannel marketing allows you to increase reach x frequency in a much more cost-effective manner than multichannel marketing. Here are the major benefits of an omnichannel marketing strategy.
Most dealers don’t have great contact information for many of their customers, and even worse for prospects. The average dealer’s DMS contains complete, actionable email addresses for only 65% of customers, before appending efforts.
If your database is better than average with 70% actionable emails, and an email campaign nets a 20% open rate, that means you’ve reached 14% of your customers. What about the other 86%?
How can you reach 100% of consumers with enough frequency to trigger an action?
First, look at your campaign objective. Are you trying to stimulate action among a loyal customer group, or among a group of prospects? For loyal customers, it may only take one to two touches. For prospects, the standard is the “Rule of 7,” meaning it takes an average of 7 touches to stimulate action.
Second, analyze the contact information you have. Physical mailing addresses are among the most complete and easiest to find in appending efforts, which is why we still use print and many dealers have great success with postcard mailings.
Social media advertising is also very effective because Facebook matches an average 80% of your DMS database to its users. If you add in Google properties you’re close to 100% reach. The more channels you use, the better your reach.
Based on Consumer Behavior
Omnichannel marketing analyzes actual behavior, instead of guessing what your customers might like and respond to. Guessing fails to deliver results because consumer consumption habits are ever-changing and not well described by demographics or personal preferences.
The idea that we need to market based on consumer preferences, or that Millennials are more socially engaged while Boomers still read newspapers is inaccurate.
Omnichannel marketing accounts for actual consumer behavior such as websites visited, Google search information, what the owner’s current vehicle is and driving habits. If you have enough of the right third-party data, your omnichannel partner can even factor in the restaurants that consumers frequent, income, group affiliations and more. Thanks to predictive analytics, you can then literally serve up the right message to the right customer at the right time on the right channel. This helps to keep marketing costs low, so the frequency part of the equation doesn’t get out of control.
Leverages Media Effectiveness
Every channel has a different role in the communication journey. Paper is great to inform but not so great for driving immediate action. Vice versa for text and phone calls, which is why you have your salespeople follow up emails with phone calls when they respond to new leads.
Digital ads are great for brand awareness while videos are ideal for building customer relationships and trust. PPC is a great way to reach consumers during their zero moment of truth (ZMOT), particularly for service and parts.
Omnichannel marketing leverages the right channel for a particular message, increasing overall cost efficiency.
Easily Tailored for Different Objectives
Too many dealerships are single-minded in their marketing objectives. Their goal is to either get customers in the door to buy vehicles, or bring customers into the service lane for repairs.
This approach is transaction-based, rather than relationship-based. Today’s consumers purchase from brands they know, trust and like. Marketing objectives should fall in two categories, and your dealership needs both:
1. Conversion: build brand awareness, win customers, encourage action
2. Retention: establish long term trust & loyalty, be top-of-mind when service or a new vehicle is needed, be a trusted resource.
For every campaign, define your business objective. Do you need a last-minute push to reach your monthly new vehicle sales goal, or do you want to promote a pre-owned incentive? Do you need more ROs, or more lines per RO? These are all different strategies for different audiences that require different messages.
When it comes to marketing, more isn’t always better. Relevant messaging at the right time on the right channel is what drives action. If your dealership doesn’t have an omnichannel marketing strategy, you’re missing out on the power of big data and predictive analytics to increase reach x frequency in the most cost-effective manner.