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Scot Eisenfelder

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Who's on Your List?

One of the biggest benefits of an omnichannel marketing strategy is the ability to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time. In this blog, I'm going to focus on the "right person" part of this equation.

If your goal is retention marketing and building customer loyalty, of course it's always best to market to the customers in your own database.

But what about conquest marketing?

Marketing vendors talk a lot about strategy and messaging, but as we know that's only part of the equation. To maximize your return on investment, you also need a really good list.

Some vendors will buy lists with thousands of names in your dealership's primary market area (PMA), then blanket the entire area with postcards or coupons. If they have email addresses, they'll send out e-blasts to the entire list hoping for a one- to two- percent response rate. This is an expensive and highly ineffective strategy.

You'll get much better results and ROI with a strong list and sending targeted messages to various segments of the list based on data. What kind of data? Make sure your marketing vendor curates separate sales and service prospect lists using the following information:

Demographic Data

When purchasing a list, you can choose a number of demographic targets such as income, age, marital status, credit score ranges and over 175 lifestyle selections. How do you know which ones to target?

Start by analyzing your current customers. The top 20% of your customers product 69% of your gross profits. Compile demographic data on these customers and look at trends. What is their average income? Which zip codes do they live in? Use this demographic data to set parameters for prospects you want to conquest.

A number of lifestyle factors also help to determine which consumers in your PMA are in-market for a new or used vehicle. These include newly engaged, newlyweds, parents-to-be, new parents, parents with teen drivers, college bound students and parents, new movers, new divorcees and automobile off-lease.

Another strategy that falls into the demographic data category is to purchase vehicle registration data and cross-reference those names to your purchased list. In sales conquest campaigns, this allows you to target competing brand owners, selectable by vehicle make, model and year.

Customer Transactions

Up to 72% of dealership customers choose third-party independent repair facilities (IRFs) for service. Fortunately, it's possible to access credit card transaction records for consumers who frequent Pep Boys, Jiffy Lube, other IRFs and even competitive franchise dealerships. Cross-reference these names to prospects on your purchased list.

These consumers make ideal targets for service conquest campaigns. At an average $40 to $80 per customer acquisition, service conquest campaigns can be far more cost effective than sales conquest campaigns.

Online Behavior

For digital campaigns, it's easy to set up targeting parameters based on consumers' online behavior. This includes websites visited, such as third-party auto shopping sites, or search terms used in Google and other search engines.

Depending on the search terms used, you can easily identify where the prospect is in the buying cycle and deliver messages accordingly. Early in the buying cycle it's best to use a strategy that raises brand awareness. Later in the buying cycle you might want to run PPC campaigns with calls to action designed to convert active shoppers into visiting your website or calling your dealership.

Online behavior is also highly effective for digital service conquest campaigns. Consumers who are actively looking for vehicle repair can be targeted using PPC campaigns and retargeting ads.

Predictive Analytics

Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. With advanced data analysis technology, it's possible to use data from multiple sources to generate a complete view of all customer interactions. With a detailed analysis of past transactions, it's possible to predict the likely future transactions that will take place, and when.

Although predictive analytics can be used in conquest campaigns, the technology works best with the customers in your own database, including defectors. Rather than try to entice them back with an oil change coupon or generic service offer, use data points to identify specific opportunities based on past behavior and where they are in the ownership lifecycle. With detailed data analysis, you should be able to target customers who are due for routine maintenance, trade-in value estimation, lease termination, warranty expiration, recalls and more.

Using all of this data together allows you to narrow down a purchased list of potentially thousands of random consumers in your PMA, to hundreds of in-market car shoppers and/or service conquest prospects, segmented for targeted message delivery. The power of a good list significantly reduces marketing costs and increases ROI, so make sure your dealership's marketing partner knows who's on your list.

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