Dilemmas in Automotive Digital Marketing

There are two common dilemmas I repeatedly see when visiting automotive dealerships across the country: dealers being “over-vendored” and extreme gaps in message cohesion.

Why is that?

Let’s first take a look at having too many vendors.  I think this is realistically the result of a fiercely competitive marketplace and the impact of a dealer truly trying to make an impact in their business.  The challenge this causes is too many hands in the cookie jar and none of which are working together.

Consumers today are using more and more mediums to engage a dealer and each one of them is telling a different story. Are your direct mail pieces offering the same incentives at the same time as your Facebook page? What about your commercials? The solution: find areas to tighten your belt loop.  Get really good at executing fewer campaigns and ensure every campaign is tight across all of your message segments (traditional, digital, social, etc).

This should help with the second commonly occurring problem I see – message cohesion.  Let’s take a look back at the car business the last four years…..quite the ride, huh? There are some things that are all too often overlooked from a strategy and execution perspective. Look forward to the rest of 2013.  Are you preparing an annual plan for your store?  Are you planning to have an enormous January?  What if you don’t ? Are you prepared to scrap your well-thought-out plan based on the performance of the worst-selling month of the year?

Dealers need to get really serious about having a plan and executing it on a measurable monthly basis.  Of course we need to be nimble to change, but who doesn’t? Keep in mind that it’s easier to shift than to start all over again from scratch.

Be prepared for President’s Day. Be ready for a BIG campaign in March. April may be a CPO offer month.  May and June are big sales months.  July and August through Labor Day traditionally stand as “clearance” time.  September and October are the perfect times for Certified Pre-Owned offers.  November and December obviously include Black Friday events and Year End Clearance.

Get your team together and get them focused on your goals and the strategies that will get you there.  Involve your vendors in these conversations and challenge them for new and innovative strategies that are clear and consistent for the goals you seek to achieve each and every month of the year.

Zac Keeney is the Director of Business Development at TargetClick Powered by Mudd Advertising. Contact him at ZacK@mudd.com to learn more about automotive digital marketing opportunities.

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