It’s Time to Take Your “Omnichannel” Marketing Strategy and Throw It in the Trash.
So what does it mean? Essentially, it refers to having a marketing presence across many channels such as websites, social media, email as well as an offline presence such as your store or various events.
Don’t get me wrong; if done correctly, Omnichannel marketing can be a highly effective strategy for growing a dealership. Unfortunately, the execution of this strategy in the automotive advertising space has been poor at best. Industries that use Omnichannel marketing successfully will deliver unique advertising messages across various channels. In automotive, however, the execution is typically the same, generic inventory ad spammed across a handful of digital platforms. So that 2005 Pontiac Aztec you’ve been struggling to sell will appear in paid search, social media, your website, and a few 3rd party listings. VOILA, Omnichannel advertising!
Instead of Omnichannel, use Consumer Lifecycle Marketing.
Consumer Lifecycle Marketing is more effective and efficient in generating your dealership’s short- and long-term revenue. To be effective with this advertising method, you must understand the basics.
Lifecycle Marketing is delivering the right message to the right audience at the right time. These stages consist of Awareness (letting folks know you’re there!), Engagement (enticing them to interact with your ads), Evaluation (deciding that they want to do business with you), Purchase (this is the part you are looking for!), and eventually, repeat business.
So where do we start?
First, the CONSUMER is the channel. An effective advertising/marketing strategy HAS to start with an effective customer experience strategy, and positioning your customer as the channel is the basis for a more profitable opportunity. With this baseline approach, you can execute Lifecycle marketing strategies that will eliminate friction points and lead to a memorable customer experience.
Place the consumer in the most profitable channel.
Now that we’ve placed the consumer where they belong, we need to leverage data and insights to ensure the most important aspects of the customer journey are working together effectively.
The first step is segmenting your current customers from your potential customers. Now, when we consider that the consumer is the channel, we have two channels we are working with, customers and potential customers. Each of these channels requires a different advertising reach approach. While our messages may be similar, they cannot and should not be the same.
“We just run inventory ads and drive them all to the VDP page, right?”
No, please just stop. Not every customer is a nail that needs to be hit over the head with the VDP hammer. This goes against the entire concept of Lifecycle marketing.
Let’s take that customer that bought a new pick-up from your local competitor about 12-15 months ago. Should we land them on your website Vehicle Detail Page (VDP) for a new truck? Most likely not. We know that if they are in your market area, but not doing business with you, we want to change that. We want to start educating the consumer about who you are as a dealership, what you represent, and why they should consider your dealership in the future. As they engage with your ads, you can define the consumer needs further and deliver personalized, targeted messaging, effectively creating a funnel of YOUR customers or potential customers.
Allow for a sharper focus on the channel.
We continue to segment our two channels (consumers and potential consumers) based on the data that we have. What vehicle are they driving, when did they buy it, how many miles are on it, how frequently do they trade their vehicles in, what is their financial situation, and more?
For example, customers who bought their vehicle from you it will be placed into a different campaign strategy than those who bought elsewhere. Using these insights, we build a series of ads that speak directly to each specific consumer’s “most likely needs” and drive them to the appropriate page on your website.
Now we retarget them with VDP ads, right?
Maybe, but only if it makes sense. Part of the goal is to remove friction points in the Lifecycle marketing process and make it easier for your customers to do business with you. We’re not driving customers focused on credit to a VDP page; why would we retarget them with an inventory ad?
Behavioral retargeting has greater outcomes in Lifecycle Marketing.
Utilizing behavioral retargeting, we continue our Lifecycle marketing once they visit your site. A customer looking at a 2018 F150 should probably see an ad for that vehicle after they have left your site. But what if they started filling out a credit form after looking at the car and never completed it? Do we still want to drive them back to the VDP, or do we perhaps want to speak to them about your credit approval process or online credit application? Similarly, someone visiting your trade evaluation page probably shouldn’t see an ad for your new car specials but rather something that speaks to the trade in process.
When implemented correctly, consumer Lifecycle marketing allows your auto dealership to communicate across all of your channels with messaging relevant to who the consumer is and where they are in the ownership cycle of their vehicle. Dealership branding, inventory targeting, financing, conquest and retention, ownership loyalty and vehicle acquisition all benefit from Lifecycle marketing.
Want to know more? Feel free to call us, and we’ll provide a no-charge consultation session and a 10-point best ad strategy analysis based on your current marketing efforts. If you’re doing an amazing job, we’ll be the first to let you know! If we see areas for improvement, we’ll make some suggestions.
Chief Strategy Officer & Partner
About Dealer OMG
Dealer OMG is an automotive digital marketing firm focused on helping dealers measurably grow sales, service, and trades. Founded by former Facebook employees and automotive executives, Dealer OMG pioneered the VINAmp platform to refine target audiences, making ads more relevant to shoppers. Through white-glove dealer-specific creative and VINAmp platform, Dealer OMG’s dealership clients are able to be the dealership continually in the shopper’s feeds.
For more information, you can contact our Chief Operating Officer, Keith Turner at Keith@DealerOMG.com