To succeed with your dealership marketing, you must first be able to clearly state your unique value proposition and present it in a way that builds trust and connection with your prospective car buyers. But the gulf between knowing what needs to be done and knowing how to do it is vast.
In this post, we are going to empower you with the tools and knowledge required to bridge that gap of uncertainty in order to build your unique value proposition and a brand story, including:
- What your dealership’s story is.
- Why your dealership’s story matters.
- Tips for creating your dealership’s brand story.
- Examples of dealership unique value propositions.
What Is Your Dealership’s Story (AKA Your Unique Value Proposition)?
If you have any experience with marketing, then you may be familiar with what is called a Unique Value Proposition or a Unique Selling Proposition (USP). This is a technique that has been around since the 1960s and is used to help brands identify their messages. If you have never heard of a USP before, it can be simply understood as the unique value your brand provides your audience.
The problem is that like with everything else in marketing, your USP is not static. Your customer’s needs are continually evolving and so must your dealership’s value. Yet many dealers are still using yesterday’s USPs in their marketing today.
Why Your Dealership’s Unique Selling Proposition Matters
Many car dealers feel that they understand what makes their brand unique. They use slogans like “Largest Volume Dealer In the Tri-County Area” or “Experience The [insert dealer’s name here] Difference” in their marketing and advertising. But these brand promises often fall flat with modern car shoppers because the value they once provided has largely gone away.
Today’s car-buyer can simply look at any number of third-party classified sites and instantly access thousands of vehicles without leaving the house. So, touting your large selection is no longer as valuable as it once was. In the same way, generic slogans and common catchphrases are too vague and will fail to resonate with today’s car-buying audience.
Now, you can no longer differentiate your dealership by what you do. You have to differentiate your dealership by who you do it for and by how you do it. If you really want to set your dealership apart from your competitors, you must clearly understand who your target audience is and then create a brand story tailored especially for them.
In many cases, this means that you will identify multiple different types of audiences, all of whom define value differently.
How to Identify Your Dealership’s Unique Value Proposition
So, what makes you different? Why must your customers buy their next vehicle from you and not one of your competitors? This is a question that can bring you face to face with some sobering realities. However, if you’re bold enough to confront them, they can also help lead you to discover what really makes your dealership a unique destination that car shoppers in your market cannot afford to ignore.
Step 1: Understand Your Audience
The first step is to truly understand your target audience, and this can be challenging in and of itself. Most dealers have tons of data from their OEMs and marketing partners which provide a detailed analysis of the demographic makeup of their ideal customers. Many have segmented their customers based on where they live, how much they make, how old they are…etc.
While this is a good start, this doesn’t tell you who they are. What are their goals, their aspirations, their fears, and their regrets? Meet them where they are and have an individual conversation that is valuable to them.
Step 2: Think Outside of the Box
The second step is to get out of your comfort zone. Avoid thinking about what your dealership does, sells, and services cars at competitive prices. Just like every other dealership out there. In order to find your modern unique selling proposition, you must stop looking at your dealership from the inside out.
Here are some ideas to help you get started:
- Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and focus on your dealership from their perspective. Now, what is truly special about your dealership? What is something that only you can do for them that none of your competitors can do or at least cannot do as well as you?
- Ask your best customers for ideas and feedback. Do you offer at-home test drives? Do you deliver vehicles? Do you offer one price? Don’t think about what you want them to know, think about what they want to know.
- Look at your reviews and your Google My Business Q&A section to see if you can pull out any common themes or pieces of feedback your customers have left.
You may want to use this Venn Diagram to help think through this. Try to look at your dealership from three separate perspectives. Ask yourself, what do you do well? What do your customers want? What do your competitors do well?
Your most effective unique value proposition exists in the overlap between what your dealership does well and what your customers want. If you try to focus on what you do well vs. what your competition does well, your message will fall flat. The same is true if you focus on what your competition does well vs. what your customers want.
Only by identifying the message that exists between what your dealership does well and what matters to your customers will you be able to craft a USP that will resonate with car buyers in your market.
Step 3: Craft Your Unique Value Proposition
Your message doesn’t have to be long, but it does need to feel purposeful and specific. It should also be able to be broken down into smaller components that can be utilized throughout your dealership’s marketing and advertising. Think about how and where your USP will be used. Your Homepage, Google My Business Posts, thank you emails, broadcast spots…etc. Your message should be robust enough to connect with your audience regardless of the medium.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have an ideal audience; you have ideal audiences. So, it only stands to reason that you craft a specific message that will connect with each one. This means that you will have to repeat the above exercise multiple times, but the results are more than worth it. In the end, you will be able to effectively reach a much larger audience because every one of them will feel like you are speaking to them individually and not speaking at them with a generic, watered-down message.
Don’t rush this process — it is too important. Remember that quality takes time, be prepared to allocate as much as is necessary in order to get this right. Give each part of the process some serious consideration.
Step 4: Put your USP in Action
Now that you’ve examined your brand promise and broken it down to its core components, you can use your USP to build hyper-targeted messages to each of the specific audiences you’ve identified.
Step 5: Deliver on Your USP
Unique and powerful messaging will not do anything to elevate your customer experience unless it is paired with equally unique and powerful action – car buyers are looking for dealerships to deliver on their promises. Otherwise, you risk jeopardizing whatever credibility you have worked so hard to build with your customers.
Examples of Unique Value Propositions for Dealerships
Let’s say that you identified a streamlined buying process at the core of your brand promise. Then you crafted “Car Buying At The Speed Of You” as your unique selling proposition. Now break it down into smaller components that can be used to hyper-target specific audiences at specific times throughout their purchase journeys.
We facilitate a streamlined buying process by:
- Having transparent pricing across our entire inventory.
- Having a penny-perfect digital retailing tool that provides you with your actual equity position.
- Having a VIN-specific accurate trade-in appraisal tool on our site that simplifies the trade process.
- Having a flexible exchange program which allows you to drive away with confidence.
Here’s another example:
On Superbowl Sunday, Vroom ran a commercial that showed a customer getting tortured on the showroom floor. In response, we encouraged our dealers to find their USPs and to share their brand stories.
One of our clients, Dixie Buick GMC in Fort Myers, FL, worked with us to identify their USP and truly understand how they do what they do and who they do it for. They used their USP in an email marketing campaign and saw an average open rate of 16.34% with an average clickthrough rate of 2.4%. Keep in mind that the benchmark for automotive emails is an open rate of 13.2%-14.7% with a clickthrough rate of 1.21%- 1.37%.
Drive Results with Your Dealership’s Unique Value Proposition
Having a relevant USP and brand story that resonates with each segment of your audience means that you will personalize your customer experience and significantly increase the efficiency of your advertising spend.
For help identifying your brand story and what makes your dealership unique, reach out to one of our automotive marketing experts.