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  • 5 Steps to More Efficient Dealership Marketing: Understand Your Customers

If you want to make your dealership marketing more efficient and move the right in-market auto shoppers to take action, you need to first understand your current customers.

Yes, they’re already your customers, and theoretically they’re the easiest ones to get motivated toward using your dealership for ongoing vehicle maintenance, as well as activating towards purchasing their next car or truck with you. However, your current customers are also the best possible place to start with consumer data analysis.


You probably already know a lot of basic info about your customers. But to really understand them, you need more. And a comprehensive look at your customers is exactly what’s going to fuel your automotive marketing strategy and drive efficient dealership marketing.


Car dealerships need to understand not only what customers bought and what zip codes they live in. Dig deeper to understand a more complete view of them as a consumer and a person. By cross-referencing subgroups within your customer database you can also build a better idea of what your ideal customer looks like, and how to reach them through tactical digital marketing and advertising.


In addition to drawing from specific zip codes, you likely move more of certain vehicle segments or even models based on market trends and your inventory. So you probably already have a general sense of the types of customers who frequent your dealership. However, if you are able to apply external data to your customer database you can understand your current customers even better. Claritas has a zip code look-up tool you can check out to get started.


And when you understand that you can identify opportunities to target prospective customers who share common characteristics as your current customers. By targeting ideal new customers with insights gathered from a database analysis, you also have a better idea of how to talk to prospects and move them to action.


More importantly, you can apply informed targeting to your audience segments in advertising campaigns. There’s a lot to choose from when it comes to digital marketing and advertising. Based on Borrell and eMarketer analysis of automotive marketing and advertising spending, your competition is already dedicating ad budget on many of the likely platforms. If you know the best platform and tactics to reach your ideal customer, you can drive more efficient dealership marketing.


There is loads of anonymized data out there which you can append to your existing customer database in order to get to a better understanding of what makes your current customers tick. This includes the expected basic demographic information categories, but you are smart and know that’s not enough anymore.


You need info on purchase intent so you can target the right person at the right time, lifestyle data on interests and hobbies so you can understand what motivates them, and media consumption data so you know where to target them in your dealership marketing. Many options are out there to cross-reference all of this against your customer database, registered vehicle purchases for your market, or even people who are in-market to buy a vehicle in the next year.


Knowing who to target at the right time and right place and with the right message matters. A young family is going to have different priorities for a vehicle purchase than an empty nester Baby Boomer. Auto insights and analytics can help inform this, and a myriad of audience targeting options exist for your dealership marketing and advertising campaigns. The more targeted your marketing is, the more efficient your marketing is.


Now, back to your customer data analysis journey. Once you have data appended to your customer database, you can work through analysis to segment your customers by things like what they purchased and when, as well as the appended demographic and psychographic information. This is where the story starts to take shape. You can understand what types of people are purchasing what types of vehicles from your dealership, and even begin to understand what motivates them. It’s like magic that works.


Admittedly, this is an enormous amount of work to take on, if you want to conduct a thorough customer database analysis. It’s as daunting as the amount of time it would take to really dig into sales data for your dealership compared to competitors – even when all of the information is there, it takes time to really uncover the story behind the data. And you are obviously busy focused on the day to day of your dealership.


That’s where a marketing partner comes in. A marketing partner can cut through the leg work and time it takes to complete a data append and analysis of your current customer database. Plus, they can help you better understand former customers and even target prospects based on your ideal customer. Many media companies also have access to pretty stellar first-party data which can be applied for even more sophisticated audience targeting when advertising on their platforms.


We are no exception. We fielded a survey in Q4 2018 with recent car buyers to better understand the auto buyer’s journey – where they start their research, what specific things they’re looking to find out before they buy, where they start looking and more.


When you understand your customers as individual consumers, you can build a smarter automotive marketing strategy designed to be more efficient by reaching the right target audience.


Ready for the gold star in audience analysis? When you understand in-market auto shoppers and you also know where you are losing market share potential, your dealership has a competitive advantage in more effective marketing strategies and more efficient advertising campaigns by combining those insights towards audience targeting.


We would love to help dig into customer insights and market intelligence for your dealership.


Contact us to request a Dealer Scorecard to get started.


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