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Why It’s Time to Dust Off Your Dealership Marketing Playbook

Why It’s Time to Dust Off Your Dealership Marketing Playbook

Car dealership marketing is famous for flooding the airwaves with ads. While there will always be a role for these strategies, it’s time to dust off your marketing playbook and take advantage of social media and artificial intelligence (AI) technology.

Demographics are changing. Millennials are now the fastest growing segment of buyers, with Generation Z right behind them. Shifting some of your investment to digital platforms like that are more popular with younger consumers like Instagram and TikTok makes a lot of sense.

Marketing software is also changing. Solutions powered by AI use data and customer profiles to enable personalized communications and vehicle recommendations. AI assistants can also be deployed to respond to leads when a dealership is closed, or salespeople are busy with customers. These assistants can move the sales process along and even follow up to ensure a salesperson reached out to the customer.

Including digital platforms and AI technology in your marketing mix doesn’t have to break the bank. You can try a few new strategies with minimal investment.

Let’s start with AI. Today’s AI applications can perform intelligent customer targeting to inform marketing campaigns and 1:1 personalized messaging. For example, the technology can identify the best vehicle to recommend so there’s no frustrating back-and-forth that can lead to a customer abandoning the process. An AI assistant can also help qualify new shoppers to your store and nurture leads until they are ready to hand off to a salesperson.

Every interaction is tracked in the customer’s CRM record so the AI assistant or your sales team can proactively provide information and send specials that perfectly fit where the customer is in the buying cycle. But how do you get more consumers to visit your website so you can start gathering valuable information?

That’s where shifting some of your marketing budget to digital platforms comes into play. Brands like Honda and Chevy are already doing this for new campaigns in the hopes of reaching a younger audience. And they’re seeing brand awareness grow.

For example, Chevy relied on TikTok to introduce its new Silverado full-size pickup truck. It uploaded a video featuring a remixed version of Breland’s popular song “My Truck,” and has nearly 700,000 likes.

If you’ve never been on TikTok or Instagram and have no idea how to make or post content, that’s OK. There are many young people looking to build their work portfolios. Take a slice of your TV marketing budget and use it to hire a college student or recent grad. These digital natives have the knowledge you need to use these channels. They can help you target a local audience that is younger, generate some excitement for your store and build a fan base.

You should also look to hire someone who can help you create content that’s informational and entertaining. For example, you can make videos that explain how to sync an iPhone to a particular vehicle model or how to compare financing rates.

Intersperse informational content with entertaining videos of a member of your team test-driving the latest model at your store, or a young customer doing a victory dance after signing the deal docs. Work with your team to brainstorm ideas and make videos using a smartphone or a vlogging camera. The initial investment is minimal, but the payoff of building relationships is sustainable and long-term.

TV ads and paid search aren’t going anywhere. But if you want to meet consumer demand for more personal communications and reach the fastest growing segments of vehicle buyers, it’s time to dust off your marketing playbook and shift some of your investment to AI and digital platforms.


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