Automotive advertising agencies and marketing consultants often leverage their resources to maximize the R.O.I. from their auto dealer client’s advertising investments. Since social marketing is powered by customers sharing their experiences online throughout their shopping, buying and ownership cycle it is logical that advertising agencies should rely on this viral media.
Of equal value is that conventional advertising media only speaks to a small percentage of the market that is looking to purchase or service a vehicle at any given moment making their messages irrelevant to the majority of their audience. To make matters worse, conventional marketing messages targeting in-market customers typically rely on urgent calls to action from a source that consumers don’t trust which further limits the response.
Social media eliminates these flaws in radio, TV, print and even digital media such as email and online marketing. Auto dealers are able to participate in the ongoing discussion that is the market without having to time their message and since the primary source for the message is a trusted friend it will be better received and believed.
To better leverage the viral nature of social marketing auto dealers can also contribute to the discussions in various social networks on hosted Facebook and LinkedIn Pages as well as content distributed through Twitter and Google +. The key difference is that urgent calls to action can be converted to less confrontational offers within relevant content distributed by the dealer in their blogs, posts, tweets and comments on friends’ messages. Old school relationship based selling techniques to make friends before customers still apply.
It should also be noted that other conventional marketing techniques can and should be applied to further leverage social marketing initiatives. For example, data base marketing using automated platforms like Driving Loyalty can provide efficient scalable methods to add past, present and pending customers to an auto dealers social networks. When these “friends” are in market it is imperative that they are treated the same way as they have grown accustomed to in the auto dealers’ social networks.
Driving Loyalty can deliver relevant transparent messages to hand raisers from their social sites without the customer having to talk to a salesperson or visit the dealer’s website. Emails, direct mails and even online PURL’s, (personal websites), can provide customers with VIN specific information including out the door prices and payments that consider the customer’s trade-in, taxes and dealer fees. More uniquely, their algorithms evaluate the dealers’ data base – now friends – to determine which customers have enough equity in their present vehicle to exchange it for a new or newer vehicle with little or no money down for the same payment or less.
Another example of a technology driven solution that further leverages the auto dealer’s investment in the relationships earned through their social networks is IntellaCar. Their iPad based sales platform provides sales consultants with all of the information that they need to compete with today’s educated consumers. More relevantly, it allows the sales consultant to continue using the same third party credibility and instant access to information specific to the customer’s needs on a familiar portable computer screen. The customer experience in the dealer’s online social networks is seamlessly integrated into their first impressions at the dealership eliminating the culture shock that exists at most facilities when customers transition from the virtual to the real world.
Driving Loyalty and IntellaCar can be joined by CallRevu to continue leveraging relationships matured through social marketing. Their next generation technology driven solution allows an auto dealer to monitor their in-bound phone calls to insure that the customer experience on the phone exceeds expectations. All of the time and money invested in making friends through social marketing will be wasted if in-market customers who call the dealership are greeted with a busy signal, dial tone or a sales consultant that doesn’t treat them like a friend vs. a customer.
CallRevu allows the auto dealer to monitor their calls with instant alerts to missed opportunities. The dealer can inspect what they expect from their sales staff in real time to insure consistent sales processes on the phone to preserve relationships developed through social marketing.
Mobile solutions can further enhance an auto dealer’s relationship with their customers and insure that they will stay friends. DealerAppvantage is an example of a mobile based marketing solution that allows an auto dealer to stay connected to their customers after the sale.
The DealerAppvantage app is personalized for the dealership and is offered at the time of delivery at no charge to the customer. It resides on their cell phone and provides a direct link to the dealer with service alerts and consumer centric information that will improve the customer’s ownership experience. DealerAppvantage will improve customer satisfaction, retention and most relevantly preserve relationships for future sakes as well as service.
All of these vendor solutions enhance the customer experience to further leverage and preserve the relationships earned through social marketing. At first glance they may not appear to be directly connected to social marketing initiatives; however they will maximize the auto dealers R.O.I. from their advertising investments through their combined efforts and justify the dealer’s decision to prioritize long term relationships over short term profits which is the key differentiator between social marketing and conventional advertising.