3 Important Ways To Sync Your Message

3 Important Ways To Sync Your Message

Service promotions with the weather

Oh, the weather outside is frightful But the fire is so delightful And since we’ve no place to go Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

It’s a catchy tune to play at Christmas when we’re all caught up in the white powdery stuff.

Until it’s green. Or for that matter, if you live in a region that doesn’t get much snow.

When it comes to your marketing, we’ve already shown you how dangerous it is to just follow or mimc your manufacturer’s message when they’re talking about weather patterns that aren’t happening. Selling winter tires to your audience when the temperature is above 10 degrees doesn’t resonate.

But what happens when the temperature plummets and you get 20 centimetres of snow overnight? We go from singing in the rain to letting it snow in one day. Can you afford to lose that opportunity?

Not when a certain percentage of your clients are procrastinators, waiting until it’s almost too late to get those winter tires or new wipers. Not many employers accept excuses like, “oops, I can’t go to work this morning because I forgot that new battery in my car.”

How to prepare for the weather-based marketing?

What’s the answer then? You can’t rush a marketing campaign through in a day, especially if half your team is on vacation or you don’t sit down with your agency until next week.

Knowing your client base

There is no substitution for parsing your client list by demographics, vehicle traits, preferences, and even maintenance schedules. You can determine who needs winter tires for an old car or a new one. You will know when the last time they purchased a battery or windshield wiper, or for that matter, if they purchase OEM or aftermarket from the hardware store. Having a marketing database available so you can target the right clients will save time and get a relevant message to the right people.

Have a process

Though there is an art to marketing, you still need a process. Having a process will save time as you put campaigns in place. When it comes to weather-based marketing, you know flash-freezes come swiftly. When people know their job and are empowered to put things in place without laborious meetings, you will get your message out faster, perhaps even first.

Have a swipe file

There’s nothing worse to a marketer than not having the creative content or imagery available when they see an opportunity. That’s why over time, creative minds will develop swipe files of snippets they like or powerful images that resonate. Then, when you’re under the gun, you can pull out elements you need and spend your time polishing and adjusting vocabulary to mimic the weather as opposed to trying to deal with your writer’s block.

Be prepared

Weather-based marketing isn’t rocket science, but it may seem that way when you time it properly. Parts and service campaigns have to be ready to focus the necessities like batteries, windshield wipers, and wiper fluids; things that are important for the time of year from a safety perspective. You want to remind the client as opposed to selling them something.  

Educate your audience on the benefits of winter maintenance when the time is right because being prepared come rain or snow is the best way for your marketing to complement the weather.

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more content.

Cheers, Jason Harris  

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Why You need to Change Your Marketing Perspective

Why You need to Change Your Marketing Perspective

5 Important Elements of Marketing Communication

Who was responsible for getting that last customer through the door?

If you put your entire marketing team in a room, they’ll all have the same answer.

“I did it.”

And why wouldn’t they? Their livelihoods depend on it.

Your web developer will take ownership of anything that comes from the website. The traditional marketing team will point to how radio or newsprint ads aren’t dead because they still brought you a client. And your digital marketing team will take credit since the last click came from one of their Facebook or Google ads. They’ll even take credit for the social media referrals because they had a hand in creating the profile.

The concept of attribution, whether you consider multichannel or last click, is antiquated, however, taken from a time when your marketing was based on competition. The source, be it whatever medium,8 can certainly be attributed as the winner, but you need to move away from that notion.

WHY?

Changing your perspective

Attribution is short-sighted and fails to address the real issue at hand. Years ago when you asked someone what brought them to your dealership, they would offer one or two sources. Back then, there was no integration. They may have heard your radio spot or read your newspaper ad and it was enough.

 

Today’s market, however, is far more complex and we need to understand more about what influenced a customer to visit the dealership. And yes, it’s partially so you can adjust your budget, but not just that. It’s about aligning your message and medium properly.

 

Every marketing channel affects your audience differently. Applying the same language and imagery to newsprint as you do to social media won’t speak to the right audience, nor will it articulate the message accurately.

Gain control

Today’s discerning customer can tell the difference between someone educating them and a salesperson trying to pressure them. And with digital content, not only do they control what they experience actively by going to your website or clicking on an ad, but if they don’t like what they see, they can ban you from their airspace entirely. You need live feedback, not only about what works, but why. A radio ad may have been the first time a customer heard about your dealership or a particular vehicle, but their neighbour sharing an ad on Facebook could have clinched the deal. Whether it’s first or last isn’t the most important thing. What matters is what influenced them the most, or for that matter, if it was a combination of channels.

What to Do about it

Once you realize it isn’t about competition, but aligning the message to the medium then you can establish a plan that takes all of those into account.

You will be able to measure the performance of each medium better when you are comparing them to themselves and not to each other.

You can have direct ads in some media, while others require more subtle techniques. You may find you place more effort into one media knowing it won’t give you direct sales, but strong support to all the other channels.

If you’re finding your marketing agencies unwilling to work together then let them go. Not because they aren’t providing results, but because it’s important that your marketing channels all complement each other. Just like your marketing message has to work with your in-dealership operations, they all have to support the bigger picture.

Attribution is defined differently by different agencies, making it a difficult metric to use.

If change your perspective and see attribution as influence instead, then we can trace how people go through the sales process a lot clearer.

 

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more content.

Cheers,
Jason Harris

 

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4 Elements of a Customer Centric Model

4 Elements of a Customer Centric Model

4 Elements of a Customer Centric Model

The Pattern For Success

Time and again we see it.

Two similar dealerships, but one excels, far surpassing the other. We can’t help but look at the successful dealership and ask how they did it. We all started out the same. How did they get ahead, building a new showroom, a bigger service area, even expanding to a second location?

Was it luck?
Did they build on a gold mine?

They must have a secret?

More often than not, the answer is no. It’s actually a very simple concept that makes dealerships successful. It comes down to customer centricity in both marketing and operations. You’ve heard about it. You know those old dealerships when you were a kid. They put people before profits. They keep the customer in mind in everything they do, from marketing to operations.

Simple right? Just put the customer first.

This isn’t a fake it ‘til you make it situation however. You truly need buy-in from everyone at your dealership to be successful. For you to have a spectacular December when all your competition is dealing with downturns, you need to live and breathe the customer-first mentality. You need passion that goes from the awareness stage to post-purchase stage in the buying cycle.

And when you believe it, everything else will fall in place.

So, what do you do?

Stop selling cars

Provide a service that people need. When you’re establishing your product and services, think about what people NEED. Are they going to care about the colour of the seats if they don’t want the car in the first place? One of the best ways is to create distinct audiences and market to each one separately. Though similar, truck buyers don’t need the same things as car buyers. You need to laser target and develop those audiences separately.

Customer service

It’s cliché, but the customer IS always right. Some customers can be so difficult you want to pull out your hair, but when you think of the customer first, then you can achieve their needs and wow them at every turn. When you’re focused on providing what the customer needs, then your own desires don’t get in the way. This type of thinking will help you build relationships and relationships translate into more sales at the backend for parts and service as well as repeat buyers, not to mention referrals. There are now 4 generations in the workforce. That means 4 generations of vehicle owners.

Sharing is Caring

Feedback, especially from your digital marketing, will tell you what your clients are interested in. That knowledge will help you hone your message and achieve that customer satisfaction. It’s important that this data be shared. It shouldn’t be a competition within your dealership and if you have functional silos preventing the sharing of data then success will always be out of reach.

Stop the Churn

Finding new customers is expensive. You need to lead them through the entire sales journey. It’s significantly more expensive than maintaining the ones you already have. You will obviously have natural churn as clients age, but there is a significant portion of the clients you lose that you have control over. Spending your efforts to reduce this will raise your profits. Don’t be afraid to ask why. Find out why you lost a sale so you can change the outcome the next time.

Lifetime value of a client

A consistent message from start to finish, marketing through to operations, will keep your momentum going. You want an all-in commitment to consistent customer centricity because that energy becomes contagious. You can achieve that dedication to process development and keep the marketing and operations teams working together.

The best part about a customer centric model is that everyone wins. Your clients win by getting what they want, you win by having more sales and work, and the shareholders win from increased profits. When you operate under a customer centric model, your customer satisfaction rises. The lifetime value of each client increases through new vehicle purchases and prolonged service usage.                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more content.

Cheers,
Jason Harris

 

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3 ways to wow a client

3 ways to wow a client

I Love my job!

You have to admit that an unsolicited letter of reference is pretty tremendous.
Moving along in your day doing what you always do and someone comes up to you and complements your awesome job. Great work. Keep it up. Please, have this letter of reference.

It’s like a magical key that can open up so many doors.

They’re even better than reviews.

So how do you get them? What can you do every day to make it happen? It isn’t like you can fool your clients into thinking you deserve that leg up. No, you have to earn it by wowing every single person every single time.

Here are 3 things that will help you do it.

It’s not just a customer relationship

At DDS, we call those we work with our partners. Why? Because we work equally towards the goals we’ve mutually set. We set them, adjust them, and work on them as a team.

It doesn’t matter how you define the people you serve, but don’t blithely label them customers. They are your clients, your partners, your family. Call them what they are and treat them even better.

Passion

It isn’t enough to go to work and be happy any more. You need to love your job; LOVE it. Your passion not only gets you through the day, inspiring you to come up with new and innovative ways to achieve your goals, but it’s contagious so your partners will benefit from the same.

Be proactive

We could write a thousand articles about crafting and honing your marketing and operations plans and it still wouldn’t be enough. You need to think about the message you’re putting out there and craft marketing strategies as well as sales processes for everyone depending on where they are on the sales funnel. It isn’t just about calling the management team together to react to emergencies or opportunities. Have a plan and empower your people with it to proactively reach out to your audience.

The golden ticket is hard work

You already know how difficult it is to even get a review. The percentage of your clients that won’t is far higher than those who will and that’s assuming you’ve asked them. With fewer people visiting the dealership any more, it’s all too important to develop strategies and get the entire dealership team committed to your goal. When they are and that passion starts showing through, then your clients will see it.  

Only then will you have impressed them enough to earn that golden letter.

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more content.

Cheers, Jason Harris  

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How To Test Your Dealership

How To Test Your Dealership

Legion of Secret Shoppers

Every business needs feedback to determine how well they’re performing. More often, we leave that up a reactionary process of asking clients after we sell to them.

But what about the people who don’t buy?

Do we know why that young couple left without speaking to anyone? Are you sure it was poor reception for that dropped call earlier?

Relying on feedback from happy clients might only get you half the story and the feedback from an unhappy client may mean a very public and messy conversation. You need a different path to understanding how well the dealership and its employees are doing.

The solution is to use mystery shoppers. Whether you do it yourself or have unconnected actors doing it, mystery shopping can give you invaluable information. Of course, we may not always be ready for that information, but if you’re doing the right things, no one ever has to worry about it.

5 ways mystery shopping can make your dealership thrive

Reduces stress for Employee reviews

Whether it happens once or twice a year, every business eventually comes around to determining how well the employees are doing. It can be an arduous process and sometimes off-putting if not handled well as employees either feel watched if you use sit-in appointments by a manager or underappreciated if they go years without recognition.

Mystery shoppers can go through the whole process without the employee knowing so you get unbiased feedback about how well an employee is doing.

Recognize the hustle of great employees

Just as you can verify what training you need, you can give kudos to employees doing a great job. With positive reinforcement, you not only recognize the good work, but you show others what to emulate.

Better training

Now that you have a process of learning how well the employees are doing, then you can begin to see where your training is needed. If you do this more frequently then you have an opportunity to make adjustments and clear up misconceptions before they become poor habits. Doing it as often as bi-weekly is a great way to gauge performance and adjust accordingly.

Better marketing

It isn’t just about how well a salesperson or service tech are doing. You can test a lot of things like your digital marketing solutions. Have a few people try to use your online marketing; website, social media, booking programs. See how user friendly every facet of your process is by having people who don’t necessarily have a good handle on technology do it. Not every client will be computer savvy, but you need a process for them all.

Increase empathy

As the saying goes, if you want to know what another person is thinking, walk a mile in their shoes. If you want to teach everyone how frustrating it can be to connect then have every person in your dealership play the mystery shopper at some point. They will get a first-person view of what does and doesn’t work.

Invaluable and comparable

Feedback for the dealership and the employees can be stressful. When people know they’re being watched, they won’t perform at their best. Conversely, if their best isn’t good enough, your dealership suffers. Mystery shopping is a great way to get that feedback, whether it’s through a telephone call, walk-in appointment, online booking, or the more obscure parts orders.

 

Remember to do it often enough that it becomes comparable feedback.

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more content.

Cheers,
Jason Harris

 

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5 Important Elements When Switching to Digital Marketing

5 Important Elements When Switching to Digital Marketing

Slow and Steady or Fast & Furious

Though the transition happened many years ago, now and then, we find a dealership that hasn’t made the jump to using digital marketing. Older, these dealerships still use traditional marketing campaigns of print, television, and radio, but with the advent of the internet and digital marketing, they are starting to falter, losing market share to competition that didn’t even exist when they opened their business.

It isn’t too late, however.

In fact, for an agency like Digital Dealership Solutions, dealerships like these offer unique fresh slates. In fact, because these dealerships are so new to digital, they are faced with an interesting prospect that can cause significant stress on a dealer principal. Do they push hard into digital marketing or just test the waters?

As an agency looking to provide more value, we are excited to just get it done, bringing these dealerships into the digital age. So why do it all at once instead of testing the waters? Why establish a full digital marketing footprint rather than placing one piece in at a time?

All or nothing

Levels the playing field

It’s definitely a case where everyone else is doing it so you should too. Your competition could be miles away, but with digital marketing, car buyers are able to see inventory at their fingertips at any time of day. They don’t have to wait for the newspaper, assuming you still have one delivered.

Digital marketing is traceable

A dealership can learn from digital marketing feedback. With digital, you can tell where your audience comes from and sometimes even how long they consume your content. This way, you can periodically adjust your plan. You have nothing to adjust if you’re only dipping your toes in the water.

Digital marketing is interactive

Selling cars is and has always been about building relationships. Digital marketing extends that reach so you can establish that connection even before you meet and then continue to connect long after they’ve made a purchase. Having a full digital suite of options allows you to connect on a deeper level such as social media or email marketing.

Digital marketing caters to the new market

Did you know that 70% of people in Canada carry a Smartphone? 25.5 million. That’s a lot of eyes ready to look at your digital ads, especially when fewer people are consuming traditional television and newspapers are closing from reduced readership. Furthermore, you sell technologically advanced vehicles and your audience may just drive on down the road if they see you uncomfortable with digital connectivity.

Digital marketing Earns peoples trust

Speaking to your neighbour over the fence is one of the strongest forms of building trust. It offers a personal recommendation to use the same dealership as you did. Digital marketing is a souped up version of that concept. It isn’t one person giving a recommendation, but potentially thousands. The more digital channels you use, the more trust you’re building with your audience.

Fast and Furious

It’s certainly possible for you to start small to see how digital marketing works, but in today’s technologically connected world, if you aren’t going all in, you’re doing your dealership a disservice. That’s not to say there isn’t a place for traditional marketing. It depends entirely on the demographics of your audience and the feedback you solicit when you sell a vehicle. Digital marketing however will not only put you in the right mindset to start tracking that information, but will give you the tools to do most of it automatically.

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more content.

Cheers, Jason Harris  

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