Digital Marketing Strategies for Spending Smarter
This first half of 2020 has presented its fair share of challenges, and no one quite has a handle on how much longer this is going to last. According to the 2020 Cox Automotive COVID-19 Dealer and Consumer Impact Study, nearly one-third of dealers think things won’t be “back to normal” for six months or more, a number that has steadily risen since April. More than one in 10 don’t know if things will ever be back to “normal.”
These changes have brought new challenges at every turn, from shifting customer preferences to margin compression to economic downturns. The uncertainty has made making business decisions difficult, including determining the right digital marketing strategy for your dealership. One thing is for sure though: dealership marketers must start spending smarter.
Since March, the number of in-market shoppers has dropped by 25%, according to the 2020 Cox Automotive COVID-19 Dealer and Consumer Impact Study. With a smaller total pie, dealers have to fight hard for their piece. To win in this market, dealerships must deliver the shopping experience customers are looking for, starting with digital marketing.
“What we’re seeing from the digital marketing front is more than dealers adopting product. There isn’t one single tool out there that facilitates the full car-buying process and experience consumers want,” said Wayne Pastore, Vice President of Operations, Dealer Marketing, Cox Automotive Dealer Software Solutions. “Today, success is about creating a full solution: how advertising and marketing align with the car-buying process, how customers can look at inventory, and how they can schedule service and delivery.”
A smaller piece of revenue pie means dealers must deliver the connected experience car shoppers want with smaller marketing budgets. Now is the time for dealerships to differentiate themselves from the competition by doing more with less. Now is the time to create a strategy for spending smarter.
The first step in spending smarter is to evaluate where your resources are going today. After all, a smarter budget isn’t always a smaller one. You may find that your dealership actually needs to increase spending in certain areas to drive the leads you need and get the most bang for your buck. Here are a few spending areas to consider.
Given the changes that have taken place this year, your technology needs may have changed as well. Tools that were once “nice to haves” may now be essential to doing your job, especially if you’re working with a decreased staff and/or budget. Think about solutions like video advertising, website experience optimization and artificial intelligence. Tools like these, which automate many tedious digital marketing tasks, are critical to success when resources are tight.
According to the 2020 Cox Automotive COVID-19 Dealer Impact Study, only 60% of franchise dealers anticipate returning to prior staffing levels once all this is over. Despite overall decreases, however, 30% of dealers still plan on increasing internet sales positions. Look at where your payroll dollars are going, and ask yourself the hard questions about which departments will drive the most meaningful results in today’s environment. Even if it just means retraining staff for different roles, ensuring you have the people you need in the roles you need will boost results.
With limited dollars, every source of ad spending should be investigated. But you have to look beyond line items on invoices to determine if your advertising budget is being spent efficiently. Are you seeing your sales team continually failing to respond to a certain lead source appropriately? It might be time to reallocate those dollars elsewhere. Think through not just the cost of the placements, but also of the ROI the sales team is delivering.