Why 9 Car Dealers out of 10 are Missing Out on Digital

As you know, the Internet has a huge impact on a dealership’s current and future sales. The decisions you make today can influence tomorrow’s results, profits, and growth

Automotive Digital Marketing 

Before we dive into concepts related to the automotive industry, one must be able to understand the power and influence digital marketing has on our business and lives. 

These concepts flirt with human psychology and that may just be why I love this game so much. 

Digital Marketing is related to any effort to influence a car buyer made online. We have an opportunity to reinforce or break beliefs in order to create a win-win situation. 

There are two main kinds of marketing: Regular Marketing & Direct-Response Marketing.

I chose to do Direct-Response Marketing because I like to track, analyse & optimize based on data, not feelings or emotion.

Any other type of marketing is irrelevant to me. You can build a huge business without going for anything else. Sorry “branding” people.

Direct-Response Marketing will make your business sustainable and most importantly, fun for you and your team.  

Digital Marketing includes your message, image, process and is not only related to advertising. Marketing is not sales, they are two very different entities & serve different purposes, but when blended together, they can create an explosive sales environment.

I do believe we tend to mix up the two, maybe because they go so well together. 

From Google to Facebook and Amazon, digital marketing is the base of most purchases we make today. Big or small.

The way all car dealerships position themselves. You must learn how to intentionally position yours where you want it. I can tell you very few car dealership operators and marketing managers do it effectively.

There’s something wrong with marketing but mostly marketing players today. Technology has exploded over the last 10 years and it seems like the number of solutions multiplies every year.

We tend to believe the business has changed immensely, but it really didn’t that much. Rules have stayed pretty much the same, but only exceptions did change.

As a result, instead of making everyone’s life simpler, digital tools have made your live easier on one hand, but created problems on the other. It has become confusing and complicated for auto dealers who need results today, not tomorrow. And guess what, it has somehow become more complicated for buyers too: more choice = more confusion. 

So many systems are taking over the world every day and all seem too good to be true. But the problem is this: They don’t talk to each other. So to make your business run smoothly, you have to ask people to duplicate everything they do 2 or 3 times. What the…?

This results in confusion on the dealership’s side as most feel overwhelmed rather than relieved from issues. Like I said, new solutions, new problems.

But the reality is that you can’t throw everything together by simply paying the bills and crossing your fingers. Every change will require a change in habits from your team, and this will take time.

Way back when I sold & implemented CRM systems for car dealerships, I would be very disappointed when dealers would hold back on changing systems. But deep down, I knew the real reason: Fear. It was the fear of shaking things up, managing changes, potentially losing business in the short term that kept them from making a change. In all sincerity, I get it 200%.

They believed it would be hard, complicated, counterproductive and frustrating.

Marketing is the art of changing people’s minds, though addressing beliefs from your customer. It’s not advertising, it’s not social media or paid ads. Theses are simply a VEHICLE for the message. 

At one point, Radio was the main marketing tool because it was the strongest vehicle to reach the mass. TV came with a new visual dimension but also higher costs. 

It’s now continuously shifting to digital sources. Marketing is more like a science than a concept. You can apply it to various situations, from business to interpersonal relationships. 

There are many moving parts, variables, intangibles, recipes and mostly, results. All that with extensive, but limited resources to make sure you finish this year in the black (hence the “Black Book” concept). 

Marketing happens online and offline when your customer is browsing your website or in the showroom. Everything in your process from the first touchpoint to the latest has to be thought and delivered in its most perfect way. 

This is so hard because there are so many moving parts come into play. 

It also applies to existing and new customers, two key components of the automotive world. The way you shape your message will have to line up to your customer’s frame of mind if you want to maximize your efforts. Otherwise, it’s going to be a waste of energy on your end and a huge waste of time for your consumer. 

You need to influence the buyer’s intent and control the outcome. It’s a very selfish game to play. You have to embrace it & make sure you’re on point at every step of the customer journey.

Otherwise, someone else next to you is going to beat you to the finish line before you even know what happened. 

If you’re tired of being confused and lose business because you’re not mastering digital, I suggest you take a look at our free Digital Marketing Fundamentals Course for Car Dealerships.