There is great news for dealerships today, and much of it revolves around the consumer market and the many options that exist when it comes to reaching a wide range of diverse audiences. Although it may sound daunting to take on the task of figuring out exactly how to communicate your products and your brand to every consumer in a relevant and meaningful way, this offers great opportunities for you from a business standpoint. Yes, the more diverse your audience becomes, the more complicated things get when it comes to determining exactly what you need to communicate and how you need to communicate it, but the payoff is that when you do finally figure it out, the rewards are huge. When your dealership is able to convey all you can offer to a variety of different shoppers—all with a bevy of different needs—you’ll be able to pat yourself on the back for a job well-done.
You already know you offer a great product. With an outstanding salesforce in place selling cars and a fully staffed service center that boasts highly trained professionals, you have what it takes to make it in the competitive dealership business. So now what do you do? How do you elevate your product and services even more so that your dealership experiences even greater success?
If a store in the Midwest were to try to sell hurricane shutters, chances are, they wouldn’t fare very well simply due to geographic considerations. This is a simple example of what it looks like when a business doesn’t study the surrounding market and learn everything possible about what shoppers in that particular area may be interested in buying. Now, try thinking of the various considerations that might require your attention in the world of automotive. There are several market segmentation traits you should take into consideration when thinking of your audience, like:
Geographic region. Do you live somewhere that requires drivers to use 4-wheel drive vehicles often? Are there close-by rural areas or work sites that would necessitate trucks or heavy-duty vehicles?
Demographic growth and/or shifts. Demographics throughout the country are continuously changing as families grow, ethnic groups shift, and communities change in size. Does your targeted audience have a language preference? Do the consumers in your area lean toward luxury or high-performance vehicles?
Shopper attitudes. By looking at consumers’ overall views regarding life, work, and purchases like homes and vehicles, you’ll be able to understand more about what’s driving their purchasing decisions. Do your consumers tend to be nature-loving, outdoorsy people? Maybe a 4-wheel-drive is in their future. Are you in an eco-conscious city? Your shoppers may be looking for hybrids.
Shopper behavior. The way shoppers behave can tell you a lot about what they will do when it comes time for their next vehicle purchase. Do your homework to find out if shoppers tend to be brand-loyal or if they are adopters of new products when benefits or perks are offered.
Once you’ve begun to look at your shopper audience through a more discerning lens, you’ll be able to see a wide variety of opportunity. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to marketing, you’ll need to cater to various groups and needs, but along with this more complicated marketing approach comes a broader opportunity for improved sales and market reach. When consumers see your dealership is truly working to establish an authentic connection with them and understand their individual vehicle needs, you’ll gain their trust and loyalty.
Take a look at companies that are doing exactly this outside your industry. For example, Old Spice hit a ringer with The Old Spice Guy, Isaiah Mustafa, and with the “Smell like a man, man” tagline, appealed to men with humor and wit. Not only did Old Spice target their audience with appealing content by using humor, they followed up with a social media campaign, allowing The Old Spice Guy to respond and interact with followers. By doing their homework and knowing their audience, the company created a successful campaign that was still abuzz and getting reactions years after the campaign was originally released.
After you’ve done your initial homework and discovered the various consumer groups that surround your dealership, it’s time to evaluate your products and services and see which groups you are best suited to reach. Remember, not every business can fulfill every need for every consumer; if that were the case, consumers would have no need to shop around and businesses would never be in competition with each other. Thankfully, however, you can rely on your strengths and sell those to the consumers in your demographic who have shopper needs your dealership is able to fulfill.
To do this, define your target audience. Take an honest look at the skills and expertise at your dealership—and then match that up with what’s needed in the surrounding marketplace. Focus your time and energy on communicating what you offer to those who need it most. If your dealership is located in the mountains of Colorado and you happen to offer the fastest snow tire changeover in the area, be sure you let shoppers know about it. Or if your dealership is in a Spanish-speaking area in Texas and the professionals on your staff are bilingual, be sure customers know they’ll feel comfortable as soon as they walk into your showroom. Whatever your strengths and whatever you offer as a benefit to shoppers, don’t assume everyone knows it; instead be proud of what your dealership does to stand out from the rest and be sure to let people know about it.
By defining your place in the market and discovering the wide range of consumers that are around your dealership, you’ll broaden your chances of success. Instead of settling for a one-size-fits-all marketing approach, use a more diverse approach, and consumers will notice the many ways your dealership stands out from the rest. Being able to meet individual customer needs is a skill that will show your customers you truly care and are interested in providing the best solutions. Your market is full of possibilities—it’s up to you to define your success!