marketing

For years, YouTube, TikTok, and online social media, in general, have educated consumers on how to spot good marketing. But unfortunately, it’s also made some jaded, picky, hesitant, and elusive customers. It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling Fiat’s or Ferrari’s; well-researched marketing is essential to your dealership’s success. This is especially true in our low-inventory environment, where dealerships constantly compete for customers.

Creating a successful marketing campaign can be challenging, but some tried-and-true strategies can help. Here are five steps to creating successful auto dealership marketing campaigns.

1. Know your Audience

The first step to creating a successful marketing campaign is understanding who your target audience is. Unfortunately, companies have misunderstood this for years. Remember the Honda Element that was supposed to target young buyers but sold to Baby Boomers? Or the Scion brand? 

What are your buyer’s needs and wants? What makes them respond? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you create messaging and content that resonates with them. So first, create a profile of who your customer is with information like:

  • What is their age?
  • Where do they live?
  • How big is their family?
  • What are their needs?
  • What is the problem they need to solve?
  • Why would they buy from you?

As an owner, you don’t have to like the campaign for it to be effective. You should only care if it works.

2. Set Clear Goals

Before you even start brainstorming your marketing campaign, you need to know what you want to achieve with it. For example, do you want to:

  • Drive more traffic to your website? 
  • Generate more leads? 
  • Increase service traffic?
  • Increase social media engagement? 

Once you have set clear goals, you can develop a strategy to achieve them. It can’t be “increase brand awareness” or similar goals that are hard to measure.

3. Create Strong Stories and Visuals

Your marketing campaigns should include strong visuals that effectively capture attention and communicate your message. A solid visual could be anything from a catchy tagline to an eye-catching image or a short emotional video. 

The marketing campaign shouldn’t be about you or your sales or how big you are; it’s about the customer and how they feel after buying from you. So, let’s repeat this: It’s not about you but about what you can do for your target.

4. Use the Right Channels

Not all marketing channels are created equal. If you’re dumping all your campaigns on local television, you’re probably missing your target. 

Instead, based on your data, you need to choose the channels that reach your target audience and help you achieve your goals. This could include paid advertising, social media, SEO, blogs, email marketing, or even sponsorships for local events.

Each channel needs its message and creativity. If you have the budget, use it to provide the right message for the right channel. Unfortunately, TV ads don’t work on Instagram or TikTok. Likewise, print ads won’t work on YouTube. 

5. Measure and Adjust

Once your marketing campaign is up and running, it’s crucial to measure its performance and adjust your message. This will help you fine-tune your strategy and maximize your results. These three words will make you better: Measure, Refine, Repeat.

Start Today

You can create successful marketing campaigns and stories to help your target market get what they want. Telling your story in a unique way that meets the needs of the target and gives them a plan on how to get that need will ultimately get you the sales and loyalty you want.


Did you enjoy this article from Steve Mitchell? Read other articles on CBT News here. Please share your thoughts, comments, or questions regarding this topic by submitting a letter to the editor here, or connect with us at newsroom@cbtnews.com.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date or catch up on all of our podcasts on demand.

While you’re here, don’t forget to subscribe to our email newsletter for all the latest auto industry news from CBT News.

dealers