Automative marketers should embrace their data and stop wasting money, urges expert

Car dealers are wasting much of their marketing budgets while they rely on gut feelings and fail to embrace data or measure results, a leading marketer has warned.

Adrian Richards said dealers need help applying modern tools to their marketing

Adrian Richards, managing partner for local area marketing at The Station Agency, told the Mumbrella Automotive Marketing Summit on Wednesday how dealer level wastage was high and could easily be addressed by applying some simple rules and tools – with dealers who embraced data and understood their communities seeing upt 15% rises in sales.

“I have heard many comments from dealers wrestling with these challenges around their marketing and their investment and it highlights how much marketing spend is being wasted by dealers,” Richards said.

“In a lot of cases they are spending money that isn’t driving their business and that actually means it’s not driving the manufacturer’s business as well.”

He said that when dealers applied a modern approach to their marketing and saw results they were increasingly willing to “put their hands  in their pockets” and spend more on local marketing.

“For a manufacturer that means there is more support for your brand and your vehicles,” he said.

Richards said the challenge for dealers was growing with more competition and more than 60 marques now being sold in Australia.

“Dealers are struggling to cut through this competition,” he said.

“Secondly with an increasingly fragmented media landscape dealers are finding the effectiveness and efficiency of the traditional marketing channels that they have used for 20 or 30 years is actually declining – we are talking press, TV radio – these have been the bedrock of dealer marketing for a long time and some of these new channels they are wanting to use, but they just don’t understand them.

“Dealers have access to unprecedented data and technology to be more targeted, more personalised in how they talk to customers but they need to understand how to leverage that data and technology, and again, many of them don’t.”

Richards also noted that the marketing footprint of a dealer is now more important people waited until the very end of the buying process to actually go to a dealer.

Earlier at the the summit Ben Sullivan from Potentiate revealed that two-thirds of car buyers only visited one dealer before buying a car.

“So it’s more important to use their marketing to attract, engage and persuade car buyers to choose them, and they know this, they want to get it right, they are wrestling with it, they want to improve.

“At the moment they are saying they currently lack the capability they want and the confidence that if they spend money it will work. Many dealers have told me ‘I’m kind of keeping my money in my pocket until I have better resources, better learning and known that when I spend money it’s going to work’, and that’s not good for manufacturers either.”

He said another issues was that most dealers lacked the ability to create a comprehensive annual marketing plan.

“Finally there is a lack of analysis and measurement of what they are currently doing so they don’t really know if it has worked or not and they are not integrating campaign learnings into their future spend,” he said.


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