Customer defection is scary and so are the challenges of conquesting.
Here are three steps to ensure your dealership doesn’t get left behind in the downturn.
1: Let artificial intelligence drive your efforts
VB Insight found that 80% of marketing automation users see their number of leads increase after adoption, and 77% see an increase in conversions—and that’s just automation. Imagine if you had a crystal ball that could tell you what consumers are thinking to give your marketers and salespeople an edge?
Essentially, that’s artificial intelligence. It does what the best salespeople do.
- Remembers everything about individual customers.
- Never forgets a transaction.
- Learns how customers prefer to engage, and at what pace.
- Learns what is most useful to them.
- Messaging is crafted by skilled experts.
- Becomes more helpful over time.
Automation with your email marketing is a great first step and utilizing tools with artificial intelligence driving the engagement is second, but the key to success is an omni-channel approach at step three, so you’re hitting everyone, everywhere, with what they want to experience through the channel they want to engage with.
Current retail trends suggest that, by the end of 2020, customer experience will supersede price and product as the key brand differentiator. In other words, a well-connected omni-channel experience will no longer be an option but a strategic necessity.
A.I. can help ensure you’re correctly deduping against existing contacts in your CRM and DMS to target net new consumers, but its true function and benefit is in how it then connects with those people on a personalized level to drive more sales and service visits.
2: Conquest first party leads
There is a treasure trove of consumers that live within a dealership’s databases that have been lost and forgotten, either by being cast aside to make room for the newest, hottest leads or customers who previously purchased but are getting generic communications without the personalization they’ve come to expect in today’s Amazon & Netflix world.
These are consumers who receive a service coupon 5 days-post service or invitations to purchase a vehicle when they have shown no intent to buy, while ignored leads have turned 60, 90, 120+ days old. Between them and neglected customers, this is where your low scoring reviews come from, where email spray and pray blasts perish, and the idea to defect is decided.
There is a “Holy Grail” of missed opportunity you already have access to, and the key to unlocking those opportunities starts with clean data and employing artificial intelligence practices and marketing automation.
Regular data management helps dealers reach the unreachable in their databases, increasing their ability to retain current customers, and providing more opportunity for targeted outreach throughout their customers’ individual lifecycle.
While focusing on conquest, you also can’t forget the importance of retention. Accenture found that 87% think all brands need to put more effort into providing a consistent customer experience after the sale.
Industry average is that you’re going to retain about 50%. But really, there is no such thing as a retained customer. As soon as a consumer drives off the lot, you can’t assume they’re ever going to come back. You need to work just as hard as you did conquesting them originally to retain them.
3: Don’t neglect service
Finally, remembering to conquest first party leads and focusing conquest efforts on more than just sales reminds us that you can’t neglect the importance of servicers.
In a recent comprehensive, multi-year data study conducted with RXA and Experian, Outsell found that dealers who engage consumers with A.I.-driven lifecycle marketing saw a 31% increase in service visits. Whether the consumers had previously serviced with the dealership or not, getting them to service earlier in their ownership lifecycle saw an even bigger return.
Marketing to in-market servicers also requires an omni-channel approach. Not able to reach someone through email? Your automation tool should know to target them through social. Not seeing any returns from social media? Then your tool should know to send a direct mail piece. A.I. can put the focus on in-market servicers only, without wasting marketing spend, and extend your dealership’s reach beyond a single channel or profit center, while giving power to the customer for where and how they want to engage.
The problem most dealers are having with conquest is they’re thinking too linearly. Success isn’t a matter of 3rd party lists and lead forms anymore.
Start with first-party leads, the unsold prospects you’ve been forgetting. Target your service customers. Conquest for service, because getting them in the store is one of the best ways to ensure repeat business over time. Be smart about how you are acquiring net-new leads, and market to all these buckets with AI-Driven communications that understand and follows up with them the way only the best salespeople can.
The best time to change your marketing tactics to personalized customer lifecycle marketing with artificial intelligence was yesterday, but the second-best time is today. Effective conquesting in 2020 will be through A.I. Driven Consumer Lifecycle Marketing—period.