Is Your Dealership Marketing Plan Taking All The Right Steps?
What’s your long-term vision for your construction equipment or heavy truck dealership? Are you sure your dealership marketing plan is aimed directly at achieving those goals? It could be bogging you down or pushing you off track, if you aren’t communicating the right way with the right audience.
The easiest way to feel confident your dealership marketing plan is hard at work on your behalf is to conduct a step-by-step review. If you missed or short-changed one of these steps the first time around, discovering that and revising your marketing plan will bring significantly improved results. Besides, things change. How long has it been since you took a good, hard look at your marketing?
Step 1: Start with the end in mind.
What are your overall business goals for the next couple of years? Perhaps you’re looking to:
- Add a new dealership location.
- Add one or more new equipment or truck OEMs to your lineup.
- Add new services, such as a rental fleet, expanded service or body repair capabilities.
- Add new products such as loss damage waivers and extended warranty products.
- Or simply keep doing what you’ve been doing, only better.
And, of course, you also have specific financial growth targets for your various profit centers.
So what is the target audience you need to connect with in order to achieve each of your new or existing business goals? Those are your key marketing segments. You’ll need to communicate with each of them in a somewhat different way.
Step 2: Create personas for each of those key audience segments.
This is one place your dealership marketing plan could be lacking. Too many marketers consider persona development too tedious to “bother” with, but you can’t put your message in front of the right people and communicate your message convincingly if you don’t know where to aim or what to say. The process of creating personas ensures you really do understand your audience.
So who would benefit most from the various products and services your dealership offers? Why would they benefit? Marketing communication falls flat if your audience doesn’t believe you can help solve their business problems or make them more productive on the job. As you “flesh out” your personas, consider their demographics – age, sex, geographic location, type or construction or trucking company, etc. – and also their psychographics – what’s in it for them personally as a business owner or fleet manager if they do business with you.
Step 3: Define what makes your dealership different.
What separates you from your competitors? Why should potential customers choose you instead of them? It might be your:
- Superior quality service and repair work.
- Bottom-line friendly loyalty program.
- Friendly, knowledgeable advice before and after the sale.
- One-stop, comprehensive range of products and services.
- Or, yes, great pricing.
Step 4: Develop an overall strategy.
Now that you know what you want to accomplish, who you need to reach and what is most important to them (your personas told you that), how will you do it? Successful dealership marketing today must include a strong selection of inbound tools – website, social media, a blog, email – but it’s still important to incorporate networking, trade show participation, hosting events or equipment demonstrations or other marketing techniques that connect you personally with prospects and customers.
Your strategy is the big picture of your marketing plan.
Step 5: Develop implementation tactics.
This is where you determine exactly what your marketing will look like, day in and day out – the content you will create and which delivery channels you will use to reach each audience segment. You’ll also need a plan to regularly study and learn from your marketing analytics, so you can adjust your action plan (and possibly your budget) as necessary.
Step 6: Clue in your team.
Your sales and marketing teams should be actively involved in creating personas and communication tactics. But once your plan has been developed, share the key components with everyone. When your entire team is pulling in the same direction, your dealership will grow faster and more profitably.