Must-Know Dealership Marketing Trends for 2019
Will 2019 be a banner year for your dealership? If could be, if you sharpen your marketing. But how? Advice abounds, but not every pundit is worth listening to. Besides, they don’t all agree with one another anyway. And not all predictions of marketing trends for 2019 are relevant to marketing a heavy equipment or truck dealership. It’s just not the same as selling corn flakes or cosmetics.
To help you separate the useful from the off-point, we‘ve gathered some prognostications and tips we think you really should know if you hope to attract more customers and drive greater profitability this year.
The Mantra for Success in 2019? Better Customer Experience!
Everything you do – every single interaction you have with prospects and existing customers, online and off – contributes to their experience with your dealership. Their perception of you and your products. Their willingness to not only buy but return to keep doing business with you. That goes far beyond traditional marketing.
People Still Matter
You may have read that creating marketing personas is no longer necessary. Be careful, here. Personas are nothing more than proof that you know your customers and target prospects well. In an environment where increasing personalization and the quality of customer experiences are critical, personas serve as a litmus test for potential marketing strategies, tactics, and content. Why would you even consider “firing” some of your most trustworthy advisors?
But while personas can direct toward generalizations of your key target segments, you do still need to find ways to further individualize your marketing. Data analysis continues to be a trend you cannot ignore, because it’s that data that will tell you how to engage most effectively with each prospect. Current customers, too. Which channels are they using? What are their interests within the scope of your dealership’s offerings? What keeps them up at night, worrying how to build their own construction or trucking business?
The answers to those questions will help you refine targeted advertising or introduce more (or more effective) retargeting campaigns in 2019. And speaking of ad campaigns, expect to invest more in paid targeted social media advertising this year, especially if you’ve been relying on Facebook updates in the past. Updates no longer give businesses as much reach.
Artificial Intelligence Can Boost the Human Experience
Don’t expect to replace your sales team with AI any time soon, but do consider how chatbots can help improve both your marketing and your customer service. A simple platform such as Drift can dramatically speed response for website visitors, instantly answering simple questions or linking them with the additional information they need, whether they’re prospects researching a product line or current customers looking for usage tips or support.
Customers love this, because the two things they want more than ever in 2019 are fast, personalized response and self-service options. They don’t want to communicate with a salesperson until they feel ready. Creating a web-based archive of downloadable product information, tips, checklists, and premium content such as e-books and whitepapers helps prospects and customers find more of what they want on their own.
On the other hand, if they’re ready for that in-person conversation, your chatbot can connect them in that way as well.
Meanwhile, with chatbots serving more top-of-funnel and mid-funnel prospects, your sales team can focus on the end game. And, PS – chatbots don’t just respond, they pass along their conversation details and the customer data they glean when they link someone with a salesperson. Your sales pros are now prepared to meet each prospect in mid-stride rather than forcing them to backtrack with repeat information.
Not Ready for Prime Time
Save your money and time for tools and techniques that will bring you measurable results this year. But keep your eye on what’s coming next, because marketing innovations that may not be cost-effective for you right now will become necessities at some point in the not-too-distant future. Some of them, anyway. Here are a couple of marketing trends for 2019 you can pass on – with some alternatives that will strengthen your marketing hand right now:
- Virtual reality. Yes, it’s very cool. However, for your dealership, strategic use of video is still a proven winner – something you can take better advantage of without investing in “out there” technology. Use short videos in more ways – product introductions or virtual tours, how-to maintenance demonstrations, safety tips, etc. And make sure you’re using your own key people to host the videos. That way, you’re reinforcing their personal credibility and influence as well as putting faces and personalities to names. That builds trust with prospects.
- Voice-activated search. Also cool, and going mainstream with so many people inviting Alexa and her cohorts into their homes to assist with virtually everything. Nonetheless, this technology has not gone mainstream for marketing yet. Your prospects and current customers will continue to be happy interacting with your website and other engagement tools per usual this year. That said, there are trending technologies you can adopt to greatly improve those engagement experiences.
The only way to stay ahead of your competition is to stay on top of industry trends and predictions, especially for marketing. But it’s knowing which of these opportunities will be relevant for your dealership and customers that will ensure your overall success this year.