Fixed Ops Journal - October 2020 - F24
Dealership uses targeted social media
marketing as recovery tool I PAGE 26 I
FIXED OPS JOURNAL
BANKING ON SERVICE
Boost in digital marketing spend aids retailers as pandemic lingers
s COVID-19 state mandates shut down
dealership retail sales, more targeted
marketing efforts with bigger budgets were shifted to fixed ops departments that remained open as essential services.
"Many dealers made massive cuts to their
marketing budgets, but they didn't touch service," says Alexi Venneri, CEO of marketing
firm Digital Air Strike.
The sudden importance of service marketing in the early days of the pandemic led many
dealers to closely examine new strategies.
While dealership budgets have largely returned to normal, Venneri says a bigger-thanusual piece of the pie has gone to service marketing.
"If a dealership was only
spending $5,000 a month
on service marketing, it
may have grown to
$10,000," she says. Dealerships should do even more
but "it's a step in the right
direction," Venneri says.
Venneri: Step in
Other marketing comparight direction
nies report similar changes. From April to July, dealerships increased
their service marketing budgets by 48 percent
on average, according to data from digital
marketing firm Sincro, formerly part of CDK
Global. For that extra spend, says Laura Clapp,
a senior vice president at Sincro, "our dealers
have seen a 6 percent lift year-over-year in
service website traffic."
Consultant Glenn Pasch, president of PCG
Cos., said targeted marketing "is really helping people get more for their money."
He also says social media creates opportunities for better messaging, particularly video.
Pasch says progressive dealers were already
moving on precision targeting and video before COVID-19, but the pandemic accelerated
both trends because customers suddenly
were at home online all day.
The OC Auto Team, which operates four
stores in Southern California, averages about
13,000 repair orders per month. But in the early days of the pandemic, "our repair order
count was down significantly," President John
During this time, the Tustin, Calif.-based
Tustin Mazda, part of OC Auto Team, uses
videos on its website to target customers.
dealership group redoubled its efforts with
video and targeted marketing.
Starting in April, it worked with digital marketing agency PureCars to create videos about
the cleanliness of the dealership and the safety customers could expect with their service
"A critical piece of the puzzle has been making people feel they are 100 percent safe," Patterson says.
The videos resonated enough to lead to
more videos about the overall service experience at the store, including dialogues with
service advisers and technicians. The videos
performed well online and can be targeted to
Patterson estimates that the videos, based
on customer surveys, may add a 3 to 5 percent
lift in spending per repair order and convert a
sizable number of online viewers to appointments.
Another marketing effort was pursuing their
"In the past if a customer bought a Honda or
Toyota from our store, we've let that customer
go elsewhere," Patterson says. "Now, we can't
afford to miss anything, and we are seeing
more first and second oil changes on brands
we don't sell."
Key to earning those customers is constantly testing small campaigns and properly using
While restrictions related to the
pandemic are loosening in most
states, customers still want to be
reassured that dealership service is
safe. "I don't think the cleanliness
factor is going to go out of style this
year," says John Patterson, president
of OC Auto Group, which operates 4
stores in Orange County, Calif. Here
are tips on how best to communicate
a dealership's practices.
Mention ongoing commitment to
social distancing and keeping
employees and customers safe in a
prominent spot on the dealership's
Detail safety measures on the
dealership's Google My Business
Promote automaker efforts related
to sanitization, such as General
Motors' Clean initiative.
Describe safety processes in videos
that show steps being taken. In
videos unrelated to COVID-19, wear
masks and practice social
Continue to offer and promote
pickup and delivery.
in-house databases, Pasch says.
"For example, who in your database needs
tires and is at about 40,000 miles? Now you have
a subset and that's who you target," he says.
OC Auto Team's repair order count has returned to normal levels but Patterson says the
marketing efforts have brought in more customers, while video inspections have helped
lift individual repair orders.
Service gross profits for the year are up about
3 to 5 percent, he says.
The group spends roughly $2,000 to $4,000
per month on service marketing - about 15
percent of its total budget, an increase from 10
percent in 2019.
"There was a time when service marketing
was 5 to 10 percent of our budget and we were
questioning every dollar," Patterson says.
"Now we know, and we know if we're stagnant
in our marketing we're going to lose out."
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2020
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fixed Ops Journal - October 2020
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2020 - Intro
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2020 - F1
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2020 - F2
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2020 - Contents
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2020 - F4
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2020 - F5
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2020 - F6
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2020 - F7
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2020 - F8
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2020 - F9
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2020 - F10
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2020 - F11
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2020 - F12
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2020 - F13
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2020 - F14
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2020 - F15
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2020 - F16
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2020 - F17
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2020 - F18
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2020 - F19
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2020 - F20
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2020 - F21
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2020 - F22
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2020 - F23
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2020 - F24
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2020 - F25
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2020 - F26
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2020 - F27
Fixed Ops Journal - October 2020 - F28