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2016 State of Automotive Marketing Report: Priorities and Strategy

This post is the second in a series of articles exploring our 2016 State of Automotive Marketing reportYou can read the first introductory post here. 

To create this report, our team at 9 Clouds surveyed more than 100 dealers throughout the U.S. This comprehensive 2016 automotive marketing report takes a close look at the ideas, trends, and strategies embraced by dealerships throughout the U.S.

Rather read the report in one sitting? Click the link below!  

>> DOWNLOAD THE 2016 STATE OF AUTOMOTIVE MARKETING <<

Marketing Priorities: Rake in Leads and Conversions

The first question we asked automotive dealers and marketers was: What is your biggest marketing priority? We started with this foundational question because we needed to know if a survey like this would actually provide insights and help the auto industry.

For the automotive dealers we surveyed, increasing the number of leads and conversions were by far the biggest priorities. Digital marketing is essential to reaching these goals, as the correlation with improved sales and ROI shows later on in the survey.

WHAT IS THE HIGHEST PRIORITY FOR YOUR DEALERSHIP’S MARKETING EFFORTS?

2016 dealership marketing priorities

 

Marketing Strategy: To Broadcast or to Optimize?

There is an ever-increasing array of options for marketing a dealership. In this survey, we looked to identify what marketing tactics worked based on two broad categories: inbound marketing and outbound marketing.

Inbound marketing represents the marketing efforts that attract people to a dealer’s website or store. This includes showing up on Google, blogs, social media, and other efforts that are created for people looking for information.

Outbound marketing represents the interruptions that attempt to place information in front of a potential customer, even if they are not expecting it or looking for it. This includes traditional ads in the newspaper, radio and TV ads, and even online ads like Google AdWords.

As you can see below, dealerships tend to spend more money on outbound marketing than they do on inbound marketing.

WHAT IS YOUR DOMINANT MARKETING STRATEGY (BASED ON BUDGET)?

DOMINANT AUTO MARKETING STRATEGY


 

Even though outbound marketing continues to be the dominant marketing strategy for auto dealers, physical and print ads were cited as the most overrated.

IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT IS THE MOST OVERRATED MARKETING TACTIC?

overrated-marketing-tactic-2016


 

Smaller stores (based on monthly sales volume) rely on inbound marketing more than outbound marketing, while larger stores favor outbound marketing.

SIZE OF DEALERSHIP PRIORITIZING INBOUND MARKETING (MONTHLY SALES VOLUME)

SIZE OF DEALERSHIPS


 

This could be a reflection of the lower cost of inbound marketing and the ability of larger stores to spend on the more expensive traditional media.

SIZE OF DEALERSHIP PRIORITIZING OUTBOUND MARKETING (MONTHLY SALES VOLUME)

SIZE OF OUTBOUND DEALERSHIPS


 

Dealers using both inbound and outbound marketing saw marketing ROI increase.

DEALERS USING INBOUND MARKETING IN 2015

DEALERS USING INBOUND 2015


 

Those who used outbound marketing saw higher ROI increase compared to those using inbound marketing.

Because larger dealerships tend to use more outbound than inbound marketing, this points to the growth in larger dealerships. It also suggests that there's a need for improved, more effective inbound marketing for dealerships of all sizes.

DEALERS USING OUTBOUND MARKETING IN 2015

DEALERS USING OUTBOUND 2015


 

We also asked survey participants who created the marketing content for their dealerships. Marketing staff was the clear frontrunner, while marketing agencies took a strong second.

WHO CREATES YOUR DEALERSHIP’S MARKETING CONTENT?

Who-creates-dealer-marketing-content


 

Marketing automation is a new marketing tool that tracks what a website visitor is looking at and engaging with online. Marketing is then automatically personalized for that person.

For example, if someone is looking at a red truck on your website, they would receive an email with information about the red truck, they would see ads for the red truck, and the sales team would be alerted about the potential customer.

DOES YOUR DEALERSHIP USE MARKETING AUTOMATION? (YES)

Screenshot 2016-07-19 15.31.48


 

As you can see in these two charts, dealers using marketing automation are 2x more likely to see higher marketing ROI than dealers who do not use marketing automation.

DOES YOUR DEALERSHIP USE MARKETING AUTOMATION? (NO)

Screenshot 2016-07-19 15.31.53

If you want to learn more about marketing automation and how it could help your dealership, request a free Internet marketing assessment.

Connecting Marketing and Sales Departments

Even though marketing and sales are deeply interconnected, the two departments are often disconnected. By using marketing automation, marketing teams can better interact with their sales teams.

Using marketing automation may be an important consideration for sales teams as well because it helps with their three biggest challenges: prospecting, following up quickly, and qualifying leads.

The next installment of this blog series will focus on just that — how to maximize leads and sales. If you want to increase the effectiveness of both your sales and marketing teams, this next post is a must-read.

There's More Where That Came From!

Want to devour the entire 2016 State of Automotive Marketing report in one sitting?

No problem! Download the full report now by filling out our short form below.

 

Download the Full Report


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