Car Dealers and other Small to Medium Sized Businesses (SMB) are using a number of different tactics to draw new business. This according to [download page] a Forrester Consulting study commissioned by Act-on Software, but digital marketing continues to take a backseat to tried-and-true face-to-face tactics.
Asked which techniques they use to acquire new customers, at least half indicated they were using 14 of the 15 identified. Leading the pack are personal relationships and networking (95%), tradeshows and industry events (89%), and in-person events (86%). Content marketing is also popular (83%), as is print advertising (77%) and PR (74%).
It is encouraging to see "Content Marketing" as the fourth most popular marketing tactic being used by many businesses (83%), but there is a tremendous amount of room for improvement in efficacy of strategy and tactics around content marketing that we continue to see throughout the automotive vertical.
The most popular automotive digital marketing tool is SEO, used by 73% of respondents. Beyond that, Car Dealers and SMBs are using a variety of digital tactics, including email marketing (72%), social media marketing (69%), digital advertising (61%), webinars (58%), and PPC (50%).
Social’s Worth Still Hasn’t Been Proven
Still, there seems to be a perception among Car Dealers that social media has not yet proven to be useful. For example, among the Act-On Software survey respondents using social marketing, 81% are using Facebook – but about 40% of those say they don’t know if it’s working. Similarly, 74% are posting on Twitter – but more than one-third of those are unsure of its usefulness.
Getting More Leads A Prime Challenge
The report – “Driving SMB Revenue in a Tough Economy” – also finds that the top marketing challenge for Car Dealers and SMBs is converting more leads into opportunities, cited by 41%, slightly ahead of closing more deals from existing lead flows (39%). What’s interesting is that marketing programs aren't being found to be prime contributors to the sales pipeline. In fact, most respondents said that less than one-quarter of their leads are attributed to a marketing program. The average contribution of marketing programs to that sales pipeline is 35%.
The study suggests that Car Dealers and other locally based retailers aren't making enough use of marketing automation – only about 1 in 5 said they had implemented software that automates marketing and lead management processes. That compares to 56% who have implemented CRM technologies, and is despite other findings showing a correlation between use of marketing automation and revenue growth.