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Owner retention programs (ORPs) are one of the most used marketing tools and have been used by dealerships for many years. However, most ORPs are run in a silo, separate from the rest of the dealership’s marketing strategy.
This practice results in an inconsistent, less than optimal experience for dealership customers. The way it currently works is dealers sign up with several marketing vendors for different purposes; e.g. one vendor for their ORP, another for email marketing and another for video marketing. As a result, customers are subjected to messages with different voices, different ways of connecting and different tones.
To increase customer retention, you need to deliver a strong and consistent brand message. Your marketing strategy is an important part of how customers perceive your brand. To improve brand perception and thereby improve the customer experience, it’s critically important to connect the dots between your ORP program and other marketing products. Here are a few examples of how this connectedness works and how it improves your marketing efforts.
Data is the backbone of every marketing program. To be successful requires using first-party data in your DMS, as well as third-party data. Why? The more data you have on your customers, the better insights you have into what drives their behavior and actions.
It’s critical to integrate all customer data with your ORP in order to communicate accurate and timely information. Data helps with messaging and also knowing when to start and stop communications. Data also allows you to see who is redeeming your offers, viewing your marketing and what drives higher CSI scores.
Historically, conquest marketing has been viewed as a separate strategy from ORPs. However, the best conquest customers are the ones who are currently in your DMS. Isn’t a return customer even more valuable than a new customer?
Using data such as buyer habits, life events and Internet history, you can accurately guess when an existing customer is ready to exit their existing cycle and start a new one—regardless if that cycle is in sales or service.
Then you can take those customer profiles and data and create lookalike audiences, so you can accurately identify new prospects in your primary market area (PMA) who are most likely to buy. This conquest strategy is much more cost effective than blanketing an entire PMA with television commercials and direct mail.
You may not think of an online scheduling product as a marketing product, but it’s essential to have this connected to your marketing program. When you send out service reminders and customers respond, you want them to be able to schedule without delay.
When a customer logs into your scheduler, do they see the same service offers that they received in the mail or on social media? This allows them to simply click on their offer(s) of choice. Seeing exactly what they received helps to build trust and create a consistent customer experience.
Service Lane Software
Integrating your service lane technology with your retention program helps with the customer experience, as well as how to communicate. Anything that happens during a service appointment can be communicated to everyone who’s involved with touching the customer and ensuring that message gets delivered.
It’s well known that customers are wary of being taken advantage of. Service lane software ensures consistency of messaging at every level. What the service advisor tells a customer in the shop is the same message they hear two weeks later when they receive their next email.
More than 80% of people consume media over digital channels, so marketing via digital channels is no longer an option. This applies to your ORP as well.
Social media is a very cost-effective way to deliver personalized service reminders, lease-end expiration alerts and other timely and relevant messages. These communications can be dropped right into your customers’ Facebook and Instagram feeds.
In marketing there is a “Rule of 7,” meaning it can take up to seven marketing touches before a customer takes action. Adding digital channels such as social media and online ads to your ORP is an effective way to increase customer touches without seeming overly invasive.
Other digital channel strategies to consider include integration between your website leads and your ORP, as well as videos into email marketing.
Instead of running your ORP in a silo, try integrating it with the rest of your marketing products. When you consolidate and integrate multiple products into a single, cohesive marketing strategy, your dealership will convert and retain more customers, as well as deliver a better customer experience.