Automotive Digital Marketing

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Finding a lost earring in the jewelry box, discovering the old autographed Tom Seaver baseball card when you clean out the attic, and learning that the shirt you are about to pay retail for is discounted, are all pleasant surprises. 

How about walking into your bank and having the ATM talk with you and then give you a gift for being a customer?  Could that surprise highlight your day?  Such was the case during a special July day at four TD Canada Trust branches, according to this article.  Many customers received a $20 bill, but for some customers, the trip to the bank was much more rewarding. One lucky customer landed an opportunity to throw out the first pitch at a baseball game. And another got to take a trip out of the country to visit a sick family member.


You shouldn’t need to go far to hear a “thank you” when you visit the bank, the grocery store or your favorite neighborhood restaurant.  But when was the last time you were thanked in an unexpected way?  


Your dealership has a whole database filled with sales and service customers. 

You may even have records of these same customers having referred family members or friends to your dealership.  Without “buying” your customer’s loyalty and giving away all your profits, how about simply using the information you already know about your customers to thank or surprise them?


If your sales or service professionals have taken notes about your customers and input them in your CRM, you can use this valuable information to surprise your customer. 

Your staff may already send birthday cards to their customers. Have they ever taken it a step further and sent a bouquet of flowers or a pair of movie tickets to the customer?  


Consider these situations: Your service advisor learned that “Jane Doe” is getting her car checked out before taking a road trip to see her daughter Mary, who just had a baby.

Mary may not have ever done any business with you yet your dealership decides to send a gift card from Babies ‘R Us to Mary because Jane has been your long-time customer.  Who wouldn’t be surprised at that?


Tony, one of your veteran sales professionals has written a thank you card and tucked it in the armrest in the new sedan he sold.  Later that day, when the customer is exploring their vehicle, they discover the card and the gift certificate to a nearby restaurant that Tony purchased for them.  A simple, inexpensive gesture such as this could reap long-time loyalty.


Like a lot of big businesses, the automobile industry doesn’t shy away from holding regular events, including barbeques in the parking lot, ticket giveaways to sporting events and, of course, special discounts for service and sales.   What if you chose a random day for a “customer appreciation day” and didn’t tell anyone? Who can you surprise today?


It doesn’t have to be about giving gifts to show your appreciation to a customer. 

A random call from a manager or the dealership owner may be worth more than any monetary gift or surprise.  Surprises such as these cost nothing more than a few minutes of time but they could yield your dealership years of customer loyalty.


You don’t have to install an automated thanking machine in your dealership.

But kind words from your employees, a handshake from the general manager, or an unexpected gift placed in the customer’s vehicle, can go a long way in the hearts and minds of your customers. 

Views: 272

Tags: CRM, Canada, TD, appreciation, automotive, customer, dealership, employees, gift, loyalty, More…retention, sales, service, surprise, thank, you


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Comment by Jason Hamblin on August 22, 2014 at 7:49am

+Richard- Great article! I think this will become the norm as we move away from interuption marketing to bringing value to customers and the local community. The Southern California Honda Association has been helping the local community with what they call #Helpful Honda.

They send people out with the light blu polo shirts and have done everything from free car washes, pumping gas, giving free ice cream on hot days, and feeding the homeless.

The SoCal Helpful Honda Dealers campaign has evolved over seven years to become one of the most brilliant marketing strategies for a region of dealers working to change their reputation and relationship with their customers – and leverage that hard earned trust to sell more cars. This is the Future!

Here is a good article that discusses the Helful Honda Campaign further:

Comment by Anne Fleming on August 22, 2014 at 7:40am

Richard -- spot ON article. Great, hands on suggestions. Its always the "little things". Speaking from our #bigdataresearch of women customers, it is all about the relationships first, then the sale. These on-going and lo-cost practices with customers -- as well as the ones with employees -- go a long way to creatively and instantaneously build rapport and lasting retention. Well done. 

Comment by Russ Simmons on August 22, 2014 at 7:35am

Great article.  These actions will go a long way with the customer.  Sometimes forgotten in day-to-day; kind words, a handshake or a smile can make the difference between an OK experience and a memorable one.

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