©2019 by Kendall Billman.

 
  • Kendall Billman

Customers Shopping the Competition Want to Hear from You (and this is the message they want …)

Updated: Oct 18, 2019

Every business owner has had that heart-sinking feeling when they find out that a customer has purchased from a competitor.

Why didn’t they come to us? Did we do something wrong? The feeling has been described as akin to being cheated on or ghosted.


It can be hard not to take your customer’s purchasing decision personally, but the fact is, you have no idea why they bought from the competition – and it was likely entirely out of your hands. Was it because of a TV ad they saw? Maybe they were targeted by a competitor with a new model, or visited a dealership with a grand opening in a location near them.

Your best defense against brand defection and arbitrarily losing customers is a good offense.

Today, that means taking advantage of data-backed ways to stay in front of the customer journey. Delivering personalized messages that meet customers where they are gives you a clear advantage over the competition and builds relationships that last.


Locating Customers for Additional Valuable Data

What did a recent McKinsey study reveal was the number one thing customers want from personalized ads? “Relevant recommendations I wouldn’t have thought of myself.”

Your knowledge of the fact that your customers are shopping for a car, or are about to be shopping for one, is critical to your retaining their business and offering relevant, timely options. Especially if they just visited another dealership’s lot.

Different types of geolocation technology can help you deliver ads to consumers shopping in certain areas, but their capabilities are very different.


One of the earlier types of this technology is geofencing. It is still the most common type that digital advertisers use, even though it has proved to spend the budget at a high clip. It “fences” in an area and uses GPS, Wi-Fi, RFID, or cellular data to know when a mobile device breaks this virtual barrier. Marketers can then target these devices and send ads if the shopper has the correct app and has opted in (called a “hard opt-in”). There isn’t an option for targeting your dealership’s customers or sending personalized ads.

Beacons are another location-based marketing technology. They rely on Bluetooth low energy – BLE – meaning that shoppers need to have Bluetooth on and have a Google location service enabled in order to receive ads. As with geofencing, there is no way to target your own customers or send personalized ads.


A much better investment of your digital dollars would be the more advanced geoframing. It creates barriers using latitude and longitude, making it very precise. For example, a dealership might target a third-party service center, popular used car lots, etc., to reach customers going there. Geoframing’s “soft op-in” means that the customer doesn’t need to have a specific app and opt-in; they just need to go to a site or an app on the ad exchange that serves ads, like news, sports, shopping, or social media.


It’s All About Personalization

USA Today recently reported that 70 percent of consumers think geolocation notifications are valuable, and 53 percent are likely to engage with the advertisement.


Yes, your customers want to hear from you – but again, the message needs to be personalized to have value. Ideally, geolocation technology should be seen as a “bonus” way to add more data to the data you already have on your customers.

GeoAlert, by AutoAlert, features geoframing technology to keep you informed of when a customer has stepped onto a competitor’s lot, or even into a third-party service center. Key is that this data is then combined with rest of the customer’s data to determine the best message or deal for that particular customer, at that particular time. Get as specific as you like, targeting customers whose warranty has expired, or who drive a specific model, or who are payment-minded and can trade keys today. Possibilities exist for every segment of your dealership.


AutoAlert also provides proven ways to communicate these opportunities with the customer, some of which are automatized.


This means that we target known customers with a message made just for them, not unknown mobile devices with spray-and-pray marketing.


However, GeoAlert also provides effective conquest marketing, allowing you to deliver timely ads relevant to the particular consumer’s needs and make incremental sales. We show you cost per sale/acquisition. This makes GeoAlert the only tool on the market that allows you to protect your consumer investment while winning conquests.


Above and Beyond the Competition

Finally, it might seem contradictory that your team can make an all-important, exceptionally unique customer experience when using the same tech tools as other dealerships.

But it’s because your data is uniquely yours. In the past, your dealership may have stood out because of unique television ads, super-friendly employees, or an easily recognizable spokesperson. Those things are still important, and still make your dealership uniquely you. However, tech tools take your individuality a step further by allowing you to market to today’s consumers in personalized ways that they notice and appreciate. (That translates to “ways that work”!)


McDonald’s, Whole Foods/Amazon, and Walgreen’s are just a few businesses using geolocation technology combined with other data with great results for themselves and their customers.


Luckily, dealerships can take advantage of this advanced technology today to stay ahead of the competition.



Originally published with Modern Dealership Magazine