Has slingshot marketing replaced shotgun marketing?

December 15th, 2014 | Written By: admin

Slingshot-MII believe that the automotive industry has always been quick to respond to challenges.  It does a good job at adapting, but at times it has a tendency to overcorrect as well.  The term “shotgun marketing” has long been used to describe a blanketed marketing strategy that has little targeting.  It’s an overly simplified message aimed at a very general audience with a very general message.

Three key technologies have significantly impacted and altered the shotgun strategy.

First, databases are becoming more complex and we are gaining the ability to mine them for customers with like behaviors

Second, communication platforms are allowing for unique targeting to smaller segments

Third, digital communications are much more prevalent

By combining these technologies you can, in theory, more effectively reach your customers with a more targeted and compelling offer.  But, you can also over-correct with this technology by decreasing your reach and frequency and ultimately not communicating enough to convey your message.  This is called slingshot marketing and many dealer strategies are falling into this category. Here is a list of technology pitfalls to avoid…

  1. Relying on email as the main method of communication—It is true that email is cheaper… but it could cost you a fortune in lost revenue. With a 25% open rate and a 5% click through rate, email is not truly reaching enough customers to be a stand-alone business to consumer option.  You would fire any agency that neglected more than 70% of your customers.
  2. Making a drastic change in direction rather than a smooth transition.  The adoption of new technology does not come overnight to your customers, so your communication method shouldn’t change overnight either.  Typically those who are the quickest to adopt new technology, our children, do not actually buy or service cars with the dealership.  The sweet spot is typically behind the front of the curve.  Too many dealers adopt certain technologies because they want them to work, rather than because they actually do.
  3. Basing all your marketing on “the right time” model—only 27% of customers get their vehicle serviced within a 60-day window of when it is recommended.   Marketing has proven that consumers need repeat message and impressions to build trust in making a buying decision.  Trying to send one communication at the precise moment in time when they will respond means that you are actually ignoring that customer if you miss the exact window.
  4. Forgetting the art of marketing – The science of targeting causes many to forget they are selling themselves and the value of “Why to choose you”.  Timing the message doesn’t take the place of selling the value of your people, your warranties, your services, etc.  These are the reasons your customers choose you.  Be sure to sell that.
  5. Lumping in non-marketing technologies as part of the marketing—some manufacturers and marketing companies are lumping in technologies with their programs in an effort to close the deal.  It sounds good because you are getting “more for your money”.  Just understand, things like schedulers and dashboards don’t actually drive traffic.  They can be very valuable to your process, but don’t look for them to drive traffic.
  6. Putting all your eggs in one basket – Investment brokers will always tell you to diversify your portfolio to protect yourself from risk.  Partnering with the right marketing company for each particular program is a similar way of protecting yourself.  All companies specialize in limited fields so they will be great at certain skills, but below average at others.

Technology is providing exciting new opportunities for those who learn to master it.  Your marketability and success as a general manager or service manager will depend on your mastery of it.  But, don’t lose sight of the most basic and important goal… It needs to work!

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