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Steering your marketing strategy for the road ahead

Article Highlights:

  • How to reach your audiences at home.
  • Create a plan that meets your dealership’s needs.

In this episode of Reynolds’ new video podcast, Connected, Josh Allen, vice president of sales at Naked Lime Marketing, addresses some of dealerships’ top concerns on how to strategize marketing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Greg Uland: As the COVID-19 virus continues to change the world and how we live and work daily, this podcast discusses ways to continue operating in this unprecedented social environment. Today we have with us Josh Allen, Vice President of Sales at Naked Lime Marketing. Josh, thanks so much for joining us.

 

Josh Allen: Thanks for having me, Greg.

 

Uland: So, Josh, digging right in. One of the biggest things on dealers’ minds right now is trying to cut back on spending. And they’re in kind of a tough spot because on one hand, you want to make sure that you’re saving money where you can. But on the other hand, there’s a big online audience right now, so they want to make sure they’re present when they can be. How is Naked Lime recommending dealers handle this kind of current situation?

 

Allen: That’s a great question, and it’s the number one question that we’re getting from dealers right now. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to dealers and the quicker we all realize that, the better. If you really look at the media, the maps, and the data in different parts of the country, they are affected really differently. You’ve got some parts of the northeast and parts of the west coast that are affected differently than what we’re seeing in the Midwest, for example. So, it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach when we’re looking at budgets either.

 

Let’s say my dealership is essentially shut down due to state orders, it might make sense to adjust some spends here or there to target higher funnel shoppers rather than lower funnel shoppers knowing that the buying process is going to be a little bit longer and they may be a few more months out from buying. That said, I spoke to a dealer just on Friday that had a record March and had a great month to continue to spend, and they’re still doing a good job. So, we’re taking it dealer by dealer, day by day, and communicating to each individual dealer what they need to be doing, what the strategy is for them, their specific dealership, and their specific market.

 

Uland: All right, good to hear. What about channels? Is there anything that either, on an individual basis or broadly speaking, you’re seeing dealers or you’re recommending dealers do from a channel perspective and kind of how they’re marketing?

 

Allen: Another good question. We look at, again, individual dealers and what they’re doing and then we look at the market. Really no matter what market you’re in, right now we’re seeing a spike in online traffic, and a huge spike in online video traffic. People are at home. They’ve got more time on their hands. We’re seeing a spike in desktop traffic rather than mobile traffic, which is kind of interesting too – bigger screens, more video streaming, things like that. It’s interesting that Netflix, for example, just came out with Ozark, right? And so I’ve seen that one kind of blow up. And then if anybody listening is a fan of Tiger King and Joe Exotic. That show is absolutely insane and couldn’t have been better timing to go viral.

 

Shifting gears from Netflix, what we’re seeing is really online media blow up. I’m spending a lot of time on Netflix, like I just mentioned. I’m also spending much more time on YouTube, much more time on Facebook. So what we’re suggesting to our dealers is to spend more time with video creation and online video content to get into some of those different media channels, where in the past they may have stuck strictly with Google AdWords or just Facebook ads.

 

Uland: Makes sense. It’s interesting, not surprising, but interesting you mentioned desktop traffic being way up. It’s something that everybody should keep in mind, obviously, because of the type of content and how it’s consumed really does matter. You know, one of the things that I’m curious about, with it being a sensitive environment and again, kind of an unprecedented time for everybody. Are there any best practices or any things that you’re seeing about how to communicate and what you should be saying? On the flip side of that, is there anything to avoid?

 

Allen: A couple of different points there. The main thing to avoid is getting caught up in that same message that everybody else is sending. We really need to focus on, if I’m going to send out an email to my customers, how I’m responding to the COVID-19 situation. It needs to be unique to my dealership. It’s not a copy and paste type thing. It needs to talk about what I’m doing to keep my dealership clean. What I’m doing to sanitize. What I’m doing to deliver vehicles, if that’s something that I can offer. I saw a unique message from a dealership last week where they said, “we’re delivering vehicles, but these are also the sanitation methods we’re taking on the vehicles we’re delivering to you.”  Just for peace of mind.

Think back in the last week or two – how many e-mails you’ve gotten from companies that you do business with? It could be retail clothing. It could be restaurants. You name it – you’ve probably got an email from them. And a lot of times, unfortunately, the message is very, very similar. If we can get that message unique to that dealership and unique to that dealership’s customer set, it’s going to be much more impactful for that dealership and for their customers.

 

The other thing that we’re seeing is, in this tough time, a lot of communities are really coming together and making some significant impact to help out our first responders, medical staff that are at the testing facilities or in hospitals. Even If it’s something as simple as providing meals to those people or making donations, and our dealerships are helping there, they should get that message out. In times like these, consumers are going to look to businesses that step up and help out in the community. So, best practices are to get that out on social media, get that out in video advertising like we just mentioned, get that out in e-mails as we’re communicating to your customers. We all need to step up. We all need to do our part. But, you know, if our dealers are doing that, then they need to let the customers know that’s the type of dealership they are and that’s the type of people that they are.

 

Uland: That’s good advice. Josh, it’s been great talking with you. I’m glad that you were able to make the time to hop on with us today. I think this has been a valuable use of a few minutes. Before we hop off, is there anything else that that you want to share? Anything else you want to touch on?

 

Allen: Yeah, the only thing I would really recommend is, right now we’re all kind of socially distancing and physically we’re away from each other. But just like you and I are doing this video conference, we need to communicate. And our dealers need to communicate with us. We need to communicate with our dealers. That is really the main thing. Communication is key. So the more communication we can have on what a dealership is doing, what their strategy is, what we recommend that they do, the better off they’re going be and the better we can service them and service their customers.

 

Uland: That’s great. Well Josh, thanks so much for, again for taking the time today. I really do appreciate it. It was certainly valuable and, best of luck moving forward and helping dealers as much as we can.

 

Allen: All right. Thanks, Greg. Appreciate the time.

 

Uland: All right. Thank you. This has been Connected. Stay safe and we’ll see on the next episode.

 

Continue to tune in often to see new episodes on best practices and tips for navigating the automotive industry during this unprecedented time.

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