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Building a High Performance Marketing ‘Mix’ for Dealerships

bowl of trail mix with walnuts, almonds, and dried fruits next to a spoon
Article Highlights:

  • Your social posts provide a sense of consistency in your mix.
  • It’s essential that your video content feels authentic.

A quality marketing strategy isn’t about individual pieces like keywords, social ads, or even email content. It’s about how those pieces connect. Think of it like a bag of trail mix—sure some of the ingredients are good on their own (yes, we’re looking at you, chocolate chips) but the combination of flavors is what really makes it great.

Whether you’re a ‘store-bought-classic-mix’ kind of dealership or a ‘custom-blend-with-my-own-ingredients’ kind of one, we’re providing a list of all the elements you will want to consider as you develop your next marketing mix.

Round up the Raisins

We know that not everyone is a fan of dried grapes in their snack foods, but it’s safe to say that raisins are an essential part of trail mix. (After all, can you even call it ‘trail mix’ without them?) Search engine optimization (or SEO) is our marketing equivalent of the raisin.

SEO is all about fine tuning your keywords, links, and even site navigation to ensure that search engines can suggest your content to shoppers searching for queries relevant to what you have to offer. It’s not the most glamorous element in any marketing strategy, but it’s critical for brand differentiation at every level.

Quick Tip: SEO best practices are constantly changing, which can make it hard to keep up. If you’re trying to find areas for improvement, check out Google’s Lighthouse tool—it’s a free, open-source automated tool that measures website SEO (as well as performance, best practices, and accessibility). This can help you determine where your SEO strategy could use a little TLC moving forward.

Push the Peanuts

With everything that makes up a marketing strategy, it can be easy to dismiss social posts as a sort of ‘filler content,’ much like the peanuts you find in that classic trail mix. But that doesn’t mean they don’t serve an important role. These are the things that provide a sense of consistency in your mix.

Your customers will put a lot of research into what vehicles and services they need—make sure that you’re meeting them with an active social strategy. This means being consistent with how frequently you’re posting (and interacting with customers), as well as ensuring that your brand voice is unified across all content.

Quick Tip: Only about 20% of your social strategy should be promotional content. That other 80% should include informative, instructive, or entertaining content. If you’re having trouble figuring out what you should say? Consider your sales customers and your service ones, and look for automotive topics they might like to learn about directly from experts like you.

Check for Those Chocolate Chips

Everyone loves a good video, and some customers will likely pick through your social presence just to find them. Because of this, it’s safe to say that the ‘chocolate chip’ of a marketing mix is video content.

91% of people say they want to see more online videos from brands in 2023, however, it’s essential that your video content feels authentic. Simply making videos for the sake of videos won’t cut it.

Have you ever tried chocolate that just didn’t taste quite right? Maybe it tasted a little bit too artificial or had an odd texture? That feeling is similar to the one shoppers get when they find a business with inauthentic video content. Your customers will be the first to tell that something’s not quite right, and the result could be your shoppers defecting to the competition.

Quick Tip: Your brand personality is key to making sure your message sticks when consumers watch your video content. Find that thing that makes you stand apart from the crowd— whether it’s a wacky mascot, a special event you host, or something else— and see how you can utilize that to craft professional, personable videos.

Add in Some Additional Treats

Another thing about your dealership’s marketing mix— as you figure out what works for you, it becomes a lot more curated. And there’s all sorts of additional treats that you might want to add:

  • Granola— Search and Display advertising is a versatile practice. It can be great for generating leads and boosting brand awareness on its own or as a part of something larger (kind of like granola). Wondering how to increase the effectiveness of these kinds of ads? Using location based targeting and bids can increase your dealership’s visibility for queries like ‘car dealership near me’ or ‘best repair shop in my city’.
  • Cashews, Almonds, or Other Tree Nuts— As important as it is to understand your dealership’s strengths and goals, it’s also essential that your dealership understands it’s audience. Cashews, almonds, and other tree nuts are like your email marketing efforts. These aren’t for everyone (in fact, some might be allergic to them). A custom, targeted strategy for your email marketing is a must—it saves you time and money, and it helps avoid any bad reactions from your customers.
  • Pretzels— Pretzel fans are usually pretty adamant about their love of pretzels, and (if done right) the same can be said for your eNewsletter. A newsletter is a great tool for generating (and maintaining) the relationships that move your inventory and fill your service lane. It allows your dealership to get in touch with consumers, see the content that they’re interacting with, and provide more of the “good stuff” overall.
  • Dried Fruits— Including dried fruits in your trail mix is a lot like including direct mail in your marketing strategy— and just because it’s an older, more classic element doesn’t mean it’s out of date (pun intended). Direct mail (when paired with accurate consumer data) can be that extra push that consumers need to take action—whether that’s scheduling a service, booking a test drive, or coming to your lot to buy a new car.


It’s safe to say a quality marketing strategy contains a bunch of different ingredients, all of which work together to generate leads, boost brand awareness, and establish customer loyalty. And the perfect marketing mix is going to look a little different for every dealership depending on things like goals, skillsets, location, or dealership size. As you develop that ‘just-right’ combo for your dealership, double check this list to make sure you’re not forgetting any essential components.

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Mollie is a Marketing Communications Specialist at Reynolds and Reynolds. Since joining the team in 2022, she’s guided initiatives for Reynolds marketing products, produced the Connected podcast, and worked with dealers to collect testimonials and success stories. Mollie received her bachelor’s degree in Studio Art and English from Marietta College. She also obtained an associate’s degree in Marketing from Rhodes State College.

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