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Breathe New Life Into Your Service Marketing

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Article Highlights:

  • Utilize a single data base for more accurate customer information.
  • Use accurate customer information for targeted marketing.

Most dealers know the service department, with its steady flow of jobs and reliable revenue streams, serves as the financial backbone of the dealership. Vehicle sales can sometimes resemble a rollercoaster month over month, but when the service department is humming along like a well-oiled machine, revenue outlooks typically don’t cause too much heartburn.

Yet, we’d never know this is the case by looking at the marketing the service department does compared to the sales floor.

There are a few reasons for this. One, regardless of financial realities, dealers and manufacturers still think the dealership is the place where they, first and foremost, sell cars.

Selling is romanticized, includes the human element of face-to-face interaction, and is where most dealers’ minds go when it comes to marketing to new and returning customers. The lack of focus in the service marketing area represents a huge – and ongoing – missed opportunity.

This brings us to another possible reason for the current status quo: dealers aren’t quite sure how to market their service departments effectively. This is a more legitimate concern, since beyond throwing out a discount on oil changes or a deal on tires, ideas for drawing people in can get foggy pretty fast.

However, what if dealers are simply focused on the wrong issue? What if the core issue is not the substance of your service marketing, but the inconsistent, impersonal, and unplanned haphazard way it’s traditionally been delivered?

Targeted and Customized Marketing

To clarify, it still benefits dealers to deliver marketing campaigns with more substance than a simple $10 off an oil change. But, it’s also true people need your service department no matter what. The issue isn’t dealers pitching the right product – it’s that service marketing is traditionally ineffective at driving traffic.

We’ve seen time and again customers respond at much higher rates to targeted, personal, and customized marketing. But, how do dealers execute this sort of approach?

It’s worth taking a step back to examine the systems governing your service department as a whole. I consider the ideal solution to be a web-based, comprehensive CRM tool that’s built as part of the DMS and serves as a single point of data entry and retrieval.

You may be wondering: “What does this have to do with marketing?” A single set of data shared across departments means you eliminate data duplication and reduce data entry errors. This provides a cleaner, more accurate database of customer information for your targeted marketing campaigns in both email and direct mail formats.

Targeted campaigns that can be customized to the individual level and delivered with consistency have proven to convert at higher rates than most other advertising forms. Too often, however, dealers look to their database only to find it disorganized, full of half-complete or duplicate entries.

Having a CRM that is the sole entry and access point for such information removes obstacles, providing your service department with a solid foundation on which to base highly effective, targeted campaigns.

With reliable customer information in place, you can equip your service department for the marketing campaigns it has always deserved. Are you ready to breathe new life into your service marketing?

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Product Planning Manager, Reynolds and Reynolds

Jessica is product planning manager at Reynolds and Reynolds for sales based applications.

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