[Posted October 16th by Keith Shetterly]
Equity marketing refers to the process of finding customers who have investments in a brand or product and then marketing to the appropriate audience within the auto dealer customer base. The term equity marketing can refer to efforts made toward customers who already own the brand or those who are utilizing other aspects of the dealership such as the service lane.
What Is Equity Marketing?
Equity marketing has been around as long as there have been car dealerships, but it is only in the past few years that CRMs or customer relationship management software systems have allowed auto dealers to truly tap into this rich vein of potential leads.
Auto dealers who utilize equity marketing find a ready-made audience for sales pitches. These customers are already in the dealership or have visited in the past. In some cases, they already own the products the dealership sells; in others, they are simply waiting for a good deal to close the sale and become loyal brand customers.
With the help of a good CRM, sales efforts can be fine-tuned to target certain segments of the equity market. For example, a CRM can help the sales staff locate those who bought vehicles about four years in the past from the dealership and have been utilizing the service department on a regular basis. By reviewing the service records for these customers, sales staff can quickly identify those who might be receptive to a trade-in for a newer vehicle. Similarly, a list of those whose leases are about to expire can be quickly populated for phone calls, emails or other direct marketing techniques.
How Can A CRM Help A Dealership Take Advantage of the Equity Customer Market?
Finding the right CRM is important if dealerships are to take advantage of equity marketing opportunities. A CRM can help dealers tap into previously unutilized portions of the potential equity customer base through strategized marketing techniques. For example, by providing instant customer groupings, sales staff can sort potential leads with the touch of a button, allowing them to target very specific demographic or geographic groups.
Another useful technique involves cross-checking customer characteristics. By combining those customers who currently do or do not own the company brand with service records, sales staff can find many potential leads and follow up with specific marketing aimed at those customers.
Finding the Best Communication Channels for Customers
Besides aggregating data, CRMs are very useful in identifying the best form of communication for particular customers. For example, customers who enter the sales funnel by clicking on an ad from the brand website may be more amenable to brand-specific marketing while those who enter from a composite website may require a different technique. Further, certain customers prefer the use of email while others prefer the personal touch of a phone call. CRMs can help determine which customers prefer these methods of communication and can assign tasks to various departments or to the call center to generate potential leads.
With the help of the right CRM, dealers are able to take advantage of equity marketing techniques and identify customers who may be ready to purchase a new vehicle.