Dealership Communication ToolsDealership Marketing

Touching Your Customer

Which billboard ad does your customer drive-by and view 50 times per day?

Which newspaper ad do your customers look at 65 times per day?

Which online banner ad does your customer look at 100 times per day?

I’ll bet you don’t have a marketing initiative that touches each one of your customers 50-100 times per day. At the end of this article I’ll share two new marketing channels dealers are using to win first mover advantage with their customers.


In the world of marketing “touches” matter. That’s why as marketers we’re in the local paper, on facebook, on a billboard, or sponsoring a local charity auction. Good marketers know that building a brand doesn’t happen with one super bowl ad. Marketing takes variety and it takes strategic repetition.

We want to be first in mind when our customer thinks of taking a purchase or service action with a vehicle. Easier said than done. In order to be there when the timing’s right a lot of “reminding” needs to happen weeks, months, or even years before.

In the car business, especially among the same brands, we all sell the same end product. As a result we need to differentiate – build a brand that jumps to a customer’s top of mind when they think of purchasing or servicing a vehicle. This requires a strategic mix of traditional and cutting edge marketing initiatives.

Breaking Through the Noise

remarketing_trainAn innovative marketer is constantly looking for, and experimenting with, new unique ways to get thier brand message in front of the customer.


While traditional approaches, such as print advertising or paid search marketing, seem like a safe bet, the truth is these channels are now overcrowded. Overcrowded with marketers who are late to the game. Our messages continue to get lost in the mass of competition trying to do the exact same thing we are.

The true value in many of these channels has already past! Those early-in were able to reap tremendous benefits before effectiveness started to wane with the mass of “me-toos” joining the party. Think of the first marketers who really leveraged Google’s paid search program. Boom! Top spot in multiple categories for pennies on the dollar.

How about those who leveraged Facebook early? You’ve heard the success stories.

“Wait, Ben. Facebook doesn’t work for our dealership”.

Translated: Facebook doesn’t work for our dealership, NOW. Those “early all in” marketers were able to leverage a solid, effective channel before it became overcrowded. To do this, innovative marketers try and make all kinds of mistakes.

Without a doubt, many a dollar was spent poorly “testing, trying, and failing”. The reward, however, for those who find a solid new marketing channel can pay off huge in marketing reach and marketing ROI.

“Ben, are you saying we shouldn’t invest in print or paid search marketing?”

Of course not. A quality marketing strategy has a well-balanced approach. My goal is to stretch you, to get you to experiment, test, try, and fail. You don’t need a massive budget to dip toes in the water. Remember your customer is changing day-by-day – previous marketing channels that were successful are losing their effectiveness.

Marketing Channels to Watch

So what innovative channels should you be experimenting with right now? I’ll share two with you. Retargeting and Smartphone Home Screen Marketing


If you aren’t utilizing retargeting with Google, you are missing a substantial opportunity. Retargeting gives us the ability to touch a qualified customer with a message multiple times per day on multiple websites, no matter where they choose to browse.

See how it works: visit You’re a quality candidate to me. As a result I happily pay Google for the opportunity to market to you over the next month – all around the web. This is an undercrowded opportunity for your dealership right now. Start a retargeting campaign with Google today.

Smartphone Home Screen Marketing

Your customer has a smartphone. It’s more precious to them than their wallet!

How many times do you look at your smartphone home screen per day? Is it 50? 75? I’d be willing to bet for some of you it’s more than 100 times per day. Smartphone home screen real-estate is some of the most valuable for today’s marketer. There simply isn’t another form of media your customer looks views with this frequency. Have you noticed no matter where you go on your iPhone or Android device, you are constantly prodded to download an app?

Visit USAToday, eBay, or Zappos from your mobile browser. Why are top companies encouraging you to download an app? An app download requires an icon be placed on your home screen. Whether you open that app or not, you’re seeing it on your screen many, many times per day. These “touches” make it much more likely that the next time you’re interested in current events you’ll think of and open the USA Today App. The next time you think of shopping for shoes or that new computer, you’ll open the Zappos or Ebay app. After all it’s one touch away.

If your customer downloads your dealership mobile app early in the sales process, you have created a “lock in” effect. The next time they think of searching inventory or scheduling service they think of you. Not only is an app a multi-touch branding opportunity, it offers one touch convenience for a next step action.

For the cost of mobile app for your dealership, I can’t think of few better values “per touch” right now.

What other cost effective ways are you “touching” your customers? 

Ben Anderson - AKA "hair model Ben" is the President of AutoMotion, a leader in mobile apps for dealers. Ben is a regular speaker on mobile for many i...