Article

The Right Product For The Right Customer At The Right Time

August 2006, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Ali Amirrezvani - Also by this author

Junk mail and e-mail SPAM, how much do you get per day? Most of us get daily marketing materials from every type of company imaginable, but how many offers actually apply to you or are useful in your life? If you’re like most people, not very many. The problem is that most companies do not practice profitable and focused marketing which means offering the right product to the right customer at the right time. However, the Internet and, especially, e-mail can still be a very effective means of connecting with a dealership’s customers. The trick is to use tactics like e-newsletters that hit a car buyer or potential car buyer more personally. You can make your dealership an exception to the masses by practicing profitable Internet-based marketing, and in the process save time, woo new customers and strengthen existing relationships. How do you do this? Simple: Implement a matrix marketing program.
In the simplest terms, matrix marketing is the ‘mining’ of your customer database to determine who your customers are, how they are unique and what products and services they will likely be buying next. This is done through a step-by-step process that helps you find the data you need to identify specifics about customers. Then, you employ it in a targeted marketing campaign to clearly defined customer groups. You can use your dealership’s database of customer information and segment it into a variety of distinct ‘cells,’ or groups of customers. These will then help you determine which have the greatest likelihood of cross-sales, new auto sales, service bay sales or other dealership sales potential.

Identify Customer Variables
To develop your matrix marketing program you have to know the specifics of your customers so that you can zero in on the information, products and services they will most likely want to hear about or need. This is where you employ any data that you have collected about customers. Customers can be segmented into ‘cells’ according to many variables, including: estimated income, age, marital status, geographic location, occupation, past purchases or other pertinent data. Of course, the more information you can collect on your dealership’s customers, the better. While this article focuses on how to use that data, you should always be on the lookout for ways to find out more about your customers and potential customers and to collect that data for customization purposes.
 
To develop your matrix marketing program you have to know the specifics of your customers so that you can zero in on the information, products and services they will most likely want to hear about or need. This is where you employ any data that you have collected about customers. Customers can be segmented into ‘cells’ according to many variables, including: estimated income, age, marital status, geographic location, occupation, past purchases or other pertinent data. Of course, the more information you can collect on your dealership’s customers, the better. While this article focuses on how to use that data, you should always be on the lookout for ways to find out more about your customers and potential customers and to collect that data for customization purposes.

Determine Communications for Each Cell

Once you’ve segmented your customers into these cells, you need to determine how you will communicate with each cell. For example, you may send quarterly service discount coupons to customers who have recently purchased an automobile. Potential customers, those who have visited your site but have not yet purchased from you, may receive monthly e-mail updates detailing new inventory and special offers for first-time buyers. The point is to develop communication materials that target what the customers in each cell want and need.

Define business rules for each cell

“Business rules” for cells are essential to make sure you don’t bombard your customer base with too much information. A key business rule would be identifying the maximum number of communication pieces customers in each cell can receive in a given month, quarter or year. Additional rules can include details on specific customers such as ‘Do not contact’ status, preferred method of contact and other issues, all of which can be defined and spelled out.

Prepare a detailed plan document

The final step is to prepare a detailed plan document. The document should include all the specific definitions of each cell: the specific attributes of the target group, an overview of the mail or email piece that will be sent, timing of when the piece will be mailed, and an estimated count of how many customers will receive the piece. The document should also include a month-by-month schedule for all the cells in the matrix marketing program that your dealership can follow. With this step complete, you are ready to go!

Matrix marketing systems are a highly effective way to increase a dealership’s business, but they can be confusing at first if you don’t have experience with the concept. You might need professional help to set one up and get started. There are expert interactive and online marketing companies in the automotive space that can get you up and running in no time – and on your way to better customer relationships and increased sales.
 
Vol. 3, Issue 2

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