What Dealers Should Know About Location-Based Marketing

Location data is getting increasingly sophisticated. With all the available marketing options out there, and consumers’ increasing appetite for location-based experiences, this is one trend you should be aware of and start thinking about how it could apply to your business.

The problem with mass marketing

Mass marketing is what advertising agencies typically call television and radio. The idea is to appeal to an entire market with one basic marketing strategy and then mass-distribute it with the hopes that you eventually reach the right person at the right moment.

According to a Google study, consumers have 900 digital touch-points before they purchase a vehicle—a long trail that can’t be captured with traditional market research. However, with modern technology we can leverage this data and narrow the marketing scope down with pinpoint precision, which means instead of having to pay a premium to reach a broad audience, you can direct your efforts towards personalizing your story the moment you want to reach someone.

There’s a huge opportunity for dealerships to get in on these consumer and business benefits: Google searches for car dealerships with the phrase “near me” have grown over 200% in the past two years. The dealerships that are the first to take advantage of location-based marketing are ones that stand to benefit the most.

Smartphones + Location mapping

Location-mapping systems in smartphones are getting incredibly precise, and companies like GasBuddy and Waze are leading the charge in ultra-tailored, location-based experiences. They use GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to map a consumer’s coordinates and provide a customized experience: for example, the current prices of nearby gas stations, or special offers at local restaurants.

While storefronts like dealerships may not be privy to all of this location data directly, third-party companies can give you access to this data. The shortcoming of this is that many people use their phones on the go—while it might be an indicator of where a customer is currently shopping, it may not indicate where they live, which is a clue to their demographic. This is where collecting postal codes comes in.

Where and Who

Google is one of the leaders in location-based technology; by providing information that’s relevant to a customer, exactly when and where they need it, they improve the value of that information to the customer.

Two pieces of information are especially of value to dealers: who is coming to your showroom and where are they coming from. The first can be attained from partners like Google, the second can be attained by collecting postal code data from your customers.

Postal code data lets you know where your customers are coming from, and it pairs with smartphone location data to give you a 360-degree view of how far away your customer is coming from and when/where they are doing their car shopping research.

Dealerships Can Use Location Services to Acquire New Customers

Dealerships can benefit from location-based smartphone services as well as customer postal codes in a variety of ways. One capability is using postal codes of existing customers to target “look-alike” audiences that are likely to be interested in visiting your dealership.

You can also use postal codes to find out how far your customers are willing to travel to visit you. This can help inform next steps in your strategy, like ramping up your marketing in other regions in an attempt to increase your reach.

Incorporating Location Data into your Marketing Strategy

Used correctly, location data is a powerful part of mapping the customer journey because it can fill “offline” gaps with precise data rather than time-consuming survey data. This will ensure you’re spending ad dollars where and when they’ll work the hardest for you, targeting and converting the right customers without the guesswork.

It’s been found that companies using a formal consumer journey plan see a significantly higher (24.9% compared to 16.2%) Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) than those companies without one.

This is why it’s important to work with a digital strategy partner for your digital marketing that will help you incorporate location data and retargeting to create a strong consumer journey plan and a marketing strategy reflective of that. Click here to learn more about TRADER’s TRFFK powered by autoTRADER.ca offering.

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