There are indications that the UK auto sector will experience an upswing in the next 12 months. This is due to several positive factors, including a consistent increase in the supply of vehicles, a gradual improvement in inflation, and the promising retail performance of electric vehicles.
The end of 2022 already showed an improvement in new vehicle supply, and the trend is expected to continue.
That’s backed up by Mediahawk’s own automotive trends data, which shows positive growth in phone enquiries and website visits for dealerships in the first part of 2023.
Despite current economic conditions being sub-optimal, inflation levels are expected to improve throughout the year and exceed Bank of England targets. This will help to build consumer and business confidence, which in turn will benefit both the new and used car markets.
That’s not to say there aren’t still challenges to overcome. But it’s certainly a rosier picture than many dealerships may have expected to see at this point.
So, what key things are driving the recovery? What factors do dealerships need to keep track of as we move through 2023 and beyond?
Life returning to normal after COVID-19
Following the lockdowns and restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, people are once again out on the roads. This return to normality will naturally drive growth in new and used car sales, as well as the demand for servicing.
Because of this, 2023 looks promising from a growth perspective. New car registrations grew by 18.2% in the key ‘new plate month’ of March, one of the most crucial times of the year for new car sales.
SMMT Chief Executive, Mike Hawes, said: “March’s new plate month usually sets the tone for the year so this performance will give the industry and consumers greater confidence. With eight consecutive months of growth, the automotive industry is recovering, bucking wider trends and supporting economic growth.”
Growth in automotive marketing channels
From a car dealership marketing perspective, some interesting new trends are emerging. Marketing channels that previously may not have seemed significant – such as social media and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising – are coming further to the fore, opening up revenue streams for dealers.
Beyond these growth areas, one key driver of phone enquiries into dealerships remains consistently lucrative: Google Business Profile (GBP). For automotive businesses, GBP provides a sure-fire source of calls and must form a key part of every dealership’s marketing mix.
It’s helpful to have a good understanding of the impact GBP has on your dealership marketing effort. To help with this, Mediahawk’s call tracking and marketing attribution software can integrate with Google Business Profile, providing a range of benefits for automotive marketers. This includes checking all your GBP listings to see if your URL has the right tags applied and that your phone number is being tracked.
With all this in mind, it’s vital that automotive marketers remain agile, aware of the best-performing routes to market, and ready to adapt to a recovering and ever-evolving landscape.
How to use analytics to ramp up automotive marketing ROI
In order to stay agile, dealerships must make better use of their analytics data to inform marketing strategy. This is much more straightforward when employing marketing analytics software such as Mediahawk.
In recent years, automotive group Dick Lovett found itself flush with leads from phone calls, but struggling to identify where they were coming from. This meant the business had no way of knowing which marketing activities were paying off and which were simply draining the budget.
Using Mediahawk, the marketing team at Dick Lovett deployed dynamic call tracking on the website and trackable static phone numbers in offline marketing to identify exactly where all leads were coming from. This meant the team could achieve 100% marketing attribution across all marketing channels and prove the value of each. It also allowed them to identify any leads lost during the sales process, further helping to ramp up marketing ROI.
Just like Dick Lovett, many automotive businesses make use of Mediahawk to help them stay on top of rapidly evolving markets. What’s more, integrating the data from Mediahawk into your dealer management system will give you an even greater level of detail and insight to improve performance.
Future focus: what next?
While the industry continues to recover, automotive marketers will need to remain especially vigilant to changing market conditions.
Early warning of new trends – such as best performing channels or shifts in customer behaviour – is key. Historically, this hasn’t been easy to stay on top of. But with the right marketing analytics tools and techniques in place, it needn’t be the headache it once was
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