The shift towards sustainable transportation is gaining momentum. The government’s Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate has set an ambitious target, requiring manufacturers to achieve 22% of electric car sales by the end of 2024. For dealerships, this mandate presents both a challenge and an opportunity.
In 2023, the electric vehicle (EV) market share only grew from 15.1% to 16.3%, so the pressure is on. Crafting an effective electric vehicle marketing strategy is paramount to, not only meeting but, exceeding these targets.
In this blog, we’ll explore four essential tips for dealership marketers to create an effective electric vehicle marketing strategy to drive sales.
1. Identify your target audience
Now is not the time for a one size fits all approach. At a recent seminar we held with MB Advertising, Client Services Director Bevan Wilkinson urged marketers to go back to basics and start by creating personas to understand the customers who are buying electric cars.
Using the data you hold on to your existing customers, you can further develop these by:
- Including factors like their eco-conscious values, technological preferences, and lifestyle choices
- Leveraging your data and insights to conduct in-depth research into the characteristics and preferences of electric prospects
- Taking advantage of technology that enables you to analyse customer interactions in more depth
- Gathering insights into the channels and platforms that this environmentally conscious demographic spend their time on and do their research
It’s an approach echoed by Colin Hudson, Head of Client Services at Mediahawk. “Without the right data at the outset, campaigns can often end up as a blanket approach with the same message being sent to the same audience. With marketing campaigns based on insights, dealerships can understand their customer data to identify segments of their audience and personalise the campaigns to these groups. Allowing the right message to be shared with the right people, which can increase the marketing campaign ROI up to eight times according to research by McKinsey.”
Developing a detailed understanding of your target audience will help you define a strategy that ensures the messaging is on point, and that you’re reaching them on the right channels.
“With marketing campaigns based on insights, dealerships can understand their customer data to identify segments of their audience and personalise the campaigns to these groups. Allowing the right message to be shared with the right people, which can increase the marketing campaign ROI up to eight times according to research by McKinsey.”
Colin Hudson, Head of Client Services at Mediahawk
2. Offer incentives and financing options
Pricing is one of the main reasons given by consumers that’s stopping them from switching to an EV.
Sales for new EVs are currently being kept going almost exclusively by the tax benefit that these vehicles generate for companies or individuals. Once these come to the end of their three year business – or financing – deals, they’ll come back into the market.
However, with very little natural demand for used EVs, the key challenge is making sure that they are priced competitively to their internal combustion engine (ICE) equivalents.
Overcome the price barrier associated with EVs by providing attractive incentives and financing options. Collaborate with manufacturers to create special promotions, discounts, or exclusive financing plans for zero emission car buyers. Communicate these incentives clearly through your marketing channels, ensuring that your target audience are aware of the financial benefits of choosing an electric vehicle over ICE equivalents.
3. Enhance your in-dealership experience
Transform your in-dealership experience to make it more encouraging for customers to explore your EV range. Dedicated EV zones within your showroom complete with interactive displays, knowledgeable staff, and test drive opportunities are just some of the ways you can create a welcoming and informative environment to influence prospects and alleviate their concerns.
Spirit Group are an example of a brand that have gone the extra mile to reassure prospects. They’ve created a brand – Bright Sparks. This is their team of electric car specialists who are there to speak to customers and discuss any concerns they have around which model is right for them, range anxiety, charging infrastructure, and more.
4. Leverage traditional marketing tactics to support your online efforts
We know that an online presence is critical for marketing success, there’s something to be said for traditional tactics. Dealerships have started to see success with direct mail by targeting the postcode areas of people who have recently purchased an EV. Bevan at MB Advertising says that this is something they’re encouraging their clients to test out.
This goes hand in hand with your digital marketing efforts, though, and ensuring that you have a fully formed cross-channel strategy that is aligned.
With the ZEV mandate pushing for a significant increase in electric car sales, consumers need to be well-informed. The key to successful EV marketing lies in educating your target audience about the benefits of electric vehicles:
- Create engaging content that highlights the environmental advantages, cost savings, and government incentives associated with electric vehicles
- Actively use your marketing channels, including pay-per-click, social media, blog posts, and newsletters, to dispel myths and build a positive perception of EVs
- Use the data and insights you have available to you to monitor and continually review your strategy, ensuring you can adapt your approach according to customer behaviour and demand, so that you stay on track to meet your targets
Faye Thomassen, Mediahawk’s Head of Marketing adds, “Mediahawk’s latest data trends indicate that, alongside a steady year-on-year rise in phone calls, a whole suite of marketing technology tools are being used to engage with customers. With the right analytics tools, you can find gaps in your content or marketing campaigns that you can leverage. For example, by tracking EV conversions that come from pay-per-click or display, you can discover new keywords that you can use to create or optimise your future campaigns and content.”
“With the right analytics tools, you can find gaps in your content or marketing campaigns that you can use to create or optimise your future campaigns and content.”
Faye Thomassen, Head of Marketing at Mediahawk
As the automotive industry races towards a more sustainable future, dealerships have a vital role to play in achieving the government’s ZEV mandate. These four tips will ensure that dealership marketers have a strong strategy in place that will enable them to reach the government’s 22% electric car sales target for the end of 2024, as well as positioning themselves as leaders in the rapidly evolving EV market.