Car buying behaviour is evolving – that’s a fact. As the digital journey grows in prominence, automotive marketing teams must deliver effective digital strategies to keep their dealership on a growth trajectory.
Moving away from tried and tested marketing practices is tough. But today, automotive marketers have access to marketing analytics tools that make the digital evolution a straightforward, insightful, and – most importantly – successful process.
Later we’ll look at those tools in detail. But first, let’s dive into exactly what you should be looking for when it comes to understanding your customers’ rapidly evolving buying behaviour.
The automotive marketing insights you’ll want to gather
Gathering the right insights to truly understand what drives the shift in buying behaviour is key to your dealership’s future growth.
You’ll want to know things like:
- How prospective customers search for a new car – which channels do they prefer?
- What words and phrases do they use when searching?
- What questions and concerns do they have at different stages of the buying journey?
- What vehicle ownership trends are impacting the buying journey, too – for example, are people keeping their cars for longer due to the cost of living crisis, thus driving higher demand for servicing?
How to access the most lucrative insights
Traditional methods aren’t going to be effective here. Along with the evolution of buying behaviour, so too has marketing technology and best practice moved on in recent years.
For example, third-party cookies – the ones that allow you to track buyers across multiple online sources – will no longer be an option for marketers when they’re officially banned by Google on the Chrome browser this year. Marketers will need to become far more familiar with the insights that can be gathered using first-party cookies – the data that can be found in your owned marketing channels.
Furthermore, Google Analytics (GA) will switch to its new Google Analytics 4 (GA4) platform this year, shutting down GA as most marketers know it on 1st July. This is significant because GA4 won’t track offline conversions straight out of the box. It means you won’t have any visibility or insight into which sources are driving phone calls.
Finally, for most automotive marketers, call tracking means placing a single static trackable phone number in marketing and advertising campaigns. Granted, this is an easy way to start gathering basic insights on call volumes. But it falls far short of gathering the deeper, behavioural insights you really need in order to make effective changes to your marketing strategy.
The automotive marketing toolbox – what you’ll need
This means that a more savvy – and tech savvy, for that matter – approach is required if automotive marketers are to continue delivering results for their business.
Here are some essential tools you’ll need in your arsenal if you want to boost enquiries, improve profitability, and sharpen your competitive edge.
Dynamic call tracking
Dynamic call tracking will help you go far deeper into customer behaviour insights from phone calls. You’ll be able to understand how customers respond to marketing activity, which channels are influencing them to visit and convert, and how those conversions are happening.
It means you can answer meaty behavioural questions like:
- Do prospects prefer to phone you or fill in an online form?
- Do they tend to check vehicle stock levels online?
- Are they happy to travel long distances to find the vehicle they want?
Static call tracking still has its place – for example, in your Google Business Profile listing, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, and other offline advertising. It should play its part in your analytics mix, but you’ll find the insights from dynamic call tracking will be far more valuable to you as digital buying journeys become the norm.
This much-loved feature allows you to upload your sales data into Mediahawk and see some key insights, such as:
- The conversion path that led to every individual sale
- Buying behaviours across groups of customers and leads
- Any sales trends, such most popular makes and colours
- The value of repeat customers and what influences their decisions
Ultimately, sales reporting helps you better understand the customer journey from first contact to sale and after-sales.
With speech analytics, you can dig into the real nitty-gritty of customer behaviour data. This is where you get to hear the real-world conversations between your teams and your customers, giving you first-hand insight into the things customers really care about.
Marketers using speech analytics can:
- Pinpoint the callers with high purchase intent, by quickly categorising them using voice tags
- Build a more effective marketing strategy – use the insights from speech analytics to know what callers are most interested in, develop your messaging, and create segments for better targeted remarketing campaigns
In short, speech analytics allows you to draw out key customer insights on an individual level and at scale, to identify new opportunities, boost marketing ROI, cut wasted spend, and improve the car buying and after-sales experience.
Google Business Profile
Google Business Profile (GBP) is now an essential channel for automotive marketers. In fact, our 2023 automotive trends report showed that almost half of all calls into dealerships originate from GBP or your own website.
It means you should be spending a good chunk of time optimising your GBP listing and making sure you can track and analyse the data it can offer you.
Luckily, this is easy with Mediahawk’s GBP integration, which allows you to automatically apply static trackable phone numbers to every GBP listing you have.
With your tracking set up, you’ll be able to use tags to track clicks to your website from GBP, and gather a wealth of insight into the customers behind the clicks. For example, you can see:
- Which channels customers come from
- Which pages on your website they view
- What they do next in the buying journey after they visit your website
- Whether they go on to convert or drop off
What’s more, you can pull all this insight straight into your dealer management system to enhance your sales data and give far richer behaviour insights to both the marketing and sales teams.
Upgrade your marketing toolkit
By bridging the data gap and combining insights from multiple touchpoints – online and offline – you’re able to personalise the buyer journey to improve your marketing performance, increase enquiries and, ultimately, significantly grow your revenue.
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