Media Icons Auto Auction Baltimore

Image via Flickr by Jason A. Howie

As more and more potential car buyers do research, compare prices, and even take virtual test drives online, the automotive industry has had to change how it markets vehicles. What that means for dealers is keeping up with marketing trends, like integrated marketing. With so many social media profiles and marketing channels to juggle, an integrated marketing approach is the smartest way to market for auto dealers.

Understanding Integrated Marketing

Integrated marketing means that all your marketing (digital, print, TV) has to center around a cohesive subject. It’s about telling a story and demonstrating value, rather than blitzing different social media channels with random, unrelated subjects.

Car buyers get their information from many sources, most of which are online, before going to the dealer to even do a test drive. Because of this, your advertising has to start and end in different places, and it needs to make sense both when looked at as individual pieces and as a whole story.

Attracting potential customers doesn’t just mean getting them to walk onto your lot. They’re going to do research online, first, which means that’s how they need to find you. Once they’ve explored your online options, something has to draw them to come to the dealership itself, where you can transition to a face-to-face approach. That “something” drawing them to visit you has to come from your marketing, and it’s not going to if your marketing isn’t integrated.

The Four C’s of Integrated Marketing

To create an effective integrated marketing strategy, first you need the “four c’s of integrated marketing.” The first is coherence, which means that the ideas you use in marketing all come from one central concept. Next is consistency; use it to ensure that, though your messages may be different, they are never contradictory and always support each other. Then comes continuity, which is creating consistency over a period of time. Finally, complementary — every aspect of your marketing should add up to a larger picture.

How to Create Integration

Come up with the idea that will be central to all your marketing. Are you going after a certain age group or lifestyle? Is your main focus this year on used cars instead of new? This central idea is essential to ensuring that all your marketing reaches the right people and has the right focus. Any time you find your campaign getting derailed, come back to your central idea.

Then, create content that reaches across web platforms and social media. Informative blog content that gives tips and tricks on car maintenance (yet urges people to come in when they’ve got a bigger problem) is great when combined with shorter Twitter and Facebook messages. Perhaps you’ve had luck in the past posting how-to videos about fixing flats and changing wiper blades, which you can reference in your blog content.

Convincing customers to buy from you instead of the dealer down the street is an ongoing endeavor. Let them know what you have to offer and why it’s special, and deliver that message with an integrated marketing approach.