Car Dealers Back To The Basics: The 4Ps of Marketing
One of the first things any business student would learn in their marketing class would be the famous 4P’s of marketing which can also be referred to as Marketing Mix, or the definition of marketing itself.
In broad and simple terms, marketing mix theory demands that your marketing activities address your product strategy, pricing strategy, place strategy and promotional strategy. In other words, you need to put the right product in the right place, at the right price, and communicate this information in a way that raises customer awareness. Seems simple right? But it’s all about fit. Each of the four Ps need to be geared towards your specific target market and work with each other in order for the strategy to be effective.
Does your dealership implement the essential 4Ps or marketing? Let me take you through the 4Ps, which will allow you to determine if you are executing a suitable and effective marketing mix strategy.
Product: The product is what you’re selling, but it’s not just the item itself that’s included in this element. It’s also the different varieties of your product, its quality, how it is designed, packaged and branded. Any reason why your consumer might want to purchase your product is included in the “Product P”. From a dealer standpoint, while there are strategies one can use to differentiate oneself in the marketplace, a lot of the heavy lifting in this category is done by the manufacturer, as they are typically left in charge of product development.
Price: You may think that the price is merely the amount that you charge customers when they purchase your products or services but pricing strategies also include discounts, special offers, bonuses, payment plans, credit terms, etc. This is an element that all dealers do very well as credit terms are offered, monthly incentives are released, and special pricing and discounts are often applied.
Place: This is where the customers go to browse, look at and shop your vehicles. You can refer to your dealer building and your dealer website for this element. Dealers need to make sure their dealership is visible, convenient and well taken care of to attract the right consumers but they also need a website that reflects the quality and excellence of the brand and products. It is easy to find remarkable and grandiose dealerships in pristine condition, filled with spotless and shiny vehicles, but when you visit the website, the customer perception of the brand and product changes for the worst. It is important that your online strategies be properly aligned with the strategies you employ in store.
Promotion: Finally, we find the “Promotion P”. You can refer to this P as the methods used by a dealership to distribute information about their products and services to their consumer base. This is where you will find great disparity in marketing strategies used from one dealer to the next, and another area where a dealership can really differentiate themselves.
A good way to understand what your dealership should be doing is by asking the right questions to define your promotion strategy. Here are some questions that will help you understand and define this element:
• Who is your target market? It is wise to conduct some research and take a look at your analytics to find out what your age and gender demographics look like. This will influence your answers to the questions below. (If you don’t already have Google Analytics (GA) connected to your website, do so immediately, as this information is easily accessible through GA.)
• What promotional channels will allow you to convey your marketing messages to your target market?
• Will you reach your audience by email, social media ads, advertising online with search and display ads, Geofencing, content marketing, on TV, on the Radio, on billboards? By using direct marketing mailshot? Did you know that 90% of car buyers spend more than 11 hours online researching vehicles? If you haven’t already considered online promotional strategies, now is a good time to start.
• How do your competitors execute their promotion strategy? This may also influence your choice of promotional activity.
• Is the strategy cost effective? Can you easily measure the effectiveness and success of your promotional campaigns? With Google AdWords, every single aspect of your marketing campaign is measurable, right down to the number of clicks, number of impressions, number of conversions, and cost per click. Be sure that the mechanisms you choose can be easily measured in order to calculate your return on investment.
How will you make the 4 Ps of marketing work for you? Trends are always changing and shifts in consumer demand and loyalty are shifting too. Leverage these changes by staying on top of trends and continually testing what combination of marketing mix works best for you!