Commercial dealership marketing and sales look dramatically different than they did a few decades ago. Today, most buyers get the majority of their pre-purchase research online from an average of 30 touchpoints before making a purchase. In response to this changing landscape, dealers are increasingly relying on attribution analysis – the process of identifying which advertising channels convince consumers to make a purchase – to truly understand where their buyers are coming from and to guide their marketing and sales efforts.
We’ve written previously about why attribution matters and the models of attribution, but once you have that data, what do you do with it? Attribution analysis provides essential information that you can use to inform and optimize your dealership campaigns. Here are 6 practical tips for improving your marketing and sales strategies with attribution data:
1. Invest in the Good: Attribution modeling will tell you where and how-often your dealership’s advertising channels are showing up in buyers’ path-to-purchase. If one of those sources – from paid-search to 3rd-party marketplace listings – are serving as touchpoints frequently and/or at key stages you value, then you know that channel is one worth your reinvestment. You may even want to increase that investment, especially if the associated marketing costs are reasonable. Essentially, attribution helps your dealership conduct the most accurate cost-benefit analysis possible, allowing you to invest in a diverse array of advertising solutions that provide the best ROI.
2. Move On from the Bad: Similarly, attribution modeling will tell you if a marketing channel is showing up infrequently and/or is not showing up where you want it to in the sales cycle. Sources that are failing to serve as influential touchpoints are likely worth decreasing or totally eliminating your dealership’s investment, especially if they are expensive to utilize in the first place. It is also important, however, to not make rash decisions about moving on from an advertising partner if a cost-benefit analysis is based on a short-term timeframe – see the tip below about patience.
3. Improve Objectives & KPIs: When you’re setting goals for a campaign, you’re basing your expectations on previous experiences and/or industry standards, but – especially if you are trying something new – it’s hard to always know exactly what to expect from online campaigns. Attribution modeling can tell you much more accurately how your marketing is performing across the sales journey and if you have set realistic and attainable objectives. Raising or lowering your objectives based on attribution intelligence, helps the entire commercial dealership team have an accurate understanding of marketing expectations, efforts, and results. Attribution data can also inform how you set leading and lagging KPIs in pursuit of your goals.
4. Develop Buyer Personas & ICPs: One of the goals of your marketing team is to understand your consumers’ shopping patterns, and which prospects are most inclined to become consumers. Attribution insights allow you to classify customers into various buyer persona classifications, based on their distinct path-to-purchase. By identifying specific types of prospects, you can then target different persona groups with the exact advertising strategies shown by the data to be most likely to convert them into buyers. As part of this process, attribution insights will also help you develop an ideal customer profile (ICP) which will help your dealership align its marketing, sales, service, and executive teams in pursuit of the most valuable leads. You can then incorporate these personas throughout your sales and marketing strategies to provide a consistent experience throughout their path to purchase.
5. Craft a Go-to-Market Strategy: Once attribution analysis helps you understand your buyers’ shopping habits, and which marketing channels are most effective based on your campaign goals, then you are really off to the races in boosting vehicle sales. Ultimately, as you are increasingly informed by attribution data, you will be able to develop an optimal go-to-market plan that your commercial dealership can turn to whenever it’s time for a new campaign. When you can transition from using attribution for past review to crafting future strategies, you’ll be able to generate revenue like never before.
6. Have Patience: As a final piece of practical advice, don’t assume that your very first attribution report is going to tell you everything you’ll ever need to know about an advertising touchpoint. It can take time to gather enough information to understand how a channel is performing for your dealership overtime. It’s also important to remember that the online sales landscape is dynamic and constantly changing. If a source is underperforming, don’t immediately overreact – have the patience that will allow you to confirm if disappointing results are an anomaly or a pattern. The same principle also applies to overperforming channels – don’t immediately dump massive amounts of money into a touchpoint investment until you are certain that it will consistently perform for you.
We hope this series has helped you understand the basics of attribution and provided you with practical takeaways for how to use attribution in your commercial dealership to improve marketing and increase sales of your crew cab trucks, dump trucks, or whatever other vehicles you may sell. And we want to hear from you – How has your dealership used attribution data? Let us know in the comments below.
About the Author
Ethan is a Content Curator for Trader Interactive, serving the commercial brands Commercial Truck Trader, Commercial Web Services, and Equipment Trader. Ethan believes in using accessible language to elevate conversations about industry topics relevant to commercial dealers and their buyers.