What if there were a way to improve your service marketing and retention without spending more money? You can, if you also protect your inventory with GPS tracking services. When most people think of GPS tracking, they think of vehicle location and recovery. At its most basic, that’s true, but it can also be a valuable dealership marketing tool.
Dealers spent $718 in advertising per new unit sold in 2022. However, capturing returning service revenue and creating loyal fixed ops customers is certainly easier than constantly chasing new sales leads. With the right data and systems in place, you can advertise to your existing customers for free, bringing them back for regular service and the next eventual sale.
With normal wear and tear on brakes, belts, filters, and fluids, drivers need to service their cars far more often than they buy new ones. Exact frequency varies by vehicle age and type, but annual service is a minimum recommendation. For years, marketers have sought to help dealers capitalize on the often-neglected area of fixed ops marketing when planning marketing budgets.
How have marketers approached fixed ops marketing in the past and what should you do differently?
The Old Way
Traditionally, marketers followed a standardized plan for dealership service marketing:
- Using standard time intervals based on estimated mileage for service reminders.
- Sending templated messages to every customer using the DMS database.
- Marketing to customers primarily during their vehicle’s warranty period.
In the beginning, these convenient, accessible tactics were enough to successfully attract customers to the service department and drive revenue for the dealership. But as consumer behaviors and expectations evolve over time, so must marketing strategies.
The New Way
Service marketing programs like the ones based on time intervals were established for convenience, not accuracy. With a system that uses vehicle GPS data, you can improve on the old techniques by:
- Forgoing time intervals and using tracked mileage to know when each equipped vehicle is ready for maintenance.
- Sending vehicle-specific offers automatically using pre-set triggers.
- Bringing back customers at every critical point during the ownership cycle.
The old adage of working smarter, not harder, holds true when it comes to finding new, profitable uses for existing systems. Your dealership’s front end can enjoy the known benefits from GPS tracking through inventory management, vehicle security, and increased F&I profits per sale. When the back end gets a boost with improved service marketing, with no additional cost, everyone wins.