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Why Omni-Channel Dealer Marketing is Hard and 5 Things You Can Do Differently This Year

Because everyone loses in a giant game of telephone (and no one knows what omni-channel marketing means)

When you sell a product through multiple channels and the buying experience is drastically different for each, marketing is going to get tough. Heck, marketing is already tough enough – trying adding in dealers, distributors and those hashtag things…and you’ve got yourself a Grade A disaster. Achieving omni-channel marketing through your dealer channel can be hard, but there are tactics you can implement this year to help get your dealers on track.

New Year, new buzz words. Something you’re going to be hearing a lot about this year is omni-channel and multi-channel marketing. We’ll spare you the Google search and translate into understandable English. Multi-channel marketing simply means that your brand markets and communicates to customers across many channels including on and offline, directly and indirectly.

Omni-channel marketing implies that when your end consumer interacts with any of these communication channels (in any order) their experience and message are seamless. Sounds pretty scary, right? Think about your dealers. Do they all use the same sales materials? Are those the materials consumers see on your corporate website or social footprint? Chances are, no. But that’s OK – large manufacturers are behind in this area because they have so many channels to manage.

They have dealers, distributors, big-box retailers, showrooms, and so on. It’s only natural that a brand’s message gets diluted and skewed the more channels you have. Our clients have always struggled with their corporate marketing messaging being seamless among their multiple channels so end consumers interact with a brand from start to finish in any order to complete a purchase. This illustrates the main point of frustration of achieving omni-channel marketing with so many sales channels (B2D2C).

Let’s take it one bite at a time and focus on dealers. Here are some ideas to implement this year to help ensure that your business to dealer (B2D) marketing fits more into this omni-channel model.

Host an Event

Bringing your dealers together quarterly, bi-annually or even annually is a great place to start. Sharing the company’s goals and visions with your dealers in the same place at the same time and eliminating a lot of the variances in your brand’s language and selling tactics. It sounds simple, but it’s very powerful. If your dealers are hearing the same message and creating a community with their fellow dealers, the corporate message is less likely to get diluted on its way down. These dealer meetings can include training sessions, contests, and other activities—they don’t have to be dull.

Develop an App or Tool

If your dealer base is huge or too spread out to make a physical meeting feasible, you can also develop a custom app or other tool to help keep all marketing messaging and sales tactics in line. Creating a presentation tool can ensure your dealers are using the most up-to-date language and design work, and keep them all updated on the latest promotions or changes. Dealer community hubs are another great way to increase communication between dealers and communicate to your dealers in a very efficient way.

Develop a Program

Sometimes rolling out a new promotion or tool can be painful. A lot of times dealers have already established the way they talk to their customers and don’t want to “fix something that ain’t broken.” If their numbers back that up, it can be hard to argue with keeping old tactics in place. But at the end of the day, it’s important to keep your brand’s message consistent to ensure all end consumers have a relatively similar experience. Developing reward programs for dealers can help entice them to adopt updated tactics and provide a new means of support. It can also help to increase overall sales by offering incentives for dealers who participate and use the updated tactics appropriately.

Establish A Test Market

All brands have a “hub.” Maybe it’s the city where headquarters is, maybe it’s where the largest client is. Wherever is it, it’s easier to test new marketing and sales tactics in a small, contained area before dumping an investment into areas you’ve never explored before. Partnering with an agency to roll out a test market can help prove ROI (or not) and set the example to other dealers as to how working with corporate can help their business.

Reassess Goals and Metrics

Back to the basics. After conducting business per usual for so long, sometimes overall business goals and measurement can get lost or outdated. Take some time to really think about your marketing objectives with your dealers. It’s not always as simple as “sell more units”; the marketplace is changing and so are consumers. It might be time to look at where your business sits in the overall market and how it can remain relevant with today’s consumers (damn those millennials) and then how that affects your dealers overall.

If you’re ready to explore any of these ideas or just want to talk some people who love dealer marketing (sounds weird, I know), contact us and we’d be happy to get your brand on the track for omni-channel dealer marketing.


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