Automotive dealerships have long struggled with marketing for Fixed Ops. The variable ops side of the house has often gotten the lion’s share of the marketing budget. This is due to a variety of reasons, including an education gap between the departments and a strong focus on selling cars. Now the OEMs are starting to get into the mix and are heavily encouraging dealers to participate. Should dealerships pay attention to this, or continue down the path they have been on?
The easy answer is “Yes”, dealerships should pay attention to Fixed Op marketing, but why? The obvious answers are:
- Fixed Ops are supposed to pay the bills. Since Google came around, service business has been taken by the third-party providers like Jiffy Lube and Tire Kingdom. It’s past time to take some of this business back!
- Many dealerships have unused service drive capacity. Driving traffic into the service drive is the easiest way to fix this issue.
- Steadier service drive traffic makes staffing easier. Techs are hard enough to get. Recruiting and retention is far easier if everyone is busy, and well paid.
- Increased volume keeps the OEMs happy. That comes with benefits!
- Volume makes the world go around. A busy service drive makes the entire dealership work better.
The less obvious reasons, and the ones that will get the attention of the variable side are:
- Increased service drive traffic provides increased opportunities to trade customers out of their current vehicle.
- Keeping your customers used to driving to your store increases the chances of selling the next vehicle.
- Fixed Ops marketing can be a very effective conquest tool. We can look at drivers of a Year/Make/Model that have registrations near the dealership (and a whole lot of other qualifiers). We can then back out the ones that bought from the dealership. What is left is the local drivers that are likely to have some loyalty to the brand, but that didn’t buy a car at the store. This can be done in any zip code. By providing some focus on getting these drivers into the service drive, the dealership can erode the competition’s market share! By looking at current fixed ops searches in the dealership’s area, we can easily see if that practice is currently going on from another store. (Ask us to look!)
- By focusing on specific models, we can regulate the used car inventory. In times where used cars are more expensive, it helps to be able to get the trades you want to buy from the service drive. This helps drive a new car sale and provide inventory for an upcoming used sale. Trade not up to standards? Work on the vehicles that will give you some wholesale profit.
The great news is that the time to act is now! The competition for clicks is the lowest it’s been in years. That means the clicks will be less expensive. Budgets are stretching much farther than normal. Google and the other search engines are rewarding customers for filling a void.
Please feel free to reach out for a more detailed discussion of fixed ops marketing, and best practices at your store. We are happy to help answer your questions, whether you are a DEP customer, or not!
You can reach the team at: 877-551-2555. Thanks, and have a profitable day!