Recent Posts



The secret to successful targeting

No matter what business you're in, one thing is for sure: you want to stay ahead of the competition. Particularly in this competitive retail environment, only the best will thrive. To thrive and get ahead, you have to be on top of the digital marketing game.

Start by choosing the right digital marketing agency to handle your activities on the web. We always ask the question: what is your challenge here? Then we find opportunities in the market that help solve that challenge. There's no cookie cutter approach to a successful digital marketing campaign.

For example, if you're a Chevrolet or Hyundai dealership in Phoenix, Arizona and looking to sell more Malibus or Sonatas - then that's your challenge.

The opportunities? A big one was created when Ford announced in April that they were eliminating most sedans from their lineup by 2020, including the Fusion, Focus and Taurus.

There are millions of Ford sedan owners, and thousands of them are right here in Phoenix, Arizona. If they're loyal to sedans, the next time they're in the market they're going to be forced to switch brands if they buy new. If you want to sell more Malibus and Sonatas, this is a great opportunity.

How do you find these owners and convince them to purchase from you? There are three elements of a successful targeting campaign: the right data, the right channel strategy and creative.

The Right Data

Many companies sell data. The difficult part is knowing which data to buy. With 250 million consumers and 175+ targeting options for each consumer, what’s worth paying for? Demographics on individuals range from gender, age and household income to lifestyle and business or personal affiliations. All these choices can seem overwhelming.

Depending on your particular challenge and opportunity, the data set for each campaign might be different. In the above referenced example, if your goal is to conquest Ford Fusion owners, focus on three categories: life events, in-market shoppers and lease expirations. Life events include marriages, graduations, babies, buying a house, divorces, etc.

Lease expirations are an obvious target as well. Currently there are close to four million leases getting close to expiration. That’s not a high number, but these are surefire prospects who will be in the market soon so they’re worth pursuing.

Other potential in-market shoppers can be identified from a combination of sources including demographic information, service history, purchase history, insurance data, extended warranty data, financial data, etc. Currently there are nearly 24 million U.S. consumers with profiles that fit the model for in-market vehicle shoppers.

As a dealer, you want to make sure you stay in front of all in-market consumers in your primary market area (PMA) through the buying process. In the two or three months prior to purchase, most consumers are considering four or five brands. Within 30 days of purchase, the average shopper narrows that down to two brands.

Channel Strategy

Once you know who you’re going to target and you’ve got the right data, it’s time to come up with a channel strategy. Traditionally, most dealers have relied on direct mail and email for conquest campaigns. Direct mail is fine, but it can be expensive.

When measuring marketing ROI, it’s generally accepted that a $300 cost-per-sale is reasonable. Direct mail can easily drive your CPS above that amount. It’s much more cost effective to use a multi-channel strategy that includes email, display ads and social media; specifically, Facebook and Instagram.

These channels can be effectively used for both sales and service conquest campaigns, allowing you to not only broaden your reach but to increase the frequency of your messaging without breaking the bank.


The creative aspect of conquest campaigns is often under-appreciated. A stunning visual image combined with the right offer can absolutely make a difference as to whether a consumer decides to click, or not.

As a dealer, it’s important to emphasize what you can offer that differentiates your store from the competition. Whether it’s free loaner cars, experienced staff or a streamlined process, give local customers a reason to buy or service with you.

Additionally, your marketing partner must be able to follow OEM brand guidelines, so your dealership conveys a consistent and professional brand image. THE BRAND CANYON has years of experience working with OEMS to ensure compliance, so no worries there.

I am also a fan of the “less is more” approach. In today’s world you have a very limited time to get your message across. Don’t cram multiple messages into a single ad and don’t use a lot of adjectives. The same rule applies to images. Keep photos and messages simple and clean.

Even though sales are flattening, there are still plenty of consumers shopping for new vehicles. Conquest campaigns are a great way to elevate your brand and attract new local customers. The secret to success lies in your data, channel strategy and creative.

Adapted from "Secrets to a Successful Conquest Campaign" Digital Dealer Magazine, November 16, 2018 by Kevin D. Winter