Can we all agree that having eight kids would be more difficult than having just one? The logistics of scheduling after-school activities unique to each child would be enough to drive a parent mad.
As you know, marketing to multiple dealership locations is like that too. The more dealerships under your watch, the more complicated it all gets. And just like eight kids would have varying extracurricular tastes, each dealership location — let alone each market — has its own dynamics to contend with.
Media costs, competition, demographics, and so on all vary from dealership to dealership, making marketing strategy quite a feat. Need a hand to wrangle your B2B dealerships? We’ve got you covered.
Don’t Make Assumptions About Your B2B Company’s Brand Strength Across Locations
Brand strength is an important factor no matter how many dealerships you’re in charge of. You can’t neglect the basics because, at the end of the day, you need customers to know that your B2B brand exists.
The challenge for multi-location dealerships lies in allocating resources to bolster your brand appropriately per market.
Too often, B2B marketers have a solid understanding of their brand’s strength in their primary market — usually their original location or headquarters — but then project that well-rooted image to all other markets. In reality, your B2B brand isn’t going to be consistently strong everywhere, especially if you’re new to a geographical location.
You might also fall into the trap of thinking your brand is strong in a particular market because your operations are strong in that market. Be careful not to conflate the two.
How to Approximate Your B2B Brand’s Local Impact
Stop making assumptions about all markets based on one. To actually get a handle on your brand’s strength at each of your locations, you’ll need to conduct (and/or purchase) market research.
We’ll clue you in on two vital brand strength stats: Considered and preferred sets.
When a potential customer is in need of equipment, does he think of your dealership as an option without prompting? Then you’re in his considered set, even if he doesn’t choose your company that time.
Your Marketing Plan Should Be as Unique as Each Dealership Locale
Each of your dealership locations is unique, even within the same market. And there’s a lot that can change from your Tulsa to your Oklahoma City location — it’s overwhelming. To get started, try considering just three location-centric factors as you’re planning your marketing efforts:
3. Media Cost
How Demographics Influence Marketing Strategy
Demographics can include anything from household income to ethnicity and marital status. It can even be as simple as the real estate makeup of the neighborhood. Are there mostly businesses surrounding your dealership?
Pro tip: You can gain insight into demographics through paid market research, but you can also learn a lot from publicly available census data.
Scope Out Your Competition Around Each Dealership
The same principles that apply to demographics apply to competition.
Take a look at the competitors around each of your dealership locations. Whether through research or on-the-ground ops. You’re going to want to shift marketing gears to combat the heavy competition around your dealership location.
Accounting for Media Costs in Diverse Markets
Media costs are dependent on the market, duh. Your ads are probably going to cost you more in huge San Diego than in Sacramento. It’s important to plan for those discrepancies.
However, media cost is just that, cost. It doesn’t tell you much about the impact your marketing efforts will have per market, just what it’ll run you.
Level the Playing Field for Fair Marketing Allocation Across Markets
Clearly, media costs, demographics, and competition only tell you so much. Plus, they’re inconsistent across markets. You need a way to level the playing field across dealership locations as you’re deciding on marketing tactics and resources.
Try developing an opportunity index. An opportunity index is a semi-scientific, semi-anecdotal rating of the most important factors affecting your cross-market resource allocation. These factors could include things like revenue, growth potential, competition, media cost, etc. Basically, you’ll assign a numerical value — say 1-10 with one being negative — to each factor. You decide each factor’s rating based on, as we said, anecdotal evidence and concrete research.
A Barebones Example of an Opportunity Index
Imagine dealership A is deemed as high growth because there’s a new job site coming nearby. It gets an eight for its growth potential factor score. At the same time, dealership A’s market has extremely expensive (and rising) media costs. That factor scores a three.
Now, dealership B has average growth potential, coming in with a score of five. There’s not much going on as far as new opportunities. But, the media costs are super low. Earning dealership B an eight for that factor.
In the end, dealership A totals eleven and dealership B totals thirteen. You might have initially banked on dealership A because of the new job site, but its outrageous media costs actually make dealership B a better bet for resource allocation.
You can see how an opportunity index, even this watered-down version, clarifies otherwise muddied information. And, most importantly, gives each market a fair shot.