Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Marketing with Facebook: An Automotive Case Study

A Facebook “like” will, all by itself, never sell a car.  Ever.  And Facebook, alone, won’t “sell” a car.

Just like a telephone, all by itself, won’t sell a car…unless it is in the hands of a talented, knowledgeable salesperson.

But that’s not a comment on the limitations of either Facebook or a telephone.  It simply speaks to the importance of marketing savvy, no matter what the medium is.

As Peter Drucker once famously suggested, “The most serious mistakes are not being made as a result of the wrong answers…but asking the wrong questions.”

So what is the right question?

This case study is dedicated to the proposition that the real question is not, “Can Facebook Sell a Car?”  But rather…

“Can Facebook be successfully integrated into an overall promotion to generate incremental sales of cars and trucks?”

Given the shift from customer use of newspapers to social media, that’s a hugely important question for all car dealers.  And one that doesn’t let dealers off the hook by simply (and wrongly) dismissing social media as irrelevant or ineffective.

Dealer Group Case Study: 
In 2013, a Regional Dealer Group client approached Flash Point to develop and execute a Pilot, in which 100 Dealers were to receive incremental, turn-key marketing support throughout three National Sales Events.

The goal of the Pilot:
Determine if Facebook could be integrated into a National Sales Event, along with a hand-full of other marketing elements, to drive an incremental number of Facebook fans, Internet leads and new vehicle sales for a group of 100 Dealers.  A control group of over 1,500 Dealers did NOT receive the incremental marketing in order to determine incremental lift.

Results of the Pilot

The 100 dealers that received Flash Point’s incremental marketing and promotional support generated 700% more Facebook fans, 300% more leads and up to 800% more sales than the “control group.”  Results were sustained, improved, and independently confirmed throughout three sales events in 2013.

Conquest sales, or new vehicle sales coming from outside of the brand, were as high as 44%. 

Description of Incremental Marketing Support:
Flash Point managed all of the following elements on behalf of each of the 100 Pilot Dealers, through both managed services and proprietary digital marketing and social media publishing software:
  1. Facebook Installation of nationally-funded sweepstakes
  2. Website Installation of nationally-funded sweeps
  3. Instant Lead Delivery (website & Facebook)
  4. Facebook messaging
  5. Geo-targeted, in-market Facebook Advertising
  6. Email Marketing
  7. Campaign metrics
Conclusion/Implications:As marketers, we have two options: 1) build on fundamentals, continue to test and refine our marketing efforts by integrating both new technologies and approaches or 2) sit down and reject progress.  The choice is ours.  And yours.

The data is clear.  Facebook, along with smart marketing, the right software, and properly managed services can yield incremental fans, leads and sales for retailers that refuse to accept the status quo.
On the other hand, there’s also a wealth of data out there to "confirm", “Facebook can’t sell cars.”  And to that, we agree.  Alone, it certainly can’t.  Nor can a phone without someone skilled available to pick it up and use it.

To learn more about our managed services, promotions or enterprise-level social media publishing software, contact us today.