• Megan Deeter

Automotive Marketing In A Covid-19 World

Updated: Sep 23

If your life hasn't been impacted by the Covid-19 virus, then you're probably living under a rock. Or you are a rock. All industries and life in the US have been touched in some way by the current crisis. The impact has been positive for some, such as online stores or delivery services, but negative for almost all others, like dine-in restaurants and non-essential retailers.

The automotive industry is just another causality, and is no stranger to change and crisis, as we've seen in our experience over the past 20 years. In the Great Recession, automotive took a big hit, and while some brands bounced back strong, dealerships and OEMs alike suffered greatly. This new landscape of stay-at-home orders and essential vs non-essential businesses is just another speed bump in the road of our industry.

We've had several automotive clients ask us what they should be doing right now to weather the storm, so we've created a short list of tips to keep in mind while you charge on.

1. Accept That Employee Roles Are Changing

It's important to note that as you manage your company's budget and incoming profits right now, the roles of those you employee are going to inevitably change. If you have had to layoff employees to save money, those who remain will be required to pick up the slack. Keep in mind that these employees are just as stressed as you are and will need your help and understanding in tackling their new responsibilities.

2. Keeping Up Morale Is More Important Than Ever

While you have less employees on staff, this is a great time to reward those you felt were essential to YOUR business. Purchase lunches, give praise, and keep the general feeling around the dealership as positive as possible.

3. Sales Will Continue

One thing we've noticed is that while consumers are required to stay home unless making necessary trips, car sales are down but not completely out. The OEMs have pushed out incredible not-seen-before deals that are keeping the public engaged and buying. However, to keep competitive and selling in this new landscape, you have to learn to sell differently.

4. Digital Retailing Is Key

People are scared, they are stuck at home, and they are more selective with their money than ever. As I just mentioned, the buyers are there, but if you don't offer any at-home or online shopping options, you might as well cover your head until the storm passes. Online capabilities are required to appease buyers, as are any safety precautions to give them peace of mind. You should be advertising your digital retailing options and safety changes through your traditional and digital mediums constantly.

5. Keep Advertising

Those who come out of this alive are those who pushed on and fought back. You have captive audiences in their homes, on their devices, almost 24/7. You NEED to be reaching them. Right now, the deals are too great to be ignored, but I can guarantee you, if you hide in the shadows and wait for buyers to find you, you're going to be suffering from this for a lot longer than those who stood out and stayed top-of-mind. Instead of cutting your budget completely, you should be trimming it and reallocating to where your customers really are now. The best mediums to focus on are going to be social media, paid search, TV, and OTT.

Just as we are watching our leaders and listening to the experts in medicine and disease, you need to listen to experts in marketing and those who have been there. Belltower managed financial and automotive accounts through the Great Recession over 10 years ago and we helped those clients survive and thrive. If you need help figuring out your next step in getting digital retailing, advertising on traditional or digital media, or negotiating with your lead sources, contact Belltower today.