The 4 Ps of Marketing: How Social Media Has Changed the Approach for Auto Dealers


Recently we wrote a post about how the Internet has changed the 4 P’s of Marketing. Here is a follow up article on how social media has its own Marketing Ps. The Internet and social media are both heavily talked about influencers, so it is important that we know how to correctly market both of them, in ways which lead to success.

PRODUCT: The Internet and social media have become part of our everyday lives, very often guiding people in their purchases. The spiffy 2013 Ford Mustang displayed on your lot will attract a few potential customers certainly, but many more customers turn to the Internet, and social media in particular, for information about – and insight into – their next car and your dealership. Your vehicles are no longer your only product. Your products include anything that customers find useful, anything from a blog post to an event you’re hosting. Information. Goodwill. Insight. Helpful tips… Your product line has expanded beyond your lot to a wide array of services often provided through social media. (For ideas on more services to provide, see our recent blog post 6 Strategies to Increase Consumer Traffic at your Dealership.

PROMOTION: The magic and power behind social media is the impact of sharing information, ideas, opinions, pictures, videos and much more online – instantly – with friends and family. If someone hits ‘likes’ (the facebook button) for a photo of a car on Facebook, this fact is then posted on his wall where all of his friends can see it. If a single person updates his wall, saying he is planning to attend an event at your dealership, then his entire network of family and friends will see this and many may decide to attend as well! Social sharing plays a huge role in our buying decisions. We are more likely to buy from a dealer if we see our friends and family doing so. In addition to influencing others, social media can promote your dealership through thousands of social media pages.

PLACEMENT: As with any marketing strategy, you must know your target audience, and the places they ‘frequent’ before you can determine where to advertise or promote your dealership. This concept applies to the Internet as well. To determine where you should spend your time and energy on the various social media sites, know your target audience and learn which social media channels they frequent. Go where your target audience is to create exposure and build relationships with them.

PRICE: As far as the influence of the Internet goes, it is time to shelve the concept of “Price” in the 4 Ps of Marketing. As stated in the our earlier blog entry, “The 4 Ps of Marketing: How the Internet Has Changed the Approach for Auto Dealers,” the Internet allows people to easily look up what others are paying for vehicles. As a result, dealerships must know what makes up their retail equation in order to set the right price. Clearly listing the price next to the vehicle is no longer a decision of strategy, but a standard for dealerships. That said, we propose a more relevant ‘P’…Participation.

PARTICIPATION: As stated above, social media allows for interacting and building relationships on a more personal level. Participation is how well you take advantage of this opportunity and actually partake in discussions and interact with fans. Chatting with fans is not something to fear! It builds relationships with customers in hopes of creating a more loyal buyer, and provides a chance to get feedback about your sales team and products/services. While we all hope to hear only positive comments about our products and services, it is learning about the negatives which allow us to improve our businesses. Active listening will help you build a successful strategy. It may take some time (and experimenting) to discover what type of content engages your fans, and prompts them to talk, but keep at it. They want to engage with you!

Remember, to build and promote a positive reputation for your dealership on the web, see what customers are saying about you online. Use social networking channels such as Facebook and Twitter to interact and build relationships with your fans and encourage them to participate in discussions and share content with friends. Stay friendly, positive, and willing to engage your audience online, and in time you will learn about your customers and your dealership in ways that will help your dealership.

What strategies have you found most successful in your social media campaign? We’d love to hear what works for you. (See how easy it is? A simple question at the end of a blog… just one way we try to engage our customers!)