automotive direct mail

The last time you bought a car, did you just wake up one morning and decide it was time? Probably not. In most cases, consumers need more time to make automotive purchase decisions than almost any other item they’ll buy. After all, a car is a big deal, and probably one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make.

Because of this, the car-buying cycle can be pretty long. The marketing strategy for automotive sales must take this additional time into consideration. Every aspect of each campaign must be designed to reach those car buyers wherever they are in the car-buying process, from awareness all the way through to customer satisfaction.

For this reason, direct mail has consistently been the most successful marketing tool available, boasting the highest open, engagement, and conversion rates of any other marketing channel except the telephone.

Direct Mail Statistics for 2013 and 2014

Believe it or not, 65% of consumers aged 15 and older made a purchase as a result of direct mail in 2013, making the response rate about 4.4%. Nearly $45 billion was spent on direct mail last year, but with these response rates, the money was obviously well spent. The cost per prospective customer of a product or service that is created when an individual shows interest and provides his or her contact information  is around $51.40, which compares favorably to other marketing channels.

In 2014, 22% of consumers said they were more likely to make a purchase based on direct mail than on email. Combined with the 39.3% that said email and direct mail were equally powerful, the argument for direct mail is definitely solid.

Direct mail spending in the auto industry in 2013 grew by 23% over spending in 2012, while the budgets for other marketing channels—television, magazines, radio, and telemarketing—were all reduced.. Statistics prove 70% of car owners are more likely to make a purchase after receiving direct mail.

Variable Data Printing and the Buying Cycle

The most important aspect of marketing is reaching consumers exactly where they are in the car-buying cycle. This requires a great deal of data, of course. Let’s say you want to reach out to all car owners within your area to alert them of a new make and model you’ll soon feature in your showroom. How many people do you think your direct mail will reach at the exact moment they’ve decided to buy the particular car you want to advertise?

You could send your marketing message to the entire universe, which isn’t very cost effective, or you could segment that universe. For example, split your contact lists by income, age, marital status, type of car last purchased, and even favorite features, just to name a few.

Segmenting your contact lists will help you reach those buyers wherever they are in the decision-making process. For instance, buyers who own the 2009 Lexus RX 350 will receive targeted mail with resale information for their exact make and model. You can also include information on the latest Lexus vehicles listing the features each buyer loved last time they purchased a Lexus RX 350. Buyer A will get a card with a new Lexus RX 350H model in her favorite color that points out the GPS system, while Buyer B’s will focus on his favorite color of Lexus GX model with airbags and braking systems.

Even after consumers move through the purchase phase of the car-buying cycle, your direct mail pieces can serve them specifically. You can keep customers on your lot by sending information about services and maintenance. Congratulation messages and materials that reinforce the wisdom of their purchase will go a long way toward improving buyer satisfaction.

Combining Direct Mail and Digital Marketing

By choosing an integrated marketing strategy that includes direct mail and digital tactics, you can exponentially increase the power of your campaigns. By introducing social media accounts in your postcards and fliers, growing your audience is easier than ever. Personalized landing pages for recipients of your direct mail pieces can help you track who’s engaging with your marketing. Tracking their journey through the buying process would be easier than ever.

Now, how can you harness this same power for your company? To learn more about combining AMi’s direct mail services with digital marketing strategies, download our free ebook below. If you’d like to speak with AMi about implementing direct mail services for your dealership or maintenance shop, give us a call right now.

This article originally appeared in September of 2014. It has been updated to include new statistics and information.