The Glorious 7 in Digital (Retail) Marketing

Even before COVID-19, consumers who are actively looking for new car sales choose different tools for following up on their interest than let’s say 10 years ago. They no longer flock to the showrooms or pick up the phone to call the shop. Instead, 85 percent of all new car buyers research their dream car online. More than half of them are not committed to a specific make of car before buying; they only visit a dealership 1.2 times to get information on the spot before buying. But they do seven times more ‘test drives’ on YouTube than physically at the car dealer. In the end, 41 percent of car buyers will choose a dealership they did not know before! By the way, the data is taken from the Gearshift Autostudie by Google.

Recognising leads

The conversion of an internet lead is not an easy task. It is important to know that it does not begin with the submission of a customer request via your website. Before a potential buyer presses the “send” button below the enquiry form, he has already come across a Google ad of your car dealership, visited your Facebook page, browsed the (hopefully multimedia) content of your website such as blogs, product videos and model information and searched the internet for verification of the price information.

How many of such leads pass through your sales network – and are overlooked because they are not recognised as true leads by your sales team?

The Sales Funnel becomes more digital

It is becoming increasingly fatal for the car trade to think in traditional marketing and sales funnel corridors. A digital marketing strategy is indispensable and must be geared to a changing consumer behaviour of generation X to Z. Optimizing a marketing mix naturally includes lead tracking – ultimately the evaluation of how well a marketing plan is working and the added value it has brought to the business.

Manufacturers and retailers have invested heavily in their showrooms and Highstreet presence. Often with the argument that it is a brand investment, accepting a poor ROI.

But what if ROI is important? Customers are more demanding than ever, and they are smarter and have higher expectations than ever before. And it is not the showroom glitter & glimmer that matters. The good thing, every dealer has it in his own hands to meet today’s demanding customers – and the meet & greet starts not in a brand temple, but where customers’ purchase decisions are maturing.

A well thought about online presence and with impactful content about your retail and service offers is an important criterion for customers when deciding whether to contact you, or the other guy with his fancy website, who is responding to every online-step prospective customers are making.

Digital marketing in the car retail

Whether you just want to expand your current digital marketing mix, or whether you want to advance your business by developing a digital marketing strategy, we are happy to talk to you about either.


These are our leading 7 for successful digital marketing. They provide you with some insights for a change in your digital marketing and to make your efforts turn out to be more successful. After all, the digitalization of the sales funnel poses new challenges for most retailers. Customer behaviours and preferences are rapidly changing, different touchpoints in the sales funnel are emerging and with them the approach in (digital) marketing. Helping you to mastering the new is how Black Dolphin is supporting your successful digital marketing efforts.

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Author: Dr. Ralf C. Kaiser
Dr. Ralf C. Kaiser is managing partner of BLACK DOLPHIN, a communication collaborative with international footprint, and founding partner of the communications think tank BoC. Ralf is a certified change management consultant and business coach; he is specialist in change and transformation processes, strategic communication, and corporate brand development. Ralf worked for leading communications firms such as Edelman, Fink & Fuchs AG, Hill+Knowlton, and MC-Services AG in Europe, USA and Asia. He held various international management functions at Toyota, Lexus and Hyundai. Ralf has a masters in Political Science and Economics and holds a doctorate in Business Administration.