Channel Marketer Report


How Auto Brands Drive Local Marketing Impact For More Profitable Dealer Relationships

By Trae Clevenger, chief strategy officer, Ansira

There’s a quiet evolution taking place in channel marketing. Brands that want to boost local marketing impact have realized that they need to better equip their channel partners to meet the expectations of empowered consumers who demand seamless brand experiences, whether online or in-store. And brands are accomplishing this by orchestrating the local marketing process from start to finish.

Trae Clevenger, Chief Strategy Officer, Ansira

Local marketing orchestration calls for data-driven strategy, through-channel marketing automation (TCMA) technology, and creative thinking around cooperative (co-op) advertising programs. Brands that see tangible business outcomes are using data to inform marketing decisions; leveraging technology to automate and streamline workflows; and shaking up their co-op programs through media mix, content, and audience.

Smart automotive brands that embrace this evolved approach not only help dealers grow local sales, but also gain invaluable intelligence that propels broader initiatives. This intelligence feedback loop supercharges the brand’s regional and national efforts, driving market share.

Brands as Partners

As customers expect more seamless brand experiences, the need to market in a streamlined, contextually relevant way has never been more important. Most automotive brands continue to run their marketing programs reactively, refunding local spend within a designated co-op program structure. These brands present their dealers with marketing assets and campaigns they can use if and as they wish within the confines of the co-op program.

Then they hope for the best.

By embracing a more synergistic, technology-enabled approach to local marketing, brands can empower their dealers to better engage customers and move more wheels, not just spin them. Brands no longer have to police dealers to ensure that assets are used correctly or issue penalties via reduced reimbursements. Instead, the brand becomes a true partner and adviser, offering marketing solutions to common dealer needs, ensuring all stakeholders are on the same page from beginning to end, increasing reimbursements for priority initiatives, and, ultimately, strengthening the brand-channel relationship

Streamlining the local marketing process to reduce confusion, redundancies, and waste frees up brand marketers to focus on the big picture while dealers do what they do best: sell.

Entrepreneurs Need Evidence

Auto dealers may be resistant to change, because they could perceive participating in something new as giving up control. After all, most dealers are entrepreneurs, so it’s in their nature to forge their own path.

That’s why the brand must make an effort to explain and prove the benefits of trying a different approach. Launching internal marketing campaigns, training seminars, and local demonstrations can help explain the benefits dealers can expect from TCMA-powered local marketing orchestration — and get them excited about the opportunities. Sharing reporting and testimonials from fellow dealers that demonstrate the sales impact of smarter marketing is critical to broad adoption.

Auto Brands Shift Gears

Now in its 100th year, Ansira specializes in helping brands with channel partners — or what we call brand2local — strengthen customer relationships. For example, our brand2local experts worked with a national automotive brand to create an end-to-end advertising and marketing program, including incentives and local flexibility for their dealers. Using a customized TCMA platform, dealers can easily leverage the right assets at the right time for successful local marketing activations, which they pay for through the platform.

In just one year, the auto brand realized a 216 percent increase in U.S. market share and saw 79 consecutive months of sales growth.

 The auto industry may be playing catch-up to other verticals like technology that already excel at local marketing orchestration. But the advantage of being a later adopter is having a road map to follow. With the right strategic partner and technology, automotive brands can evolve their channel marketing programs to strengthen dealer and customer relationships — and accelerate sales.

About the Author
As chief strategy officer, Trae Clevenger is responsible for advancing Ansira’s capabilities across strategy, analytics, creative, and media. He has 25 years of experience delivering proven solutions for Fortune 500 clients, and he’s held leadership roles on both the agency and client sides. Before joining Ansira, he served as chief digital officer at Targetbase (Omnicom).