The automotive consumer market is becoming increasingly diverse. Racial and ethnic minorities account for about 44% of the Millennial generation, which now represents 30% of the population in the U.S. The youngest demographic, Generation Z, is the most racially and ethnically diverse generation in U.S. history. Nearly half of people that belong to this generation are racial or ethnic minorities.
To remain competitive, automotive dealerships must implement marketing strategies that speak to all customers, including customers of color. Multicultural marketing is no longer an option for your dealership—it’s a necessity. Follow these tips to master the art of multicultural marketing at your dealership:
Increase Brand Awareness
Dealerships need to focus on marketing campaigns that are designed to increase brand awareness in order to attract multicultural consumers. This is because Hispanic, Black, and Asian American consumers are typically aware of 10% to 20% fewer automotive brands than other consumers. In other words, you shouldn’t assume that multicultural consumers in your area are familiar with the automotive brands at your dealership simply because other consumers are.
Don’t let this general lack of brand awareness discourage you from targeting multicultural consumers. Even though multicultural consumers are less aware of automotive brands, they are open to learning about new brands and considering these brands when making a purchase decision.
There are countless ways to increase brand awareness in your community, including:
- Give your brand a personality. Make sure this personality shines through in every marketing strategy. This will make it easier for consumers to remember and connect with your automotive brand.
- Sponsor events in your community. This is a great way to expose people in the community to your brand.
- Give away free, branded items such as tote bags, pens, keychains, and koozies.
- Be consistent. Use the same logo, slogan, and other branding elements in every marketing campaign. This will make it easier for consumers to remember your brand and associate it with your branding elements.
Increasing brand awareness should not be your only marketing goal, but it should be a major focus if you want to diversify your customer base.
Target Consumers Throughout Their Car-Buying Journey
Buying a car is not a spur of the moment decision. It takes between two to three months for the average automotive consumer to decide whether or not to purchase a vehicle and if so, which one.
The five stages of the consumer decision-making process are:
- Identifying the problem or need.
- Gathering information.
- Evaluating the alternatives
- Making a purchase decision.
- Conducting a post-purchase assessment.
Many dealerships implement marketing strategies that only target consumers who are in the first stage of this process. But if you want to appeal to multicultural consumers, it’s important to target them at every stage of their car-buying journey. Why? As previously mentioned, multicultural consumers are open to learning about new brands. This is true even if they are already in the middle of their decision-making process.
Black and Hispanic consumers are known to be even more receptive to automotive advertisements they encounter in the later stages of their decision-making process. In fact, a Nielsen study revealed that four of six brands that Black and Hispanic consumers were considering purchasing were brands that they were originally not familiar with at the start of their decision-making process.
The bottom line is you shouldn’t focus solely on targeting multicultural consumers who are in the early stages of their decision-making process. Implement unique campaigns that are targeted at multicultural consumers in every stage of the process to ensure you can win over as many of these potential customers as possible.
Invest in Digital Marketing
Effective digital marketing strategies can help automotive dealerships reach and win over multicultural consumers. Digital marketing is especially important if you want to reach Hispanic consumers, who are twice as likely to remember digital automotive ads than non-Hispanic consumers.
To reach Hispanic consumers, incorporate video marketing into your digital strategy. Hispanic consumers spend 50% more time watching online videos than non-Hispanic consumers. Furthermore, the more videos these consumers watch, the more likely they are to consider a greater number of automotive brands when making a purchase decision.
Create a wide range of videos to appeal to Hispanic consumers. Some videos could showcase the various vehicles offered at your dealership, whereas others could answer frequently asked questions about buying or properly maintaining a new vehicle. You could also partner with local influencers and encourage them to feature your dealership in their videos.
Digital marketing is an effective way to reach Asian American consumers, too. In general, Asian Americans tend to consider fewer automotive brands when making a purchase decision. However, brand consideration is much higher among Asian Americans who are classified as heavy internet users, which means they spend at least six hours per day online.
To reach these consumers, automotive dealerships should invest in social media marketing. Post high quality car stock images on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and other social media platforms to showcase your dealership’s inventory. You can also use stock footage of vehicles to create custom promotional videos that can be uploaded to YouTube. Then, share the link to these videos across all of your social media platforms to maximize your exposure.
Implement Omnichannel Marketing Campaigns
Digital is an important part of multicultural marketing, but you shouldn’t forget about other marketing channels when planning your campaign. In fact, implementing a well-rounded omnichannel marketing campaign is the most effective way to reach Black consumers.
Black consumers use digital media just like other segments of the population, but they are generally avid users of all types of media, including radio, TV, and mail.
Black consumers also tend to be attentive. Nielsen found that Black consumers have the highest level of advertisement recall for automotive companies that advertise on the radio, through direct mail, and on billboards. Keep this in mind if you want to increase your brand awareness among this segment of your target audience.
Trust the Data
Many automotive dealerships make the mistake of launching multicultural marketing campaigns that are based on untrue stereotypes and misconceptions about ethnic and racial minorities. But the decisions you make when planning and implementing multicultural marketing campaigns should be driven by data, not outdated assumptions.
For example, automotive manufacturers spend millions of dollars on marketing pick-up trucks to Hispanic consumers every year. This decision is undoubtedly motivated, at least in part, by the stereotype that associates Hispanic consumers with pick-up trucks.
However, the list of the top five vehicles purchased by Hispanic consumers consists of sedans and SUVs, not pick-up trucks. The Ford F Series pick-up truck is on the list of the top five vehicles purchased by Black consumers, though.
Based on this data, automotive manufacturers should be spending more on promoting pick-up trucks to Black consumers, not necessarily Hispanics. But they are failing to take advantage of this potentially lucrative opportunity because they are letting stereotypes rather than data guide their marketing decisions.
To avoid making this mistake, always trust the data. Try to forget everything you think you know about multicultural groups in your community. Don’t let your unconscious bias get in the way of making smart marketing decisions that could benefit your dealership.
Communicate the Culture
The Kia Soul has traditionally performed very well among multicultural consumers, especially Hispanics. According to Kia, the secret to their success is implementing multicultural marketing campaigns that “communicate in-culture.”
The first step in communicating the culture is choosing the right language. For example, if you are trying to reach Hispanic consumers, you may want to run advertisements in both Spanish and English.
But this doesn’t mean you should simply do a word-for-word translation from English to Spanish. It’s important to let a native Spanish speaker handle the translation to ensure it makes sense. A native speaker can make sure the translation is written colloquially, contains appropriate slang, and sounds conversational.
Language is only one element of communicating the culture. You should also consider the look and feel of your campaign and the message you are trying to convey.
For instance, the people who appear in your ad campaigns should look like the multicultural consumers you are trying to reach. The message you convey should be relatable to your multicultural consumers. Even the music you play in the background of your TV ad should be a song that appeals to these consumers.
To put it simply, you must try to infuse the culture of your target audience into every element of your multicultural marketing campaign. This is the only way to effectively communicate the culture to your diverse target audience.
Get Involved in the Community
Multicultural consumers take great pride in being a part of their community. If you want to reach these consumers, it’s important for you to follow their lead and get involved in your community.
Sponsoring local events can help increase brand awareness, but it won’t show that your dealership is committed to your community. Instead of just sponsoring an event, consider partnering with local multicultural businesses to host events at your dealership.
For example, partner with local multicultural churches around the holidays to raise money or collect canned food for the needy. Or partner with multicultural barber shops or salons in your community to host a luncheon at your dealership. Hosting events like these is a great way to give back and introduce your dealership to multicultural consumers in your neighborhood.
Follow these tips to ensure you are able to effectively speak to all members of your target audience regardless of their race, ethnicity, or color.