Jumping on the green bandwagon

Motor trade Insider has come accross some marketing advice being sent out to dealers to get them to make the most of the current “green” demand. Some of it is reasonable some of it terrible. We have placed our comments in italics under each “proposal”.

Drive traffic into your showroom by offering eye catching services that have an environmental theme e.g. a green service check to ensure vehicles are as fuel efficient and environmentally friendly as possible.

Valuable but make sure they don’t try and rip you off on the price of the “service check”

Promote green products to customers such as oils and tyres during servicing that could make your vehicle more efficient.

Valuable but always make sure you compare the cost of these “green” products with the products you would normally use and whether it is truly cost effective based on your mileage

Get the message out to customers ensure your marketing lets customers know that you can help them keep their fuel costs low

OK show me what you’ve got.

Be seen to be green. If there is an event focussed on the environment make sure your brand is clearly allied with it. You may have to field questions about the role of the car, but with the right preparation, you could even turn cynics into sales.

Advertising gimmickry…the proof of the pudding etc

Make the most of partnerships. There are plenty of organizations to turn to help including the energy saving trust, carbon trust and product providers who can make your green message more effective.

This smacks of jumping on the “bandwagon”. We all know “green” costs more so by using these organizations to give the dealer’s message credence looks a little cynical.

Make the most of your product if it’s green it should be seen. Make sure you promote your greenest cars effectively and get the message right. And remember saving money is just as important as saving the environment to most buyers.

The dealership should still concentrate on individual customers, some of which might not want the “green” issues rammed down their throat.

Carbon offsetting. It isn’t particularly expensive but it can be truly eye catching initiative. Offset the emissions for the life of the cars use by your customer. It costs very little but says a lot about your business.

Only to people who are deeply concerned about environmental issues. Is some body from the service department going to plant a tree every time I complete a journey to work?

Fuel. Instead of a discount on the price of the car consider ways on which you can discount fuel cost for your customers, example, by paying for their first 5000 miles. You may still be providing a discount but the marketing message is perfectly timed to get people looking at your forecourt.

Yes free fuel please…oh and we’ll take the discount too. A car doing an average of 40mpg covering 12,000 mile a year despite a 30% hike in fuel cost in reality is only paying around £6 a week more on fuel.

Free advice. To drive traffic to your showrooms, consider offering workshops where members of the public can learn the techniques of green driving from experts in the field.

Complete gimmickry and puff. They must have been scaping the barrel when they came up with this one.

Don’t think you can do nothing. If you don’t take action your rivals will. Getting the message out and maintaining close contact with your customers is essential to make sure they see their dealer as a vital part of their toolkit for keeping their travel costs down.

Yes let’s see that action. For instance if you take your older higher emission vehicle to Vauxhall they will scrap it in an “environmentally friendly” manner and when you buy a new car from them they will give you a £1,000 for your old one.

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