Capitalizing on Vehicle Retention in Direct Marketing

With the global economy slowly bouncing back from the depths of a recession, automotive manufacturers are expecting to see a similar bounce back in vehicle sales and leases. Assuming that both trends go hand in hand that people are more willing to spend on cars thanks to an increase in consumer confidence – automotive direct marketers may be emboldened to try and capture these newly-interested customers with new vehicle marketing campaigns.

But will new vehicle purchases really rule the day for automotive marketing? In actuality, customer retention and automotive service marketers may be the ones benefitting the most from the economic upswing.


In research conducted by R.L. Polk & Co., a premier provider of automotive information and marketing solutions, the trend appears to be heading in another direction – a growing number of vehicle owners are holding onto their vehicles longer than expected.

The study notes that in 2001, vehicle owners held onto their automobiles for 47.5 months. Fast forward to 2010’s second quarter, and the data shows that rate has climbed to 52.2 months. Some factors that contribute to this rising number may include the economic climate, tighter financing rules by lenders, warranties/extended warranties, and the increase in vehicle durability ratings.

So how can automotive customer retention and service marketing campaigns capitalize on the trend of owners keeping their vehicles for longer than expected? DMEautomotive recommends developing proactive, multi-channel communications that talk to your customers about your retention and service programs. Broadcast your customer loyalty initiatives, or create seasonal service campaigns.

When these initiatives are successful, you not only build your service base and reach customers who hold onto their cars – you’ll also create relationships for when customers are in the market to make a purchase. And with the economy starting to trend towards the black, that time may be fast approaching.

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