Tuesday, June 21, 2016

How Lessons from 'Sixteen Candles' Can Help Your Dealership Court the Right Customers

Sixteen Candles stars Samantha and Jake sit by a birthday cake
Image courtesy Universal Pictures
Since we've been in the mood for classic '80s movies lately, we followed "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" with another John Hughes film, "Sixteen Candles." It tells the story of a budding high school romance thrown into chaos by a number of outside influences, which overwhelms the lead character, Samantha Baker, as she tries to make a connection with her crush, Jake Ryan.

When you're trying to connect with your crush — we mean your dealership's customers — it's easy for things to spiral out of control due to unexpected circumstances. Maybe you're wasting time and money on a campaign your potential customers have already forgotten, or perhaps you're sending mixed messages to your audience, confusing them and sending them to other dealerships.

If you're struggling to find that special marketing spark with your customers, here are three marketing lessons we can learn from "Sixteen Candles."

Remember the Important Things

The movie starts out with Samantha waking up on her 16th birthday — a day everyone looks forward to. But to her dismay, her family forgets all about her birthday!

It might surprise you to learn that, like Samantha's birthday, some of your marketing campaigns are being forgotten and ignored by your potential customers. Likewise, you might be forgetting some of your better campaigns if you're focusing your time and money on weaker campaigns. Be sure you know how your campaigns are performing so you can get the most out of your marketing budget.

Since many consider phone calls the best lead source, applying unique toll-free numbers to your marketing campaigns and tracking the resulting calls can help you pinpoint which campaigns are working and which ones aren't. That way, you're not forgetting anything.

Send a Clear Message

Samantha doesn't just feel forgotten by her family but also by her big crush, Jake. In fact, Jake doesn't seem to know Samantha even exists before she accidentally drops a piece of paper on which she had written her true feelings. Jake becomes interested in Samantha after finding the paper, but keeps hitting a wall when he wants to contact her. He tries calling her house, but her grandparents pick up the phone and promptly turn him away. Uh-oh! Then he tries going to her house in person, but, due to a miscommunication, he believes Samantha is getting married, when her sister is actually the one planning a wedding. Even bigger uh-oh!

If your marketing campaigns aren't sending a consistent message, it can confuse your customers and cost you sales, just as a miscommunication causes Jake to think his chances with Samantha are over. Be sure your marketing messages are consistent across all outlets — from traditional advertising to social media to your website. Customers will turn the other way if you can't back up something that was promised in one campaign and not another.

Pursue the Right Relationships

As if Samantha doesn't have enough going on, she also has to deal with Ted, a geeky freshman who badgers Samantha for attention just to win a bet with some friends. It all begins when he moves to Samantha's seat on the bus. Ted tries to make conversation, but Samantha isn't having any of it. His annoying advances continue for much of the movie.

Don't let your dealership be a Ted to your customers. Some people simply don't want to receive unsolicited calls, which is why they sign up for do-not-call (DNC) lists. If you're placing calls to numbers on the federal DNC registry, you could face large fines and a damaged reputation. To protect yourself, use a call tracking software that flags numbers on the DNC registry and keeps you in compliance.

Jake, Samantha and Ted aren't the only lovable movie characters we can learn about marketing from. Check out some of the lessons we took from Forrest Gump.

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