Many South African car dealers still swear by traditional means of advertising and marketing. Without discrediting the importance traditional marketing still has, I swear by the power of all-things-digital. This is why I think dealers should also adopt digital marketing:

Convenience and Wider Reach of digital marketing

It not only helps to reach a more varied and broader audience but also brings in new customers. Digital marketing channels don’t only refer to mobile and social media, but websites, banner ads, and email also assist in reaching a larger part of the audience.

This form of marketing allows the convenience of easy contact between buyers and sellers. Dealers can reach out to a bigger piece of their audience. On the opposite end, consumers have access to plenty of information at their fingertips.

Less Costly

Digital marketing is cheaper when compared to the costs of traditional marketing’s radio and TV. keeping in mind the wider and more specific reach it has. Research has shown that traditional marketing strategies cost more.

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Digital marketing also allows the flexibility of changing campaigns and ads sooner without any additional costs involved.

Consumer´s Expectations

Because we live in the digital age, and many young customers are very digital savvy, naturally, they expect to communicate through digital mediums. If dealers don’t attempt to reach buyers digitally, they are in essence losing out on a huge part of technology-driven car consumers.

Consumer Buying Behaviour and Digital Buyers

Today’s customers do all their research, about a car AND about a specific dealership, online. They watch videos of car reviews and read online reviews from some of the best people in the industry. They also chat with like-minded buyers or owners in online forums about service and products. Most of their research is done and their buying decision is partly made before they step onto a dealership floor. This alone shows how important digital information and presence is. This is where the buyer’s journey begins, then closing the deal is made in the physical showroom.


Purchasing in the automotive sector is driven higher by reputation. And reputation has even greater influence. The collective effects of a positive brand and a positive reputation amplifies the power of influence that can be had on consumer behaviour.

Proactive communication on the digital space via social media, websites, YouTube, mobile, etc., should all display that you care and value your customers. Dealers should cater to them and ‘serve’ them as best as they can. This improves the reputation of your dealership.

Based on research and analysis from studies on the automotive industry, brand equity attributes surrounding ‘it has an exciting environment,” or “an amazing display” become influential in the purchasing consideration. Especially, when linked to reputational attributes like good online presence, quality service and friendly staff.

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Most effective targeted advertising

More than half of car buyers are usually unsure about which car to buy. These customers will enquire from friends, family, and do research online. Furthermore, based on other behaviour patterns and consumer’s lifestyle, an effective digital marketing strategy can target customers very accurately based on the consumer data.

Survival of the fittest

Digital marketing will not only help you get new customers into your dealership but also allow maintaining long-term, sustainable relationships with them. Which, in essence, doesn’t just keep you afloat but also ahead of the competition.

Based on your target audience and their needs, dealers should make use of a strategic blend of digital and traditional marketing. To not embrace digital marketing is an absolute and costly mistake.