Trade in Your Marketing Agenda
Barb Edson
| 8 February 2022

Trade in Your Marketing Agenda

Today’s communication opportunities coupled with expectations of at-your-fingertips convenience mean consumers are demanding more from every company. In this world, traditional marketing practices are all but out the window. No longer can we simply push out our message across every channel imaginable.

We need to switch from broadcasting our products’ value to creating a valuable connection with customers to capture their trust in our products.

Reflect and Refresh With One Strong Voice

Recently, CDK Global refreshed the way we present ourselves to the industry.

We knew it was time to take a deeper dive into how we serve the automotive industry and how we view our own solutions from the eyes of the people who use them every day. This self-reflection allows us to better meet our customers where and how they need us most.

It was clear after a number of acquisitions that it was critically important for CDK to have a unified voice.

We have always delivered top-tier products and insights, and recently a number of well-publicized acquisitions were brought under our brand umbrella. However, our customers weren’t recognizing these new entities were all part of the same CDK family.

It became clear that dealers and manufacturers didn’t necessarily care that we own Elead or Roadster. More importantly, they cared what Elead and Roadster could do for them. We want to keep the equity in those brand names, but we also want to make sure the external market understands that there's value in being part of this interconnected world of CDK.

In the end, a rebrand allowed us to clarify our communications through a simple naming restructure: CDK Roadster, CDK Elead, CDK Neuron. This highlights how CDK products provide a cohesive business solution that moves our customers’ objectives down the field.

A Single Brand Voice Can Deliver More Value

When you communicate with people and want them to interact with you, you need to have a singular, authoritative voice for your brand. While certain channels may speak to different audiences in different ways, the message and how it’s delivered should remain consistent.

A brand’s voice is best heard when it is offering value to its customers, and that’s only effective if you truly understand who they are and what they need.

From top to bottom, your company should share valuable information to make your customer’s life easier, and it should come from a familiar, trusted source. For CDK, this established voice allows us to move from traditional marketing to creating community.

Create Community

Community happens by providing education and expertise to the broader industry. It’s critical for success — especially today, as people are craving connectivity more than ever. You’re more likely to reach out to someone or respond to content that delivers value or understanding to your situation.

As we went through our brand refresh, we pushed our team to explore how to create community. We asked ourselves if we were front and center making it happen and if not, were we contributing to it or enabling it to grow in some way?

Automotive manufacturers and dealerships have the same opportunity. Dealers are at the physical center of their communities. This enables them to be the connector between the industry and the people. Manufacturers can create community by providing education and resources for their dealers.

Find Your Narrative

Branding isn’t simply changing your visual identity or your font colors; it’s how you tell your company’s story.

What does your corporate narrative reflect about what your company believes and what it does to better the world? We call this your brand promise.

To arrive at your brand promise, start with an employee conversation or executive audit. Ask them to answer key questions. How would they describe the buyer? How do your customers drive outcomes? What are the most important things to the key decision-maker or influencer in your sales process?

Understanding these insights helps you create your narrative and better communicate your brand promise to the world. And whether you update that narrative every few years or retain a brand promise for far longer, it must be authentic and wholly believable.

Make Your Customer the Hero

It can be a common practice for us to focus on our customer’s pain points as problems we can help solve. But while that process may end in a successful transaction, we need to look at solutions that can make the customer the hero. Take your time to understand where the pain points originate and listen to what your customer is telling you.

Today, there aren’t enough of us simply listening. By answering all the questions the customer has in today’s supply-strapped environment — even if it may seem like an additional effort — we set the stage for better customer retention when we emerge from the pandemic. Becoming a reliable resource by building a connection will always help perpetuate loyalty.

Start Now

Today’s intense demand from consumers is an excellent opportunity for every business to step up its communication game.

When you trade in your marketing agenda for a mission that builds valuable connections, you’re building trust with your customers and inviting them to be the heroes. As the heroes, they’ll feel a sense of satisfaction and loyalty towards your brand — no matter how many cars are on your lot.

Barb Edson

Barb Edson is senior vice president and chief marketing officer at CDK Global.

Barb and her team focus on delivering successful marketing and commercial strategies that help strengthen connections across the automotive retail ecosystem for CDK, its dealer and manufacturer customers and the consumers they serve. She has more than three decades of business strategy and marketing experience in software and technology.