Digital Marketing Best Practices For Automotive Manufacturers and Distributors

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Manufacturers and Distributors have different marketing needs, but a few in common that must be done. From our experience working with both types of companies, here is a list of the Top Five best practices in digital marketing for automotive manufacturers and automotive distributors.

The Top Five for BOTH Manufacturers and Distributors

  1. Clear way to contact the company, phone, email, location(s), hours of operation.
  2. Clear description of what your company does, i.e. products made or services provided, lines carried, specializations.
  3. Make it known what you’re known for. Have a clear value proposition that makes sense to your customers. Have this message on all your digital and print collateral.
  4. Have a respectable website that is useful, and hopefully works well on mobile.
  5. Consider the multi-generational workforces out there that use multiple ways of communicating, i.e. Phone, Mobile, Email, Contact Forms, Social Media Direct Messaging.

Top Five best practices in digital marketing specially for Distributors

  1. Have a good B2B ecommerce buying method.
  2. Show customers how to create an account or have them fill out a credit application to do business with you. Try to have this be as digital as possible with a web form or emailed in a PDF.
  3. Customize your solutions to serve your customer types. For Fleet accounts and Government accounts, offer fleet services that show the fleet manager you know what they are looking for. For dealerships and jobbers, have an ecommerce experience that speaks their language and shows them the products and specials they are looking for.
  4. Capture email and customer information wherever possible. Don’t just rely on a customer’s use of a B2B ecommerce portal. Be able to message them outside of those systems. Get past the browser windows and land in their email inbox. Contests or discounts are a great way to get people to sign up and give that information.
  5. Distributors don’t always need massive websites, but the website should be clear with access on how to do business, how to buy through your company, and be easy enough to use. Have a good Google Business listing that also links to your website so people can find you no matter how they search.

Top Five best practices in digital marketing specifically for Manufacturers

  1. Have a “Where to Buy” on your website. Either provide information on who your distributors or online retailers are, or show how customers can buy from you directly. Don’t make customers hunt. If they came to your website, they are interested. Consider if Direct-to-Consumer B2C ecommerce is right for you.
  2. It’s the responsibility of Manufacturers to market their brand. Take control of your brand digitally. Make sure you’re showing up well on brand reputation pages. Look where your product and brand is on Google and YouTube. Create compelling content, show your differentiation and value propositions.
  3. Make sure you are equipping distributors and sellers with your Data! Consider if ACES/PIES is the right fit. Have good processes to know where your data lives, and who can access it. Some manufacturers keep their data under lock and key for valid reasons. Others have their data in the wild for all to use. Know your digital data strategy and the business justifications for it.
  4. Make sure you are equipping distributors and sellers with your branding materials to promote your brand, specials, and product line information.
  5. Develop a customer list that you can market to. Be able to reach your customers digitally via email, followers on social, and be able to message them regardless of how your distributor and selling partners are doing so.

Every manufacturer and distributor has different horsepower and in-house capabilities, staff, and budgets, so if you need help with any of this, reach out. We do this every day.