Maximize the Lifetime of Your Dealership Customers with a Complete Lifecycle Communication Strategy

21.09.20 07:05 PM By Layton Judd

Lifecycle Marketing is an essential part in fostering human connection and builds a higher customer lifetime value. 

The Basics of Lifecycle Communication

Before talking about lifecycle communication, it is important to understand what it is. Is it the bird? Is it the egg? Well, it's both. Plus all the stages in between. Just as you wouldn't put all your marketing eggs in one basket, neither should you just market to the egg nor should you stop nurturing it before it hatches.

Lifecycle communication focuses on providing marketing and information at all stages of the consumer purchasing process from prospect to purchase to post-sale to replacement. And while the consumer journey rarely follows a straight road neatly paved in a 4-step program, if all these stages are achieved, the customer often turns into a loyal customer who then recommends your brand or company to others. This starts the cycle over again.

Importance of Retention

While the sale is an important aspect, it is even more important to gain returning customers. In the automotive industry this is even more crucial. According to the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), the new-vehicle department accounts for about 58% of a dealership’s total sales, but it is less than 26% of a dealership’s total gross profit. The service and parts department account for almost 50% of the dealership’s gross profits (NADA), yet remain under-represented on most dealership websites and digital content.

This isn't to say we are suggesting you shoot out a service campaign without first knowing your audience. We've shared our own data in the past that shows that the highest-value customers, the ones that are the most loyal and spend the most, actually engage with non-promotional content in communications from the dealership 290 times more than low-value customers. Customers who engage with non-promotional content from the dealership are responsible for 61% more service visits and 28% more vehicle sales than those who do not. 


A lifecycle communication marketing approach allows the company to personalize the customer experience and create a better connection with their customers. Most dealerships will send communication out to the customer after a purchase, but only continue to do that for a limited amount of time. In the lifecycle approach, the communication continues with the customer and becomes customized to their stage in the cycle. For instance, maintenance reminders might be sent out with a special coupon or maybe an email to celebrate the one-year anniversary vehicle purchase - but what if you could go farther?

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is often a big part of lifecycle communications. But what if you could combine CRM with your Dealer Management System (DMS) data to complete the full customer journey and vehicle lifecycle strategy? 3 Birds' customer data and business intelligence platform does just that. To simplify, the technology creates a kind of unified customer database that is accessible to other systems and data pulled from a dealership's multiple sources to create a single customer profile. You own the data and we can make it available to your marketing partners. It helps manage your company’s relationships and interactions with customers with dynamic vehicle data to support the big picture.  In addition to establishing a better connection with customers, it also generates more profit. 

It costs five times as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one. 

The Importance

We understand the importance of the customer relationship and the connection it has with lifecycle communication. For example, we've been able to deduce from the field that other vendors market to about 10-15% of their clients' database who are in equity at any given time. What about the rest? It is important to focus on all customers and not just the low-hanging fruit. Here at 3 Birds, we capture it all. By consolidating all of your data while continuing to gather new data, we can help your dealership make that essential human connection.