How Marketers Can Help You Get Through the Messy Middle

The “messy middle” is a term used to describe the time between when a customer first expresses interest in a car and when the sale is finally completed. It is a period filled with stress, confusion, and frustration for both the customer and the salesperson.

Customers may need clarification about what they want, their options, and how to proceed. Salespeople may be unsure of how to move the process forward or how to address customer objections. This can lead to a lot of back-and-forths, a lot of wasted time, and a lot of lost opportunities.

Here, trusted car dealership digital marketing experts from Market Doctors, share what you need to know about marketing in the messy middle:

Challenges of the Messy Middle in the Process of Selling a Vehicle

Several challenges can arise during the messy middle stage, making it difficult to complete the sale.

Lack of Awareness

One of the biggest challenges of the messy middle is a lack of awareness. Many buyers and sellers need to be made aware of the details that need to be discussed and agreed upon before the sale is finalized. This can lead to confusion and delays in the process. The seller needs to ensure that the buyer understands exactly what they are buying and what the terms of the sale are. The buyer needs to know all the vehicle details and the seller’s expectations for the sale.

Variety of Platforms

One of the biggest challenges in the messy middle of the process is finding the right platform to use. There is an array of options out there, from classified sites to online marketplaces. Each of these platforms offers different advantages and disadvantages. For example, a classified site may offer a wider selection of vehicles and more control over the transaction process. Still, it may also require more effort for sellers to post their listings. On the other hand, online marketplaces may be easier to use but may also limit the seller’s ability to customize their listings.

Strategies for Auto Dealers to Market in the Messy Middle

Auto dealers must use digital advertising to reach potential customers in the messy middle to stand out in the digital landscape. Here are some effective strategies to do so:

  1. Leverage Paid Search: Paid search allows auto dealers to target customers who are actively searching for their products and services. By targeting relevant keywords and crafting compelling ads, auto dealers can reach potential customers in the messy middle and drive conversions.
  2. Leverage Programmatic Advertising: Programmatic advertising is an automated process that uses algorithms to purchase digital ad impressions in real-time. It enables auto dealers to reach potential customers in the messy middle and tailor their messaging to their individual needs.
  3. Utilize Social Media Advertising: Social media advertising allows auto dealers to target potential customers in the messy middle with relevant, tailored ads. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter provide auto dealers with powerful targeting capabilities, enabling them to reach potential customers with the perfect message at the right time.
  4. Implement Retargeting: Retargeting is a powerful tool that enables auto dealers to re-engage customers who have previously interacted with their website or app. It allows auto dealers to stay top-of-mind with potential customers in the messy middle, increasing the likelihood of them making a purchase.


In today’s digital landscape, auto dealers must use traditional and digital marketing strategies to reach potential customers in the messy middle. By implementing the strategies our automotive digital marketing agency shared here, auto dealers can effectively engage with potential customers in the messy middle and increase the likelihood of them making a purchase.

Market Doctors is a trusted automotive digital marketing agency that can help your dealership stand out from the competition. Allow our marketing experts to tailor marketing solutions just for you. Contact us today!

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