Some of the best dealers we work with have several things in common. Not only do they understand their business better than anyone else, but they also know that the basic blocking and tackling of advertising starts with them. By following the basic rules of advertising laid out below, you can only improve their opportunity to increase your sales efficiency.
1. Know your market and focus on advertising what is “HOT” in your franchise and promoting what is not. Tap into resources made available through your marketing partner so you can better understand YOUR buying customers and what your actual media consumption habits are in addition to embracing manufacturer demographics. You should also convey important information to your agency about how many pump-ins are coming into your Area of Responsibility, among other things.
2. Understand that your inventory is a reflection of your consumer. Know exactly what your market share is at all times and relay this and up to five years of past sales information to your marketing partner. When you know your markets, you can plan your inventory accordingly.
3. The more you plan your advertising expenditures ahead of time, the more likely you are to get the biggest bang for your buck. Look back to prior years of your advertising investment and openly share and discuss this with your advertising account team. It makes sense to know what months are thrust months, what days of the week are better than others and what events in the community have affected your sales positively or negatively in the past. Base your advertising budget on a consistent methodology, such as a cost per unit basis or possibly on a fixed percentage of new and used variable gross profit. You’ll never find yourself in a knee-jerk reaction with spending, because you do not let your advertising expenditures get out of line with the inevitable low grossing months. If dealers would place their media at least 90 days out minimum, this also would eliminate that last minute knee-jerk reaction as well.
4. The clients with the most consistent success are the ones that buy into a total multi-media strategy, including a complete integration of both traditional and digital channels. Understand that your market and your advertising budget will play a key factor in determining which mediums are most effective and how much you will be able to dominate in your market. Having complete and total confidence in your marketing partner is vital. This is where the agency earns its keep, by choosing which channel, i.e. TV, Radio, Pandora, SEM, SEO, social media, etc. can be dominated. The shotgun approach of spreading ad dollars over every medium, just for coverage, is usually avoided at all costs. Dominate one medium at a time. Understand that “reach tells” and “frequency sells.”
5. Good dealers get better by always measuring and evaluating their results. Hold every aspect of your advertising investment accountable. This is where the marketing team and dealer openly and honestly discuss creative and key metrics such as total sales, showroom ups, web traffic, conversions (Phone calls and actual lead forms filled), and VDP’s (vehicle detail pages) and analyze how each performed month over month and year over year. What message or offer created more opportunities?
When our clients commit to these five basic fundamentals of advertising, it is inevitable that they see a steady growth in selling opportunities, better closing ratios, and increased sales and profit, as well as a lower cost per unit consistently. Now let’s talk about your creative strategy!