The car business has always been a red or green business when it comes to advertising. After losing about 17,000 new-and-used car dealerships, the auto industry, plus many of the advertising mediums are having to change business models to cope with the changing economic platform. If you plan on being one of the surviving dealerships then you will be re evaluating and changing your advertising model of the future.
I just recently moved out of a very profitable and thriving Car Dealership, which I worked in, for the past 3 years, and in the car bizz for 14 years.. We had a very objective plan in the way advertising was done, and in the long run … we made more money in the recession, than we made before the hard times hit. Many dealerships adopted the plan of either: “no advertising” or “only digital Advertising”. Our Model was: spread the money out evenly to all mediums, and because print/media prices had dropped so drastically we could advertise everyday,in print and radio and t.v., and it was ( and still is) cheaper than ever, and we could showcase our name and products at minimal prices. So effectively, while our competitors put all their eggs in one basket, and only captured the Internet audience, we were in every medium that the auto shopper was.
I have found that most dealerships have partially gone back to traditional print advertising because of the falling prices, for example, a 30-day ad spot price dropped about 50%,therefor allowing car dealers more circulation for less dollars. Plus, given the troubles that Japan’s automakers have had, not to mention the lingering consumer worries over Toyota’s recall last year, car makers and dealers may be able to seize an opportunity to grab more market share, through all mediums of advertising.
According to Automotive Marketing Online Publication of “Negotiating the curves”, overall spending maybe stagnant, but automakers and dealers will continue to shift it among media channels. They estimate online ad spending by the entire automotive industry will be 2.98 billion this year, as advertisers big and small try to make every dollar count.