Recently, I traveled to New Mexico to consult with a dealership about their marketing strategy. The conversation went a bit like this:
DeliveryMaxx: “What are you currently doing with advertising today?”
Dealership: “We are doing print (newspaper), TV, Radio, and I have a billboard two exits down.”
DeliveryMaxx: “How is that working for you?”
Dealership: “I can’t really put an ROI on it, but I think it is branding us.”
DeliveryMaxx: “In a perfect world, what would you like your marketing and advertising do for you?”
Dealership: “We want it to brand us, talk about our customer service, and help us sell more cars?”
DeliveryMaxx: “At least you know what you want it to do for you. Now, is that strategy working?”
Dealership: “I’m not sure. That is what we have always done. I do know this. We are spending a lot of money for this advertising, and I can’t measure the results.”
As a marketer, I see a lot of marketing and advertising spends, but the strategy is all too often ambiguous at best. There is nothing wrong with traditional advertising. However, in today’s climate businesses have to maximize their advertising spend. Is your marketing and advertising accomplishing your goal?
Before we talk about strategy, let’s use the traditional billboard advertising medium and see if that is providing the best return for your automotive dealership. The cost to design and produce a billboard averages $ 900 to $ 5,000 depending on the content and who creates the advertising piece. For a 4-week cycle (marketing companies charge this way because they get an extra month of fees) your cost will range from $ 900 to $ 5,000 for city and interstate signs. Many of our major highways command as much as upwards of $ 10,000 per cycle (4-weeks). DeliveryMaxx’s offices are in Dallas, Texas and a recent price quote I received for signage on Loop 635 (LBJ or Lyndon B. Johnson Highway) was for $13,600 per cycle and an additional 25% during December.
What is your ROI for this Ad, and What is it doing for you?
I am not advocating vacating your traditional media spend. In fact, Ford and General Motors allocate 70% of their advertising dollars worldwide to traditional media. However, dealerships must have a precise strategy especially during cost-cutting initiatives. Too often, I see strategies that are the equivalent of throwing ideas into a fan and seeing what sticks on the wall.
Do your marketing meetings produce results like this?
Marketing and Advertising your automotive dealership is relatively easy to do. Motivating the consumers’ actions take some well thought out strategy.
First, you need to identify where the eyes of your consumers are looking. According to JD Power & Associates Automotive internet Roundtable nearly 80% of all vehicle buyers consult the internet before making a purchase. That means, you should move more of your dollars to Digital Marketing or Social Media versus traditional forms of advertising.
Second, what is the goal or consumer behavior that you are trying to accomplish? When considering what type of vehicle the consumer is going to purchase they research published online reviews, blogs, friends and family via Facebook, Google plus, & twitter, and then dealership websites (generally in that order). Ultimately, your goal is to entice the customer to view your website or visit your dealership. So how do you influence the consumer to give you a chance to sell them a vehicle?
You have to have a plan. Social Media is not going away. It is too convenient and immediate for the consumer. Sites may change, but the medium is here to stay. Therefore, how do you talk to potential customers? There are hundreds of Social Media Sites that resonate on the worldwide web. Sites such as Pinterest demographics are 97% women. LinkedIn is dominated by the workforce. Facebook has replaced many phone conversations. FourSquare is the new GPS. YouTube has replaced MTV. Google Plus is the new business card.
For centuries, businesses have become great because their customers have advertised for them. Social Media has made it acceptable for society to share anything from what you had for breakfast to where you went last night. This is no different for your business.
The math is simple!
The average Facebook user has 245 friends.
If you sold 200 vehicles in a month and your customer showed off their vehicle on Facebook, you would be branded to 49,000 new potential consumers a month. That’s just Facebook! Don’t forget about the other sites as well as online reviews.
Now, think about this. If 1% of those customers were interested in your dealership because of the positive message that was sent by your client, you would have an additional 490 opportunities for a new sale.
The above photo of this happy family from Southwest KIA Dallas was put as their public image on Facebook for the world to see immediate after they purchased their vehicle. In one hour, the photo received 15 “Likes” and 10 comments. If each of the Facebook users who “Liked” and “commented” on the photo also had 245 friends then that one sale would have REACHED 6,370 people. Remember, this family also reviewed the dealership online, and their family portrait went to hundreds of other Social Media sites. In short, they became a virtual billboard for Southwest KIA.
Marketing your dealership is not that hard to do. You just have to have a great product, excellent customer service, and a strong strategy to share your message.
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