Sticking to effective advertising in a downturn

We car dealers when we get together like to chew the fat – well generally moan about most things to be more exact – and in a conversation during a lull in proceedings at auction this week, we heard of a small trader who has always absolutely sworn by advertising on Auto Trader. So much so that he wouldn’t bother using any other way to advertise his stock.

However recently he has had to concede that in the sector he currently operates, i.e. cars up to the £2,000 mark, finding a little corner at the bend in the road near the village where he lives has gained more enquiries in 5 days than advertising his stock online has achieved in the previous 3 weeks.

We all scratched our heads about what the reasons for this might be; it costs nothing, after all to buy a car from Auto Trader. But if there are less car buyers around then it surely must follow, that online enquiries will dry up for some dealers.

On the other hand car buyers who don’t search for cars online, for whatever reason might still be drawn in by a nicely presented cheaper car on the side of the road and if you haven’t presented this type of stock that way they’ll never know.

Many have said (including us on occasion) that traditional advertising is dying out but others will disagree mainly because traditional advertising methods do still work. The trick for a retailer is to figure out the target market, what they want, and how they look for that information. It may be that in certain sectors car dealers will draw in their horns and try to cut costs. After all why advertise online if it is not cost effective?

I don’t know what conclusions this little anecdote should tell us, and of course we are jumping to a few, but it does surely indicate that no matter how set in your ways you may be in terms of marketing stock, you should never close your mind off to more traditional forms of advertising, especially during a downturn.

One thing is for sure, it’s a whole lot cheaper.

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