There is still an alternative to marketing online

Is traditional media making a comeback? why are adverts always on at the same time?

There is a feeling in the trade right now that we have to do something different, showroom footfall is down, cars are taking longer to build and customers have more alternatives than seemingly ever before.

If dealers are sharp enough to get their presentation standards absolutely spot on and they are happy that the profile of their stock is attractive to customers, then the only thing that is likely to attract more prospective buyers, apart from referrals, is their marketing.

For a long time now businesses and not just car businesses have recognised that advertising on the web is virtually the be all and end all, basically if you are not advertising your stock on line you may as well shut up shop.

The general consensus is traditional media has all but disappeared as a vehicle for classified ads apart from perhaps localised motoring sections, so why are we hearing that some dealers are exploring the possibilities of going back to newspaper and radio advertising?

For car makers TV and Radio advertising will always be vitally important because of the visual aspect aligned with promoting new models and keeping the brand image at the forefront of the consumers mind. The problem facing many dealers is that the cars they sell far outweigh any strength their own company brand represents, because buyers are rightly far more interested in the products they sell rather than who is selling them (except of course when there are problems but that’s another story).

One reason radio and TV ads may be making a comeback is that it is clearly much cheaper to do than ever before. If you listen to some of the deals being promoted, especially for companies who operate nationally, there are some powerful messages that are repeated regularly on national radio stations and which are having a great effect on showroom traffic.

We spoke to one dealer that is part of a franchised dealer group, who has recently embarked on a campaign, which is basically telling people that they have thousands of nearly new cars for sale at massive savings against list.

A simple but effective message which is proving a great success and something they would not have done a year ago and financially as it would have been too much of a gamble to justify the outlay.

Advertising revenues are down across the board and as advertisers fight for marketing spend more dealers may be tempted to try something different, especially for the marketing of different promotions or getting special offers “out there”. It could be a viable alternative to the online cash eating machines and one which will surely make marketing departments take notice as the competition for a dwindling market heats up.

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