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Traditional Automotive Advertising Is Dead

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Traditional Automotive Advertising Is Dead

Jimmy Vee & Travis Miller
22 May 2009


In your heart and in your mind you already know this is true.

That's why you're reading this article right now...you're seeking a solution. What you're doing is not working the way it should be - or the way it once did. There was a time when you could just buy an ad - maybe on the TV or the radio, maybe in the Auto Trader or online - with any old message and get ups on your lot. That's not the case anymore.

Haven't you been wondering what's changed? Where did the ups go?

It's all because the traditional model is broken and the traditional methods are quickly racing toward obsolescence.

You want - and have a right to expect - more. More traffic. More sales. More money.

But too many independent dealers are wasting their time and money and opportunity with traditional marketing practices that are dead.

So what's alive? What can you do today to make a difference tomorrow?

Here's a sure-fire approach any independent dealer can plug in immediately to make a dramatic impact on sales this month:

1. Stop selling vehicles.

What??? Perhaps we should say, stop MARKETING vehicles. Everyone sells vehicles. The fact that you have an '02 Taurus with low miles and cold ac doesn't make a lick of difference to John and Sally America. Most people who need or want a vehicle aren't committed to a specific make or model (even if they say they are).

But if make, model and mileage are the only buying preferences you offer to your potential customers, you place yourself right in the middle of the commodity market - where www.kbb.com makes the rules and you're left with no option but to compete on price and selection. That's when your traffic dies and your gross suffers unless you're a mega-volume player.

The odds are not in your favor.

2. Start selling the deal and the dealership

Instead of talking about your inventory, start talking about the specific reasons a used car intender should choose you over everyone else. Declare to the world, "I am the obvious choice! Buying a vehicle from anyone else would be foolish."

You want to make concrete offers - and tie those offers to powerful benefits. What are the big obstacles facing your customers? What's missing from other dealerships in town? Do you offer better sub-prime financing options? Are you more aggressive on trade-in allowances? Do you have a unique bonus you give to customers (like keys delivered to their office on a silver platter)?

If so, make your claim, back it up with a guarantee, and tell the people exactly how and why you will make their life much, much better.

Here's an important distinction: we're not talking about spending money on marketing or advertising in order to "get your name out there" or "build brand." Not at all. That would be foolish and a total waste of money.

We're suggesting that you communicate these ideas through a compelling story or message that causes people to take action and allows you to measure your results.

Are you wondering why you haven't heard this before? It's a conspiracy.

It's perpetrated by media and agencies and the huge machine that is deathly afraid of a dealer - you - being able to track and measure the results of your marketing expense.

This is a huge opportunity for you.

Most dealers don't know this information (and many of the ones who do know it are too stubborn or too lazy to take action).

The wise dealer who takes this information and runs with it will be in striking distance of dominating their market, making their competition impotent - even the franchise dealers - and ending up with an ups producing machine so powerful that you're actually able to take a few days off each week because the marketing is so effective.


Jimmy Vee and Travis Miller are the nation's leading experts on attracting customers and the co-authors of Gravitational Marketing: The Science of Attracting Customers. Get important survival strategies and tips for FREE by requesting their Automotive Emergency Survival Marketing Toolkit For Used Car Dealers and Managers. To get your FREE copy visit http://www.richdealers.com/articles .

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