There are a lot of ways to power-up your ad effectiveness. Here’s my top five!
1. Research. Now, more than ever, you need real-time feedback on the media habits of your customers to get some sense of the cumulative attribution leading to your sales. Surveys and polls from outside firms don’t cut it. Keep it short…no more than 40 questions on one page. TIP: Do it in finance or within the delivery timeframe. Not every customer will participate, but if you can get accurate compliance on 50% of deliveries, you’ll have a substantial competitive edge. If you’d like a free ‘white paper’ on a very effective process of ‘ambassador research, email me and mention this article.
2. Get the right advice. Advertising agencies have changed dramatically over the past 20 years. Some have kept up with the digital wave. Some haven’t. Some agencies have vertically integrated complete digital services within their firms. Some have partnered with other vendors. In that same time, scores of digital companies have emerged, each claiming to deliver the holy grail of attribution. You need one good adviser who can balance total media integration with your best interests in mind. Most importantly, someone who can work within a budget.
3. Get the Team involved! I’ve recommended this strategy in numerous articles over the past 20 years and have had great feedback from dealerships who took the advice seriously. Whether you have 30 employees or 300 or more, you have an opportunity to engage your employees in one of the largest and most important line item spends on your statement. Your employees represent an excellent cross section of economic demographics. First of all, they are working! Most drive a vehicle and probably most live near your dealership. Most, if not all, engage in some kind of digital social networking, as well as traditional media. Lay out your marketing plans. Discuss your ‘brand’ with employees. Ask for their feedback on media habits. How do they shop? How are they influenced? Include everyone in every department. How about a marketing advisory team with members from every department meeting with your advertising person once a quarter to offer feedback on both creative ideas and media spend.
4. Don’t abandon traditional media. Yes, the digital bandwagon is powerful, but digital advertising, search engine optimization, banners, programmatic, social page ads all have one thing in common…they are focused on share-of-market/recency. A shout out to those in the market searching right now. That might be 15% of the marketplace. It might be 30%. Traditional media such as broadcast/cable television and radio not only reach those in the market today, but help plant the powerful seeds of brand recall. Radio still reaches 93% of all Americans! A balance of share-of-mind and share-of-market is the most effective marketing plan you can have. For the past year, like most people, I’ve watched and listened to a couple of thousand ads for ‘My Pillow,’ almost to the point of distraction. And then, on a recent trip I sat next to a couple who shared their experiences with their ‘My Pillows’ and their testimonials were so engaging I was nudged over the edge to make a purchase. And yes, I like ‘My Pillow.’ But I would probably have never gotten into the conversation without the radio/TV ads.
5. Polish your website. You have to have a good website today. One that is easy to find, easy to navigate and one that is a convenient, responsive portal to further communication and information. You might catch a referral (attribution) from a digital third party, but you might also bring potential buyers right to your own site organically if you keep that URL out there like a telephone number. In most instances, website names are easier to remember than phone numbers. TIP: Radio ads are powerful tools for bringing people to you site. A Midwest friend of mine does live call-in ads every morning to a local radio show talking about a few of the used car specials on his website that are changed daily. He says it’s one of the most effective methods he has ever used, often selling a vehicle over the phone within hours of the morning advertisement.
5A. Make a budget and stick to it. You can achieve amazing effectiveness if you just keep throwing tons of stuff at the barn wall because some of it is going to stick. But it’s no fun selling a lot of cars if you’re not making any money. Listen to all of the ideas out there, but make a budget and stick with it. Hold your marketing folks and ad agency’s feet to the fire on your budget. Your goal is to sell more cars with higher grosses at a reasonable advertising cost of sale.
Reminder: If you’d like a free ‘white paper’ on a proven way to get excellent response to your in-house media habits survey, just email me. To your sales success and profit in 2018!
Author: Jim Boldebook
JIM BOLDEBOOK is Founder of CBC Automotive Marketing, an advertising/marketing agency working with some of America’s most successful dealerships. He has been in the broadcasting, advertising and marketing fields for almost 50 years. EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org