Dealership Traffic Increases With Lifestyle Media

November 17, 2009

Automotive dealerships are finally recognizing that buying media, using the old standard of demographic modeling, is flushing money down the toilet.

Lifestyle media has shown to be 30% more effective than demographic media buying.

Why are dealers only now recognizing the value?  Thats easy, it’s the economy stupid!

When business is good everyone thinks they’re a marketing guru. Right? The economy pulls our pants down and makes an ass out of our marketing expertise.

Lifestyle Media buying is very new.  I have been using it now for just two years.  It isn’t an easy sell to dealers in a good market, but the results speak for itself.

Here is how it works:

  • Your customer base is run through a lifestyle data base that matches each household up with one of 62 lifestyles represented in the United States.
  • From this list we find clones of these customers in your market area.  The result is that you discover a given number of lifestyles represent the majority of your business.  For example, you may find that 18 lifestyles represents 80% of your business.  All of the households in your market area that fall into one of these 18 lifestyles is identified.  Next, the media habits of these households is analyzed using all available resources including diaries, surveys and media research from data companies to name just a few.
  • The end result is a report that shows the media habits by media, daypart, drive time, network, station etc. for your best prospects that look just like the people who have bought from you in the past.  Lets face it, lifestyle of a Honda owner is generally different than that of a Ford owner.  Yes, there is some cross over but there is some difference.

If you’re buying off demographics you’re talking to every possible car buyer in America.  In today’s market you can’t afford to follow the old school buying patterns.  With less money available wouldn’t you like it to work 30% harder! Take the step you’ll be glad  you did.


Free Posting Sites Increase Used Car Dealership Traffic

November 3, 2009

Free posting sites, led by Craigslist, have 3 times the traffic that “pay for” sites have.

Yes, you heard me right three times the traffic of paid sites.   And yes they’re  free for dealers to use.  I think it is important to note we are talking about active car shoppers interested in a used car.  These are in market shoppers taking the time to go on the internet and shop.  How can you pass this growing market … You Can’t!

So why are dealers not taking advantage of this great opportunity for additional dealership traffic?  Automotive dealers are quickly realizing posting on these sites is not as easy as it sounds.

Automotive Dealerships today simply do not have the resources to maintain this daily routine that is needed to execute and generate more dealership traffic.

Fortunately there are sources out there that can help and I have found one I would like to share with you.

SurePost is one these companies.  SurePost will post your vehicles right from your DMS.  You don’t have to do a thing to generate more dealership traffic.  Sure Post will  complete a branded page for you so that all your cars are branded with your   logo and colors.

They will post cars everyday on over 16 sites. This is important because you want as many cars at the top of the posting as possible.  In many markets they eliminate the posting every 7 days.

I am aware of one dealer  who over the last few months has doubled his used car dealership traffic and sales compared  to a year ago.  It is more impressive to note that  SurePost was the only used car advertising dollars he spent.  Plus, his 70 cars posts’ were getting over 700 unique views every day.  Think about the impressions!  His total advertising costs were under $500.

SurePost also provides unique analytics on the cars you have posted.  You’ll be able to see which cars are generating the most views.  This kind of information can go a long way when it comes to buying inventory.  It will also provide for some real information on pricing.

Take a look at this you’ll be glad you did!


Social Media Drives More Than Dealership Traffic

October 14, 2009

These days if you aren’t facebooking, myspacing, tweeting or youtubing, what exactly are you doing?

Almost everyone has some sort of social network site that they update daily and/or play on for hours. Even businesses are reaping the full advantages of having a social network plan.  Businesses like Apple, Budweiser, GM and even football conferences are using social networks to build relationships and trust in their brand or product.

Automotive dealers are just starting to figure out that they can also benefit from social networks. But only one in a hundred dealers will get it right while the others experiment and wonder why it isn’t working for them.

Social networking for dealerships is not necessarily about how many cars you can sell or how much traffic you can get thru the door.   It’s about building mutually beneficial relationships with customers,  not only past customers but future customers as well.   It’s a way to increase your audience, customer base and business.   The Internet is filled with people who are looking to meet other Internet users and develop both business and personal relationships.


Why doesn’t cable television drive dealership traffic?

September 18, 2009

Cable Television has been a mystery for most auto dealers.  They really believe it should drive dealership traffic but most never see positive results and conclude that the audience dynamics of cable  are not condusive to a short term strategy.

This is where perception and reality don’t match up.   It’s not that the cable audience is elusive, it’s that most dealer’s cable buys are 75% off target.  How can this be?  It’s simple, the networks being chosen and bought are for the wrong reasons.  So the perception is cable doesn’t work but the reality is the tool is being used improperly.

The spreadsheet above shows a typical buy based on traditional influences and one based entirely on lifestyle media.  You can quickly see that Advantage Media (lifestyle buying) is the way to go when wanting to drive traffic to your dealership.  If you continue to use a screw driver to hammer a nail you’re going to get frustrated.  Cable is a great media if you can put your message in front of your buyers with frequency.

Your customers have a unique lifestyle pattern.  Demographics simply don’t allow you to target your customers and people who look like them.  Lifestyle buying is based on the simple truth that birds of a feather flock together.  Talk to your birds with frequency and the hunt will be much more rewarding.


How Social Media Impacts Advertising and Marketing for your Dealership

August 30, 2009

Social media provides such a great platform for collaboration.  I’ve gained a lot of insight by listening and by engaging in online conversations particularly through my blog and Twitter.  I love that it is still evolving and we are figuring it out.  I’m appreciative to the early social media adopters and for their continued influence within this new space.  My interest in social media is from a communications, marketing and a customer retention perspective.  The potential of social media is limitless.

Social media is having a direct impact on advertising and marketing.

Broadcast, outdoor, print, direct mail and radio are not going to go away.  If you don’t believe me, along with people like Seth Godin, you should also be reading Bob Hoffman’s blog, The Ad Contrarian.

However advertising already is and will continue to be greatly influenced by social media.

This is one of the primary benefits to social media.  It is not what a brand means to the company or what your dealership’s brand means to you, it’s what it means to the consumer, to your prospective customer.  Perhaps the reason so many dealerships have difficulty with their own branding is that they live in a silo.  When you live in a silo you usually don’t know how to listen to your customers.  This is where social media can step in.

Social media is time intensive but it is affordable and allows us to learn so much from our audiences. Social allows us to tap into the minds of our audiences unlike anything I have ever seen before.

Social media provides dealerships with affordable research on an even grander scale than we’ve ever been able to conduct in the past and it is almost instant feedback.  It is affordable, timely and easier to measure than traditional  media.

This is why I believe social media will be the hub to all of our advertising/marketing.  From broadcast to direct.  We can engage our audience and know what messages are appealing, what resonates.  We can do it quickly and that info will provide the epiphanies  and “ah-ha” moments when we know we have that valuable nugget for a successful campaign.

It is one of the best tools I have ever used in helping dealerships with their own branding.

It compels us to do business the way we should have been doing it all along.  It forces us to lead with benefits and to create an appealing brand from our clients perspective.  To be successful with social each dealership will have to narrow it’s focus, declare who they are and how they are different.

I don’t claim to be a social media expert.  But, I have immersed myself into it in a big way and have been professionally enriched beyond my initial comprehension.  From a new business perspective for automotive dealerships social media is the greatest tool you will ever use. I hope you’ll get on board and find out for yourself.  I am always here to help you along the way.

Let me know what you think.


Retail Branding Drives Dealership Traffic

August 19, 2009

If you’re not branded my friend you need to be.  Branding your dealership is not rocket science.  All you need is a few instructions and you can get started today.  Branding your dealership, actually translated, means having your marketing and advertising dollars go further.

And now that social media is a big part of your marketing plan, branding is even more important.  Branding is about relationships.

Branding doesn’t mean you are giving up on  retail advertising.  In fact, it is quite the opposite.  Good branding simply means your retail advertising will be even stronger.

In fact, I’d say the worst branded dealership is still better than the dealership with no brand.

It’s easy to get started but it requires a little work on your part.  The first step you need to take is to have a look in the mirror.  I suggest you do this with a series of focus groups amongst your personnel.  For a brand to work it needs buy-in and the quickest way to do this is by inclusion.

Here’s how you  get started.

  • Find an outside person to be the facilitator of the focus groups.
  • Next, schedule a series of 25 minute meetings.  Depending on the size of your store, I would suggest having one for sales, service, office personnel and one for managers.
  • In the first three focus groups no managers are allowed.  This gives everyone permission to speak freely.  The facilitator will ask a series of open ended questions about the dealership. These questions will focus on what’s good in their opinion and what’s bad when it comes to all areas of the dealership.
  • These will all be listed on white sheets.  After about 10-15 minutes you’ll have a significant list of positive and negative items.  The group is then asked what are the positive assets of the dealership.
  • These assets are listed on a sheet titled you got it assets.  Some of these assets might be things you are currently doing and some might have a little dust on them.  But overall, the staff believes they are assets.
  • After the assets are agreed upon you choose only the assets you believe are unique to the dealership.  This list rarely gets as high as six and many times it is as few as 2 or 3.
  • After each meeting goes through this process, including the mangers, you have four sheets of unique assets.  In the final meeting with  the mangers you reveal all the asset sheets for them to review.  This allow for some deeper thoughts by the managers.
  • Once the final page of unique assets is agreed upon by the managers you now have your brand promises.  These items need to be in as many of  your dealership messages as possible.  Branding is making sure every message has some continuity and consistency.