The Top Six Car Dealer Marketing Mistakes

20 Nov The Top Six Car Dealer Marketing Mistakes

Please note: we did NOT produce this commercial!

The Top Six Car Dealer Marketing Mistakes

In our three decades of experience, MJM Media has worked with hundreds of car dealers, mostly helping them to maximize their radio and television advertising campaigns by producing their commercials and jingles. We make them memorable, engaging and effective.

But we have continuously seen car dealers make the same mistakes, (as well as marketers in other industries). Now more than ever, it’s essential to avoid these pitfalls if you want to maximize your marketing spend:-

1. Mentioning your address and phone number in a TV or radio commercial. This isn’t the 80s… people aren’t going to hightail it to your dealership upon hearing your radio spot. Research says over 80% of people will go to your website first. Best not to waste valuable airtime on info people can easily find out for themselves – just direct them to your website and make sure it’s working for you (see #3 below)

2. Using the Yellow Pages. It’s dead and it’s expensive (that would make it dead expensive). It’s time to eliminate it and invest in media that bring proven, measurable results.

3. Having an old text-based website. Your website IS your new dealership – 4 out of 5 people now go to your website first rather than your physical location, so your site has to look exceptional. Dealerships will happily spend millions of dollars on their bricks and mortar locations and yet they skimp on their website. It makes no sense and ends up turning away lots of prospective customers.

4. Appearing in your own commercials. We’ve all seen them, the wide view shot of the dealer in front of a showroom full of cars and devoid of customers, waving their arms around and asking you to “trust them”. Nielsen’s Trust In Advertising Survey revealed that only 47% of people will trust an owner or paid spokesperson in print, radio or TV ads. Why would you want to alienate the other 53%?

5. Having the radio or TV station produce your ad. You can spot a station-produced commercial a mile away. Their creative staff are overworked, with lots of spots to produce that were supposed to be on air yesterday. Something has to give and it’s quality and creativity. If you’re spending a small fortune on airtime, why not invest a little extra to produce memorable, effective spots?

6. Focusing on print advertising. This is fine if you just want to sell on price – but aren’t you tired of that? And isn’t it cutting deep into your profit margin? Polk Research says price is the least important factor in the car-buying decision; yet, a full 60% of the decision is based on your people and the human relationship. According to most of the car dealers we know, their people are what make them stand apart from their competitors. But you simply can’t get that across in print. You can’t effectively convey your trustworthiness, your amazing customer service or all the fabulous people who work at the dealership when you are confined to the printed word and a still photo.

Thankfully, these mistakes are easy to fix – we’ve helped many car dealers make the most of their marketing budgets and bring in more customers while actually reducing their advertising spend. We’ll be happy to help.

Mike McCurlie
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