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Wards Industry Voices contributor Adam Armbruster.

Not Too Early for Car Dealers to Plan Market Recovery

In a downturn, taking bold action and using resources creatively can blunt some of the negative impact.

What to do when market conditions wither to the extent that they have?

Get your “Recovery Plan” going. It’s not time to quit marketing.

You’ll need to compensate for fewer market opportunities. The smartest thing to do in a downturn is to present your business as hungry and in search of customers. Delivering this message in a friendly manner shows you are open for business, however limited that may be because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here are topics to include in the recovery plan:

Message: Present an Irresistible Value

Depending on your nameplate; consider extended warranties, free pickup and delivery, complimentary future services and even a donation to a local charity with a purchase.

You get the picture. What makes your company a more attractive value than your competition?

Purchasing: Offer Zero Percent or Deferred Payment

Americans are not broke. But delayed purchasing can occur when consumer income is impacted or threatened. That’s a reality today.

Think about what you could offer in your marketing message to pull that buyer back to the table.

On the upper income end of American consumers, these buyers have cash but don't want to take their cash out of their investments, especially in a downturned stock market.

So, offer zero percent financing or a deferred payment. Most business owners can include the cost of this in their pricing. Even if you’ve never offered this before, now is the time because it’s a strong attractor of “now” buyers.

Service: Create Higher Standards

Many shoppers use live text or video chat. They like that they can hold a mobile conversation with you. Include this function on your website and promote it.

Media: Eliminate Wasted Ad Dollars

If you normally buy multiple TV stations on your ad buy, this is a good time to make sure that your ad budget currently allows such a wide buy.

Approach your television station partners and ask for insight. Ask how these stations can stretch your dollar. (There are several proven ROI models for this.)

You’ll find that sacrificing some reach for a gain in frequency will impact sales with no added expense.

Next, analyze your current cost per thousand of your media mix. Has it slowly increased as you’ve added media?

If you are using direct mail you may be paying 40 times more than is necessary to reach a consumer.

Cancelling TV ads to save money in a short downturn can cost you serious business in the long term. Think scale. Stay visible.

Be Open for Business: Look the Part

Market share can be bought affordably when your competition stops being aggressive. If you see that a major player goes quiet, then get loud.

Blast emails to your customer list once a week. Include incredible offers. Post new videos daily on all social platforms. Mirror your TV message offers in all media. Attract new customers and keep them.

In a downturn, taking bold action and using resources creatively can blunt some of the negative impact.

Launch your Marketing Recovery Plan now while your competition waits and wonders.

Adam Armbruster is a senior partner at Eckstein, Summers, Armbruster & Co., a media consulting firm. He can be reached at [email protected] and  941-928-7192.

TAGS: Dealers
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