Overhaul Your Ad Plans

Two years ago, we shared some thoughts on recession-proofing your dealership. Now it's time to discuss how to recession-recover your advertising plan. Why? What's wrong with your good old plan that you originally designed five years ago? Because there has been more media usage changes in the last five years than during the previous 50. Your customer has moved on when it comes to media usage. According

Two years ago, we shared some thoughts on recession-proofing your dealership.

Now it's time to discuss how to recession-recover your advertising plan.

Why? What's wrong with your good old plan that you originally designed five years ago?

Because there has been more media usage changes in the last five years than during the previous 50. Your customer has moved on when it comes to media usage.

According to the independent Nielsen Ratings service, TV and Internet are the reigning kings of media today. Because of the Internet, Americans spend more time reading their phones each day. Radio has become a distant third very quickly.

Change does create opportunity, and this is great news for car dealership owners.

Look at your media mix and see if you've kept up with these changes. Instead of “tweaking” your ad plan for 2011, consider a zero-based approach.

Think about consumers, how they live their lives and how they shop for a dealership, including when and where they are “shopping” even down to the weeks, days and hours.

You will find that there is a better way to market your store today.

Have you ever been in the market to buy something and, like magic, an advertisement appears before you just at the right time, saying the right things to get you to buy? That advertiser did his or her homework first.

You see, there exists a “real time” approach to advertising today that if you embrace it, your customers and your competitors' customers will see your ads more often, at the right times, and on the right days to strike when they are hot to buy.

Most advertising firms want to sell you their “philosophy” about advertising.

Instead, consider tracking the car buyer. Notice where they spend their time, notice when your website is hot. Is there a pattern here? Notice when your calls come in most often. Does it match your website activity? Is it after an effective TV campaign?

Start looking at your consumer, and not your old ad plan. Remember, customers vote with their time and money.

Adam Armbruster is a senior partner in the retail and broadcasting consulting firm Eckstein, Summers, Armbruster & Co. Contact him at [email protected].

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