The Balancing Act of Advertising and Marketing
The funny thing about advertising and marketing is that everyone has a viewpoint and many claim to have the “perfect” solution. The truth of the matter is, what is perfect for one store may be a colossal failure in another. The only way for a dealership to find their perfect solution is to test, track and adjust; test, track and adjust; and test, track and adjust some more.
You will never know whether something works if you don’t try it. If you don’t track the results meticulously, and that doesn’t mean asking your managers if the latest promotion was a success, you will not know if something works for your store. That means collecting quantifiable data in dollars spent, leads generated, leads closed, and gross profit generated for each and every media type and promotion. It will also give you the information you need to make intelligent decisions regarding your future spends.
It’s surprising how many dealers have jumped on the bandwagon to manage their inventory down to the level of make and model, but they still don’t approach their advertising budgets the same way. Money is money, and it doesn’t really matter if it is in the form of inventory or cash in hand. It has to be managed properly and maximized for return.
I’ve spoken with dealers who swear by Internet leads, while another swears his radio campaign is the most effective campaign he has ever run. Yet, another swears only pay-per-click advertising is worth spending money on. Is one right while two are wrong? Not likely. It’s more likely that the combination of marketing, message, and personnel have as much to do with their success in one media type as the actual media does.
Don’t believe me yet? If I run an infomercial for subprime customers and get hundreds of calls, the effort will fail if I don’t have any subprime finance sources. Or if I have the finance sources, but don’t have enough manpower to field calls and follow-up, it will fail. Either of those problems were not the fault of the media. Conversely, I could initiate a pay-per-click campaign with the wrong message and it could fail miserably, which might make me believe that online advertising doesn’t work.
Advertising is certainly a fine balancing act between market, message and personnel, and every dealership needs to find the right balance for their store. What you can do is take the lessons learned by others and evaluate how their successes could be applied to your dealership. Just take it one step at a time, watch your investment and make adjustments as quickly as warranted by results.
Find out how DealerStrong can maximize your ad budget, here.