Four Steps to Relevant Marketing—Identify, Find, Touch, and Thrill

For the most part, dealers are playing by yesterday’s advertising rules when, in reality, the game has changed and the rules are being redefined. Negative media propaganda about the money crunch combined with traditional “interruption marketing” tactics by dealers has shaken consumer confidence in the buying process and, in some cases, taken the consumer out of the game altogether.


This may not be happening at your dealership, but it is happening in every market and it is affecting your potential customers. The bottom line is, while the process of buying a car is the same, the consumer’s mind set has changed and so have their options. This needs to be recognized and addressed by dealers, the media, and advertising agencies alike.


New times call for new tactics in gathering and keeping customers.


Relevant Marketing campaigns connect with and empower consumers by building solid marketing bridges that complete the link between the buyer and seller. The four simple steps to building relevant campaigns are: identify, find, touchand thrill the target customer. If applied correctly, your dealership will have a more efficient media buy and will see an immediate increase in traffic. The best part is you spend the same amount of money to reach more qualified buyers.


The key is a narrow cast approach.


By placing a greater emphasis on the end consumer, media partnerships and relevant creative, you will receive a higher and more accountable ROI for each dollar spent.


Relevant Marketing is not a one-size fits all approach. It must be tailored to match the dealer’s culture, brand, and model offerings to the geographics, and demographics, and psychographics of the target consumer. Each campaign is then constructed to fit within the proposed media platform. This will work across TV, radio, print, digital, outdoor, and direct mail. Through this approach, you will achieve relevancy across the creative and media mix and hit your target consumer with maximum impact. It is better to be everything to some people than to be some things to everyone.


This process should serve as the foundation of your annual marketing strategy. You can then add quarterly focus and monthly specifics to your plan based on ever changing market conditions and incentives.


Finally, you must ensure consistency across all forms of communications, both internal and external, to maximize consumer recall of your message. One slip up here and you will break the marketing bridge you have spent so much time and money to build.


Take the time to challenge your current strategy, management team, and advertising agency with the four steps to relevant marketing. You might be surprised by the answers you get. This focused approach will allow your dealership to construct a solid plan to connect with and collect customers rather than just advertise to them.


Thomas Hensey is the Managing Partner at Rhino Marketing, a through-the-line advertising agency specializing in the automotive sector. Telephone 713-681-6711 or e-mail  






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