Move 2015 Inventory With These 5 Digital Advertising Techniques

With 2016 models already on the horizon, dealers need to reconcile what’s left on their lots with the inventory they hope to acquire in the months to come. Even when the fourth-quarter holiday season is a big sales opportunity for dealers, many fail to execute the digital advertising strategies necessary to boost their bottom lines.



Moving 2015 inventory is important in order to secure the most desirable 2016 models, but dealers must also focus on how they are making sales, as well as the channels from which the conversions are coming. Implementing a digital marketing strategy to move 2015 inventory is a resolution that dealers cannot afford to postpone until the New Year.

In order to situate themselves for success in 2016, auto marketers should implement the following five digital advertising techniques.

1. Synchronize with OEMs

In 2017, the U.S. automotive industry is expected to spend almost $8 billion on paid digital advertising, according to eMarketer.com. The biggest players are prepared to spend big on digital campaigns, many of which will run in the upcoming months.

Rather than waste advertising budgets to stimulate auto markets themselves, dealers should synchronize their efforts with national trends. Auto marketers have access to the specific dates and time slots when top sellers will promote certain makes or models, and they can work with OEMs’ plans for peak digital timing.

For example, it’s likely that Lexus will run a series of campaigns toward the end of the year. Instead of creating digital campaigns to push their own 2015 Lexus models, dealers should link their marketing schedule with national programs for exposure. Holding off for strong promotion opportunities allows the market to self-correct, and dealers can sell their leftover inventory for more as a result.

2. Reflect OEM language

Beyond deployment synchronization, auto marketers must also reflect an OEM’s language and incentives in their own copy. Mirroring content creates consistency between dealer and OEM, and also makes shoppers feel more familiar with a dealer. Continuing the Lexus example, dealers can leverage the brand’s annual “December to Remember” by echoing the same language to grab shopper attention and move inventory.

Further, shoppers today do research online before heading to the lot. If they see that OEM Lexus ad, they will go online and search for that model using language from that TV spot. If your language differs drastically from the OEM’s, you risk not showing up in searches for those key terms.

3. Go mobile

During the holidays, it’s important for auto marketers to reinforce their mobile strategy. Throughout November and December—motivated by a seasonal window shopping mentality—shoppers are increasingly inclined to browse a dealer’s lot. To reach these buyers, dealers should be able to reach shoppers in real time from anywhere.

The holidays are a chance for dealers without a mobile presence to develop one. Auto marketers can use mobile advertising to offer in-market shoppers relevant deals and inventory information while they browse for cars, helping sell inventory not moving quickly enough.

To continue the previous example, if a dealership has many Lexuses to sell, it can spend more on mobile ads that highlight a model’s most enticing features, which will then be served to users already browsing in person.

4. Remember traditional channels

Auto marketers should not forget about traditional avenues, either. To push year-end inventory, television advertising can complement mobile efforts. Typically, dealers create TV advertisements around branding and experience—this is how a product will make you feel.

These characteristics are important, but they cannot inspire sales in the way that focusing on selection and inventory can. To convert shoppers already convinced of a brand’s value (often from highly branded OEM ads), dealers can use TV spots to guide shoppers to where they can make purchases, and when.

To convey this information, auto marketers can use traditional channels to reinforce the inventory they already communicate to shoppers. For example, dealers may curate a series of TV spots to showcase models they want to push most. The first ad would explain a car’s popularity and sale price. The second would direct shoppers to a local dealership, and the third would alert buyers a limited number are left.

By building a sense of urgency around inventory logistics—not a generic, branded experience—dealers can better motivate shoppers toward purchase.

5. Evaluate your budget

None of these advantages are obtainable if a dealer cannot afford to execute digital campaigns. Auto marketers cannot assume the ad budgets they have for August will also be adequate for December. In order to push 2015 inventory with digital, dealers must plan ahead for the seasonality of their budgets and prepare for a spending increase.

When they do, auto marketers capitalize on the true value of digital campaigns. Moving leftover inventory is key for dealers, both in terms of earning the best models for 2016 and building the right reputation with shoppers. If dealers cannot obtain the newest, most exciting models, consumers will perceive them as outdated and purchase elsewhere. By employing these five advertising techniques, however, auto marketers can ensure this will not be the case.

Jeff Ranalli is the vice president of sales at PureCars, a digital advertising solution for the automotive industry. Throughout his career, Ranalli has led prominent automotive vendors to growth in sales, business expansion, and improved operational efficiency.

Jeff Ranalli

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