Relationship Marketing—Going Beyond Traditional Advertising

In today’s economy, every dealer is looking to get more out of their advertising dollars. Leveraging your media money for lower rates and increased added value is just the beginning. Here is a simple tip that will help you sell five to ten more cars next month, and every month, through your current media partners without increasing your advertising budget. It is called Relationship Marketing and, properly executed, will deliver incremental sales immediately.
Dealers spend tens of thousands of dollars, if not more, each and every month with local media in exchange for ad time or space. While this is an efficient way to reach the masses, most dealers fail to capitalize on the relationship they have developed with the local media outlet and their employees, other clients and vendors.
Many radio, TV, and newspaper groups have anywhere from 25 to 75 local employees including receptionists, admin staff, technicians, and accountants. These employees don’t get many of the perks that are associated with being in the media like free lunches, concert tickets, and trips; these are usually reserved for the DJ’s, account reps, and clients. Yet, all these employees have one thing in common: they drive cars and want a good deal on their next purchase.
Take time to show you care
If you are a regular advertiser with a local media outlet, take the time to get to know their management team personally. Find out what community activities they are involved in and what employee perks they offer their staff. Explore how you can help their business outside of just buying air time or space from them and suggest that your dealership can offer their employees a VIP service and exclusive offers on their next car purchase. Ask about their other regular advertisers and how they can help you network with those companies. You will be surprised how many doors and key relationships they can help you develop in the community. The media will see you in a very different light when you approach them this way and will be more than happy to make key introductions directly to their staff as well as their other local advertisers and vendors.
Everybody likes VIP treatment
This approach will serve as the foundation for creating Relationship Marketing with a media outlet, their employees, and other advertisers. Now all you have to do is assign a VIP manager from your dealership to assist all the media outlet employees with their next car purchase and give the media outlet a letter that they can forward to their employees detailing the process and VIP offers. Your advertising dollars have now just unlocked the door to hundreds of direct customers at no extra cost to you.
Thomas Hensey is the managing partner of Rhino Marketing, a full service single and multi-line automotive advertising agency. He can be reached at 713-681-6711 or at



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