Strategy, Creativity, and Accountability—the Foundation for Profitable Marketing

How many cars will your dealership sell this month? This quarter? This year? Do you have a detailed marketing plan to reach your annual sales goals? Marketing should equal profit, otherwise why spend the money? Marketing is also a process, and when strategically planned and correctly implemented, can become a very powerful tool that can help your dealership achieve the desired sales objectives.

Build the “yellow brick road”This is the most critical step to meet or exceed your sales goals. Just like building a house, you must start with a solid foundation based on your annual sales goals and investment criteria. How are you going to get to December 31st and what is it going to cost you? Does that strategy match your business plan for success?
Plan the tactics
Now that you have your annual sales goals and budget, you need to back it down to a quarterly plan and apply the specific tactics needed to implement your strategy. This should be based on the uniqueness of each month and take into account paydays, push periods, holidays, and local events that can affect the buying cycle of your target audience. Carefully match your demographic and geographic profile to the media that can most efficiently reach your target audience. This is where reach and frequency come into play—you need to talk to as many people, as many times as possible, who have the highest propensity to purchase your products.
It is always best to have an integrated approach (i.e. a combination of television, radio, print, digital, etc.), but make sure you dominate a medium before you add the next one on. Negotiate your media at least a quarter in advance if not on an annual basis to ensure the best rates, added value, and guaranteed clearance. Build partnerships with your media vendors, don’t just buy cheap rates.
Creative does make a difference
You could have a solid strategy with laser beam tactics but still lose effectiveness if you’re using the wrong creative message. You must match the right creative, to the right people, at the right time to connect with consumers.
How you say things is as important as what you say. The “tone of voice”, music bed, and graphics will position and brand your dealership in the consumer’s mind.
Develop a unique selling proposition and integrate a direct-response offer inviting the consumer to come do business with you today.
Finally, you must ensure consistency across all forms of communication to complete the marketing bridge and build consumer recall for your message.
Ensure accountability
Marketing campaigns will not sell cars in isolation. They require expert execution, measuring, and evaluating on an ongoing basis. Make sure you communicate with your agency on a weekly basis to review and forecast. This allows you to keep your finger on the pulse of the campaign. Track your progress and make any course adjustments necessary in monthly reviews or quarterly planning sessions.
Thomas Hensey is the Managing Partner at Rhino Marketing, a full-service automotive advertising agency. Telephone 713-681-6711 or email




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