The Reason Most Automotive Advertising Campaigns Fail

Car dealers are constantly complaining that their advertising does not work with regularity. Dealers say that sometimes a mailer works, but more often they fail. Print is not what it once was and it is getting harder to get results. They are not really sure what kind of results they get from TV and radio, because there is rarely a “call to action” or redemption required with broadcast. Dealers say, they are getting a lot of hits from the internet, but are not sure how many of those hits turn into actual car buyers. Are these the kind of questions you are asking about your advertising? Here are some possible solutions that may help you make advertising work better for your store.

All of the above mediums are the “bread and butter” media used successfully by most dealerships across the country, but dealers often fail to employ the fundamental basic strategies for each medium to be successful. Allow me to take each one of these mediums one and analyze why they may not be working for you.
Direct mail—Dealers will find a good mailer and run it to death until the results drop to near nothing. Find a good mailer, but don’t run it to the same zip codes for at least 9-12 months. Make sure you have a strong incentive to drive traffic. Limit the time of the event to no more than five days to create urgency. Make sure you find a reliable direct mail company and ask for references before you hire them.
Newspaper—Despite what you hear about the death of newspaper, print advertising still works for a number of dealerships and is still the main medium for these stores. The biggest mistake in failed newspaper campaigns is simply bad ads. Make sure your ads look good. Have strong prices and compelling incentives. Make sure your offer is real and not a gimmick that only upsets potential buyers. Most important, make sure you are dominant in the paper with at least a page killer or larger. If you use the paper consistently and have strong ads, you will succeed with newspaper.
TV and radio—These are the powerhouse mediums for car dealers that should bring the bulk of your traffic. The biggest mistake dealers make with the broadcast medium is they don’t do enough of it to be effective. Maximize your gross rating points (GRPS) to be sure you have enough during your flights. Depending on your market size, 700-800 points for a two week flight will give you good exposure. Remember, it takes reach and frequency in broadcast to be effective. The spot must always be great and the media selection must be right on the money to win. There is no reason why you can’t win with broadcast 100 percent of the time.
Internet—The internet is fast becoming the medium of choice for dealers and cannot be totally discussed in a brief paragraph. My only advice for dealers using the internet is to get a strong internet department within the dealership. Hire not only people who know how to make the digital media work effectively, but people who know how to quickly convert leads into actual customers. The internet changes by the day and each day that passes without a good internet department means lost sales.
Stop complaining about why your advertising does not work and get started in finding solutions on how you can make these proven media outlets work better for your store.
Tom Letizia is the president of Letizia Mass Media, a full-service advertising agency specializing in automotive. He can be reached at 702-777-2121 or email





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