And you need to buy some media. Great! This looks like a perfect fit. It’s obvious. You’re going to buy your media through them, because it will be easier, more pleasant, and filled with less hassle. But, and trust us when we tell you, it’s a bad idea.
Nearly everyone seems to have a friend, relative, or “someone they’ve worked with for years” who buys media. We naturally want to work with those closest to us. We like to work with those we know more than those we don’t know. It’s great to support friends, relatives, or long-time business connections in their businesses…as long as it doesn’t come at the expense of your own.
But hiring a media buyer who is too close to you and/or too close to your market could actually hurt your dealership. Here’s how:
First of all, think about your relationship with your buddy media buyer. You guys have probably known each other for years! Maybe you play golf once a month, maybe your kids go to school together or your spouses grew up together. You want to work with him or her, because of the time you’ve known each other and you already trust them. And they seem to be doing a pretty good job anyway, so why rock the boat?
Now, think about how your buddy feels about the media reps he works with every day. He’s also known the reps for years. Is it hard to imagine that after working so closely for so long they wouldn’t have built a relationship, a friendship, with one another? Then, at the office during your media buy negotiations, a pretty good deal comes across the line. Will your buddy rock the boat to get you a better deal? Are you sure?
Hiring a removed media buyer guarantees that offers and information are reviewed with an objective eye, focused only on getting you the most bang for your buck. But, how do you know when you’re getting the best deal and when you’re not? Well, are you getting a lot of swag—gifts at Christmas time, fancy lunches, great seats at concerts? More importantly, is your media-buying buddy getting gifts too? If you’re sitting next to him or her at those concerts, you can be sure you aren’t getting the deal you should be. When you get the best deal available, your media reps won’t give you as many extras. You’ve already scored a killer deal; swag is for those they’re hoping to distract. We know from experience!
Buying media for the retail automotive industry requires a supremely specialized method. And while your buddy might be an experienced professional, the likelihood that they have sweeping knowledge of this method is slim. That means they are blind to the market numbers that will affect your business the most. The truth of the matter is that buying media for the retail automotive industry is different than buying media for any other industry in the world. It is an enterprise that takes years of testing and retesting to master. We’ve spent over 15 years studying it. It is unlikely that your local media buying connection has been able to devote this sort of study to a single industry, as they built their business buying media for various trades in your local community.
Even if your friend is a successful media buyer in your area, they won’t have access to the resources that someone working at the national level has. Buying at volume across the nation allows buyers to negotiate deeply discounted rates, because they are familiar with media prices both in your area, the area next door, and every area in-between. Buyers purchasing media by volume in this way have leeway to negotiate annual agreements that lock in a set rate rather than negotiating prices as you need it, which often puts you on the wrong end of the supply-demand food chain.
As a business owner, your number one job is to market your business. Yes, before you focus on closing sales, increasing your gross, or improving your service department, you must setup a marketing system that gets customers in the door. Part of making sure your marketing system is top-notch is ensuring that your media buy is the best it can be.
We know that it’s tempting to work with people you know, have long standing relationships with, or who is right in your backyard. It’s easy to look to our friends before we widen our scope. But sometimes being near-sighted, while it may keep us comfortable in the moment, can mean a major opportunity loss in the long run.
Finding a media buyer who has automotive industry specific knowledge and the objectivity to freely negotiate is the only way to guarantee you’re getting the most for your money. Their experience and impartiality will help you reach the greatest percentage of your target market, negotiate the best price, and avoid costly pitfalls, all while saving you time in the process. The agency won’t see any swag, but you will see a positive change in the effect your media buy has on your business.
Jimmy Vee and Travis Miller are the founders of Rich Dealers®, the nation’s leading experts on attracting customers, and the authors of Gravitational Marketing. Visit www.TrafficScale.com to request a complimentary Traffic Scale Report, which compares the quality of your traffic to other dealerships in your area and helps determine whether or not there’s potential business you’re missing out on. Use coupon code DMM1409.0