According to a 2011 NADA (National Auto Dealer Association) Data “State Of The Industry Report”, on average, advertising costs $654 per every new vehicle sold. On top of that, dealership expenses continue to rise – by 6.6% between just 2010 and 2011 according to the same report.
Since auto dealership profit margins are scant as it is – especially in the new car game – it’s important to maximize every one of those marketing dollars. Here are a few tips to ensure you’re doing just that.
Tip #1 – Renegotiate Your Advertising Deals – Let’s look at your broadcasting expenditures, for example. Auto dealers are a local radio and television station’s bread and butter. However, as great as broadcast is, with automotive direct mail, social media, email marketing and online advertising, broadcasters are fighting for every last marketing dollar. That works out to your advantage – because they’d be much more inclined to give you a break in price than to lose your business altogether.
Tip #2 – Shop Around – As you well know, there’s always someone running a promotion at some time. So, don’t be complacent about where your advertising money goes. Take a look at your budget and shop around a bit to see if anyone out there has a better deal to offer. And, per Tip #1 – tell your current vendors what you’re doing, the offers you’ve received and give them an opportunity to at least meet if not beat it.
Tip #3 – Audit Your Current Efforts – Let’s look at automotive direct mail as an example of how to do this. If you’ve always sent out big tri-fold mailers promoting your hottest sales event of the year and have seen excellent results, ask yourself, have the tri-fold mailers done their job? By this we mean, has the event been well enough established as something you do each and every year that perhaps, this year, a well designed but considerably less pricey postcard promoting the event is enough? Again, complacency can be very expensive.
Tip #4 – Bide Your Time – Did you know that at the end of every sales season, advertisers tend to have remnant space they’re ready to fill at bargain basement prices? While the “real estate” on the air or in print might not be the best there is, you can certainly get it for a song.
Tip #5 – Partner Up – Do you have vendors that you work with on a consistent basis? Why not partner with them on your next direct mail promotion or broadcast campaign? Or, what if you want to do a theme-based sales event? What sorts of partners could you share costs with and share ad space with? For example, if you want to do a Winter Sales Event, how about partnering with a local travel agency to give away tickets for a sun or ski vacation?
Remember, while net gains for dealership are on the rise thanks to the continuing economic recovery – the average dealership saw a 19% gain from 2008 to 2009 alone – that doesn’t necessarily translate into real profit dollars as property taxes, payrolls and more continue to rise. One surefire way to keep up with the times is to keep a critical and cost conscious eye on your marketing expenditures.