No, you’re not dreaming it. It is getting more expensive to attract the same amount of in-market shoppers as last year. What happened? As a digital marketing professional, how is it your budget gets bigger every year but the amount of in-market buyers you attract don’t grow by the same margin?
It’s pretty straightforward – Everyone else is now using similar tactics to get valuable, in-market shoppers and the field is getting saturated.
Yesterday your dealership was one of the pioneers in the digital game, and you were reaping the rewards of a fairly open playing field. Today, anyone who has the budget can easily achieve what you have with a handful of vendors. Dealerships are competing with the guy across the road, across town, and across their own dealer groups and these guys are all using the same tactics you are.
You used to be able to invest a good chunk of your budget into listings sites online, a little bit extra for the top spot on SEM and BOOM! your showroom was the top seller in your area and your team thought of you as their “Digital Guru” (PS – don’t ever call yourself a digital guru). But now everyone is using precisely the same tactics.
That was then; this is now.
You can’t just go out and throw more money at the problem and expect to be back on the top of the heap. Dealership advertising has moved way past the “good ole days” listings and search solving all problems and the sooner you realize these problems, the better.
Not All Display Ads Are Created Equally
While display advertising on the web is facing skepticism, display ads themselves aren’t the problem. It’s how they’re used and measured that makes dealers feel like they hold little value for their local dealership. Display ads, like billboard ads, are similar standing on top of the tallest building in your town and shouting through a megaphone. Some people will hear you. Some may act on your speech and maybe one or two may buy what you’re selling.
As a GM, you want everything you spend your advertising budget on to generate opportunities and revenue (Leads and Sales). This is exactly where typical display ads have fallen short at the dealership level. They are great for advertising the big events, building up your brand and presenting evergreen ideas – Like: “Family owned for 45 years!” OR “The best service”. What they don’t do well is promote an ever changing and variable set of inventory.
If your goal is to get car buyers directly to your inventory where you know you stand the best chance for a sale then you’re going to have a challenge doing that with traditional display advertising.
Nobody knows your market better than you and auto shopping behavior changes constantly and quickly. Don’t be left playing catch-up in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Take the time to sit and brainstorm the next evolution in your dealership’s marketing direction.