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John Wannamaker, often considered the father of the modern department store and modern advertising was quoted about 90 years ago as saying Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half.”


Unfortunately, this problem holds true for many car dealerships (perhaps not as dramatic as quoted by John Wannamaker). However, there is no question that advertising seepage and waste is one of the most pressing concerns for advertisers and reducing that ALONE should dramatically improve your advertising ROI without additional investments.


Therefore, as you plan your advertising strategy for 2011 what plans are you implementing to:


  • Reduce the percent of advertising seepage?
  • Find out which ‘half’ of your advertising investment is being wasted?
  • Measure and track your advertising channels to determine which is NOT meeting your minimum advertising ROI requirements?
  • Cost benefit analysis to determine how much say a 5% reduction in advertising seepage will mean to your bottom line?
  • What specific strategies you can put in place to reduce advertising seepage?
  • What specific strategies can you put in place to stay in touch and engage your existing customers?
  • How do you plan to increase your parts, service and maintenance revenue with your existing customer base? 
  •  Have you claimed Your FREE Google Local Places Listing and is it adequately optimized and mobile device enabled?
  • Are you still advertising in the Yellow Pages? Do you know your marketing ROI for this channel?


Now, before we move on, let’s discuss WHY advertising seepage occurs. Let’s assume that you advertise only in the newspapers and Yellow Pages. You place your full page ad, with pictures of the cars you want to promote, your financing options, your phone or vanity #, address and website address. While this well and good, unless you have a short code keyword  or something that tie the two channels together, you will miss the % of your potential customers who prefer to use a mobile device to communicate and you are ignoring the largest growing segment of your potential target population.


According to EMarketer (Nov 2009), the % of mobile phone users is expected to increase at a rate of about 20% EACH year between 2008 and 2013 and as % of total US population, increase from about 16.7% in 2008 to 39.5% in 2013. In addition, according to Center for Media Research (Sept 2009), “80% of local media execs believe mobile will be the main distribution to consumers within 3 years”.


The New Multi-media Environment Calls For An Integrated Advertising Strategy.


Fortunately, there is a way for auto dealers to adopt this trend quickly, inexpensively and seamlessly into their current online and offline advertising strategies. The use of short code text messaging is already widespread. Adding this ONE keyword to all your advertising channels will vastly improve your response, leads and conversion rates.


Note that widely popular television shows such as “American Idol” and “Dancing With The Stars” give their viewers the option of calling or texting a vote to their favorite performer.


A catchy and memorable keyword in addition to a vanity # are a powerful combination to get your dealership’s name and brand message to consumers.


The multi-media car dealer will use their keyword, in the words of Thomas Hensey (Rhino Marketing), to “identify, find, touch and thrill” the target customer by offering them an incentive to text to their database. The dealer will then send the customer to their mobile website ad, featuring their specials, while at the same time sending that ad to YouTube and Social media.


In the process, the dealership builds a text messaging database of inquiries, leads, and customers for ongoing, periodic follow up. So long as the dealer continues to “touch and thrill” their database, they will be able to increase new sales, service and maintenance revenues.


The key to reducing advertising seepage and increasein sales and revenue is the ability to integrate ALL your advertising channels, and the short code keyword provides the dealer an inexpensive, quick and seamless way to do so. 


Michael Ofori is President of MVO & Associates, LLC, a multi-media advertising agency and can be reached at 978-631-0363  email

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