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First, let’s look at the media advertising landscape for 2011; then determine how your strategy fits into that and more importantly, how you are going to maximize your advertising ROI within these parameters.


According to Carat, a leading independent media communications agency, total ad spend in the US is expected to increase by 1.7% in 2011. “All media are expected to return to growth, except for the newspaper sector, which, along with magazines, is expected to be the weakest performer. The two biggest areas of growth are internet and television, followed by radio, outdoor and cinema… Online continues to capture a bigger percentage of the media spend in 2010 at 11.3%, increasing to 12.1% in 2011”.


The trend towards mobile smart phone devices to reach people on the move cannot be over-emphasized.


Now, given this landscape let me ask you the following questions:

  • What is your advertising strategy for 2011?
  • Do you have a plan to minimize advertising leakage or waste?
  • Do you have an integrated multi-media advertising strategy across ALL your media channels to maximize advertising message, leads and conversion?
  • Do you have a rigorous tracking mechanism in place know which channel provided the best ROI, and more importantly, to quickly adapt to changing response, leads and conversion patterns?


Despite the changing demographic and ad spend landscape many automobile dealers continue to devote the majority of their ad budgets to TV, newspapers and radio. It is true that the internet is getting a larger share of today’s ad budget, however, there is NO INTREGRATED strategy yet in place to minimize advertising leakage or waste.


Every month, the average automobile dealership spends about $50,000 in advertising and the average dealership will use a combination of  TV, newspaper and magazines, radio, direct mail and the internet to advertise.  The critical question is WHETHER all of these channels are integrated in a way where EACH channel provides input into the other that validates the dealer’s brand message.


In my opinion, the most ROI effective, integrated advertising strategy MUST encompass the following and include an appropriate, affordable, easy to implement online platform to enable seamless execution:


  • TV: You are already spending money here so make sure you include your toll free #, website info and provide an incentive for your watchers to respond to your shortcode keyword.
  • Newspapers & Magazines, Radio & Direct Mail: A contact phone #, website and shortcode keyword are critical here. Note that a response to your shortcode keyword will allow you to direct your customers by smart phone to your mobile website, YouTube and  Social Media sites.
  • Your Online Website: Must be well planned, easy to navigate and SEO optimized. Do not forget a call to action to your shortcode keyword.
  • SMS Text Marketing Platform (Opt-in): If you do not have this, you are missing a HUGE part of your potential audience. For people on the go, you can push through instant coupons, discounts, contests and gratification.
  • Automated Submission Of Ads On YouTube & Social Media: Your presence in this space without a lot of effort and resources is key. Tie in with the other strategies produces maximum results.
  • Automated Mobile Website Capacity: This is critical in today’s smart phone environment and to reach the Y generation.
  • Tracking & Measurement: Having a separate shortcode keyword for each advertising channel will allow you to track responses, leads, conversions and ongoing customer lifetime value. This will also show you over time which channel represent you most effective ROI and potentially reduce your ad spend.

 Once you have your prospects and customers’ keycode contact #, you can now send your prospects periodic new sales specials and coupons, and for existing customers, reminders and/or coupons for maintenance and other services.


Now, you are wondering HOW you could do all that without substantial incremental expense. First, doing this for 6 - 9months should show you which channels have the smallest or even negative ROI for possible elimination. Second, the potential incremental sales from this strategy should more than make up for any additional expense with this strategy.


You can position your company today to capitalize on the new advertising landscape by incorporating these multi-media advertising strategies to improve your ROI. Many of your competition are already doing it.


If you want to find our how other automobile dealerships are using this strategy, please contact me.

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  • I am VERY impressed with this post! Nicely done-

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