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Ad Agency Online, L.L.C. is a full service automotive advertising agency and our free automotive advertising resource portal - http://adagencyonline.net - uses the Internet to platform cutting edge automotive advertising applications for our auto dealer clients, affiliated automotive advertising agencies and vendor clients to network and develop shared opportunities.

My roots suggest that I support the value of radio, TV, and Newspaper, (sort of), and it is even more apparant that I prefer Internet marketing as evidenced by the name of my automotive advertising agency. What may not be as obvious or expected is my PASSION for the FREE stuff - like blogs, Internet based Press Releases, Social Networking through Internet communities like ADM as well as Twitter, Facebook etc, and of course the need to include placements of videos and pictures through You Tube and Flickr - and the list goes on.

The real surprise is my suggestion to my auto dealer clients to prioritize these free Internet based solutions over any form of paid advertising to survive in today's shrinking auto industry. The R.O.I. for the labor required to take advantage of the FREE, (sort of), stuff referenced above is still better than investing money in a vain attempt to force the market. Of course all auto dealers need to invest hard dollars in their automotive advertising budget to protect their market share but only after they have maximized the use of the staff and processes that they have already paid for.

Chicken Little happens to be right for now - the sky is falling! I am strongly advising my agencies and dealer clients to keep their staff busy in both the real and the virtual world to develop business opportunities with friends, family and previous customers before spending any money to invite in strangers. Any money that is available to invest should first be used to find automotive advertising applications that offer efficiencies in proceses or opportunities to integrate systems between their real and virtual showrooms across all departments to cross sell between sales and service.

You may ask - but, you are an advertising agency - how can you advise clients not to advertise? The answer lies in the difference between advertising and marketing and the need to assign value to all assets - including people, facility and community - before writing a check. We are all in this together and the advertising agencies that wish to survive with their clients need to adjust their job descriptions to help their auto dealer clients survive to sell another day.

SEO and even SEM investments are preferred over conventional advertising but even they need to come after we are finished dialing for dollars from our database and we have exhausted all of our free networking opportunites in both the real and the virtual world.

Tags: adagencyonline.net, advertising, agencies, agency, auto, automotive, dealers

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Phil,

You bring up some great points. Much of the time I find that the dealer doesn't understand how little labor is involved or they think because it is cheap it will not generate results. That attitude is often reflected because they had a poor experience with a free product in the past. Frequently free is utilized as a "development" hook for under perfroming products. There are successful free products like YouTube and then there are products that are free that should catch on but don't like Google's office suite products.

In examining our successes and failures in getting dealers to utilize the free blog service we offer through a partner, we have learned this:
1) People are bombarded by free offers all the time-you need to take time to explain the benefits of the service
2) You need to offer support up front
3) Make sure they try one or two things at a time instead of everything at once
4) Layout a 90 Plan and goals to measure against
5) Connect with other dealers who are doing the same thing in another area
6) Let them know what the time requirement is...and never use the phrase "all-ya-gotta do is"
7) It takes intiative to get results-if you want more than what others have you need to do more than others that does not always mean you need to spend more than others
Hey Scott,

As always - spot on! When free is really just a short term "teaser" tied to a contract that requires someone to pay for an ongoing service it actually pisses off more customers than it captures. One of my vendor/clients - SiSTeR Technologies Video CarLot - just introduced a REAL FREE video production service called "5/50 No Car Left Behind" that is a "win-win" for both parties in their offered free form as well as the available OPTIONAL upgraded paid services. Their goal is to DOMINATE the online video platform - much like Adobe's business model - to capture market share with an honest product with clear value with the assumption that auto dealers will see the value and want more!

I strongly suggest that any auto dealer or automotive advertising agency that has a pre-owned inventory online with pictures should take them up on their offer! Just go to http://videocarlot.tv and check it out - it is free - forever! If you want me to walk you through the process - just go to AdAgencyOnline.Net or reach me at pzads@bellsouth.net and I will hook you up. After all, what are friends for!

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