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Having looked back over nearly two decades of automotive advertising from newspapers to niche auto and RV magazines, I find it interesting that nothing has changed. The methodology and strategy has had no improvements which begs to ask: are the results getting any better or are they continuing to diminish?
One of the reasons I believe the strategy used for traditional advertising isn't performing as well as it used to is because, for the most part, ads haven't changed or evolved to meet modern consumer demands and expectations. Consumer expectations are continually evolving and it's vital for any dealership to take some time to figure out with laser accuracy what group of people each ad is meant to target and work to unveil their emotional needs.
An example would be to say that week one's ad will focus on attracting single mothers with small children or young families. In this instance, plastering a hundred different vehicles on a page doesn't really speak to these groups of people. Running an ad, however, that focuses on a common vehicle that these consumers would purchase (a mini-van or compact SUV), as well as the safety features of that vehicle pulls on the heart strings of the consumer and attracts them into coming up with reasons to purchase.
Picture, price, picture, price, picture, price just doesn't work any more - and let's face it, when it did; those ads were only targeting a measly 2 - 5% of in-market consumers.
By focusing on consumer expectations, determining what target market you will try and reach with each ad, and determining the best way to uncover the consumers emotional needs, you'll pump some life back into your traditional marketing efforts and start tracking a positive return on your advertising investment.
What say you?