The Dealerist's Blog

November 17, 2009

Dealership Marketing and Advertising in the Web 2.0 Age

It’s no secret that advertising methods that worked in years past no longer work, so how can you market your dealership in today’s economy? 

I recently saw a presentation on What’s Next Marketing and Advertising by Paul Isakson on Slideshare.  One of the points that he makes is that the future of marketing is NOT about doing and saying things TO people, rather the future of marketing is about doing things WITH and FOR people.   Mr. Isakson’s presentation said that the future of marketing is:

Collaborative:  In today’s Web 2.0 environment your customers are your dealership’s voice.  What they say to their friends and family will trump anything you say in your advertising.

Generous:  Almost every dealer I know has a charity that they work with.  Your Facebook, your Twitter account even your showroom are venues that you can share with your charities to help promite their causes.  By doing so you show your customers and prospects that you are involved and care about your community. 

Experimental:  Let’s face it, advertising today a moving target.  You have to be willing to try new things.  The great news is that social media and the web are perfect for experimenting so go ahead try that crazy idea out.

Helpful:  One of the fundamental principles of social media is that people will share things they find helpful.  So use your social media accounts and your dealership website to provide helpful tips and videos.  Your customers and prospects will forward them to their friends and family and you get more exposure. 

Playful:  This should be a no brainer for those of us in the car business.  Why do you think that the King of Cars was so successful?  It was fun.  When you have fun your customers see that you’re real.  So get out there and have some fun with your marketing. 

Personal:  Ever since websites became common most dealerships have had staff pages.  Those pages allowed us to tell our prospects a little about us.  Today, social media sites go even further and if used properly show that we too have families, that kids play soccer too that we too are people just like them. 

Honest:  This one’s a tough one.  As an industry we have always had a bit of bad reputation.  I think dealers today are not only very honest; they are probably some of the most honest businesses around.  Social media sites and the web allow you to work with you customers and prospects in an open an transparent way.  If you staff made a mistake admit it and address it openly.  Nothing will go further to help your store image. 

Participatory:  Like Paul Isakson says, “The best way to get people to do stuff with you, is to first join them in what they are already doing.”  Your customers and prospects are already using social media to share and stay in touch with their friends and family.  When you get involved with social media you’re joining your customers and in doing so they will participate by helping you build a better business.

Marketing your dealership today doesn’t have to be all that confusing.  One thing is certain, the rules have changed and what used to work no longer does.  But the good news is that if you’re willing to try new things and open up and let your customers help, there’s a whole new way to market your business.

As always please feel free to call me at 502-689-5370 or follow me on Twitter, I am @dealerist.

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