Incentive War, Speak Your Piece

Car Seller Social Media Leads

The question is being debated in several reports detailing U.S. auto sales – have they peaked in 2015?  It would appear the total number for 2016 will not surpass last year based on August sales trends reported so far. But one key marketing tool is on the rise as a result of sales and that is incentive spending. It increased drastically last month to $3,559 per vehicle compared to $3,419 in August 2015. (The record is $3,753 from December 2008).

Import and domestic manufacturers are step-raising the ante, some almost weekly, and the key to taking advantage in any dealership is a rapid response. Our most successful dealers are the ones who have processes in place to get the word out in both traditional media and online venues, immediately.

With shoppers moving through a more prolonged shopping cycle, impactful incentives that are only available for a limited time can be final the piece that becomes the tipping point. The first dealer to get in front of them is very likely to see them in their showroom or be contacted through social media. Rapid response, like the early bird, gets the sale, and very often a trade-in as well.

Acknowledgements to Automotive Remarketing “Have auto sales truly reached their peak?” Sept. 9, 2016

About the author

John Paul Strong: For someone who spends an average of 135 days outside of the office meeting with clients, John Paul Strong remains the driving force behind his Birmingham-based advertising agency, Strong Automotive Merchandising. Strong began his career as a fresh-faced account executive at Martin Advertising. Learning much, but never satisfied, he convinced his father to partner with him in reopening their own advertising agency in 2004, catering exclusively to the automotive industry. The company started strong but humble. The original roster of 10 employees and eight clients has exploded today, growing to 100 full-time employees and more than 220 automotive dealers. And it hasn’t gone without notice. Along the way, Strong Automotive Merchandising has been recognized as a perennial winner in Birmingham’s Best Places to Work contest and as a Top 20 Agency among Google’s National Ad Partners. Yet, Strong still finds time to share what he’s learned along the way. As an avid writer, he has published two books in the Next Day Traffic series, along with more than 1,000 automotive-focused blog posts. He is also a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, and his success has been recognized in the Birmingham Business Journal’s 2013 “Top 40 Under 40” feature and the 2017 CEO Awards. The foundation for Strong’s career began at the University of Montevallo where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies and advanced public speaking. Always staying ahead of the competition, Strong later went on to study in Harvard Business School’s Executive Education Program. Amid all of his endeavors, Strong always makes time for what matters most – his family. He is a proud husband to Amy, and father to Lilly Grace, Anne Charlotte, Hudson, and Ford.


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