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Marketing In-Service

Someone who reads this blog asked me to comment on marketing service. Should be an easy thing to do right? That is the business I am in and the company I run. But after putting some thought into it, there are so many facets that face a “true” agency that it is very difficult to in a few paragraphs talk about what “Marketing Service” really is. Every dealership in America is different. There are different parameters and needs of their business that require an automotive marketing company to be able to adapt to different personalities and methods of operation while keeping the same goal in mind:  “Creation of Traffic”.

I decided to focus this article not on what a “Marketing Service” IS, but what it is NOT.

Hyundai’s marketing group announced today that they were buying two spots in the Super Bowl. This is the type of thing that frustrates me. It’s the same as a Radio Station selling a ‘College Basketball Package’ or a Newspaper offering a special ‘Kick-off to College Football.’ The value in what is being bought and what it will deliver is fraudulent. Some marketing guy probably pushed this on Hyundai because they wanted to look back and say, “We had a Super Bowl Ad in 2009.” 

The only time I have EVER seen a Super Bowl spot work for an automaker was the buzz created by the “Cadillac Breakthrough Campaign in 2002” (featuring Led Zeppelin’s high-energy song, “Rock and Roll”), which only kicked off what was to be a brand revitalization campaignBut the Super Bowl ads didn’t bring back the brand, THE HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS SPENT IN THE NEXT 36 MONTHS MADE THE BRAND COOL AGAIN and made people under the age of 70 actually think about buying a Cadillac(sorry Buick).

Getting sucked into a mindset of, “I have to be there because people will watch this,” is about as dumb as me trying to play in the NBA (I’m only 5′ 6″)Effective marketing really involves 3 key things:  Reach, Frequency, and Consistency. You have to reach an audience enough times with a message in order to have mental awareness. You have to pound the message into their minds with words or phrases that can be remembered in order to have any type of recall. And you must be consistent. The hardest thing in the world in the auto industry is to stay the course even if you feel like the ship is taking on water.

Hyundai is probably going to spend $2 million on the Super Bowl Ads. There will also probably be about $500,000 worth of filming and production for the spot (if it’s good). No one will probably remember the message the day after the game. And, it probably won’t rank high in the poll taken about the great Super Bowl Ads. I call this “Marketing In-Service.”

NOW, what a Marketing Service would be for Hyundai would be someone in a board room saying, do you realize how many people we could mail to announce our Hyundai Assurance Program, or the amount of web coverage if we spent $2.5 million dollars in a smarter area?

It equates to about 5 million direct mail pieces, which if it drew a 1% response would equal 50,000 “ups” or “qualified intenders.”

I wonder if the Hyundai dealers in America will have 50,000 showroom “ups” in their stores on February 2nd? PROBABLY NOT.

John Paul Strong

John Paul Strong combines his two decades of automotive marketing experience with a team of more than 150 professionals as owner and CEO of Strong Automotive.

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