It was more by chance that when meeting with a Toyota dealer in the southeastern United States about 60 days ago, we decided collectively to take a dilapidated radio sports package for a College Football Teams coaches show and use the radio spots that aired twice a week and focus on Parts and Service advertising.
Yes it is true, there are co-op advertising dollars available for running an approved parts and service ad but we really decided this because 2 radio spots per week on a sports talk show is hardly going to drive enough showroom traffic to be measurable. We were locked into a pre-existing contract and did our best to turn a lemon into lemonade.
So we created a :30 radio ad with the best service offer we could find… A $9.95 Oil Change in 30 minutes or less. The idea is to step sell from the service lane so the service department does not eat all the cost (this usually works in theory but is sometimes hard in application) and create traffic using media dollars we felt would not be effective on their own for sales.
The result? How about over 202 $9.95 Oil Changes in 30 days… Ok, so you lost money on the $9.95 Oil Change, but you increased your ROI count during a time when the industry is down both in sales and service.
If your service lane will step sell off of this – then you could turn a large profit in conjunction with your increased ROI count.
In the market we are currently in, not only do you have to be creative but you also have to make sure that the dollars you spend create the most effective return on investment. In 2005, we would not have thought twice about running a sales event ad or a new car message on this radio schedule, but in 2008 times are different. You can either manage your marketing or it can manage you… Usually when it manages you it is managing your financial statement and the outcome is not good.
Utilize all ways, especially service advertising, right now to drive more traffic. With vehicle sales barely tipping 11 million for the year, people are keeping their vehicles longer and this requires more service to keep the cars rolling.
John Paul Strong
John Paul Strong combines his two decades of automotive marketing experience with a team of more than 140 professionals as owner and CEO of Strong Automotive.