I don’t know which one is more flattering to our beloved automotive direct mail marketing industry. The fact that billion dollar social media companies like Facebook and Google, who were going to stomp out traditional marketing (like direct mail)  but have ended up engaging in and enjoying the profits of good old direct mail themselves. Or just watching all the 3rd party lead generators like cars.com, Truecar.com, KBB.com and others invest in that really washed up, TV! You know the TV that no one watches anymore? The one that everyone fast forward through all the commercials and even when the TV is on, people are on their laptops?  Come on…

The simple truth is and it’s been proven over and over, is simply that there just is no silverImage bullet; one size fits all solution to selling a product or service.  It’s that simple.

Many bloggers attempt to gang every product and service into one category in order to pimp their service (usually social media).   It should be no surprise that buying a new coffee maker or DVD player is not the same as buying a new vehicle.

Car dealers should break out their monthly budgets so they are investing heaviest in proven, time tested advertising and marketing.  Then, there should be a slice of the budget reserved for research or testing and trying different lead generating ideas.  There is nothing wrong with buying leads as long as they are solid and there is no shenanigans going on. But dealers need to rely on their own leads that they generate from within more than 3rd party leads.

There are lawsuits going on with Carfax right now and companies like Truecar.com and Cars.com are being slammed by dealers in the blogosphere.  Some of the beefs are when a car buyer goes on Cars.com for example and selects a vehicle and the lead is delivered to the dealership and the two are engaged in “buying and selling”, the car buyer will start to receive more emails from the lead company (like Cars.com) offering the car buyer many more options like comparable makes and models to the vehicle they selected steering the customer away from the dealership that just paid them for the hot lead!  Many dealerships of course have a big problem with this practice.

Needless to say, the Internet is a mess right now. It is still very powerful and dealerships need to engage in social media and digital marketing.  With so many people going online to research, it’s a great place to generate leads (hot and cold).

Speaking of hot, video is hot right now online and even though it is considered digital, many of the online tools can be merged with traditional advertising and marketing like direct mail.  It is not uncommon for a direct mail piece to drive the customer to the Internet first, then down to the dealership.

So again, make sure you reserve the lion’s share of your budget for proven hard hitting tools like the workhorse, direct mail marketing.  At the same time, always be testing something. The good thing about the Internet is many options are free or close to it. It is crowded but the options are endless!

Great selling!

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