Forty years ago, major cities had 5 to 7 Television stations, smaller market areas had 2 to 5, an automobile dealer could really make a name for themselves by eating a bug or appearing genuine in some fashion in front of the majority of households, simply by advertising on television. Obviously, this is no longer the case. A local dealership and their ad agency will still attempt the broadcasting exercise within their budget and only reach a fraction of the households that was possible 40 years ago. More people, less views per channel. The same holds true for radio to a lesser degree. Radio was the first of the two mediums to provide the concept of narrowcasting; stations designed for specific interests.
Today’s broadcasting efforts consist of a plethora of narrowcasts. The large, national concerns like Coca Cola, pick programs to sponsor that will be seen across the nation. the local dealer doesn’t really have the same opportunities. Yes, they have the cable company that allows them to place their ads on specific programs, regardless of the channel on which they appear, but that doesn’t cover the households that have satellite television. There is just no way, within a reasonable budget, that a local dealership can gain anywhere’s near the notoriety that was possible 40 years ago….except in ways that they may not expect; what people say about them on the internet and social media.
A camp stove company can advertise in a camping magazine and have a readership that is almost entirely made up of people who are interested in their product. Same goes for a tennis ball manufacturer or cigar company.
To a lesser extent, there are places where one could advertise where a good portion of the readership may be interested in the product: Stylish clothes in Gentlemen’s Quarterly or customer wheels in Car and Driver magazine. But, how does a dealership target?
There are magazines that are localized like AutoTrader and some of the other used car publications that are put out by various entities and are local. Most people who pick up one of those are fairly likely buyers.
And then there is direct marketing. Direct marketing either through conventional mail or email (or a combination of both) at least attempts to put your message in front of the right people. There is an old rule of advertising, get your message in front of the right people at least three times in a reasonable period. Do most attempts at direct marketing adhere to this old rule? No, they don’t. Most dealers use the hit or miss method and then move on. In some of the advertising books of the 1980’s, studies were conducted that showed response to mail increased each time a potential customer received the message; small percentage on the first go around, better on the second and still better on the third. My question is, why have we forgotten this?