Spending your marketing dollars to promote 3rd parties (Cars.com, AutoTrader, TrueCar, etc.) are filling their coffers and making your ‘brand’ less and less important. You pay big bucks for their leads and they use that money to promote themselves, not you. You’re used to it, however. You pay DMS companies large sums and those companies charge all your vendors as well and you pay for all of it. Yes, you are taken advantage of on a daily basis.
But, when you’re spending your marketing dollars, why not promote your dealership, not the TrueCars of the world? How? Spend your money on promoting your dealership. You might think this means spending money on TV and radio. These two mediums target people without DVRs who actually watch broadcast TV without streaming services and people who don’t exclusively listen to satellite radio…some ‘target’, huh?
The ‘target’ consists of people who will eventually buy cars. Almost all of these people have mailboxes, computers and some kind of smart phone. That’s the start of the equation; use the mediums that the vast majority of car buyers use, not the shrinking minority. When you promote yourself, promote yourself to their apps, the web sites they visit, their email and, yes, even their mailboxes. Work with a company who can successfully select those who are most likely interested in buying and then use the proper mediums to approach those people…and do it systematically and consistently. Successful marketing has never been a once-and-off beast. Ask any successfully marketed entity how they became successful and you’ll find that the words ‘consistently’ and ‘systematically’ come up all the time.
In closing, if you continue to pay your adversaries (TrueCar, AutoTrader and the like) you will fall further and further out of the consciousness of those you are trying to sell.