Whether we’re in a recession, depression or pandemic, the thing businesses tend to cut off first is their marketing budget. This is a short-sighted move that could cost you down the road. Here’s why keeping your dealership’s name out there, even during a pandemic, is a smart move:
1. You let potential customers know you’re still here.
Any national crisis will inevitably impact your pool of potential customers. Shutting down advertising can make things worse because customers who are still in your pool may not realize that you’re open for business. It may look like the whole world has shut down, but that doesn’t mean that people’s needs do not need to be met.
2. You gain a stronger share of voice.
With other car dealers off the air, your advertisements will be much more noticeable without having to compete with all the noise from your competition. One of the biggest complaints I hear from clients regarding spot placement, is that they oftentimes see their TV spots in the same commercial breaks with other car dealers. Now is the time to take advantage of “less noise” in your market.
3. You can get “more bang for your buck” with your ad spending.
When other advertisers start “panic-canceling” their media buys, this is your chance to swoop in and buy open inventory from television, cable, radio, newspaper and other media outlets at a fraction of their normal rates. Stations will be desperate to sell off their inventory, so be on the lookout for all those “fire sales”!
4. More people are at home watching TV.
In the past week, our lives have drastically changed. Schools have closed. Businesses are encouraging employees to work from home. “Social distancing” has become a household phrase. Bottom line: More people are staying home for longer periods of time, which means they are watching more TV. You literally have a captive audience.
5. A pandemic could open up your market for first-time car buyers.
In the case of COVID-19, people are now hyper-aware of how long the virus can live on certain surfaces and how the possibility of contracting the virus increases with the more contact they have with “shared” surfaces like ATMs, gym equipment, and yes, cars. A lot of people have become wary of cabs and ride share services and are now considering buying a car for the first time.
6. Major events often break us out of old habits.
Major life events create an opening where people are receptive to breaking old habits and forming new ones. Staying at the forefront of people’s minds is the best way to engage with these customers who are more receptive to major life changes including those who are looking to become first-time vehicle owners and those who’d consider switching auto brands for the first time.
7. In uncertain times, people desire a greater sense of control and stability.
Many people are uncertain about their future, and they look for products that help ease that uncertainty. Since transportation is so important for our security, people will increasingly value having a reliable vehicle, and they’ll seek to exert greater control in their lives by using personal vehicles instead of ridesharing services.
Now, while it’s important to stay the course and keep your car dealership marketing flowing, it’s also important to know your audience and make sure that your messaging is timely and does not come across as insensitive. Market conditions are ever-changing, so you must be able to adjust your automotive marketing strategy.
Just like you, Intermark Automotive is still open for business, and we’re ready to guide your dealership through this unprecedented time in our nation’s history.
by Shea Posey, Senior Account Executive/Compliance & Co-op Specialist and Dr. David Bridwell, People Scientist