Creating A Successful Automotive Ad Campaign

“Advertising is the very essence of democracy.  An election goes on every minute of the day where customers determine the leader.” – Bruce Barton

Not a day goes by without an automotive advertiser asking the question “What will make my campaign successful”?

Here are 6 strategies you can incorporate into your campaign immediately that will improve response rates, selling opportunities and the ROI of your campaign.

1): Create ads & messages that appeal to the emotions of your your targeted customer.

Most advertisers do a great job with telling people about their product or service.  This is why most advertising fails. Telling alone won’t make people want to buy.

There are two sides to the purchasing coin…logic and emotion.  The decision to buy is made on the emotional level first, and then backed up with logic.  Most automotive advertising provides the consumer with plenty of logical reasons but little to no emotion.   

Do your ads convey emotion?  Are you reaching deep into the hearts of those coveted customers?  Creating ads based on a laundry list of features & benefits is easy.  Crafting a message that touches the heart is something entirely different, and difficult.  But always well worth the effort.

2): Stop using clichés. 

When it comes to advertising, a cliché is defined as a statement every marketer makes but no one believes.  Have you noticed that every car and tire dealer has the best selection, the absolute lowest prices, fast and easy credit and world-class customer customer service?  

Rather than loading your ads with clichés, consider using words that are powerful, colorful, descriptive and relevant.  Create your ads from the customers’ point of view, not yours.

3): Simplify your message  – Part 1.

Many campaigns fail due to advertisers putting too many different thoughts or themes in their ads.    A clear, single message delivered with real emotion will beat the ad filled with competing messages every time.  What’s your core message? Why will people want to buy from you?  

When you load your ad with multiple messages,   you confuse the consumer. Confused consumers don’t buy.

4): Simplify your message  – Part 2.  

Often, you’ll hear an ad that has too much information for the consumer to possibly understand and digest.  This is typically a result of the dealer saying “if I don’t provide lot’s of different cars or tires to choose from, they might not visit my store.  He/she might not be interested in A, B or C, so I’ll make sure I tell them about D, E and F.”   

Once you start loading your ad with long lists, you’ve lost the interest and attention of the consumer.   Non-interested consumers don’t buy. They just tune you out and you get to waste your money.

5): Don’t irritate the consumer.  

Dealers will often turn to gimmicks or sound effects to gain the attention of potential customers.  Sound effects can work if they’re relevant to your product/service and used sparingly.

Here’s an example of how NOT to use sound effects.  Many years ago, a very promotionally-driven carpet cleaning firm opened their radio ads with irrelevant, highly agitating sound effects.   

One ad in particular opened with a police siren (too loud, too long and painfully distorted), followed by the police officer yelling through his loud-speaker “pull over…where are going in such in hurry?”  The drivers’ response was: “but officer, I’ve got to get to a phone so I call ________ Carpet Cleaners…..” The entire series of ads were irritating. Irritated consumers don’t buy. 

The most successful advertisers communicate with their customers by crafting their message so that they deliver meaningful, useful & relevant information. 

6): Integrate your entire campaign.

Many advertisers want to put one message on TV, another on radio and yet another online.  Unless you have the budget of Geico, this strategy is guaranteed to fail. When you place different messages on different mediums, your response rates will drop.

What you want to strive for is synergy in your advertising.  True synergy is when 1 plus 1 equals 3.  

The most successful automotive advertisers will place the same message across every medium they use.  The result is synergy and a greater response. Ad & media people call this integration.  

By making a few adjustments to how you craft your ads and your media plan, you will see an increase in inquiries, leads generated and ultimately, higher sales volume.