5 Dealership Marketing Lessons from the Dancing Inflatable Tube Guys

You know the ones: tube men, sky dancers, wavy-armed advertising dudes, or whatever you choose to call them. They dance on street corners, waving their stubby arms in the wind, wide-eyed and eternally smiling.

At some point, you probably had one (or 12) at your dealership. Maybe while taking a smoke break or waiting for a customer to return from a test drive, you watched it flail around. As it tirelessly shimmied, crumbled, and jerked up again, you wondered, mesmerized and annoyed: “How did something this bizarre become such a big deal?

We won’t attempt to explain the complexities of the late 1990s (no one can), but we can at least learn from them.

Here are 5 marketing lessons learned from the dancing inflatable tube guys:

1. Stay focused.

Ever wonder why you don't see as many of the the dancing inflatable tube guys as you used to? Well, they were actually banned in some cities around the country for being “urban visual clutter” and “adversely affecting the aesthetic environment.”

While people first found them amusing, we soon began resenting our dancing friends. Streets were littered with them, and too much of anything is never a good thing.

The same can be applied to emails and digital ads. Spamming inboxes will certainly get you blocked. Over-saturating users with your advertisements will annoy potential customers. Instead, consider targeting the emails you send and use a frequency cap on your digital ads. Targeting emails will send fewer yet more effective emails. Using frequency caps will limit the number of advertisements each person will see.

2. Keep moving to be noticed.

The advertising world is shifting to video and GIFs. It is easy to see why when video ads increase purchase intent by 97% and brand association by 139%.

While scrolling through their normal online activity, consumers are more likely to stop for an ad with movement than for one that is static.

Consumers are exposed to around 5,000 ads a day, so if they are going to give one a second thought, it needs to catch and keep their attention. When using video, your entire message is presented to the viewer in a cute little square. It is an excellent way to tell stories, educate & inform, and get consumers to take action.

3. Send good vibes.

You should aim to initiate a positive emotional response with customers. Studies show that consumers rely on their emotions, rather than information, to evaluate brands. Positive emotions have more influence on consumer loyalty than brand attributes alone. People grow tired of the negative headlines that circulate their online lives, so seeing an upbeat message is a breath of fresh air.

This should also apply to the way you communicate with your customers. No one wants to see you trash-talking your competitors, or picking a fight with someone who leaves a bad review online.

4. Don’t just blow hot air.

Shoppers are more informed and skeptical than ever. They don’t fall for meaningless flattery, and they don’t care about “how good they would look in that car”. Shoppers react best when they are working with a brand they view as authentic and trustworthy. Have prices and information available on your website for those who are researching. Treat customers with respect. Deliver on promises. Consumers want brands that can walk the walk.

And it pays off. Nine out of 10 consumers are willing to reward a brand for its authenticity. 52 percent would recommend the brand to others and 49 percent would pledge loyalty to the brand.

5. Never stop dancing.

Marketing for your dealership is like a dance. Trends are constantly shifting and moving, and it is important to keep up with their rhythm. When a business gets stuck in a routine, or stops trying all together, it will deflate like an empty sack of fabric.

After all, if dealerships weren’t keeping up with the rest of the world, we would still be depending on a tube of air to generate business.