The Three Tiers of Automotive Advertising – Where do Vendors Fit?

Have you ever heard of the saying “Work smarter, not harder?” If you’ve run into any teenagers who don’t particularly like working, chances are you have. But however lazy it sounds, they have a point.

When it comes to running a dealership, things tend to get hectic. Through all of this chaos, you may be costing your dealership money by neglecting coordination between the three tiers of automotive advertising.

Remember, each tier of your advertising communicates to a different audience and serves its own purpose. But without coordination between tiers, there’s a possibility of conflicting messages or competition between your own ad campaigns. This is where it helps to “work smarter.”

Before we get into that, let’s do a quick refresher on what the three tiers of automotive advertising actually are, and how they differ:

  • The national level deals with original equipment manufacturer (OEM) advertising on a broad scale, and pushes brand awareness or brand-wide initiatives and campaigns. While this tier doesn’t usually involve dealers directly, its ad content certainly has an impact on local dealer advertising in the form of OEM compliance and messaging alignment.
  • The regional level deals with advertising designed to reinforce national ads while helping drive traffic to local dealers with localized deals available at multiple dealerships in the area. In many ways this can be the trickiest of the tiers to navigate, as OEM and individual dealer concerns meet on everything from ad content to funding.
  • The local level pushes dealership-specific brand awareness, initiatives, and campaigns. This advertising is targeted at in-market shoppers as well as your dealership’s existing customer base to promote part sales and vehicle service.

Finding a balance in tone and content between national campaigns and local ones can be challenging, and getting OEM assistance for funding in the regional and local levels often involves dealers taking advantage of difficult-to-navigate co-op programs. In other words, the challenges can pile up quickly.

This is why it helps to have a trusted advertising partner who brings value to your dealership, allowing you to “work smarter” and focus on what you know you do well.

How Vendors Add Value

It’s difficult to balance a marketing strategy personalized to your goals with an OEM marketing program designed to increase brand loyalty. Following the OEM marketing line too closely to ensure compliance and co-op funding can actually hurt your local business by weakening the individual dealership brand.

It’s at that point that partnering with a knowledgeable vendor can help you market to your dealership’s goals. Of course you can’t completely ignore the manufacturer’s guidelines or rules, but a capable vendor can help find the balance between those.

The primary benefit of partnering with the right vendor, of course, is that you not only maximize the potential impact of your advertising but also minimize the potential cost – an all-around more profitable way of doing business.

The secondary benefit is that you no longer have to spend time and resources on managing the details, allowing you to use the extra time and resources on more directly profitable tasks: selling cars and service.

Take advantage of the resources available to you. Leaving the technical stuff to the experts maximizes your dealership’s efficiency and puts less stress on your store. Of course, it’s only considered smart if you bring in a vendor that’s proven they can handle this responsibility.

So, take a page out of those “lazy” teenagers’ books and find a vendor that can manage your automotive marketing strategy and customize it to the local level while staying OEM compliant. “Working smarter, not harder” doesn’t seem so lazy now.