A typical problem in the automotive industry is that an ungodly amount

of cash is thrown into the advertising or marketing arena, with what

results? A silent telephone and an empty lot.

What does it take to get the phone to ring and the ups to show up?

What does it take to sell the number of units your store SHOULD BE

selling? What does it take to stop throwing your money away when it

comes to advertising or marketing your dealership?

In today's marketplace there are five specific plague-like

money-sucking pitfalls that infect many of you and your dealerships.

The rest of this article will shed light on these little-known

atrocities and show you how you can make your dealership impervious

while at the same time spike your advertising and marketing

effectiveness and see significantly increased profits.

Here are the Five Deadly Sins of Automotive Marketing.

Marketing Sin #1: Not understanding what marketing actually is.

Marketing is one of those terms defined in a lot of different ways.

Dictionary.com defines it simply as, to offer for sale or to sell.

This definition is misleading because marketing is a multi-step process

that ultimately should lead to sales. But defined that simply it does

not give us any information to learn from. Here is a good definition

for marketing: The quickest path to selling prospects and clients who

are properly positioned to be sold - without actually having to sell


That may sound confusing... to make it easier, let's define the difference between sales and marketing.

Sales: What you do with a person once they are in front of you or

on the telephone. A prospect or customer on the lot or on the phone

needs to be given a sales presentation. Everything you or your

salespeople do in front of a prospect is a presentation and should be

treated as such and executed systematically and dynamically.

Marketing: What you do to get prospects and customers on the lot or on the phone.

In a sense, marketing is pre-selling and positioning. You want to

set the stage for your presentation. You are the director of a

mega-profit-producing production. You want to get people excited about

what you are going to show, demonstrate and tell them. You want them to

have a certain perception about you and your dealership before they

ever step foot on the lot or call on the phone. You want to be

perceived in advance as a welcomed guest, a valuable resource, an asset

- not an unwelcome, product-pushing pest.

Marketing Sin #2: Not having an effective marketing system to sell your service.

Most people handle their marketing in a way we like to call spray

and pray. Just SPRAY it all out there and PRAY something happens as a

result. It's usually not very well thought out and is done with no real

rhyme or reason. It just is what it is. Separate pieces of a puzzle,

always changing, never measured and definitely not orchestrated into a

proven system.

Your marketing should be like a musical score - written out in

advance, with movements and rests and harmonies exactly as they are to

be performed every time. The composer knows how the different parts

will affect the thoughts, emotions, and perceptions of the listeners

like clockwork.

The music sets the mood and the tone and so should your marketing

set the mood and tone of your sales presentation and your dealership


Most dealers we meet are throwing spaghetti on the wall when it

comes to marketing and trying to find what sticks...then riding that

gimmick till it stops working. Then they throw more spaghetti in order

to find the next new gimmick.

This doesn't make your marketing job or your life very easy or fun

nor does it create a duplicable system that produces ongoing results

for you, making your dealership impervious to changes in market

conditions and ultimately recession-proof.

What you need to create a powerful and systematic marketing system

that pre-sells and pre-positions your dealership is all based on

response oriented direct marketing. Using direct marketing you can sell

yourself in advance and make the job of closing significantly easier.

Instead of just using your marketing to say, Here we are, we're

getting our name out there, here's how long we've been here and here's

our number in case you want to call us, you really want to use

education-based marketing strategies to get people to take immediate

action and then be persuaded to come to the conclusion on their own

terms that you are the only and best choice for them.

Notice we haven't said anything in here about vehicles. Selling

vehicles puts you in the commodity game and we will discuss that issue

in some of the later Sins.

You want to use strategies like making prospects call a 24-hour,

pre-recorded hotline message, visit an information-based, permission

gathering website or request/read an educational sales letter or

consumer awareness guide.

These are the type of marketing steps that educate, pre-sell and

position you as an expert in your field and in your market. This is the

kind of thing that can help you overcome traditional negative industry

stereotypes and give you an unfair advantage over all your competition.

Plus, there are many new methods of distributing your

education-based marketing material that cost very little and are

consumer-sexy, such as the Internet, email, blogs, RSS feeds and


How can you integrate some or all of these education-based direct

marketing strategies into a systematic marketing plan that gets proven

and consistent results? That's the question you need to be pondering

and creating answers to if you want crush the competition and

recession-proof your dealership.

About The Author
Jimmy Vee and Travis Miller are the nation's leading experts on

attracting customers and the co-authors of Gravitational Marketing: The

Science of Attracting Customers. Get important survival strategies and

tips for FREE by requesting their Automotive Emergency Survival

Marketing Toolkit For Used Car Dealers and Managers. To get your FREE

copy visit http://www.richdealers.com/articles.