Would you give me $50,000 for some advertising if I told you I had no idea if it worked or not? Dealers to this day continue doing this and we're going to talk about how to start measuring that advertising spend.
Dealerships track just about everything about their sales floors. White boards with targets, sales, inventory, aging, employee sales performance, etc. With so much measurement and focus on numbers, it often confuses me, that when it comes to advertising, the cost of "tracking" the advertising is too much and they just run with it, "thinking" it works with nothing to back up that thought. No dealership would ignore all those sales number on the floor, why ignore advertising performance numbers when spending a lot of money?
In the past couple of weeks it's been a repeat conversation about traditional advertising with dealerships and how much they're spending on things like radio and other forms of traditional advertising. Now this is about that it's wrong, or one is better than the other, it's about letting the numbers help you make educated decisions.
I'm going to talk specifically about radio right now and I'm going to do that because I had 1 question for dealers who are spending anywhere from $40k-$100k on radio spots over the course of a year.
I asked the simple question "how is that advertising working for you?" The answer I kept getting back was never about measured results, it was nothing more than 'beliefs" they personally had, or what use to work years ago.
"Do you have a separate tracking number mentioned?" The answer was no. I asked "Do you have a unique offer someone could ask for that would indicate they heard your spot?" The answer was no. I asked "Do you have any procedure in place anywhere in your store where you consistently ask about anything radio related? The answer is no.
So all that $$$ just being blindly spent with no idea if it works. Basing your advertising budgets on personal beliefs or what you 'heard' somewhere isn't smart and it's going to cost you big money.
We can very easily today, track the effectiveness of any advertising channel to give you a much better picture of how effective it is or is not.
Your radio spot could use a unique phone number that's only mentioned on the radio, how many phone calls are related to your radio spot and what were they about, listen to them measure them track them see what happens with these calls.
Your radio spot could have an offer that's unique to the radio only, and then you measure how many times that offer has been redeemed.
Neither of these ways is unique to Radio, it's what a lot of businesses do when it comes to print, yet they just completely forget about doing that in the high priced radio spots.
One great way to find out what works is to ASK the people who come through your door! Now we like to talk about online doors here, so a great service to survey your website visitors is one we like called Qualaroo. It's very unobtrusive and gets good results. It's not a pop-up, it only asks you once - there are all kinds of options for you to control it's behaviour.
But we put this to the test. Several dealers had no idea whether people have heard their radio spot. So we suggested better call tracking and analysis as well as we started asking website visitors. A simple "Have you heard our ad on the radio, Yes or no"? It's simple and gets to the point, there is no mis-understanding, you've either heard it or you haven't. Maybe you don't remember it happens, which is why we'll survey a good size sample set.
300 responses later and 85.2% of the people say they've never heard the radio ad. Are they calling in or just all showing up on your lot? they're definitely NOT on your website. Or is this radio ad not really worth the money being spent?
You owe it to your store, if you're going to invest that much money in a form of advertising, spend a little more money and the time to measure. For the cost of 1 month, you could implement all the proper tracking and find out if it's worth continuing. $5k in tracking (or less) could save you $60,000/year or however much you're spending.
Get some unique phone numbers to segment your phone call sources and survey your website visitors. Short of everyone just showing up at your store (unlikely) they're going to either use the phone or your website.
Don't continue to waste money. Track it, measure it and make educated decisions, not ones based on a feeling' and 'use to'. Thats just pay and pray. Pay big bucks and pray that it works over and over again.
So go get setup with something like like Qualaroo, get some insight, gets some tracking numbers and get some facts! I'm not saying it works or it doesn't work, but make some educated decisions based on measured behaviour you see.
We do this with a fine tooth comb online with Google Analytics which typically dealers spend far less money on. So whatever you're spending big bucks on, make sure it's doing its job.