Before the "Golden age" of mass media, marketing wasn’t particularly important. Companies made commodities, things people needed. If you made things people needed, it was fairly priced and well distributed you’d do just fine. If you were a farmer you didn’t worry about marketing corn, if you were a black smith and could shoe a horse for a fair price you’d do ok, and the local barber cut hair. People bought stuff they needed and those with the skill made money providing for their customers’ needs.
Along came the “Golden age” if you had enough money you could buy a ton of television commercials, magazine ads or radio commercials and tell the story of your choice to each and every consumer, but you had to market to all the consumers at once, there were only 3 television channels and radio and print were also limited. You had 60 seconds to tell a simple story and if you did a good job you could create demand, instead of satisfying a need you could actually create a want.
These mass mediums were a miracle; it allowed companies with money to effortlessly create more money. To make that money all you had to do was create a commercial that created a demand, them make something to sell. Business quickly recalibrated and fell in love with what they thought was marketing using commercials to sell more stuff and these marketers had a great run, truly average products were sold for significant profit because of good advertising. Entire industries were born stores were invented, the Supermarket, just to sell the things that were now in demand. This was the “Golden age” of mass media when all consumers were created equal and you could sell anything to anyone.
Then it all fell apart, in a heartbeat mass media ceased to be the one stop shop for all marketers. Consumers realized they don’t trust commercials, we don’t listen to them because there are so many other ways to hear the stories we want to hear that they have lost their effectiveness. At the same time “Marketing” has become more powerful than ever before, that’s because the new ways we tell our stories have far more impact because they are more subtle. If you aren’t doing as well as you would like in your store it’s probably because you are acting like the “Golden age” of marketing is still here…it’s NOT!
If you are still in love with talking at your customers through mass media, seeing yourself on TV or hearing yourself on the radio then you are wasting money and overlooking many other more effective ways to spread your dealerships message. After the “Golden age” in what should be marketing darkest hour the consumer has reinvented marketing. It’s about the new way of marketing… Telling stories, not buying commercials. Marketing is about the stories marketers tell consumers and then if we have done a good job the story the consumer tells themselves and their friends. These stories are not most effective in mass media they are best told one to one and…most importantly you must LIVE the story, you must be authentic or your story will die and your business with it.
So quit focusing so much on the “ad car”, stop looking for the next silver bullet “there isn’t one” and quit focusing on the other guys price. Tell your dealerships story, tell it to everyone you can, then live the story. Be authentic and the price of the car won’t matter as much. I am not saying that it won’t matter at all, I am saying that all things being equal if you tell your story and you're authentic and live the story you tell more people will want to buy from you.
Hope this helps.