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Tim McLain

Tim McLain Senior Marketing Manager

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Why Cookie Cutter Marketing is Hurting your Dealership

How would you feel if you hired a marketing vendor who simply copied and pasted another dealer's campaign into your account, made one change, and threw in the towel?

To add insult to injury, what if local shoppers could clearly see that your ads were identical to your local competitors?

The hard truth: This situation is going on in hundreds of markets across the United States today. And most dealers don't even know it.

Great advertising is an investment that must produce a high return to help you meet your sales goals. Your marketing should deliver a steady stream of qualified, in-market shoppers to browse your inventory and specials online, leading to more test drives and sales.

For marketing to make a difference, it must differentiate you from your rivals. That means tailored calls to action, citing your unique strengths and offerings, years in business, and more to help you stand out from the crowd.

In other words, settling for a cookie cutter campaign is a recipe for a diminished return on your online marketing investment.

Cookie cutter is the norm

Ask yourself, would you settle for the same television advertisement as your local competitor, with the only difference being the dealership name? Today, many dealerships are settling for the same kind of situation on the Internet, the #1 resource for anyone searching for their next new car.

Here are some real-time examples of generic ads appearing for Dodge dealerships everywhere:

Automotive dealer online marketing cookie cutter ads chrysler dodge

“Local Dodge Dealer. Browse Dodge Listings Online.” Not exactly a strong marketing message is it? Multiple dealerships in most markets are running generic ads like these that don’t contain a strong call-to-action, nor do they provide any unique branding message for each dealership.

Need another example? Let’s try a specific model search in the Dallas, TX market:

Auto dealer online marketing sem ppc adwords

These ads at least have a stronger marketing message with a financial incentive; however, when competing dealerships are running the same ad in the same local market, the marketing message is no longer effective for differentiation.

Now, you should see the apparent problem: digital ads for many dealerships lack originality and advertising quality which can result in lower ad click-through rates, less effective digital advertising campaigns, and lower return on investment.

How does this happen? How does a dealership, spending hundreds or thousands of dollars every month on their digital ads, settle for this kind of an advertising campaign?

Of course, every situation is different and multiple factors can come into play:

  • Many times, dealerships do not have the expertise in-house, nor the time to spend to carefully monitor aspects of a digital advertising campaign.
  • Many dealerships hire digital advertising agencies, and trust that these agencies will provide them with a successful online ad campaign that will drive quality buyers to the dealership.
  • Unfortunately, evidence shows that some of these agencies do not have either the capability or desire to provide fully custom-tailored ad campaigns to each of their clients, and are not careful enough to prevent dealerships in the same local market from getting the exact same ad copies for their digital ads.
  • At the same time, many dealerships are not fully invested in monitoring the quality of their digital ad campaigns, and sometimes don’t even know what their own ads look like.

Have you been cookie cuttered?

Let’s find out. When is the last time that you really looked at what your current digital advertisements look like? Try to pull them up in a few quick searches in your local market with the Google Ad Preview Tool, which will provide you with the most accurate and unbiased results.

Two things to look for: Are your ads identical to those of your local competitors? Do your ads have strong marketing messages that set you apart and give you a fighting chance to attract qualified shoppers?

Hopefully, you are not just another "Local Dodge Dealer" with inventory on your website where your potential customers can obviously "Browse Dodge Listings Online."

If you've been cookie cuttered, there's a solution. Work with a Google Premier SMB Partner who assigns you a dedicated success manager who will tailor every ad to your dealership, and keep their eye on your results day in and day out. Your dealership is different and unique, and you deserve to have ads shouting your unique messages into your target market, leading to superior marketing results.


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