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This Isn’t Working! What’s Next?

The Internet Corner

John Summer established JTZ Enterprise in 1995.  John is well respected in the automotive industry by his peers, car dealers new and used, vendors, and colleagues.  He has spoken to 20 Groups, multiple VIADA and NIADA Conventions, and VIADA Dealer Days.  John Summer served as Co-Chairman of the VIADA Professional Development Committee and on the MVDB Internet Advertising Task Force Committee. John has been a Consultant to Automotive Dealers for over 25 years for not only his extensive knowledge of regulations and compliance, but his expertise in advertising and marketing in the automotive industry.


What do you do when you get to the point where you realize your advertising dollars are not paying off?  Obviously, you stop spending money on that advertising!  That seems straight forward, but for some, that is a hard point to reach.  Most of today’s advertising is done on the Internet.  That type of advertising is the easiest to measure if you know where to look. 

When you consider other forms of advertising and how they work, you understand how difficult it is to measure Return On Investment, or ROI. Take a radio or TV ad.  When you advertise in one of those media you only know part of the story.  You know how long your advertisement is in duration, you know how many days or weeks or months you will run that ad, and you may even know the number of times that ad runs during that time.  But what you don’t know is whether or not anyone ever saw or heard that ad.  Furthermore, unless they tell you they saw or heard that ad, you don’t know how many sales you can attribute to that advertisement. There is no real method for the radio or television industry to be able to accurately provide you with the number of eyeballs and/or ears that encountered your ad.  There is no way to identify the people seeing or hearing that ad.  Those are sort of like Spaghetti String approaches to advertising.  Throw it against the wall and see if it sticks!

The same is not true for Internet advertising!  Your web provider can tell you all kinds of data related to the traffic making it to your website.  Not just how many visitors, but also all the W’s.  When did they visit, What pages did they visit, Where did they come from, and Why are they there are all questions you can get answered. If your web provider cannot get you those details, then you should either find a provider that can or employ other third-party tools that will get you those answers. The most common source for this data comes from Google and its Google Analytics (GA) toolbox.  Not knowing these things is not acceptable!  Furthermore, if your advertising Calls To Action (CTA) are well defined, you will be able to identify the advertising source of most of your car buying clients.  Today’s advertising is the most measurable type of advertising, by far.

Why do you need to know these things? So, you can determine what is working and what is not.  For the first time, you can calculate the cost per shopper and the cost per paying customer unlike any other advertising out there.  If you see that you are spending only a few bucks with one advertiser, but they are getting you multiple sales every month, you might want to see if it is possible to spend a few more bucks with them in hopes you get even more sales.  Likewise, if you see you are spending a lot of money with another advertiser but only getting a few (if any) sales as a result, you may want to cut back or cut out that advertising. 

So, you reach that point where you realize a particular advertiser is not working for you.  What should you do?  Obviously, you might kick them to the curb, but don’t stop there. Work on ways to replace that advertiser. Find the next source of sales, now!  If you had something working for a while in the past but watched its ROI dwindle and subsequently cut them off, you might re-visit that advertiser and see if they got the wheels put back on their cart!  Often, they are happy to see you return and may work out a special trial plan for you to earn your business again. Then, look for the newest success story. Talk to your dealer friends and see what is working for them.  This is where it is good to have dealer friends near and far.  You know your market.  But sometimes the next success story may come from an advertiser not yet in your market.  Check out social media.  Dealers are now getting together and trading secrets on Facebook and other social media outlets. And finally, don’t be afraid to ask your employees.  You are not as young as you were last year and they may have exposure to other advertising you do not.  Don’t be afraid to try something new.

Advertising is no longer a Set It and Forget It approach.  We all know you have to spend money to make it, but with today’s advertising, if you are paying attention to the ROI, you will intuitively know how to best spend your advertising dollars.

By John Summer, JTZ Enterprise, LLC

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