Car Dealers Sell More Through Branding

Car dealers are among the biggest users of radio advertising. Why? It works! How do the most successful car dealers use the power of radio to move more vehicles off the lot?

According to the latest study from Local Ad Recall, the most effective ads are those which relay a specific dealer’s brand. They learned this by measuring which advertiser attributes are important to listeners.

From their monitoring of announcements around the country, they found that 21% of the ad copy focused on a dealer’s brand, while 79% of the copy detailed a call to action. Local dealers and their radio partners should collaborate and detail their ad messages to match what’s important to consumers. “We’ve listened to dozens of car dealer ads and found that they are all the same,” Local Ad Recall CEO Tom Meyer says. “But depending on the market, there are huge differences in what’s important to new car buyers, even between station audiences in the same market.”

Local Ad Recall’s survey included more than 2,900 listeners in seven markets from April to November 2016, and found the seasons for choosing an auto dealer vary markedly from place to place and from station to station. As an example, 72% of radio audiences in Detroit thought that special offers and deals were important in making their decisions between dealers. In San Francisco, by contrast, just 53% of FM listeners listed these factors as important. In Charlotte, 63% of AM radio listeners stated that reputation was important when choosing a dealer, compares to 45% of listeners in Las Vegas.”The roles of these attributes vary widely by market and by station audience during the purchase decision process,” Meyer says. The Advertising Research Foundation says that the copy is 75% of the return on investment in a campaign is based on the creative content of the ads. This means that making the message relevant to consumers is the most effective way to gain additional business through advertising.

Local Ad Recall also released a study looking at other categories in addition to auto purchases. In this research, reputation emerged as the mos important factor listeners considered when making big purchases. Half of the more than 8,300 respondents covering nine purchase categories in six markets cited reputation, followed by referrals from friends,family or colleagues (45%), fee or cost (43%), prior personal experience (30%), and qualifications/experience of the service provider (28%). In order to bolster their reputation and increase their sales, dealers should work on becoming top of mind, according to the study. “Consumers cite reputation as the most important attribute for major car, health, home improvement, financial planning, and legal service decisions,” Meyer says. “Erwin Ephron, the father of modern media planning, described it best when he said the job of advertising is to remind people of the brands they know when they need to make a purchase.”

The study reinforces the utility of radio in bringing advertisers that top of mind awareness. Consumers rely on unaided recall when they are making product purchase decisions. This unaided brand recall is five times higher for radio advertisers than for those companies not advertising on radio, according to the study. Radio can also improve the effectiveness of car dealer ads when “real people” talk about their experiences with the dealer. “Consumers are growing less interested in what a brand has to say about themselves, and more interested in what their consumers have to day,” says Meyer. “When a real person starts telling a story, we lean forward and engage.”

Radio has things to offer that other media don’t. On air personalities consistently are identified as trusted friends by listeners in studies. “Our studies have shown listeners strongly consider radio personalities to be trusted friends,” Meyer says. “After reputation, 45% of listeners consider recommendation and referral from a trusted friend in deciding on an advertiser.”

Des Moines advertisers know that they can trust the Des Moines Radio Group to help them with exactly this kind of help and advice. Call us and learn how we can put these techniques to work for your business.