New unit production is still at one of the lowest levels in recent history, and the COVID variants are on the rise… Should I dial back my marketing efforts and ride out the storm? This is a question we’ve been getting from a lot of our dealer partners recently, and it’s certainly not without good cause. My answer is the same every time: NO, you should be keeping that pedal to the floor!
There are three primary reasons why staying in the game is the best move in the current market. Demand is at an all-time high, media consumption is on fire, and most of your competitors will make the short-sighted decision to cut back on their marketing. Let’s dive deeper into these 3 reasons.
1) Consumer demand for new vehicles is at an all-time high.
Despite the slowdown in production due to microchip and raw materials shortages, consumer demand has not slowed down. This scarcity has driven margins higher and produced a false belief that dealers do not need to invest in marketing. “I am selling above sticker on every unit that hits the lot, and I’m selling build slips for anything else I’ve been allocated.”This may be true right now; but what happens when supply increases and demand starts moving in the opposite direction? Dealers who have continued to invest in brand, service, and buy-back campaigns will be poised to thrive in those market conditions. The dealers who cut back now will be playing catch-up then.
2) People are consuming media at mind boggling rates, creating more available ad inventory and marketing opportunities.
Both the production and consumption of media have not showed signs of slowing down, even after lockdowns have been lifted. With this rise in at-home and on-the-go media consumption, there is even more inventory available, meaning media is quite efficient to buy. Be where your customers are consuming media, even if it is a simple branding message.
3) Your competitors have made the short-sighted decision to cut back on their marketing investments during this volatile market.
Clearing prices in digital media are most often based on the supply of available devices consuming media vs the demand for that inventory (advertisers buying media). With the current market conditions showing available inventory at high levels, and media dollars being invested at low levels, clearing prices have become quite efficient. Capitalize on these efficient CPM’s and CPC’s by staying the course with your marketing investment so you can take more than your fair share of the increased demand!
BONUS Pro Tip – Not having inventory now, does not mean you should stop trying to generate as much demand as possible. Educate your market on the inventory shortages and encourage them to pre-order the vehicle they want through you. By proactively educating the market on the inventory shortages, you can provide a solution; your customers can lock in the exact unit they want and a build slot on the production line. The dealers who have dialed-in their internal processes and marketing strategy around this custom build ordering concept will be the ones who thrive once supply comes back to normal levels.
I hope this article has caused you to stop and think twice about your marketing investments moving into 2022. Invest in what is working, and quickly cut what is not, and you’ll find your business in a position to continue thriving once all this COVID stuff is in the rearview mirror.