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Traditional Advertising Is Dead. Or is it?

The internet is having a moment, which could lead dealerships to question whether the smart move would be to move the majority–or all–of their advertising online. As tempting as it would be to put things all on one platform, there’s a reason the expression “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” has endured for so long. Like any investment, when it comes to advertising, dealerships should seek to diversify. This means continuing to incorporate traditional marketing strategies such as print, television, billboards, and radio. 

Why You Should Be Online

Before going into the virtues of traditional advertising, it can’t be stated enough that they should be used in concert with, not instead of, virtual promotion. The internet’s benefits include: 

  • Extremely targeted reach 
  • Advanced metrics 
  • Multi-media campaigns 
  • Larger audiences

Online is also increasingly where people go to get information and start the shopping process when it comes to many consumer goods, including cars. These trends are only growing, so wise dealerships are already building virtual presence through their websites, social media accounts, and other forms of online branding. 

Why You Should Be Offline

However, the internet should be only one facet of a dealership’s marketing approach. Here are three reasons why traditional advertising still works and should be utilized. 

It Has a Strong Subliminal Impactadvertising

Last February, Strong Automotive Merchandising experimented. They had a dealership walk away from television advertising for one month, and watched the online search metrics during that period. Surprisingly, web searches, site traffic, and even sales all fell as a result, picking up once again after the dealership returned to the air.

The theory behind this phenomenon is that each medium works in tandem, creating subliminal associations. As a dealership, you want your name to be the one that instantly comes to mind when customers start their web search for their next car. Traditional media helps keep your brand front and center in the brain. 

It Has Less Visual and Mental Competition

Life online is noisy. As people navigate the web, their attention is often pulled in many directions: to the five tabs they have open, the video they’re streaming, the pop-up that surfaces over the web page they’re browsing, and the social media stream in the background.

A flyer, by contrast, stands alone. So does a jingle on the radio, or a billboard along the highway. Whereas your Facebook ad might be seen immediately after a different dealership’s, thereby inviting comparison, your bus stop ad typically doesn’t. 

It Feels Personal, Just Like Your Service

Car vending machines aside, most people aren’t crossing state or even town lines to get their next car. Even with internet algorithms helping them, their final purchase will typically be close to home. 

This means that you’re predominantly interacting with your community. These are your people, and traditional media makes them feel that way. Your brand carries considerable weight when its seen interacting with local events and institutions, and when it makes its way directly into the hands and homes of consumers. That feeling of personal connection is one that the internet–though not for lack of trying–still hasn’t been able to produce successfully.

Chana Perton
Chana Perton
Chana Perton is a contributing writer and investigative journalist for CBT News.

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