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Using strategy and media to differentiate your car dealership

It's essential to show your target market that you understand them and can meet their needs.

Image isn’t everything, but in today’s TikTok-inspired media, your dealership needs to stand out to your target market when compared to your competition. So, it would help if you were more appealing.

You don’t need to own or sponsor a title-winning NASCAR team like to be looked upon as a better choice but using your media options to represent yourself to your customers will set you apart from other dealers. Yes, consumers have various choices on where to buy the same car. But they’ll buy from you if you show them that you’re unique. And that starts with knowing your strategy.


Years ago, a Mitsubishi dealership received millions of views on social media over a blooper reel and a white bear. It was cute engaging and brought customers in to see the product and the bear. So, the dealership focused on a fundamental need for laughter. And at the time, the owner showed he was also normal, friendly, understood his market, and had a great sense of humor.

Your strategy doesn’t have to include a bear-on-ice, but it’s essential to show your target market that you understand them and can meet their needs. Remember that a strategy is a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a primary or overall aim. Do you know why people come to you instead of your competition? At the top of your list should be identifying what your customers want and then giving it to them.


Suppose you know who you are as a dealership. Let’s assume it’s not “you’re the low-price leader” or “have the best selection.” There’s always someone who has a lower price and, with regards to selection, we have the internet. What would be the best uses of media?

YouTube and Your Website

What if you’ve carved a niche in helping customers save money? Use that quality to post videos on your website and YouTube that demonstrate self-service repairs like an oil change or air filter replacement. Could it take some service away? Maybe. But helping customers know they can save some money will go a long way toward differentiating your image.

Social Media

What if you’re known for good service? It’s so good that your customers don’t have to wait, and your employees respond to needs. Then go the extra step of doing pickup and delivery of customer vehicles. That’s a differentiator. Also, you can use your Facebook and social media properties to take appointments and work with people who have problems. Anything that can help people save time will be welcome.


One of the most underutilized forms of promotion is helping others get things done. A skating bear might get attention, but there’s nothing more rewarding than working alongside your customers. Regularly living out the phrase, “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” will make more of a difference in people’s lives than a car purchase. Additionally, using a PR firm to get that message out on social media and through news sources will be some of the most effective money you’ll spend in marketing.

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Steve Mitchell
Steve Mitchell
Steve Mitchell is a contributing writer and reporter for CBT News. He earned bachelor's degrees in Marketing and Television from the University of Texas in Austin and a Masters of Theology study from Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas. His passion for automobiles lead him to become a creative director for automotive marketing ad agency. Most recently, he was the manager of interactive marketing for Mitsubishi Motors, NA.

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