Drive Home Profits
Auto dealers are receiving the brunt of current economic problems, including swelling gas prices, a slowing economy and a credit crisis. Yet, new vehicle dealerships are still a boon to retail sales in the United States—accounting for 20 percent of all retail sales in the country at more then 675 billion dollars in sales per year, according to the National Auto Dealer Association’s 2007 study.
Collectively, the more than 20,000 U.S. new vehicle dealerships recorded in the study spend annually a total of 7.8 billion dollars on advertising, with each dealer spending an average of $37,029 or 10 percent of its advertising budget on direct mail alone. There is a need for direct mail services in the auto industry, and because car sales, and even leads, can still be hard to come by these days, dealers require more marketing services to retain current customers and find new prospects.
Experts who specialize in providing advertising and marketing services to auto dealers shared insights on how their customers implement direct mail and how vendors can get involved.
Driving a Relationship With Auto Dealers
Auto dealerships purchase their own advertising services. They use direct mail to retain current customers, generate leads and build retail traffic in showrooms and service departments.
To get started in building a vendor relationship with an auto dealership, it is best to approach either the principal or the general manager, advised Tom Letizia, president and owner of Las Vegas-based Letizia Ad Team, a full service ad agency specializing in auto dealerships.
When reaching out to dealers, be sure you are familiar with their specialties, whether it’s new vehicles, used vehicles or sub-prime sales. “If you’re a dealer looking to drive service traffic, you want to make sure the mailer is not one of those midnight madness balloons all-over-the-page mailers,” said Glenn Benedict, head of sales with On-Target Direct, a Newport Beach, Calif., company offering direct mail to auto dealers.