Friday, July 31, 2009

Cash for Clunkers Confusion-What to do about your advertising?

Like many of you I was glued to my laptop last night from 8pm until close to midnight. It seemed the news changed by the minute on the Cash for Clunkers (CARS) program as I flipped back and forth between CNN & Automotive News. Today, Tri Auto sits with a full press run-90% of which include Cash For Clunkers info, or are completely centered on the program. Here are some ideas I'm sharing with my clients on overcoming this obstacle and turning it into a win for your dealership! 1. Get your mind right. The public wasn't focused on the breaking news for three hours last night, most of them only know what they catch in a headline or on the Today show as they get the kids ready for school. Katy and I both checked out the Today show this morning and neither of us heard any mention of the program's future being up in the air. It's likely most consumers are under the impression it's running as planned. 2. Look at July 1st. For proof on #1 all we have to do is remember back...oh like three weeks ago. This program was announced and the public jumped. How many deals had been done prior to the July 27th when everything was actually put in place? Joe A. Consumer had just heard it was coming and went down to their local dealership to check it out-it's likely the same thing will continue happening after the program is through. 3. Your dealership can still offer Cash For Clunkers even if the government isn't! Many dealers have already used this angle when promoting used cars (essentially a $3500 guaranteed trade). Put a "stamp" on your mailer noting that regardless of what the government does your dealership is "extending" this program. 4. Keep your customers up to date--add a landing page to your mailer/ad/commercial/etc.! These are inexpensive and the content of the website can be changed (daily!) if they need to be. Adding something that cues the customer to "check here for the most up to date information on the clunkers program" will allow you to modify your hooks & keep up with whatever is going on with this program. In closing, this program has had more "free advertising" than any other in the last 10 years (maybe ever!?). It may end Monday or they may sign on for the extra 3.5 Million that's being requested...either way capitalize on the media advertising a program you can offer your market regardless of what Uncle Sam decides to do (just make sure you disclaim right-ask Katy for details!). PS: If you're interested in how we're utilizing these techniques, email or give me a call (317-644-5729) and we can get the mailers to you.

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