Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

Something to Talk About

A look at what automotive sales representatives are saying they want from the newspaper
It’s vital for the newspapers to bring the value back to advertising. But it’s just as critical to know what your clients want and need for the satisfaction of their consumer.

The sales profession, in general, is an evolving market. The industry is slowly being forced to turn the reigns over from baby boomers to the techno-babies. With the rotation in the industry, there is surely a change in the customer marketplace. In order for newspaper classified ads to effectively sell the products and services that are current, modern and revolutionary for automotive dealers, you must go directly to the source. Find out what the sales representatives want, and need, to add value to the advertising.

Now, there are many ways to approach sales associates to confront them on exactly what they want from the newspapers. Call them, but you don’t know if they’ll have time. Email them, but it could be an empty email, which garners no response. Or, make a “sales call” to the dealership, actually show up face-to-face, to discuss exactly what they want and what they need to get the added value from advertising. Don’t approach them with the intent of gaining a commission, but rather explain your sole purpose there is to help them succeed in advertising. Remember, their success is your success.

[We want] something that draws them here, pictures mainly, something that can draw some type of attention,” said Don Whitea Client Advisor with Bill DeFouw Chevrolet. He wants the ads to regain their lost “wow factor.” He also mentioned that the type of vehicles featured and the type of advertisement layout must be seasonal. No one will give a 2011 BMW 328i Convertible a second look if your region has two feet of snow on the ground when the ad is ran! Those vehicles should be featured in late February early March, when people start getting the “itch” to get outside and play.

Times are changing, and as I spoke with automobile sales professionals, they made it clear that the advertising must keep up. When speaking with Don White, a Client Advisor with Bill DeFouw Chevrolet, BMW in Lafayette, Ind., he emphasized the principle is the same as it has been traditionally with advertising, but the application has to change. “[We want] something that draws them here, pictures mainly, something that can draw some type of attention.” White wants the ads to regain their lost “wow factor.” He also mentioned that the type of vehicles featured and the type of advertisement layout must be seasonal. No one will give a 2011 BMW 328i Convertible a second look if your region has two feet of snow on the ground when the ad is ran! Those vehicles should be featured in late February early March, when people start getting the “itch” to get outside and play. Concurrently, people want to know what will get them where they need to be, safely, in the slippery winter conditions. Newspapers need to feature four-wheel-drive vehicles to satisfy the needs of the consumer. Try adding safety tips to your ad, not only will it create brand recognition, but it also shows genuine care for the consumer. It makes the dealership a community asset. “Community involvement is the most important thing,” says White.

Another tip from the source came from a sales manager with Bob Rohrman Auto Group, “[Have] crisp graphics, better layouts, attention to detail, use more serious tones.” This sales manager agrees, digital is the new wave, include packages with “Internet pages and small accompanying ads,” he says.

Packages are huge in advertising, they always have been, and likely always will be, however it is important to offer a variety of packages, both automotive professionals agree. Have the option to purchase ala cart, but have special packages available. White suggests if he purchases a full-page ad in each the Friday, Saturday and the Sunday paper, add value to that by including a Tuesday/Thursday ad within the cost.

It’s vital for the newspapers to bring the value back to advertising. But it’s just as critical to know what your clients want and need for the satisfaction of their consumer.