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Creating a Plan for Tier 3 Automotive Advertising 

Tier 3 automotive advertising focuses on local ads and driving foot traffic to the dealership. Learn more about today’s auto buyer and how to improve the ROI of your campaign.  

Meredith Cunningham Published: January 5, 2024
Creating a Plan for Tier 3 Automotive Advertising  image

Staying ahead of the curve is essential for businesses looking to capture the attention of prospective car buyers. As we race into 2024, reaching auto-intenders is more competitive than ever. We spoke with a handful of TEGNA’s auto partners on how their marketing strategies are shifting gears to meet the current demands of auto-intenders. Here’s what we found.  

An Overview of the Tiers of Automotive Marketing 

Automotive marketing is a complex ecosystem involving multiple tiers, each serving a unique purpose in strategically promoting vehicles to potential customers at different levels. OEMs build the overarching brand image, regional advertising tailors campaigns to specific geographic areas, and local dealerships engage with their immediate community to drive sales. By understanding and effectively utilizing each tier, automotive companies can create a cohesive marketing strategy that maximizes their reach and impact across diverse target audiences. 

Tier 1: OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer)

At the top of the automotive marketing hierarchy is Tier 1, which consists of Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). These major automotive companies are responsible for designing, producing, and distributing vehicles nationally or internationally. Tier 1 marketing builds brand awareness, shapes the company’s overall image, and promotes specific models. OEMs invest heavily in national advertising campaigns, often utilizing various media channels such as television, print, and digital platforms to reach a broad audience. 

Tier 2: Regional Advertising

Moving down to Tier 2, we encounter regional advertising, which involves marketing efforts at a more localized level. Automotive dealerships and regional dealer associations typically manage this tier and target consumers within a specific geographic area with tailored campaigns to address regional preferences and market demands. It may involve collaborative efforts between multiple dealerships to pool resources for more impactful advertising. Strategies at this tier often include television and radio advertisements and online campaigns to engage potential buyers in a specific region. 

Tier 3: Local Dealerships

The marketing efforts get hyper-local in the third tier, Tier 3. Individual automotive dealerships manage this tier and focus on driving foot traffic and sales to a specific location. Tier 3 marketing is highly personalized and often includes promotions, events, and community engagement initiatives. Local dealerships use a combination of traditional and digital marketing tools to connect with their immediate community. This may involve targeted social media campaigns, local newspaper ads, and promotional events to attract potential customers directly to the dealership. 

The Goals of Local Dealership Campaigns 

Local dealership advertising campaigns are multifaceted, aiming to drive foot traffic, showcase competitive advantages, and ultimately increase car sales. These objectives work in tandem to strengthen the dealership’s presence within the community and contribute to its long-term success in a highly competitive automotive market. 

Drive Foot Traffic 

Amid a digital transformation and consumers’ reluctance to visit a showroom, dealerships still emphasize the importance of in-person events and driving foot traffic. By implementing targeted marketing strategies, such as promotional events, special discounts, or community engagement initiatives, dealerships can attract potential customers to visit their location. The goal is to create a tangible connection with the local community, encouraging people to enter the dealership, explore the available vehicles, and engage with the sales team. Establishing a physical presence reinforces the dealership’s connection with the community and provides a personalized experience for potential buyers. 

Showcase Competitive Advantages 

Whether emphasizing exceptional customer service, exclusive deals, or a wide selection of vehicles, marketing campaigns aim to highlight what sets the dealership apart from competitors in the area. Clear communication of unique selling points helps create a distinct brand identity for the dealership, influencing potential customers’ perceptions and preferences. By effectively showcasing competitive advantages, local dealerships position themselves as the go-to choice for individuals in their community looking to purchase a vehicle. 

Increase Car Sales 

Ultimately, the overarching goal of local dealership campaigns is to boost car sales. By driving foot traffic and showcasing competitive advantages, these campaigns create opportunities for converting potential customers into satisfied buyers. Through a combination of strategic advertising, promotions, and customer engagement, local dealerships aim to increase their sales figures. This goal aligns with the broader objective of sustaining and growing the dealership’s business within the local market. 

Auto Study: Unlocking the Car Buyer Today

The Auto Buyer Today 

Understanding the mindset of the modern auto buyer is essential for crafting successful marketing strategies and meeting goals – and that mindset has become increasingly digital in the last three or four years.   

The Digital Transformation  

There has been a shift in consumer expectations in the last few years, and we’re seeing a reluctance to visit showroom floors. The prevailing notion was that customers needed to be physically present for immediate transactions, and that’s not necessarily true anymore. Customers now prefer the convenience of handling a significant portion of their car deals online, from checking availability, trade appraisals, and even home deliveries. 

Meeting customers where they are needs to be a priority for all automotive brands. Dealerships must embrace a swift transition to digital platforms, acknowledging that the technology is now aligned with customer demands.  

The Rise of AI

Artificial intelligence, also known as AI, isn’t a buzzword anymore. It’s a key tool to meet consumer demands.  

For example, many people will shop at 9 pm or 2 am. With AI, your dealership can engage with these prospects after hours to set appointments and answer questions. An AI chatbot can communicate with you via phone, text, or chat, set your service appointment, and then turn that over to a live person to follow up with the next day.  

You can also use a tool like ChatGPT to help ideate, refresh, or write brand-new marketing copy for your website, blog posts, or creative ads.  

Dealerships looking for success in the digital realm must embrace AI and incorporate it into marketing strategies to meet consumers not just where they are but when they are. However, it’s also important to add a human touch to AI. Some consumers may fear AI, and want to know they’re dealing with somebody behind the digital footprint.  

Electric Vehicles   

As electric vehicles (EVs) continue to revolutionize the auto industry, it’s important to inform and educate consumers about EVs, ease any fears, and erase any misconceptions potential buyers may have about adoption.   

This is where the power of video advertising is a great idea. Consider creating video for broadcast TV and streaming to digital channels that can educate electric-thinking consumers on tax credits, availability, range, or charging platforms. You can also use video to show off unique features and show them exactly how they work.  

Marketing Channels for Tier 3 Automotive Advertising 

In the dynamic landscape of automotive advertising, it’s essential to connect with your audience through multiple channels – and meet them where they are. TEGNA experts have found that a cross-channel marketing mix of the following channels brings in the best results for their brands.   

Broadcast & Linear Television  

Television advertising remains a steadfast component in the marketing repertoire for local dealerships thanks to its visual nature. Commercials that air on local channels can effectively reach a broad audience, leaving lasting visual and auditory impressions on viewers. Although TV ads require a financial investment, their impact and extensive reach make them valuable in the long run.  

CTV / OTT Streaming  

Amid the surge of streaming services, incorporating Connected TV (CTV) – also known as Over-the-Top (OTT) platforms – into a cross-platform marketing strategy is imperative for several reasons. Not only does CTV/OTT streaming complement Broadcast and Linear TV advertising efforts, but it also provides high-quality, on-demand content to reach cord-cutters and cord-nevers, tapping into a demographic that has shifted away from traditional cable TV.  

Most importantly, however, CTV/OTT streaming advertising allows the auto industry to target customers precisely based on demographics, interests, and behavior. You can also measure results through detailed analytics and data-driven insights, providing a comprehensive understanding of campaign impact, viewer behavior, preferences, and trends to ensure messages reach the most relevant audience.  

Digital Advertising  

Digital dealership campaigns are pivotal in shaping a cross-platform marketing campaign, owing to their adaptability, precision targeting, measurability, and the widespread consumer embrace of digital platforms. Encompassing formats like display ads, contextual advertising, social media, native advertising, and search engine marketing, digital advertising offers a versatile toolkit to customize messages for specific demographics, enhancing the effectiveness of marketing strategies.  

3 Best Practices for Tier 3 Automotive Advertising 

Strategic best practices are crucial to capturing the attention of potential customers. The following guidelines serve as a roadmap to achieve marketing objectives, whether they involve driving foot traffic, showcasing competitive advantages, or increasing car sales. 

Use The Power of Video 

Video plays a significant role in automotive advertising for several reasons. It goes beyond the limitations of pictures and words, providing a more comprehensive understanding of what a company represents. Leveraging the power of video allows businesses to differentiate themselves effectively. For instance, utilizing platforms like your local TV news station helps convey a dealership’s unique story to the market. This is particularly important for family-owned businesses with a long history, as video becomes a powerful tool to introduce themselves to newcomers in the market. 

Use Attribution – Measure Campaign Results & Optimize 

Measuring campaign results and optimizing strategies is essential for success. Utilizing tools like TEGNA Attribution, marketers can gain insights into who viewed an ad and then took action. Marketers can then make informed campaign optimization decisions moving forward to maximize campaign efficiency.  

Select a Great Media Partner 

Selecting the right media partner is a critical decision that directly impacts the reach and success of advertising initiatives. A great media partner brings expertise, audience insights, and navigational skills to the complex media landscape. The partnership should be more than a transactional arrangement; it should involve a deeper collaboration. For instance, a partnership with TEGNA is more than just a business relationship. It’s characterized by attentive listening, crafting solutions based on specific needs, and avoiding a one-size-fits-all approach. The emphasis is on building a genuine partnership focusing on the client’s requirements and tailoring solutions accordingly. 

Examples of Tier 3 Automotive Advertising 

Why it Works: This traditional 15-second spot uses the power of video to help solidify their strategy of positioning themselves as the EV experts while showcasing their story of being family-owned and operated. This ad encourages in-person test drives so the viewer can really get a feel for the EV and how it will embed itself into daily life.     

Why it Works: Knowing that most consumers do their research online, this digital video brings the in-person experience to the screen, educating viewers on everything they want to know about electric vehicles.  

Hit the Gas on Marketing Plans with TEGNA  

With broadcast TV, streaming, and digital advertising options available with TEGNA, you’ll have plenty of valuable ways to stay top of mind among your customers and prospects, make meaningful connections with those with purchase intent, and drive direct business results throughout the customer journey. Let’s hit the road running – contact us today to accelerate your automotive marketing strategy.   

Auto Study: Unlocking the Car Buyer Today

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