Why Automotive Sales Events Work

Last year, JC Penney bombarded the airwaves with ads promoting their new ONE LOW PRICE shopping strategy. automotive sales eventsThey said were going to eliminate sales ads, flyers, coupons and all the hoopla so that they could offer customers what they really wanted – everyday low prices and a pressure free retail environment.  And $ave MILLION$ on advertising in the process.

Well, guess what?  It didn’t work.

After dismal sales, JC Penney has revamped their marketing strategy and is going back to good old-fashioned sales events.

Saturn tried the ONE PRICE bit in the car business and we all know how that turned out.

There’s tons of marketing research pointing out how car buyers hate haggling, hate big loud annoying car dealer commercials, hate direct mail in their mailbox and hate killing trees to print inserts.

Logically, everyday low price marketing just makes sense…. and think of the hundreds of thousands of dollars the typical dealer could save on advertising!

But there’s the rub.  Buying a car isn’t a logical process.  It’s an emotional one.

Even the most logical consumer who only buys a car to replace one that is no longer trustworthy, researches every make, model and dealer down to the last detail and budgets precisely for their needs is going to get car fever once they hit the street get closer to making a deal.

Like everyone else in the world, car buyers are motivated by two things – Greed and Fear.

Greed – that they’re going to get a better deal than the next guy or take advantage of a dealer who absolutely must liquidate all new cars before the end of the Model Year (OUR LOSS IS YOUR GAIN!)

Or Fear, that if they don’t hurry in, right now, this weekend, they will miss out on this once in a lifetime savings opportunity – (WHEN THEY’RE GONE, THEY’RE GONE)

Now, if they’re not in the market for a car, they’ll see ads for automotive sales events and just roll their eyes. That’s if they even notice the ad in the first place.

But if they’ve made the mental leap into car shopping mode, those same exact words will reach deep into their heads and start pushing all the right buttons.

JC Penney made the same mistake many car dealers do in their advertising.  They thought they could improve their image (and save some money) by toning down their ads to please everyone else instead of pumping up their ads to speak directly to buyers in the one language they will always understand – SAVE NOW!


Terry Lancaster is the cofounder of Instant Events Automotive Advertising which helps retailers overcome their bashful nature so they can Get Loud. Get Noticed. And Get Deals Done!

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