Smart Stations Offer Auto Dealers Ad Options

TV stations need to use their strong website traffic as a sales tool to attract more dealer business. Now more than ever, local auto dealers are in need of trusted advisers who can act as local media consultants to guide dealers toward the right mix of media allocations and tactics to drive more sales. In addition, stations need to fend off growing competition from Google.

On Feb. 8-11 the National Automotive Dealer Association (NADA) held its annual convention in Orlando, Fla.  Steve Lanzano, TVB president-CEO and I auditioned in June of last year for a speaking role at their workshops, which are geared to inform and educate local dealers on what media choices may work best for them.

At the convention, only two other media vendors had a prominent role at these workshops: Google, presenting “Digital Moments that Matter: Local, Mobile, Social” and TVB member Univision, presenting the “Hispanic Market Opportunity.”

We looked at this as an opportunity to directly address local dealers from across the country, since many might have thought television was out of their reach.

It was our intention to provide automotive dealers with the following insights:

  • Determine which advertising medium works best to maximize ROI for their media investment.
  • Understand and apply the latest in media research to make their media plan more effective and ultimately sell more vehicles.
  • Differentiate the real cost of media.
  • Introduce new and exciting digital technologies and local media initiatives.

After our presentation, the feedback we’d gotten from the attendees for 2013 in one word was — optimism.

Why were the attendees feeling optimistic? Let’s look at it from an SOT (strength, opportunity, threat) perspective.


Most importantly, the automotive economy has been very healthy for the month of January and is predicted to continue as year-to-year vehicle sales continue to outpace last year’s numbers.  Clearly, this is a strength.

As Internet display, search, video and mobile continue to grow in share among dealers, a real opportunity exists for stations to leverage their large website traffic. These online assets can provide auto consumers access to digital platforms such as Autotrader and Liquidus/Bannerlink to get more vehicle information into the hands of in-market consumers and also serve up to our automotive clients’ rich content and endemic platforms that are built exclusively for dealer needs.

Now more than ever, local auto dealers are in need of trusted advisers who can act as local media consultants to guide dealers toward the right mix of media allocations and tactics to drive more sales. Another opportunity.

Some thoughts of concern include the traction Google is getting with its video offerings, such as You Tube Brand Channels and their True View Offering, where advertisers pay only for consumers who have watched at least 29 seconds of content. Google poses a real, looming threat to local broadcasters’ online deliverables to their customers.

Google is also making aggressive inroads into broadcasters’ mobile offerings with its Go-Lo-Mo philosophy and Bid-By-Distance service, where an auto advertiser gets the opportunity in real-time to put up an ad when a customer prompts a mobile search for a car/truck within a particular mile radius of the auto advertiser’s dealership.

It was also notable that besides featuring Google’s ad addressability, it also was quick to impugn and ultimately underestimate the average amount an auto dealer should be advertising on TV (by at least 30 share points) within the Automotive Tier 2 and Tier 3 advertiser segments. Yes, it wants our dollars allocated over to digital media.

Overall, I would encourage all local broadcasters to sharpen the saw on their digital automotive offerings as a way to supply relevant content that will generate as many leads a possible to your friendly neighborhood dealer.

After all, sales are all these dealers are concerned with, and the first vendor to supply them with qualified leads will win the media relationship long term. And isn’t that what it’s all about anyway?

Good selling.

Scott Roskowski is SVP of business development and marketing at TVB. All about sales and advertising, Sales Office appears once a month in TVNewsCheck through the cooperation of TVB, which solicits the columns from its staff and members. To see all the columns in the series, click here.

Comments (2)

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mark wienkes says:

March 8, 2013 at 12:37 pm

As experienced (read old) former broadcasters, my partner and I developed The Auto Channel as a programming concept that would please car buyers, dealers and TV stations in 1987. The Auto Channel was then offered to broadcast stations as a syndicated 1/2, 1 and two hour show that was cleared in about 60% of the U.S. and ultimately averaged a .09 HH Rating the show ran until 1989

We went on-line with more than 17 years ago and what originally designed to become a 24 hour cable network has now been re jiggered to allow one broadcast station in every market to become their markets Auto Channel, a 24×7 money making programming service for their D2 channel..a program concept that is sure a hell of a lot easier to sell to car dealers than Dobbie Gillis and other used programming,

The Auto Channel TV format has been designed for affiliates to add local long form content as well as “live” remotes while remaining true to format…every auto dealer will love the market impact of this relevant programming platform, while every salesperson will be welcomed into dealerships because of the unique selling proposition…

At present we are broadcasting 8 hours a day on WHDT-TV Palm Beach Florida…hmm, lets see one market down 199 more to go… talk about options for your local dealers… WOW!

Jill Graves says:

March 12, 2013 at 5:40 pm

Gray Television’s Bob Prather is to be commended for retaining the services of Michael Spiesman. Michael gets orders where others fail. Michael sets a high standard for selling television time and I suspect he shall remain at the top of Gray’s list for many years.

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