marketingThe purpose of automotive marketing is build brand awareness and sales. Successful marketing programs should have a degree of flexibility in them. You must know what the needs and wants of your potential buyers are. You should also try to understand the role that emotions play in choosing a car.

Car ads often feature an emotional theme. For example, if you are selling SUVs, you would want to feature themes of outdoor and adventure. Visually, you often see these vehicles being driven on mountain roads, through forests and streams, or on snow covered roads leading to ski slopes. On the other hand, if you are selling a family sedan or station wagon, you would feature themes of safety and reliability. When you see visuals used in this type of marketing, you’ll see pictures of babies in car seats, kids going to soccer games and groceries being loaded in the trunk. If you are emphasizing the idea that a car is a symbol of success, you’d emphasize a theme of successful looking, well-dressed individuals.

Understanding the emotional components of choosing a particular model type (SUV versus sedan) goes beyond the adventure of a SUV as opposed to the reliability of a sedan. So, if you have designed an automotive marketing program around emotional themes, how do you know if it is successful?

It is often difficult to measure the performance of your marketing program. Marketing programs can be expensive and time consuming. If you know what is working and what is not working, you can get a better return on your investment in marketing.

You must know what share of the market you are getting. You also should know what your competition’s market share is and how they are achieving that. In addition, you must decide what share of the market you could be getting. What would you have to change in your marketing and what effect would that have on your sales? Do you know what the time lag is between instituting a marketing program and any increase in sales?

These are difficult questions to answer. You can discover some of the answers simply by talking with your customers. Some of the answers can be discovered simply by watching what successful programs are generating. Watching and talking are two very simple ways to gather marketing information.

There are always marketing programs you could be doing differently or doing better. One thing you can do, however, is to be open to change and trying new things. There is in marketing a phrase that will always be true – doesn’t hurt to give it a try.