Best Practices For Traditional Automotive Marketing

May 18, 2022

There are various ways to reach potential buyers when it comes to automotive marketing. TV, radio, and print ads are still very popular and can be very successful when done correctly. Here at Kelley Blue Book, we understand the importance of traditional marketing for car dealers, and we want to help our clients succeed in this space. This article will provide some best practices for traditional automotive marketing and some tools that we offer to assist with this initiative. 

Traditional automotive marketing vs. digital marketing 

The first thing to understand is that traditional automotive and digital marketing are two very different beasts. Traditional marketing for car dealers encompasses TV, radio, and print ads, while digital automotive marketing includes online ads, SEO, social media, etc. It’s essential to know the difference between these two types of marketing, as they require different strategies and tactics. 

Traditional automotive marketing is still very effective 

Despite the rise of digital marketing, traditional marketing for car dealers is still very effective. TV and radio are still two of the most prevalent advertising methods among car dealerships. This is likely because traditional marketing for car dealers is still very familiar to consumers. An additional advantage is that with many businesses switching to digital-only marketing, there is often less competition in the traditional space. With this in mind, dealers can use traditional marketing methods to generate more sales, collect more leads, and gain more trade-ins to satisfy inventory acquisition needs. 

The different types of traditional marketing for car dealers 

There are various types of traditional marketing for car dealers that owners can use to reach potential buyers. These include: 

TV Ads: TV ads are a great way to reach a large audience with your message. They are also very visual, which can help grab attention. 

Radio Ads: Radio ads are another great way to reach a large audience. They are often less expensive than TV ads and can be very effective when targeting a specific demographic. 

Print Ads: Print ads can be effective in reaching local buyers. They can be placed in newspapers, magazines, or direct mailings. 

Outdoor Advertising: Outdoor advertising includes billboards, bus stop ads, and other forms of “out of home” advertising. This can be a great way to reach potential buyers who are on the go. 

Best practices for traditional automotive marketing 

Now that we’ve gone over the different types of traditional marketing for car dealers, let’s look at some best practices: 

Use strong visuals 

As we mentioned before, traditional marketing for car dealers is very visual, and this is why it’s essential to use strong visuals in your ads. Whether it’s photos, videos, or graphics, make sure your visuals are eye-catching and attention-grabbing. 

Use a call to action 

A call to action (CTA) is a great way to encourage potential buyers to take the next step. Whether visiting your website, coming into the dealership, or taking a test drive, make sure you include a CTA in your ad. For example, if your dealership is struggling with inventory acquisition, you could include a CTA that says, “Come in for a test drive and receive a free trade-in appraisal.” 

Less is more with traditional automotive marketing 

The general rule in traditional marketing for car dealers is that campaigns must be kept simple. The goal is to reach as many potential customers as possible with a clear and concise message. This can be difficult to achieve when you have a limited amount of time or space, but it’s essential to focus on quality over quantity. A well-executed TV or radio ad will do more for your dealership than a dozen poorly produced advertisements that fail to deliver a strong message. 

Create a strong brand identity that resonates with your target audience 

When creating traditional marketing for car dealers, creating a strong brand identity that resonates with the target audience is essential. This can be done by developing a clear and consistent message and using visuals that reflect your brand. For example, if you’re targeting luxury buyers, your ads should reflect this with high-end visuals and messaging. Use a color palette, fonts, and logo that reflect your brand identity across all of your marketing materials. 

Sponsor local events and charities 

Sponsoring local events and charities is a great way to build goodwill in your community. This can help you attract new customers and create repeat business from current customers.  

Be sure to measure your results 

Unlike digital marketing, it can be challenging to measure the results of traditional marketing for car dealers. However, it’s essential to set up a system to track your leads and sales to see what’s working and what isn’t. This will help you make adjustments to your campaign as needed and ensure that you’re getting the most out of your traditional marketing efforts. You can do this by setting up tracking phone numbers, using coupon codes, and asking customers how they heard about your dealership. 

Collaborate with other businesses 

Another great form of traditional marketing for car dealers is collaborating with other businesses in your area. This can be done by running joint promotions, cross-promoting each other’s businesses, or co-sponsoring events. Collaborating with other companies will help you reach a larger audience and build relationships with other local businesses. Some ideal collaborators for car dealerships include gas stations, auto repair shops, and car washes. 

Follow up with customers after they’ve bought a car 

Finally, it’s essential to follow up with customers after they’ve bought a car from your dealership. This can be done by sending them a thank-you note, calling to check-in, or inviting them to come back for service. Following up with customers will help you create repeat business and build long-lasting relationships. This also helps gain referrals, as customers are more likely to refer friends and family if they’ve had a positive experience.  

How Kelley Blue Book can help 

Traditional marketing for car dealers is excellent for reaching new customers and getting attention for your business. However, getting in front of the customer is only half the battle. You also need to be able to offer them a deal that’s too good to refuse. That’s where Kelley Blue Book comes in. We realize that generating sales and acquiring inventory is essential for your success, which is why we offer a suite of tools to increase dealership experience and give your customers the best deals on the cars they want. 

Kelley Blue Book tools include: 

Instant Cash Offer 

Kelley Blue Book Instant Cash Offer gives customers a quick and transparent offer for their vehicle. This takes the guesswork and negotiation out of the equation, making it easy for customers to get a great deal. This helps your dealership acquire the inventory you need to keep your lot full and generate sales. 

Price advisor 

Our Price Advisor tool helps customers understand if they’re getting a fair deal. This takes the guesswork out of negotiating and puts the customer’s mind at ease knowing they’re getting a fair price. 

Trade-in advisor 

The Trade-In Advisor tool tells customers how much their current car is worth and what they can expect to get if they trade it in. This makes it easy for customers to understand their trade-in value and get the best possible deal on their next car. By offering a fair trade-in value, your dealership can gain more customers and acquire more inventory at the same time. 

Listing enhancements 

Kelley Blue Book also offers listing enhancements that can help your dealership’s listings stand out. This includes adding photos, videos, and additional details about the car. This allows customers to get a better idea of what they’re looking at and makes them more likely to choose your dealership when they’re ready to buy. 


Traditional marketing for car dealers is a great way to reach new customers, acquire more inventory, and grow your business. By following the best practices outlined in this article, you can maximize your results and create a successful marketing campaign. Kelley Blue Book offers a variety of tools to help you with your traditional marketing efforts, so be sure to take advantage of them. With careful planning and execution, traditional automotive marketing can be a great success for your dealership. For more information on how Kelley Blue Book can help, read our blog here.