Honda's bundle of cash revives Tier 2 ad plans
David Barkholz is a reporter for Automotive News.
A couple of years ago, auto executives wondered aloud whether dealer ad groups, or the Tier 2 advertising channel, were headed for irrelevance.
Dealer groups in metro markets across the country, including those made up of Honda dealers, had either disappeared completely or spent their money on more general brand advertising for lack of local creative work.
But a revival is afoot for Tier 2 advertising, in which dealers in a metropolitan area pool their resources for media buying.
As Automotive News reported last week, Honda informed its 1,100 dealers recently that if they joined metropolitan buying groups, an estimated $250 million annually would be made available to them for local advertising. Nissan also has rejuvenated its dealer ad groups with a generous new program.
Tier 2 dealer associations can combine big-buck budgets with dealers' local market knowledge to survive and flourish.
The impetus is innovation, especially with digital marketing, said Sean Wolfington, whose Tier10marketing.com has been selected by the Northern Ohio Honda Dealers to manage a $5 million campaign over the next year.
Dealers can use Google and other digital tools to engage customers in their own markets, which can be as or more effective than local TV, cable and radio placements -- the traditional media path.
Tier10Marketing.com is planning to aggressively use Google to attract shoppers, Wolfington said. The dealer group will buy paid-search ads that appear at the top of a Google search page as well as use Web site content and YouTube videos to get the dealer group to appear high in free organic search, he said.
The ad group also has a plan for Facebook, the social networking giant, Wolfington said.
Tier10Marketing.com is in the process of identifying Honda customers in the Cleveland area who could trade their vehicles in and get into a new Accord or other model for the same or lower monthly payment as they have today, Wolfington said.
When those "perfect prospects" are identified, the group will send videos and other content to the customers via Facebook and get the pitch directly in front of them, he said.
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