In a world of marketing and getting leads, especially the world of marketing cars, have you ever asked why consumers walk into your car dealership to buy a car and secondly how did they get there (to your dealership)?

The sale of a car all starts somewhere, for most consumers, online!

The car buying consumer already knows a lot more about the car before they even see your advert. The question is how do you get them to choose you over your competitors?

Consumer Attention

By leveraging consumer attention, but the more important thing is how does your car dealership get it, how do you attract this consumer attention and then get leads?

The first thing to do is: See leads as a downstream result of this upstream activity.

If it’s confusing, let’s take a look at an example:

Nike gets consumer attention in creative ways

The Nike brand sells sneakers to anyone in the world, and through their partnership with Amazon, they soon realised that was where their customers’ attention was i.e. that was where their customers shopped. And all they have done is marketed to that consumer in effective ways that fit with the platform. Amazon’s platform doesn’t focus on leads and Nike doesn’t focus on leads either, they focus on capturing consumer attention in creative ways?

To capture consumer attention, they are communicating effectively for the Amazon platform, that attention turns into sales of sneakers (tekkies).

Advert creative is critical to getting leads

Now that the consumers attention has been captured for the car in your car dealership, the next variable/lever is, the advert creative – another thing that I think car dealers in South Africa don’t get yet. The successful car dealers I see are getting it right, generating leads and making sales.

The advert creative is always the variable. It’s always the thing that will get you the consumer or not. There’s another conundrum: advert creative changes depending on the platform you are advertising on. So, by creating a kickass advert, that is platform specific, you will turn that consumer attention into leads for your car dealership.

Photography at car dealerships

How many of you still put your logo/branding in the photograph of your cars? Putting your car dealership logo/branding in the photograph of your car distracts the consumer’s attention.

How should car dealerships brand themselves to get more leads in the future?

Imagine advertising in a marketplace where the people who are coming there are looking for a car, and you’re trying to do a branding exercise? The consumer is already there, comparison shopping cars, not brands at that moment – capture their attention first before trying to make them a brand ambassador and then get a lead. Don’t try and do all three; capture attention first. Do branding in other ways that compliment your advertising:

  • Display adverts
  • Social Media
  • Outdoor
  • Etc.

After all, car buying consumers are fixated on the car first when in the market, and not your brand.


So, is it still about car dealerships leads in the end, yes?

In the end, all of the above are about the upstream activity to getting leads downstream, by capturing consumer attention first and adding value online first.

I keep telling my teams to: STOP SELLING TO CUSTOMERS! Because all your focusing on is making revenue, rather focus on:

  1. capturing the customers attention
  2. focusing on adding value to them
  3. focusing on helping their businesses to get better,

and the revenue will come. The same principle applies to car dealerships, getting leads and making sales.

Many dealers are still fixated on leads (especially email leads – because it feeds into CRM systems, its trackable, etc – consumers don’t care about tracking), expecting advertising to just “work”, but, you have to work the advertising.

 3 Tips to capture consumer attention for your car dealership

Here are some tips on what your adverts must have to capture the consumer’s attention:

  1. All car pictures should have a clean, clutter free background
  2. Tell a story about each car, don’t merely list the functional features of the car
  3. Capture the consumers imagination

 After this, the key is then to test and change, it may not work the first time, this means your advert creative is the problem, not the platform.