March 30, 2022

Everyone wants automotive sponsorship on the air. Some stations have been more successful than others. Usually, there’s one automotive dealer in a market that likes public media and stays on the air through thick and thin. Some markets have two or three automotive clients. Some have none, but everyone wants automotive sponsors because luxury automotive brands and trucks are a great fit with public media listeners and viewers.

Consider that the average cost of a new car right now is $46k. (Kelly Blue Book, 2/15/22) The best brands for public media have been Volvo, Subaru, Buick, Lexus, Mercedes and BMW. Some stations have Volkswagen. Some stations have truck dealerships. These brands take that average cost of a new car even higher. Then consider that inventory has been tight for the last year, but is improving. Also, Mercedes and Lexus need marketing help; Tesla has been taking their market share in a big way.

The opportunity is now to help automotive market cars and trucks by becoming a sponsor of your station. Is it hard to sell to automotive dealers? Yes, it can be. But it’s not if you are prepared, thoughtful and position your station well. Buckle up…

  1. Think like a car salesman.

    Or, put yourself in the shoes of the dealership’s general manager who has monthly quotas just like you do. How do they sell cars? In person, at the dealership. First, they have to get interested customers into the dealership, then they sell them a car or truck face-to-face. If you know that’s their norm, calling them on the phone or emailing them to talk about sponsorship is not likely to work. They need to meet you and see how serious you are about your station working for them. They want to see how good you are at persuading them, because, hey, this is how they sell cars. Call and ask the receptionist when the manager is usually available – often early or late – and go see them with a specific idea of what you want to offer them along with some data to back it up. Meet them face-to-face any way you can.

  2. Lead with digital ads (most likely streaming audio or video).

    If they are the decision-maker and they don’t use an advertising firm, they’ve probably been buying programmatic for years, and generally believe in digital advertising. If they have an agency, they probably have a digital agency as well. Then, discuss adding broadcast messages to the digital schedule.

  3. Lead with lack of duplication and added REACH.

    If they have an agency, one of your best reasons for sponsorship is the REACH that public media will add to the long list of other radio and TV they are probably already buying. Most commercial radio and TV stations have significant duplication with their commercial counterparts, which really reduces the number of unique listeners or viewers that are being reached. However, public media has little duplication with other radio and TV and gives a dealership’s marketing plan additional touchpoints and much better reach.

  4. It takes three things to sell a vehicle: a car, a consumer and credit.

    What does public media offer? Qualified consumers with credit. It’s like fishing in a well-stocked pond of qualified consumers with resources instead of casting your line into the ocean and hoping you’ll catch the right fish. Include public media’s Halo Effect with brand trust and you have a premium audience perfect for luxury brand automotive.

  5. Place all the messages in the last two weeks of the month.
    This includes digital ads and streaming audio or video. Ask for enough budget so their campaign will work. More frequency and digital touchpoints will help deliver successful brand lift. Concentrate the schedule, even if it’s heavy at the end of the month to boost end-of-month automotive quota sales and you’ll be thinking just like an automotive advertising firm.

More information and Consumer Insights on the Automotive sponsorship category is available for Greater Public members.