Capturing Demand vs. Creating Demand: Strategic Marketing Through Turbulent Times


There’s really no denying the demand for vehicles, both new and used, in today’s automotive market. Many dealers have had back-to-back record-breaking months with no signs of shoppers slowing down. While your dealership and its sales team might still be on the hot streak, it’s vitally important that marketing investments adapt with the times. Continued success can only be sustained when marketing spends aren’t abandoned or neglected in times of high demand, but rather better tailored to meet shoppers at every stage in their journey. 

Simplified, demand is outpacing supply of new vehicles. Vaccine rollouts have brought peace of mind back to shoppers, relocation or vacation has heightened the demand for larger vehicles, EV models’ popularity is on the rise, and those summertime incentives are mighty attractive to people who spent the last year inside and off the road. There are a million ways to look at it, but the basic truth is that demand is high and inventory is flying off the lot.

So why keep investing? It was only just a year ago that many dealerships and businesses said, “We can’t afford to advertise right now.” But, the savviest dealers said, “We can’t afford to not advertise wisely right now.”  

Reunion’s partners who did not abandon ad spend were quicker to rebound in a volatile market and saw CPLs and CPCs decrease as timid and confused competitors pulled back ad spend. With the mentality of spending to capture demand, rather than create demand, here’s what we know about the market and proportional marketing reactions that can be utilized today.

3 Ways To Deliver On Demand 

  1. Consumers are seeing the higher prices, so they are spending weeks, even months, searching or waiting for the vehicle they want. Prioritize on-site content, even for the models that are low in stock. If your SEO provider doesn’t monitor or optimize for make and model keywords, users will find somewhere else to shop. 
  2. “Retailers continue to prove to be very adaptable to the current environment by turning inventory quickly to maintain sales pace.” So, keep your Paid Search Marketing campaigns live! As inventory for models with low to no volume dwindles, divert these funds into fixed ops keywords and drive business to the service department.
  3. Get sales incentives in as much advertising ad copy as possible, but be tactful with how. Ensure ad copy feels organic so that readers can’t even tell it’s an ad. Consumers expect to be sold to, so making them want to learn more about the dealership by using “why-buys” and bold strategies like asking questions, including price points, and highlighting inventory count helps click-through rates. Clicks and brand name recall are the goals. GMB posts are another great, and completely free, way to stick incentives front and center in your online storefront — just be sure to set the start and end dates correctly!

While you’re migrating your strategies to deliver on this demand, continue to utilize inexpensive channels like Facebook or Local Campaign Ads to reinforce buy-backs and trade in opportunities. Local Campaigns are trending with cost per conversions at just $4.50! And competitors are retreating from Facebook, leading to low CPMs. Infuse messaging around why-buy incentives that try to grow your used inventory.

An Inventory Shortage Doesn’t Have to Mean Panic 

If your dealership is thinking of scaling back on marketing because of low inventory, take this as a cautionary tale. Shoppers in the millennial and gen z age market are entering buying cycles at a rapid rate and cross-shopping between brands has never been more common. By having a keyword-optimized website and fully funded pay-per-click campaigns, your dealership can keep up with the demands of the day, while still staying trim. 

Want further insights? Reach out to our sales team who can offer a complimentary website audit and budget analysis of your digital marketing ventures.


CNBC: Demand is outpacing supply of new vehicles – why that’s bad for shoppers but good for investors, JD Power: April New-Vehicle Sales to Break Record Despite Low Inventory; Buyers Will Spend More on New Vehicles Than Any Other April, US News & World Report: Should I Worry About New Car Shortages?

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