Ad Formats Aren’t Strategy

It’s disappointing to discuss marketing with people who don’t know the difference between ad formats and strategy, but should. Not everyone understands the finer nuances of marketing; however, those who hold the position responsible for marketing in a dealership— be it internal or external— need to understand the process behind creating the marketing strategy. If they don’t, then you need to take a serious look at what they’re spending your money on. Whether it’s your dealership, the agency you’ve contracted to do your marketing, or the OEM feeding you marketing content, they should understand the fundamentals behind the process

With that in mind, it’s time for an audit. Perhaps not an overhaul, but rather a test to determine whether or right you’re marketing is going in the right direction.

In fact, your marketing should always go through a periodic review to ensure that your dollars are being used efficiently, and your message is effective.

Step 1

Can all of the members of the marketing team reliably describe your goals and objectives? It should be simple and if they can’t, then perhaps you could lead them here. Understanding your goals is the first step in any plan. Without them, all of your creative is nothing more than art.


Step 2

Is there a feedback mechanism to ensure your message is resonating? You need metrics to tell you how long someone remains on your site, or if there are certain concepts and messages that affect your client’s purchasing cycle. You can’t determine whether you’re reaching your goals or not if you don’t measure your process. Besides, throwing ads up on the screen has no real method of measurement.

Step 3

Can you further segment your audience?

You may not realize when you start out that there are subsets of your audience. After a while however, your message will resonate further within certain smaller groups of your audience. If you’re using Facebook, you have the opportunity to split them apart and apply new language to certain groups. But if you just have a bunch of ads— whether they are a dynamic inventory slideshow or a canvas ads, without understanding what you’re hoping to achieve— you won’t know if it matters to split those groups.

Does the Message Still apply?

Once you’ve completed your audit and you know whether your marketing is still on point or whether it needs to be adjusted, you should take a serious look at how it started to drift.

1. Were your goals not clear enough?
2. Did you leave it to someone else to set your goals?
3. Should you change your goals or reset your message?

The last thing you should do when looking at your audit is to determine what you’re paying for. Do you have an agency selling you on the prospect of a strategy and delivering only ad formats? Ad formats are not strategy. When creating an ad campaign, you have establish your goals and objectives and target your audience before you begin to develop your creative. Don’t get trapped into throwing up creative with no reason or audience.


Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more content.

Jason Harris


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