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NAB Show: How To Accelerate Auto Sales Leads.

While automotive has long been among radio’s largest ad categories, the pandemic certainly put the brakes on the relationship, thanks to an ongoing lack of dealer inventory. But there are plenty of tools in radio’s playbook to renew and refresh opportunities for auto over the airwaves, according to an NAB Show session, led by Annette Malave, the RAB’s Senior VP, Insights.

“Dealers have felt the pain as much as any other industry,” Malave began. “Inventory limitations continue to frustrate buyers, with chip shortages influencing price, so consumers are feeling a lot of dissatisfaction. It’s not all roses out there.”

She offered attendees several ways to develop new business with auto dealers. First, there is category knowledge: salespeople being equipped with the information to start conversations and position themselves as true marketing professionals. “You need to be a category expert; that is what advertisers are looking for, that’s what they are expecting” said Malave. “You need the information that will open up doors.” RAB provides members with “instant backgrounds” for more than 200 categories, which includes trade publication stats and quotes about promising and positive industry trends.

Second is sales cycles. This answers such queries as: When should I be placing my ad? When should I be focusing? When should I spend my money at radio? The RAB offers U.S. Department of Commerce charts based on a three-year trend. “When I updated it from 2019 to 2020, I saw incredible differences in fluctuations by month, and a bunch of changes across a bunch of difference categories from 2020 to 2021,” she noted. “You can see the impact the pandemic has had on particular industries.”

Next are listener insights: behavorial information about listeners based on your radio station format. “This illustrates how a format might hold potential to increase business for an advertiser, with media consumption behaviors, which can be helpful in prospecting,” she said. “If it’s a rock station or a news/talk station, your listeners are valuable to them, and they are unique. We have to sell the value of listener profiles and detailed behavioral information, little tidbits that will increase the possibility of driving revenue for a particular advertiser.” In addition, “mapping the listener” includes offering media consumption, socio-economic information, income, demo and gender details.

The RAB also provides “the finishing touch,” Malave said, which is an actual pitch to close the deal. “It’s designed to assist in driving sales on a local, regional or national level… to get up to speed on a business category.” For automotive, it offers a deep dive into multiple sub-categories, including dealers, parts & service, tire stores and the like. “It also gives you category insights that you can take to market—and tweak based upon the challenges of a particular dealer that you're working with. It is created for you to just fill in the blanks and put in their logo and your station logo.”

In wrapping, Malave said, “Remember, it is radio’s role to sell vehicles. Radio reaches auto customers, regardless of race or ethnicity; radio reaches over eight in 10 adults who plan to pay $25,000 to $30,000 for a new or leased vehicle. Radio listeners are a perfect match. Radio’s got this.”

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