Questions we hear a lot from Automotive dealers generally revolve around marketing and how to get a return on their investment. Many dealerships have been led to believe that radio is dying out and they shouldn’t advertise over the airwaves anymore.

JVS Marketing disagrees.

Mainstream FM and AM radio has changed a lot since 1938 when Orson Welles got the entire nation in a frenzy proclaiming aliens had landed. His “War of the Worlds” broadcast made him famous, but it also emphasized the point that radio is truly “the theater of the mind!” It still is, only now it has even more listeners but they are spread out over mediums like Pandora, Sirius, Slacker and Spotify in addition to your local radio stations.

In 1981, when MTV played its first music video (aptly titled “Video Killed the Radio Star”), naysayers said it was the beginning of the end for radio. But Radio is still alive….and MTV- well they don’t even play music videos anymore.

Next came Satellite radio, and again, the talk of how terrestrial (free local radio) would go by the wayside was screamed from the rooftops. After that came streaming and most recently the threat of Apple Music alongside the big players like Pandora and iHeart radio.

“But according to a recent Nielsen report- radio is far from dead. In fact, it now has the number one reach among adults, meaning 93% of U.S. adults listen to AM/FM radio weekly.”

The CEO of New York Public Radio, Laura Walker, says, “There is an intimacy to radio. It’s there on your drive to work, in the subway, in your kitchen-even in the bathroom. It’s there in your ears and it follows you around. Audio gets inside you and changes you.”

Radio knows that in order to keep up with technology and the internet, it has to adapt. So, “last October, the Federal Communications Commission approved digital broadcasting for U.S radio stations using a system from iBiquity.”

Radio is evolving, not dying.

Gary Krakow on did a report on how Radio is going digital. A small number of stations have already begun broadcasting digital signals (think HD- high def radio) and 130 stations are licensed to do so already.

Jeff Jury, Senior Vice President at iBiquity says it will take up to 10 years to convert all 13,000 Am and FM stations in the United States.

While this may take a while, it will provide benefits to advertisers because broadcasters using the new system will be able to “reach the same number of people at one-fifth the cost.” That savings will trickle down to the advertisers. The sound will also greatly improve on local stations.

So you see, local radio stations are not a dying breed.

But can they compete with all the other players in town?

The answer is yes and they are already doing so. “Stations now are developing online streaming, downloadable podcasts and apps that generate playlists for your ride home…radio drives more traffic online than any other medium, including the internet itself.”

And sources like Pandora,, Apple Music, and iHeart Radio are able to talk directly to internet users. A study shown on Statista sourced “18.9 million people listened to internet radio on a computer within a period of 30 days in Spring 2015.” That’s a lot of listeners who can hear your dealership’s message. And with an effective marketing plan, you can stage a multi-tiered attack. They can hear it and then be sent to your website for further information and visual bombardment.

Because creating the perfect message for listeners is the key to cutting through the clutter.

Do you have a simple yet strong Call To Action? Do you have a recognizable jingle or a voice-over that stands out? What exactly do you want listeners to do when they hear your ad? If it is to call you or go to your website, make sure they can remember the number or http name. If someone is listening to radio while driving, or on the treadmill, it may be difficult to punch in a phone number or type in a web address. Therefore your radio message should sound different than your TV or Internet banner.

If you want to build brand awareness or notify them of a big sale, present a clear message with a directive they can understand and execute.

All dealerships tell their advertising agencies- “Drive traffic to my location, and we’ll do the rest.”

That’s great, but everyone feels that way.

What makes your message different?

Does your ad get into the head of the listener? Since radio is theater of the mind, your auditory campaign needs to direct the listener’s thoughts.

An effective marketing story isn’t the one you tell to someone, it’s the one that the person tells their self.

JVS can evaluate your campaign, create a recognizable and effective message and place it in the medium that is deemed best for your location.

It’s a blessing to have diversity and options when formulating an effective plan for your dealership.

JVS’s design team specializes in automotive strategies designed to drive traffic. Period!