Bastardized, plagiarized, homogenized and subsidized. That’s how experts are describing most automotive marketing and advertising seen these days. It’s a shame when you consider how much money dealers invest in marketing each month, each year. But it’s not far from true. Most automotive marketing looks the same.

The express purpose of marketing is to cause customers to choose one over the other, you over your competitors. But if it all looks the same, what chance is there of that ever happening?

The result, sadly, is that price-oriented marketing has become the standard. Most dealers see it as a necessary evil. Can’t be avoided. Price seems to be the last remaining competitive edge a dealership can employ. But what happens when even that edge dulls?

Recent developments in marketing technology, branding and positioning strategy, and competitive differentiation have culminated in a new customer attraction process that’s being called the “No Price” marketing method. But how can dealers truly attract customers without advertising price?

The secret appears to be linked to three elements of a dealership’s marketing: targeting, positioning and offers. Results consistently show that achieving the right blend of these three critical elements can indeed create customer attraction momentum without the slightest mention of price.


Most dealerships logically target the same type of prospect—in-market shoppers or intenders. That’s people who are currently searching for cars online or visiting dealership showrooms. Studies have shown that the number one buying criteria mentioned by intenders is price. The trend has increasingly become for shoppers to choose a vehicle or vehicles via online research and then start seeking the dealership that will sell their vehicle of choice for the lowest price.

The “No Price” method advocates also targeting out of market, non-intenders, or Sleeping Buyers. That’s people who have no intention of buying a vehicle in the coming days or weeks. They’re not shopping online or in showrooms, and they typically don’t have a vehicle preference. But there is one striking commonality among these Sleeping Buyers: the majority of them say they would prefer to driver a Nicer, Newer® car than they currently drive. But without a specific vehicle preference, they also don’t have a price preference.

This market is about fifty times larger than the intender population, and it’s largely ignored by most dealership marketing.

So why aren’t these Sleeping Buyers shopping? Usually for just a few reasons. Topping the list are:

  • Real or perceived credit issues
  • Still making payments on a lease or loan
  • Upside down in current car
  • Afraid of going to a dealership
  • Not enough money for a down payment

Dealers who have used the “No Price” method have found that these issues are typical of all car buyers and not unique to non-intenders. In fact, most dealers are presently well equipped to help customers with these issues and many others.

What’s important is that these issues are keeping the Sleeping Buyers out of the market. By targeting these individuals specifically, and offering to help with the issues, dealers have found they can actually accelerate the buying process and bring the non-intenders into the store now, rather than later.

Best of all, the conversations with these customers don’t revolve around price, but instead around solving their particular problem. This results in a significant surge in traffic and a decrease in price sensitivity. More sales, higher gross profit, more net profit.

Tune in next time when we reveal how positioning and compelling offers can keep you out of the downward price spiral.