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The 7 Deadly Sins of Dealership Marketing

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Article Highlights:

  • These sins have no place in the way you communicate with your customers.
  • "It’s easy to get greedy when it comes to acquiring customers."

We know what they are – Pride, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Anger, Greed, and Sloth – but how do they apply to dealership marketing? These sins have no place in the way you communicate with your customers.


Also known as vanity, this sin is the root of all the others. It is identified as corrupt selfishness – putting one’s own desires, urges, wants, and whims before the welfare of other people. The biggest ‘no no’ for any business is talking too much about themselves and not about their customers and their problems. This “learn more about us!” approach could put you in the fast lane to bland, overused, cookie-cutter marketing. Talking about yourself to personalize your brand is one thing (definitely share things like community involvement and associate milestones), but if it overshadows what your customers need to make a purchasing decision, it is doing more harm than good.


This sin occurs when you want something – superior quality, achievement, or possession – that someone else has. This is most noticeable in marketing when businesses copy their competitor’s advertising. This is a bad idea for a two big reasons. Unless you have a hired spy working for their marketing team, there is no way you could know the strategy behind your competitor’s campaigns. They might have completely different goals than your dealership has. And if they are another local dealership (which is likely) people will notice.

Wanting to poach competition’s customers isn’t a bad thing. It is a normal part of running any business. What is poor practice is mirroring competitors to the point your dealerships are indistinguishable or you’re perceived as blatantly copying.


Defined as the overindulgence and overconsumption of anything to the point of waste, this sin is often found in the form of biting off more than you can chew for your social strategy. Don’t make the mistake of taking social media management lightly. It’s a lot of work. Set realistic goals and budgets that you can actually commit to.

Avoid eating through your budget by matching your bid strategy to your objectives and checking their performance as often as possible.

Your business doesn’t have to be on every social media platform. You should establish where exactly your customers are and join them in their already active communities. We know you spent hours learning that new Tiktok dance, but if your customers aren’t on the platform it doesn’t, as the kids say, slap. Regularly look into where to focus your efforts.


This sin is a psychological force producing intense desire for an object or circumstance. Lust can take any form such as the lust for money, power, or beauty. Unfortunately, the automotive industry is no stranger to creating a sense of lust by depicting a “dream life” to viewers. For as long as there have been car ads, there have been beautiful women to pose with them and rich appearing men to drive them.

The average customer responds better to ads that are relatable to their background and circumstances. Not every vehicle needs to be advertised like a luxury item. Instead, focus on showcasing specific features that will be an upgrade to their current vehicle, like additional storage and safety features. For many people, luxuries like remote start or heated seats are more than enough to pine over.


Also known as wrath, this sin often reveals itself as rage, hatred, and a wish to seek vengeance. Nothing can make a business angrier than receiving bad reviews, especially when they are from difficult customers who they tried to accommodate. In this situation, the biggest sin you can commit is retaliating in a state of anger and aggression. Even if your response is factually correct, it looks bad to those who are reading reviews to learn about your dealership. Instead of arguing on a public platform – take a step away from it, come back when you are feeling calmer, and urge the customer to contact you privately to discuss the matter.


Greed is the uncontrolled longing for material gain. It’s easy to get greedy when it comes to acquiring customers. Many businesses try to sell to everyone and anyone and in the process, they look desperate and lose the interest of those most likely to buy. Instead of blasting out to the masses, narrow down your targets to only those who are in the market to buy. You can also consider retargeting those who have already shown interest by interacting with your website.

Another greedy mistake businesses frequently make is focusing only on short term results. The instant satisfaction might feel great in the moment, but can come back to bite you in the future. Instead, make sure every move you make with your marketing is part of a longer term strategy.


This sin is mostly described as laziness, apathy, and avoidance. As technology advances, it continues to make life easier for us.  It’s only going to keep getting better, smarter, and faster. With less effort, we are able to market more effectively than ever before. This is fantastic, and saves marketers countless hours. But one mistake many make is depending entirely on automation.

Your brand still needs a bit of human touch. Companies often treat their customers and leads as mere transactions instead of living, breathing human beings. This loses the empathy that is so important to wrapping your efforts around customers’ current problems.


So, is your dealership guilty of any marketing sins? Follow us on social to get marketing tips and tricks to stay on the right path.

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Anna Perry is a marketing communications professional at Reynolds and Reynolds. She is an expert on Reynolds’ suite of cutting-edge marketing products, their functionalities, and how they can be utilized to improve dealership success. Anna received her Bachelor’s Degree in Digital Marketing from Miami University, as well as her Associate’s Degree in Business Management Technology with a concentration in global and social computing.

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