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Dealership Marketing

Automotive Marketers Repel The Wrong Customers

Find out what this group of automotive marketing professionals learned about how to repel the wrong customers online. You learn something new everyday

Car dealership choosing the right customers to sell more cars and get more vehicle leads


Wait a minute.

Do you mean to tell me that there is such a thing as a "wrong customer"?

Why yes, yes there is. In fact, that's the whole idea behind marketing in the first place. To attract the RIGHT customers and REPEL the wrong ones.

Let me explain.

About a year ago, I was watching television with my wife when a "Skechers Tone-ups" sneakers commercial came on.




As I sat there thinking about how ridiculous the product was, I could almost see my wife inching closer to the television. She was intrigued and becoming attracted by the message like a mosquito to those shiny blue zapper lights.

I mean, what could be better than butt-shaping and boosting running shoes, right? least for me. My wife was compelled at the same time that I was being repelled.

That's not to say that the messaging in the commercial had enough force to drive me completely out of the shoe market, though. It was just enough to repel my interest level in butt-toning sneakers.

From this example you can see that Skechers fulfilled their objective. They attracted the RIGHT (or intended) audience and repelled the WRONG (or non-intended) audience.

A recent Facebook post by a colleague caught my attention. The argument made was about how many potential customers shopping website Zulily must be turning away by forcing people to sign up for a membership.

Several other automotive marketing professionals agreed.

I commented on his post by stating that depending on Zulily's objectives, this may be a genius move on their part. His reply made me chuckle a little. The responding argument was that he is their target demographic insinuating that they need to change things up if they want people to shop there.


Here's where it gets interesting. When I looked at Zulily's about page on their website, this is the first paragraph of the page:

something special every day zulily is a retailer obsessed with bringing moms special finds every day–all at incredible prices. We feature an always-fresh curated collection for the whole family, including clothing, home décor, toys, gifts and more.

I had to post this to the comment string. From what I can tell, Zulily is interested in the “Mom” demographic and providing the best deals on great products via a membership model.

Point served.

In my opinion, Zulily is properly executing a strategic marketing initiative in order to attract the RIGHT customers and REPEL the wrong customer.

They have a plan that is designed to build a customer demographic that they want and through the desired (membership) model that they want.

How does this apply to your dealership?

How can you create a strategic marketing initiative that will help you attract the right customers to your store?

For starters, you need to understand that, like the Skechers commercials, every car you have is designed for a specific audience. Not everyone wants or needs to drive cars, or trucks or Vans or SUVs. Each vehicle is designed with a specific target demographic and audience in mind.

If you produce marketing material that focuses on a particular make or model, don't assume that it will attract everyone. Understand that the marketing that you do will, by nature repel certain customers.

That's not to say that they will be turned off from buying vehicles altogether, it just means that they will be turned off from the wrong vehicle for them. Focus on creating relevant marketing messages that will help you attract the right customer for a particular product or service.

As you do this for your entire vehicle lineup, or types of vehicles, you will begin to see the RIGHT customer come in to learn more about what resonates most with them.

Doing so will also help you increase the quality of the leads you get because you will be speaking to people about the things that they care about. What one group of automotive marketers learned on Facebook about how to repel the wrong customer is a virtual goldmine for you.

Happy marketing! Want it done-for-you? We can help!

Michael Cirillo      

Michael Cirillo      

Michael Cirillo is the CEO of, a leading provider of innovative inventory and marketing solutions for the retail auto industry. He is also the host of the top-rated Dealer Playbook podcast and an acclaimed author and speaker. With his passion for creative thinking and a growth mindset, Michael helps dealerships develop and achieve their digital goals.

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