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What Toyota’s “Below Invoice” Ban Means for You

The word “ban” never seems to have a positive connotation to it, does it? And when Toyota joined the No Below Invoice Club at its national dealer’s assembly in July, the company evoked a mixed bag of emotions. Some dealers viewed it as a proverbial wag of the finger at them; it even felt punitive. Others welcomed the change, feeling encouraged that Toyota's below invoice ban could produce a more fair and balanced approach to sales.

No matter which side you coincide with, the prohibition has been implemented as of January 1st, 2016. And those who violate the new ad covenant will face punishment, which will be doled out starting at the beginning of April.

So, we know Toyota banned advertising prices “below invoice.” But why create such a ban?

The company professed the ban would protect consumers, which seems like a fair and reasonable justification. Toyota, Honda, and Mazda (yep, all three ban these ads!) contend that protections come through locking in retail prices and preventing bait-and-switch tactics. And who would want to argue against creating safeguards for consumers?

To offset some of the anxiety, Toyota has created an ad pre-approval process that includes consultations with dealers prior to their running any advertisements.

Now, what does this mean for a Toyota Dealership? .

The Need to Find Alternatives That Draw in Foot Traffic

In 2016, it’s safe to assume you know a little bit about digital marketing. But you may not know all of the resources available to you that allow your dealership to reach a greater number of potential customers.

  • Have you properly established filters to use data from Google Analytics to drive marketing decisions?
  • Is your website design dynamic and responsive, creating an easy user experience from any device?
  • Do you have a solid content creation process that generates robust landing pages and blog posts?
  • Are you utilizing the most effective digital channels for driving in-the-market car shoppers to your VDPs?

There are dozens of questions to ask yourself. And these answers can be integrated to create a viable alternative to “below invoice” advertising for enticing new foot traffic. You don’t have to rely on antiquated tactics—like radio and newspaper ads or even sales stickers—to build a loyal customer base. Your dealership has incredible reach when equipped with the right tools.

So, that leaves two important questions for you to answer because we love to get feedback from our readers:

What are your feelings about banning “below invoice” advertising?

What digital marketing strategies have you found to be effective for reaching new customers?