Monday, August 24, 2015

What the Griswolds Can Teach Us About Dealership Marketing

National Lampoon's Vacation
Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
Family vacations rarely go as planned. Whether your dad takes a wrong turn in Albuquerque, the hotel fire alarm goes off at 3 a.m. or you "forget" your little brother at a highway rest stop, crazy experiences are almost the norm and sometimes make the best memories. Maybe that's why "National Lampoon's Vacation" — starring Chevy Chase as patriarch Clark Griswold — was an instant classic when it was released in 1983.

The Griswolds' wild cross-country trip spawned a number of sequels, including a reboot that released a few weeks ago. But just because there's a remake doesn't mean the original is any less relatable today than it was in 1983. Here are a couple of dealership marketing lessons we can take from the Griswolds.

Don't Mislead Your Customers

The Griswolds' trip can't have gotten off to a worse start when Clark visits a dealership to pick up the Antarctic Blue Super Sports Wagon he's ordered. Unfortunately, the Sports Wagon won't be ready for six more weeks, because the dealer has ordered a Wagon Queen Family Truckster instead.

The dealership then goes out of its way to offload the inferior model on the Griswolds. As hard as it might be to feel bad for Clark while you're laughing at his misfortune, this is a situation that should never happen at a dealership. You should never market a particular vehicle or service to a customer and then not follow up on your promises.

Keep Your Eye on the Prize

Even as the Griswolds' trip spirals hopelessly out of control, Clark never loses sight of the ultimate goal: Walley World! From being stuck with cranky Aunt Edna to having to deal with a shady mechanic in the desert, Clark never gave up and finally got his family to the theme park of his dreams.

Just as Clark doesn't back down from a series of challenges, your marketing team shouldn't either. Much like a Walley World roller coaster, the industry can have its ups and downs. Sometimes campaigns will have rough starts and other time you'll think you've won the lottery, but either way it's important to stay focused on getting results and bringing in customers.

Have you ever had a crazy family vacation? What dealership marketing lessons can you glean from your experience? Let us know in the comments.