Recently I was part of a New York City Ad Club panel discussion featuring three digital marketing chiefs: Amy McNeil of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Lee Nadler, of Mini USA and Thomais Zaremba of Ford. They shared great insights.

As car dealers strive to reach possible buyers locally with digital marketing, these brand managers are sending digital drill downs from tier one to tier three.

They know consumers resist “hard-sell” brand ads, especially in the younger demographics. I’m not saying a hard-sell ad doesn’t have impact. It does. But younger consumers value relevancy to their vision of themselves.

I’ve said it before, today people don't test drive cars. Instead, they try them on like fashion accessories. Never before have we seen transportation and personal communication come together like they do in today’s connected car.

Ford is launching brilliant socially targeted digital video ads on featured models all wrapped in a highly entertaining short movie of sorts. They wow you and surprise you with clever writing and brand integration.

Mini is launching a national multi-city tour of Mini owners. Hundreds of them are taking to the highways and then blasting social media along the way. All of this is free exposure for Mini and its dealers.

Chrysler is launching ads that tap into the inner driver of why someone wants to buy a cool retro muscle car. They are thinking through the entire sales process from brand awareness to dealership visit. One of the specific messages was “Find your Inner Badass.”

In advertising, it’s about marketing to a consumer’s desired self rather than their real self. People envision how they want to be seen.

That explains why so many sports cars are driven by middle-age men, myself included.

Dealers can borrow from automakers’ marketing strategies.

For example, a dealership that buys people’s cars to replenish its used-car lot should market this in TV and digital ads and on social media.

I’ve seen dealers win nice grosses by getting first look at trades. Many car owners think their dealership will offer a better price.

Dealers should these owners to come back at trade in time even if they might not plan on buying a new car from that specific dealer. That said, sometimes that same buyer indeed comes back again to buy a car because a higher level of trust was established.

Dealers might think of marketing as a circle that includes driving retail traffic, telling your story, being socially involved and offering unique services, services customers may not know about. Don’t assume they know.

When it comes to tier three dealership advertising, a lot of basics stand strong. But adding a few new digital and social-media twists can pay off.

Adam Armbruster is a senior partner in the business growth firm Eckstein, Summers, Armbruster & Company located in Red Bank, NJ. He can be reached at 941-928-7192.