With Halloween almost here, we think it is a perfect time to discuss a dealership marketing topic that’s incredibly scary. In fact, it’s so scary, most marketing vendors tremble in fear just hearing it. They’re so afraid of it, many won’t even talk about it. If they hear it mentioned, they immediately close their eyes, ignore it exists, and hope it quickly goes away.
So what is it that’s so scary it makes marketers tremble in fear and hide under the bed? It’s the mother of all four letter words in the world of retail. The word is SALE.
Specifically, how many vehicles do your marketing vendors help you sell?
Sure, plenty of automotive marketing vendors report measurements. However, too many vendors shy away from talking about the measurement that matters most – an actual vehicle sold.
To measure true marketing ROI, this is a problem too big to ignore. In order to understand what tactics are producing the best results possible, dealerships need end-to-end tracking that closes the sales loop and ties marketing investment back to measurable revenue.
Linking Tactics to Cash is Key
Most marketing vendors and media companies can generate activity reports that tally and measure website visits, VDP views, time on site, form submissions, phone calls, click counts, reach, frequency, and rating points.
Several of these metrics can be valuable insights. However, others are just fluff for trying to validate marketing performance that may or may not be working.
Without end-to-end tracking to a sale, it’s impossible to see which marketing tactics are making your dealership money versus the ones just making your marketing vendors money.
Tracking Marketing to a Sale Closes the Loop
Advanced marketing strategies and data technology exist that can merge consumer tracking information with a dealership’s DMS to measure which marketing tactics play a part in moving customers down the path to an actual purchase.
Upon implementation, it takes marketing accountability to a new, higher level. In turn, allowing dealerships to see if their marketing providers are driving audience engagement and if that engagement is helping to turn the audience into revenue generating customers.
Linking marketing campaigns to actual sales and revenue offers dealerships fact based insight to ensure they’re squeezing the most value out of every dollar invested in their marketing efforts.
If your marketing vendors aren’t reporting on the sales their services are generating for your dealership, ask them why not? They can and should be. It’s just too scary not knowing how much you could add to your bottom line if you were able to separate the true performers from the pretenders.
Television has long been a primary tactic on many dealerships’ media strategies. However, the challenges television faces and the solutions being considered to help fix them may mean a much more competitive and expensive landscape for the commercial break inventory thousands of dealerships have been using for decades.
A recent edition of Advertising Age ran a story headlined “How Ad Tech Just Might Save TV.” Television, according to the story, has been suffering from attacks on all sides, from increased viewership of commercial-free content such as Netflix and other streaming services to spot-skipping digital recorders. Time spent for the average American watching television has now been replaced for the first time ever by spending more time online. In addition, ratings for television programming are increasingly declining due to more easily accessible on-demand news and entertainment programming available online.
It is, they say, a difficult time for television.
To make up for dwindling viewership and less ad revenue, broadcast and cable networks have both been increasing the commercial minutes per hour. Individual spots are being buried deeper and deeper inside longer and longer commercials breaks.
The Advertising Age story quotes Helen Lin, president-digital investment and partnership, Publicis Media U.S. “When you increase the number of ads, your lift potential is reduced.” In plain terms, advertisers buried in long commercial breaks don’t get very good results. If you’re not paying for premium placement there’s a good chance you’re not getting noticed very much even though it feels like you’re paying premium rates.
Although the article is generally optimistic about the impact of the digital solutions being considered to save viewership and profits on traditional tv and cable networks, it completely avoids the impact it will have on television advertisers. Particularly at the local level.
For instance, one of the solutions being heavily considered is for networks to significantly drop their commercial content. Viewers will have less commercials to watch and potentially a better viewing experience. Conversely, since inventory availability will be much more scarce, the cost of a commercial minute most likely will go up significantly.
If viewers are avoiding 12 or more minutes of commercials per hour, then the reduction of spots available to reach them will increase to maintain revenue goals. National and regional buys will take more priority with networks due to hefty media budgets and negotiating power and local advertisers will be left with paying a pretty hefty price to compete.
The good news for dealers, however, is that they have alternatives that are much more affordable and impactful if they can break the spray and pray mindset. The key is to do your homework and be as aggressive as possible to be an early adopter. Learn how to use quality metrics, insight, and decision making over mass quantity media tactics.
Dealerships are in an age where their advertising can be much more targeted and focused toward reaching the audiences they want walking through their doors on a regular basis. It all starts with understanding who your customers are, learning where they spend their time, and delivering impactful messages using media channels you know are going to reach your target audiences and that they’re going to pay attention to.
Television is still a great medium for reaching audiences. The question is quickly approaching, however, is it the best one for dealerships?