Business: all change

by Tim Smith
04 Dec 2015

Tim Smith analyses the ever-changing nature of digital marketing.

Business: all change

Digital marketing is ever-changing. In less than 10 years we’ve gone from those annoying pop-ups (remember them?) and display ads, to media that can be pin-point targeted at relevant people. For dealers and suppliers, these trends can be a very effective sales and retention aid.

What messages via what marketing method?

Getting the message right almost always dictates how successful a campaign is. There is no ‘once and future king’ that will see to all the needs of the advertiser, but there are broad guidelines on what kinds of marketing work best during the buying journey:

  1. Awareness: This is often dictated by OEM advertising across TV, radio, press and online marketing via pay per click (PPC) search advertising. Some dealers are now using Sky AdSmart targeted TV advertising combined with web marketing to steal the lead in this area.
  2. Consideration: Buyers are narrowing down their options. Dealers need to promote their brand and vehicles they offer via paid search (e.g. PPC) and social advertising such as Facebook adverts which can be targeted at relevant people, for example those who live near a dealership.
  3. Evaluation: Customers are comparing vehicle and dealership options. Paid search and social media adverts should promote a dealer’s USP. Retargeting - which shows a dealer’s advertising to previous visitors via third party websites - will also increase return visits. Dealer website content should reflect what the customer sees in wider digital advertising.
  4. Purchase and post-purchase: Social media posts are important along with direct email marketing. Through social media, the ‘five to one’ rule is worth knowing, where dealers make five engaging posts for each sales-orientated one. Aftersales offers can be successfully promoted through email marketing directly to a dealer’s customer database.

Right message, right place, right time

In the automotive industry there are many different businesses competing for the same customers. As noted above, dealers need to draw on a variety of channels to promote themselves and their USPs.

A tactical approach to digital marketing is always going to deliver better results in terms of sales than broad brushstrokes. Think Ford engaged GForces to create a marketing campaign to promote the new Ford Fiesta in January 2015. A Sky AdSmart advert (targeted at Think Ford’s local area and relevant demographics) was supported by digital marketing including pay per click, Facebook advertising, retargeting and onsite content - generating interest and drawing people to the website.

Running through January 2015, the campaign achieved:

  • 354,345 advert views in GU (Guildford) and RG (Reading) postcodes
  • Supported by digital marketing, Think Ford’s website saw:
    • 14 days with over 1,000 visitors (previously, only six days in Think Ford’s history had seen over 1,000 web visitors)
    • Over 6% of all visitors looked specifically at the new Fiesta web page
    • Significant increase in visitors from pay per click advertising and referral

During the campaign period, Think Ford saw the largest growth in orders compared to any other arm of Group 1 Automotive in the UK. The major differentiator during this period was the Sky AdSmart advert, supported with digital marketing. Careful analysis by Think Ford and Sky attributed over 300 additional sales to the campaign, on top of the less tangible benefit of brand awareness.

Know the impact

Understanding how well a digital marketing campaign has worked helps dealers perfect future advertising. Campaign management tools, which track the leads generated from tactical advertising, are hugely powerful and provide fantastic intelligence including visits, leads and cost per lead achieved.

This style of intelligence-led digital marketing will increasingly take over from the more traditional ‘hit and hope’ advertising which is often based on legacy and gut feeling, moving the industry towards a more digitally adept marketing model.

Advertising
Wendy Hennessey

+44 (0) 1992 511521

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