As we approach the last quarter of 2011 it is a great time to stop and ask if YOUR advertising strategy is yielding the best results for the money they invest. We’ve been told to review our personal investment portfolios each quarter but do you carefully inspect the returns from our automotive marketing investments each quarter?
In order to help dealers get a handle on the ROI of their marketing investments, we need to make a commitment to organize our investment channels.
Will you take a few minutes to determine how your monthly marketing budget is allocated between digital and traditional investments.
Create a spreadsheet that breaks out your current monthly budget into individual columns for all your marketing channels.
The traditional marketing columns should include radio, print, cable TV, direct mail, telemarketing, billboards, license plate tags, and newspaper. The digital marketing columns should include website costs, third party leads, Cars.com, Autotrader.com, Google Adwords, Text Marketing, Social Media, Automotive SEO, CRM, Chat, and Reputation Management.
If you would like our Excel spreadsheet that I use to outline automotive advertising investments, send me an email and I’ll forward it to you. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
At the St. Louis PCG Pit Stop Jim Flint, eCommerce Director at the John Eagle Group in Texas, shared some very interesting statistics about their franchise store growth and profits. His research related each store’s success to their digital marketing and traditional media investments.
Jim has been tracking the changes in spending allocations for the past few years for all their stores. I was very impressed with his passion to get to the optimal balance for each store. He also reminded dealers to review their strategies on a regular basis because nothing is STATIC in this business!
As Jim spoke to the gathered automotive professionals at the Pit Stop Conference, he reminded me that a few years back while speaking at another Automotive Conference I told dealers that 30% of their budget should be allocated toward digital.
He also correctly recalled that last year I encouraged dealers to move their digital spending to 40-50% of their overall budget.
Jim took it to another level during his presentation in St Louis. Jim suggested that dealers digital advertising budgets should be in the 60-70% range, depending on market and brand factors.
As I travel around the country speaking at 20 Groups and Conferences, I would say that a majority of dealers allocate less than 50% of their monthly budgets to digital marketing. If I had the guess at the national average, it would be about 30-35%. These numbers get me excited because there is so much opportunity for growth.
Just recently a member of a 20 Group I attend shared that 70% of his budget was radio and cable TV. This of course is just the opposite of what Jim and I are recommending. The challenge is to show dealers why a higher digital marketing investment is the right way to go. Few industry consultants have made that clear to dealers. Of course I’m on a mission to change that through education; live and remotely via blogs, video, and Podcasts.
In order to build confidence with dealers to change their historical allocation models to increase digital spending, we must remind ourselves that most people do not embrace change. There are other barriers in place for dealers that include long standing relationships with ad agencies and marketing partners. Dealer principals have also admitted that they don’t ask too many “digital” questions because they don’t understand digital marketing and do not want to look stupid.
If your dealership is not actively using Adwords, Retargeting, Chat, Text Marketing, or engaged in Social Media, as these are just a few examples, you need to review your automotive advertising strategy.
I would like to offer my time to assist you with the audit and assessment.
To help dealers candidly review their current advertising budgets and strategy, PCG Digital Marketing offers a Digital Marketing Assessment Program to help dealers find new opportunities in their market via digital marketing. We take the time to complete a detailed spreadsheet of current advertising investments and then show a path for testing new ideas that can carefully reallocate expenses without causes a riot within the dealership.
When dealers are given the proper education on technology, strategy, and costs they will always do what is best for the business. Their entrepreneurial instincts take over and the shift to a higher allocation of digital investments will come easily. The key is documenting the Return on Investment (ROI).
Nothing pleases me more than when a dealer has the “light bulb” experience when I complete a digital marketing workshop. I can see it in their eyes and on their face that they finally get a new concept that can make a big change in their business.
If you are looking for great workshops on digital marketing, join other automotive professionals February 1-3rd in Las Vegas for the 2012 Digital Marketing Strategies Conference (DMSC) which is just prior to the 2012 NADA Convention. Come out for both conferences and return with winning strategies that you can implement for greater profits and success.
If you would like to schedule a Digital Marketing Assessment for your dealership, give us at call at 732.450.8200 and ask for Carrie Hemphill.
Carrie will schedule an assessment call with me to get the ball rolling at your dealership. The sooner you understand the opportunities that are in your market, the faster your profits will accelerate.
Let’s get to the answers together.