The Debate Stops Here: How the 80–20 Rule for Dealer Marketing Budgets with Three Action-able Fundamentals Can Capture Your Customers Online Today

Peo­ple who rep­re­sent­ed well-known brands at ad agen­cies and media orga­ni­za­tions nev­er ful­ly under­stood why com­pa­nies con­tin­ue to sink sig­nif­i­cant bud­get into tra­di­tion­al mar­ket­ing. At its core, tra­di­tion­al media is huge expen­sive and is extreme­ly dif­fi­cult to track, not to men­tion grow­ing out of favor with con­sumers.

For exam­ple, total week­day cir­cu­la­tions for news­pa­pers fell 8% last year for both print and dig­i­tal, and last year’s news­pa­per rev­enue was 1/3 of what was just ten years ago – 2016 marked the 28th con­sec­u­tive year of declines.1 Tra­di­tion­al TV view­ing has declined over the past five years by an aver­age of near­ly 21% across all age groups exclud­ing adults aged 65 and older.2 Radio is about the only medi­um that hasn’t suf­fered heavy losses3, although Mil­len­ni­als pre­fer stream­ing radio over tra­di­tion­al radio.4

Some peo­ple firm­ly believes that if it isn’t dig­i­tal, it won’t work. How­ev­er, there are excep­tions to every rule. And we now live in a world where a major­i­ty of con­sumers spend a major­i­ty of their time online and that’s where smart mar­keters – and their bud­gets – should be also, espe­cial­ly con­sid­er­ing the fact that it costs approx­i­mate­ly $150 of dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing to sell one car com­pared to $1,581 (over 10 times!) in tra­di­tion­al media spend.5

Here are three proven deal­er mar­ket­ing fun­da­men­tals known as the “*80 Sup­ple­men­tal-20 Rule”, a set of action­able strate­gies for deal­ers and for the agen­cies that rep­re­sent facets of their busi­ness:

1. Let your brand do the heavy lift­ing.

OEMs spend a ton of adver­tis­ing mon­ey to build your brand in the tra­di­tion­al sense. (The Super Bowl is an exam­ple) They are well equipped to run nation­al TV spots, take on full page, four col­or ads in major media out­lets, or nation­al radio cam­paigns pro­mot­ing sweet sales events. Auto Mak­ers have tools and teams of peo­ple at their access to help strate­gize, cre­ate, plan, imple­ment, and track brand cam­paigns on a nation­al scope, bol­ster­ing your efforts on a local lev­el. So let your brand do the heavy lift­ing.

2. Com­mit 80% to dig­i­tal, 20% to tar­get­ed tra­di­tion­al cam­paigns.

Com­mit the bulk of your annu­al mar­ket­ing bud­get, about 80%, to dig­i­tal and third par­ty leads. When done right, it’s afford­able, effec­tive, easy to mea­sure, and helps you reach local cus­tomers beyond your efforts right where (and when) you want them – online, while they’re research­ing their next vehi­cle pur­chase.

Ded­i­cate rough­ly 20% of your annu­al mar­ket­ing bud­get to strate­gic tra­di­tion­al cam­paigns, like sports broad­casts (where local view­ers tune in live at the same time) or ever-pop­u­lar live and local news broad­casts. Lulls in region­al deal­er asso­ci­a­tion adver­tis­ing cam­paigns are oppor­tune times.

3. Remem­ber that dig­i­tal com­pa­nies invest heav­i­ly in dri­ving con­sumers to you!

It’s real­ly that sim­ple. A com­pa­ny like AutoWeb, for exam­ple, spends vir­tu­al­ly no mon­ey build­ing its brand, yet sig­nif­i­cant bud­get in expert SEM to reach and con­vert mil­lions of month­ly car shop­pers into deal­er web­site traf­fic and leads so you don’t have to.

This is par­tic­u­lar­ly crit­i­cal in peri­ods of sales declines when con­quest­ing prod­ucts, like AutoWeb Traf­fic, help you reach and engage com­pet­i­tive con­sumers to dri­ve them to your web­site. After this much wider net is cast on your behalf, be sure to invest in dig­i­tal tools that con­vert web­site vis­i­tors into show­room vis­i­tors. Prod­ucts like vir­tu­al show­rooms, text lead man­age­ment sys­tems, shop-by-pay­ment cal­cu­la­tors, and instant retar­get­ing tech­nol­o­gy have proven to be very use­ful tools in web­site opti­miza­tion and con­ver­sions.

The Bot­tom Line for Deal­er Mar­ket­ing Now:
Let’s stop the debate and be hon­est with our­selves. A major­i­ty of today’s car buy­ers are online and you should be there too – the right way, and for a lot less mon­ey.

Sources & Resources Researched for this arti­cle:
1) Pew Research Cen­ter analy­sis of AAM data, June 1, 2017.
2) Nielsen Total Audi­ence Report: Q1 2017, July 12, 2017.
3) Pew State of the News Media 2017, com­piled from 2017 Nielsen Audio Today 2017.
4) Music Busi­ness Asso­ci­a­tion study and data analy­sis firm LOOP, July 12, 2016.
5) Deal­er­Sock­et Data, Feb­ru­ary 2016.

The Author:
Beth Bartlett is Region­al Sales Direc­tor for AutoWeb, Inc., offer­ing the indus­try a full suite of high qual­i­ty lead prod­ucts and adver­tis­ing ser­vices, includ­ing AutoWeb Traf­fic, TextShield, Sale­Move, and Pay­ment Pro. For more infor­ma­tion, text or call 770.733.5138 or email [email protected] For more deal­er train­ing, tips, advice, and news, vis­it www.dealer.autobytel.com.

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