Why Ad Budgets Must Reflect Buyers’ Shopping Patterns!

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July 11, 2016

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nj auto teaser - boc partnersLast month, this article concentrating on traditional & digital advertising from BOC Partners founder Britain O’Connor originally appeared in an issue of New Jersey Auto Retailers/NJ Car Magazine. In case you missed it, here’s part one.


It’s Time You Stop Separating Your Traditional & Digital Advertising Budgets and Start Driving Sales Realistically and Holistically


Most every Dealer Principle, In-House Marketing Director, and Automotive Ad Agency is looking for the definitive answer to the age-old question, ‘How do we best invest our monthly advertising budgets?’ The answer to this question was once limited to Traditional Marketing’s 5 Core Options: TV, Radio, Print, Direct Mail, and Outdoor. Then the internet came along and blew the old debate to pieces with Digital Marketing’s 30 plus new considerations. From Paid Search to Display to Remarketing to Video to Mobile to Social (I could keep going if your eyes aren’t yet rolling), the market has become so fragmented with options (growing at a rate that seems to change weekly) that it feels like the problem between traditional & digital advertising has grown exponentially.


Despite tremendous growth in the number of marketing options, total advertising budgets have remained mostly flat when calculated by a cost per car. The kneejerk reaction of most dealers: divide your Traditional and Digital Budgets, hastily target an obvious geography or demographic, and hope for the best. This divide & conquer approach may have worked 5 or 10 years ago, but as marketing has evolved, so too have consumers and their shopping habits. Consumers today are more informed about the products and services they seek than they have ever been before (and this applies to nearly all ages, genders, and income levels). Any salesperson can tell you that shoppers have done their due diligence long before entering the showroom. Vetting has replaced impulse buying and this means that the customer interacts at varied and numerous touch points.


Consider a common car shopping scenario: a consumer views a car manufacturer’s television spot or maybe one of yours or your competitor’s, then went on Google to research, automotiveclicks a text ad, ends up at your website, and does some virtual tire-kicking. Based upon their page views, you retarget this consumer over ‘X’ number of days with ‘Y’ number static/animated/video ads across their desktop/mobile/tablet devices. The knowledge gap of the shopper then begins to close and a comfort level is established between your dealership and the consumer. The consumer, meanwhile, narrows their choice of vehicles, arriving at a tentative decision. Now, as though the planets have aligned and the tides are high, that consumer is ready to move down the purchase funnel into one of your conversion paths. On some given day, he/she then punches your dealerships name into Google Search on his/her mobile and a dealer location ad shows. He/she clicks-to-call, sets an appointment, and is on your showroom floor that weekend. The job of closing then falls to your sales team.


Let’s recap and count the touch points: 1, TV; 2, Paid Search; 3, Static Retargeting; 4, Animated Display; 5, Video Display; 6, Cross-Device Retargeting; 7, Paid Dealer Listing. Which is the most important touch point? Is it Number 1? Number 7? To frame it another way, which solution gets the credit for the sale? This question addresses Attribution Modeling. For the last decade plus, nearly all marketers have relied on Last Click Attribution. In the world of analytics, it is simply easier to attribute a consumer action (e.g., a sale) to the last touch point. However, the last digital touch (SEM) may never have occurred without the first traditional touch (TV). Do we then attribute the sale to touch point Number 1? The answer: neither First Click nor Last Click Attribution will suffice.


As analytics and the data rendered advances, the industry must move to a balanced model: one which takes into account and reasonably weighs all touch points along the consumer’s path to purchase – including touchpoint from both traditional & digital advertising techniques, and how they can affect your overall advertising budgets. Be on the lookout for part two of the article, which contain’s Britain’s continuing thoughts on this scenario, as well as how to handle your advertising budget!