HEARST CONNECTICUT BLOG

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As a result of COVID-19, we are all modifying and rethinking business plans. What once was our reality isn’t any longer and adapting for the future and pivoting quickly is going to be key to any organization’s success.

However, there is one constant across all industries. And that is the notion that market share is up for grabs. People are worried about the future and they are worried about their finances – current and future finances. And because of this, they are conducting their research when it comes to purchasing decisions. Consumer decisions within the automotive industry are no different than consumer decisions within other verticals.

If the dealership a consumer has been visiting for the past 10 years is not currently offering the best deal for their current situation, the consumer will be shopping around and may land at your competition’s front door. We’ve dubbed this concept as “free agency.” It’s no time for auto dealers to hide their heads and wait for the pandemic and its repercussions subside. Now, more than ever, it’s important to stay relevant. This means:

  • Continuing to advertise inventory and zero percent financing or delayed-first-payment deals through both offline channels (such as print) and also online advertising channels.
  • Providing online shoppers with accurate information and timely inquiry responses.
  • Embracing the online shopping experience. Ease of online shopping (is your website mobile-friendly?) and ease of electronic signing (saving time and limiting time spent in crowded areas are high on the priority list for consumers) are relatively simple ways for auto dealers to stay ahead of their competition.

Even as the balance between inventory and sales is still a bit lopsided for many dealerships, remaining top of mind for the excited prospective car buyer is essential to maximize sales when that next large shipment arrives.

 

Creating Captivating Multi-Channel Marketing Campaigns

 

Raising brand awareness for a dealership is half the battle when it comes to increasing foot traffic to a physical location. And increasing foot traffic during a pandemic places a whole new spin on this challenge. However, it is certainly not impossible. If you can reach your target audience now, and reach them in a way your competitor isn’t, or reach them repeatedly to improve and expand brand awareness, you have a much better chance at taking advantage of the share of the market that is newly available.

While foot traffic to physical locations may be less than it was in the past as people are taking health precautions, web traffic to dealerships has certainly intensified and mitigated the net traffic loss. While the vast majority of auto dealerships have an online presence (if yours doesn’t, talk to us!), the perceptive, forward-thinking dealerships have put a greater focus on the customer’s digital experience. It’s important to have a quality mobile app (or at the very least, a mobile-friendly website), use video to showcase vehicles (we’re not talking about basic photo slideshows here) and monitor what consumers have to say online (a positive online reputation directly correlates to an increase in revenue).

Auto dealerships that adapt quickly and transition to pre and post purchase experiences that are informative, streamlined, efficient and pleasant for consumers will benefit from the changes brought about due to the pandemic. Through creative services, digital marketing services and web services, enacting a change in a dealership’s marketing approach is now easier than ever.

 

A Shift in Video Advertising to Amplify the Digital Experience

 

According to a report by Unruly, consumers who watch video advertisements on their mobile devices are about three times more likely to click through to a brand’s website than those on their laptop or desktop. For auto dealerships that utilize such advertising avenues to engage their target consumers, the world is their oyster.

Historically, we know that auto dealerships love to advertise on TV. The ads are exciting, visually appealing, and above all, expensive. While we know that TV ad rates were lower in recent months than they have been historically, this most likely is not going to remain the status quo and advertisers are already plotting their new course of (advertising) action. Automotive TV spending was down 37% year-over-year in June. The loss in spend in turn caused a significant loss in impressions (down 29%).

The question now is how can auto dealerships re-purpose these quality video advertisements and earn more impressions and gain more views? They slice and dice the videos in a manner that captures the attention of consumers to be placed on high traffic platforms. The leader is such video advertisements? Pre-roll videos. When produced and placed effectively, pre-roll videos have better results and better ROI than television commercials. The ads are fantastic for band awareness, ad recall and product or service consideration. And not to mention the fact that they have the ability to play on both desktop and mobile devices – a valuable asset 75% of all video plays are on mobile devices. Plus, as previously noted, video ads are three times more likely to be clicked on than a desktop video ad.

Adding a little fuel to the marketing fire and differentiating your organization’s brand from the sea of auto dealerships in the market will drive web traffic, and in turn, foot traffic. Utilizing pre-existing marketing assets creatively can not only save your dealership a great deal of money, but allow for the engagement and reengagement with consumers in a more effective manner.

 

Adding to Your Marketing Strategy

 

Shifting some TV advertising dollars into print and alternative digital and video avenues can reduce ad spend while ensuring reach is not lost. The Times Union is thrilled to offer pre-roll video advertising services to new and existing clients alike. With a click-through-rate of 0.53% and a video completion rate of 73.4%, our pre-roll video service outperforms the industry average of a 0.3% click-through-rate.

Furthermore, utilizing traditional media, like the Times Union newspaper, or timesunion.com, is going to set a foundation for additional ad spend. Running a branding campaign in the paper, or advertising promotions or specials online (or in print) is going to add another touchpoint into the consumer’s buying process. Get in touch with us to learn more and engage with consumers efficiently!

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