I have been working on changing the marketing silo mentality in automotive digital marketing circles to get people to focus on their marketing efforts as a whole. Too often, I hear dealers and agencies talking about their marketing efforts in terms of traditional marketing and digital marketing. What that has done is create different messages and confusion because one team (or silo) does not know what the other is doing.
For example, the other day I spoke to a digital marketing manager for a mid-size dealer group. We were discussing how to reallocate some of his marketing dollars and immediately, the marketing silo language came out. We were discussing the benefits of video pre-roll and possibly moving some of his marketing budget from cable over to this online video marketing product. When I asked him what cable spots he was running and how often were they running, he said that he did not know. He was not privy to that.
This brief exchange reinforced a symptom of marketing in automotive dealerships in general. I have seen, in my time as CEO of PCG, a great many disjointed marketing efforts because offline marketing is not in tune with online marketing. Too many times, marketing silos rule decisions. I believe this was an outgrowth of leadership, having an ad agency that handled all their marketing needs previously and as digital marketing began to grow, it was not something this ad agency could handle. This led to hiring a new agency to market online, or worse, just getting products and spending money without having a strategic partner to guide this marketing spend. Thus two marketing silos were created and no one exchanged information.
My goal is to change this dialogue and get people to focus on unified marketing efforts by looking at their marketing in terms of offline and online efforts.
As my friend Darren Haygood of Dealer.com said, “What is the goal of almost all of your offline marketing today? To drive the viewer to your website where you have all of your online marketing efforts. So if both of your marketing teams are not communicating, then between offline and online, how will that union work?”
I agree. As I said to this manager, where is the “traditional” marketing silo sending the clicks? What is the message they are sharing? If it is not unified with your online efforts, then the customer will receive a disjointed experience and you will lose potential sales.
Beginning today, all marketing partners must have a seat at the unified marketing table.
So what should a unified marketing process look like? Here are a few quick ideas.
- Think of the shopper path from stimulus (offline) and how/where it will drive interest online. (website, research etc.)
- Make sure messaging of all marketing efforts match in color and feel.
- Make sure that if offline marketing efforts are sending them to a specific page on the website or asking them to use a specific number to call, that you can track the interaction back to the offline asset.
Leadership has to treat both groups as a part of the whole marketing message. So if the path is offline (TV, radio, print) to online (website etc.) to onsite (banners, signs, posters) then you have a consistent path for the consumer to follow in order to do business with you
Once we have our offline and online teams at the table, we have to invite a third: on-site marketing.
What do I mean by on-site marketing? What is in your brick and mortar store that continues the marketing effort for your customer? Let’s take that journey.
The offline team has created a great TV spot highlighting a special offer the dealership is providing for a holiday weekend. They reach out to the online team to explain the ad/message and ask them what website URL they should use in the spot to send the traffic to the right place.
The digital team then creates a special landing page highlighting the offer with a strong call to action. The key is that the visual of the ad matches what they saw on TV. The digital team then continues by promoting the campaign on the website, and online. They may do this through blog content, social media, a remarketing banner, and a video pre-roll campaign on YouTube. The goal is to engage the customer and get them to contact the dealership.
Through different research projects, we learned that 70% of customers do not contact the dealer before coming in. For those who do call or email, the staff onsite needs to make sure that those responding are up to date on the promotion. What happens though when the customer just walks in? This is now where on-site marketing comes into play.
When the customer enters the building, they need to see visual stimuli that confirms this is the right location. Are there signs and banner stands showing the promotion that they saw online? Are there table tents or flyers confirming that this is indeed the location that marketed that offer? You need to utilize onsite marketing tools to finish the marketing journey.
Not having your three teams working in unison, sitting at the same table, is no longer an option. Without a strong, three-headed solution, the customer journey is disrupted. In this very competitive marketplace, those who make it easy for the customer to find what they were looking for will win. Remember, silos will kill your business.