Deciding where and how to allocate your budget is one of the biggest decisions a dealer must face when it comes to their media plan. The choices today are seemingly endless — it can be overwhelming to navigate. Digital media is sexy and new (and to its credit, is very important). Traditional media, on the other hand, is under constant attack as “dying out.” There can be a lot of pressure to go 100 percent digital, but I’m here to tell you, if you do that, you’re making a mistake. A well-rounded budget that includes both digital and traditional elements is nearly always your most effective marketing strategy.
“But everyone turns to the Internet eventually in the buying process today.” True! But, have you considered that traditional media often represent the first touch points in a multi-point buying journey? And not just at the beginning — traditional media also helps formulate your brand, reinforce that brand and implement it continuously in the minds of consumers. Digital can, in turn, then hyper-target these consumers at multiple stages in the decision-making process. When implemented correctly, digital and traditional media complement each other’s efforts. Broadcast keeps your brand top-of-mind while digital ensures your ad will be seen by the right people at the right time.
But what about results? Inevitably, every dealer wants to be able to track everything, and I don’t blame them for that. Who wouldn’t want to track their ad dollars? This is one of the big advantages of digital media over traditional media. But tracking is a tricky, complicated business, especially because buyers’ journeys are multi-touch. The last thing a buyer did before buying is almost never the only thing they did. Of course, we want to track as much as we can, but does the inability to track discredit traditional media completely?
On the contrary. In our experience, the most successful campaigns and most successful clients are those that include both digital and traditional media in their marketing plans. Traditional media plays the long game and digital media plays the end game, but both plays are integral in the buyer’s decision-making process. If you have an all-digital campaign, how are you reaching the people who haven’t even started thinking about a new car? Market awareness is essential. You need consumers to be familiar with your brand and know what makes you different from competitors. On the flip side, what if you have saturated the airwaves but have a weak web presence? How will you compete with the hundreds of online car ads vying for the consumer’s attention?
In other words, it’s not necessary to pit traditional media and digital media against each other in a fight for marketing dominance. It’s in your best interest to take advantage of what both types of media have to offer. Relying solely on one or the other will only impair the effectiveness of your marketing plan. A two-pronged approach will almost always give you the best opportunity for success!