Think about your favorite advertisement. Now picture how you’ve seen that ad play across different media; TV, magazines, online, etc. This is called omni-channel marketing and chances are the messages you’ve heard in those ads—no matter the channel—is the same. This approach leverages a consistent message across all media to drive brand recognition and awareness. It’s become more prevalent and important as more and more media channels emerge.
Automotive manufacturers are doing great at omni-channel advertising. The retail side of the business, however, can be somewhat fragmented. Retailers tend to have a lot of cooks in the kitchen making decisions about advertising. Multiple conversations between multiple people lead to a lot of different messages going out.
The good news is there’s an easy fix—media efficiency. Being more efficient with your advertising across multiple channels could lead to big rewards without a bigger spend. The keys to media efficiency and a solid omni-channel strategy are buyer attention, buyer recall and reinforcing buyer behavior.
Step one (buyer attention): create clear and simple messaging. Customers like clear and simple messaging. Big brands like Coca Cola have nailed this. If you look at how Coke does their advertising there’s always something they’re trying to tell you – it’s refreshing, it goes great with food, etc. But no matter what the added promotion, they always have a simple, consistent core theme: “everybody loves Coke.”
Consider this analogy: when a truck manufacturer advertises its vehicles as “America’s most durable, long lasting pickup” across all media channels, consumers begin to recognize it. However, if they split that message with “this is the most fuel-efficient pickup,” consumers might get confused. That confusion could lead to fewer purchases. This doesn’t mean every ad has to be the same, but they should all have a consistent message. As we mentioned in the last blog post, repetition drives recognition and ultimately purchasing behavior.
Step two (buyer recall): maintain consistency across all media. Each time a consumer sees one of your ads, it should be consistent across all channels. Consider what often happens in the automotive retail world. A dealer might advertise Camrys on TV for $18,999 for one weekend only but run digital adds simultaneously promoting Corollas that “need to go” for $299/month. The message is fragmented.
Fragmented messaging is one of the biggest things that hurts dealers. There is power in uniformity and projecting the same message across all channels. Leveraging a clear and simple message is how you influence buyers. You don’t want to confuse them with muddled and fragmented messaging. If you do run multiple messages, consider your frequency and timing.
Step three (reinforcing buyer behavior): close the loop with your employees. Your advertising messages should not just be known by your advertisers—everyone in your business, including those on the sales floor, should understand and know the promotions for the month. You could have a great omni-channel strategy, but it is wasted if your employees don’t know what’s going on. Imagine a customer’s frustration if he or she walks in ready to buy based on one of your ads, but the salesperson has no idea what they are talking about. Advertising can bring customers to the store, but you need everyone on board to close the sale.
Consumers shopping for a car typically only go to one or two brick and mortar locations. So it almost comes down to a coin flip guessing which dealership they’re going to buy from. That’s why getting a consistent message out across multiple channels is so important. By following the steps above, you have a much better chance of being the dealership that they remember. That could make all the difference and speed you towards keeping your spend the same while increasing your sales.