Every dealership wants to leverage their advertising strategy to reach the most customers and influence them for the best price.  Many dealers rely on agencies to help them achieve their sales goals and hire individuals within the dealership to oversee and monitor their advertising success.  But, do you have a full campaign strategy in place to reach those customers?  We previously discussed the 5 questions you should ask yourself when planning your advertising strategy for 2017, but what’s the value in creating a robust full campaign strategy?  You’ll reach more consumers more times and in more places.

What do we mean when we say ‘full campaign strategy?’  Essentially, we mean that you need to utilize a large mix of media – the likes of TV, radio, print, social, online display, online video, email, mobile, and even connected TV.

Consumers want to engage with you on their own terms.  In our connected world, that often times means that the bulk of your strategy should be in digital media to place your dealership and your brand where consumers can find it when they want – to engage with you 24/7.  Doing so reaches across demographics, not just the Millennial generation today.  When you’re utilizing digital properly, you gain a higher quality, more engaging audience because you can better analyze data on what consumers do online and with your brand.

Indeed, digital is also more affordable and provides you the reach you need to speak to your consumers.  When you advertise in traditional media, it’s often too expensive to reach the full audience you want as many times as you want.  This audience is also not guaranteed to be in-market and ready to buy car shoppers.  Digital does offer you the quality audience you seek and ability to target that audience with specific messages to consumers throughout the car buying and car servicing lifecycles.  In this case, buying digital banner ads on websites your audience frequents in your area or on third party sites like Cars.com that provide vehicle information, editorial content, and search capabilities yields better results for your buck.

But, when you advertise at the local level you can create a campaign that focuses less dollars on TV and radio and move them to digital that directs consumers to your digital properties supplemented by advertising on websites your target audience is known to visit.  Additionally, digital partners like Cars.com support that message and provide an extension of your brand from one medium to the other with the added integrity and trust of their brand.

That doesn’t mean that traditional media doesn’t have value when strategically used.  Indeed, broadcast or cable TV shows, sporting events, and games are great ways to keep your brand front and center.  Having a call to action to go online to engage with your brand is key – every medium can support the others.  To give you an example, starting out 2017, Cars.com is placing messaging in front of sports fans via NFL games where we will appear on in-game highlights, live streaming, and their online news being featured on the NFL mobile app.  Growing that messaging, Cars.com will appear on FOX Sports GO, Foxsports.com and FOX Sports Chatter.  Throughout this messaging, we’ll drive consumers to Cars.com to engage with our dealers and help consumers research vehicles, dealers, and vehicle service options.  This is a campaign blend of digital with traditional media to reach a large swath of consumers.

One key piece of a full campaign strategy is Social Media.  This allows you to be in a bit more control of your brand message and allows you to directly speak to your consumers.  A social media strategy can be as simple as sharing photos of customers who purchased their new car from you or announcing photo contests to sharing your latest sales at the dealership.  Social is also great for sharing experiences and reviews – both positive and negative – where you can show what your dealership stands for and the customer service you strive to provide.  You can supplement your social strategy with engaging consumers be creating an email campaign.

Cars.com is also taking advantage of one of the most newsworthy events of January, the NFL playoffs.  Cars.com will present five post-game/press conference videos and will be on both @NFLonFOX twitter and Facebook accounts furthering our brand presence – a strategy that any dealer or OEM can achieve either locally or nationally.

You’re most likely familiar with all of this, but what is connected TV?  You probably know what it is but don’t realize you do.  Connected TV includes devices like Apple TV, Roku, SmartTV, Xbox and Playstation.  These are phenomenal ways to reach younger, in-market Millennial car shoppers.  This brings us back to an engaged consumer.  Traditional commercials within a TV show can now be skipped, but for those tech savvy consumers who use a connected TV device, you still have the ability to reach them, engage with them, and drive them to your brand online.

This is a short intro into the need of a full campaign strategy to reach consumers, engage with your brand, and drive them to your lot.  Ask questions of your agencies to ensure your campaign is driving results for you the way you want because, again, you want to reach the most customers as many times as you can and where they will be. Be on the lookout for Cars.com when you’re catching upcoming NFL games in January.