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We are a mid-size Chevrolet dealership, and are near a metro market. With some of the new digital advertising packages available right now, like Video pre-roll, mobile display, and behavioral targeting, how do you decide what mix of traditional and digital is the best way to spend your ad dollars to get the best ROI. We are in a market that you still have to be in the local paper and Broadcast to be seen as well. We don't really have a budget to just try it and see.... Suggestions? It has been driving me crazy as our Owner sees the value in digital marketing and is willing to move some money in that direction, but is looking to me for the right plan.

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Most dealers choose to still use traditional media as a major part of the mix.  75% of all dealer ad dollars are spent on traditional marketing.

I would segment your budget between long-term strategic marketing and short-term transactional 

Example - Facebook is a long-term play.  We build our clients fan page with quality content posts 2x a week.  We add new fans with a small ad spend each day using a proven image ad that converts.

In roughly 6 months, we typically grow a fan base to 5-10k real fans that are "quasi-local" - within 100miles.

From a short-term transactional play - we are continuing to see great results with an inventory syndication model.  We routinely post inventory across high traffic directory sites, and often drive 400-500 phone ups a month this way.  Great way to deliver immediate ROI for your used department.

There is an easy but slightly foggy "formula" for determining what the ratio is to your digital/traditional advertising expenditure. Part "A" depends on how digitally literate your staff is, part "B" depends on how digitally literate your clients are.

If you can answer "Yes" to either of these questions you know how to begin to develop your balance, lets begin:

1.Traditional advertising is effective because you won't have to respond right away to posts and questions and is better suited to single managers or small teams that manage your marketing presence. Does your dealership still want to use the traditional sales tactic of client talks to sales staff, sales staff negotiates with manager then back to client?

2. If you're delving into the digital realm you really need to be on your game, responding in a minute or two at maximum to comments, questions, or concerns. If you're posting a new vehicle deal on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram you must prepare to instantly answer questions without forwarding the comment on to a salesperson or manager. The reason someone is contacting you through your digital channels is to avoid the typical sales "experience," and cut right to the chase. Does your dealership want to allow sales staff to complete a sale without negotiating with a sales manager?

So what happens if you answered yes to both? That's simple, it's 50/50 and you allow one to slowly override the other until your balance is met. The best way to set an initial "guess" at your ratio is to ask yourself whether your clients are digitally literate (read more youthful) or are paper readers. If you observe your clients on their phones at your dealership it's easy to determine that they're digitally literate and most likely comparing prices right then. These types of people typically walk in, check your prices, ask a sales person how much, then walk away when they have a price from you and have compared it to your competition.



Marketing mix optimization is indeed a challenge.  Some good points have already been shared below and I would add that clearly defining what you want out of your digital channels is a must.  You also must have a clear understanding of conversions through each of your channels, which can be done through a variety of reporting tools.  This sounds so easy, but getting a good holistic view of the spend and conversion through each of your channels can be a full-time effort!   Once you've gotten your arms around this, you'll need to develop the optimization model for your spend.  It can be a big task, but there's plenty of good information available.  I'd keep things simple to start, as it's easy to get into some fairly complex optimization models.  Like anything, just start small and keep the end goal in mind.  


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