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Auto Industry Marketers Lack Confidence in Complex Digital Marketing Abilities

Automotive Marketing Professionals Lack Confidence in Complex Digital Marketing Abilities

Most automotive marketers are not yet confident in their ability to execute complex digital marketing programs, details PulsePoint  [download page] in May 2012 survey results.

The study found that a multi-channel approach (referring to auto industry and dealership marketing programs using 2 or more channels) was the most commonly identified capability, at 65% of marketers, with just one-quarter saying they are capable of running more complex cross-channel marketing programs (referring to programs across multiple digital channels that are highly coordinated). Only 1 in 10 automotive marketers engage in real-time interactive marketing, the most sophisticated capability that leverages real-time or dynamic interactions to automatically deliver the most relevant messages and content across digital channels and programs.

Interestingly, automotive advertising agencies appear more confident in their ability to execute more complex digital campaigns: 27% said they were capable of handling a real-time interactive marketing program for car dealers, compared to 13% of publishers and 10% of automotive marketing .

Ad Agencies Much More Satisfied With Their Effectiveness

Data from “Bridging the Digital Divide” indicates that a similar pattern emerges when looking at how auto industry respondents rated the effectiveness of their current marketing capabilities. Just 3 in 10 respondents rated their multi-channel marketing effectiveness a top-2 box score, though automotive ad agencies were far more likely to do so than individual marketing professionals (57% vs. 15%). Similarly, ad agencies were far more confident in their cross-channel marketing effectiveness (48% vs. 13%) and real-time interactive marketing effectiveness (45% vs. 6%).

PulsePoint insight suggests that the intermediary role that automotive ad agencies play between multiple OEM brands, dealerships, dealer groups and publishers, along with their co-functional account service teams and repeated need for best practice efficiencies, may explain their heightened effectiveness ratings.

Metrics Seen Key Priority

Looking at key priorities for the next 12 months, automotive marketing professionals overwhelmingly say that measuring campaign performance is their top priorities, followed by optimizing within channels and real-time measurement and optimization. These priorities are directly correlated with the top challenges they see for improving marketing capabilities: lacking real-time data and analytics; difficulty assessing ROI; and complexity of technologies and platforms.

The challenges posed to automotive marketers by the complexity and volume of data were also seen recently in a DataXu survey released in March 2012. According to results from that survey, just one-quarter of automotive marketers and car dealership marketing managers said the software tools they currently use allow them to determine if they are efficiently allocating their digital marketing spend, and only one-third say their tools provide insights into variance of demand in real-time.

Other Findings:

  • According to the PulsePoint report, automotive marketers’ effectiveness ratings are low across all capabilities, but are lowest for their ability to execute with unified customer views across digital channels.
  • The top priority over the next 12 months for publishers was employing newer channels. Among agency respondents, the largest proportion said that measuring campaign performance was their top priority, with newer channels next.
  • The most commonly-cited challenge by publishers was the complexity of technologies and platforms. Among agencies, the need for better attribution was the most commonly indicated challenge to improving marketing capabilities.
  • Most respondents (automotive marketers, ad agencies, and website publishers) expect to increase their relationships with digital agencies.
  • Almost 1 in 2 automotive marketers expect to increase their compensation based on sales revenues.

About the Data: The PulsePoint survey was conducted in collaboration with Digiday and the CMO Club. The survey was completed by almost 400 executives from marketing, agency, and publishing firms from February 20 to March 11, 2012. These were further screened for senior executives defined by the following titles: Founders, C-Class, EVP/SVP/VP, and Director (plus Publisher). This resulted in the analyzed sample of 293 (Marketers = 154; Agencies = 76; Publishers = 61).

Information Source:

Views: 978

Tags: Abilities, Automotive, Complex, Confidence, Digital, Lack, Marketing, Professionals, in


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Comment by Jennifer Sanford on May 14, 2012 at 3:17pm

Love the use of stats, but sorry to hear the message.  Cross-channel marketing can be very complicated, and it sounds intimidating.  For most people, learning about digital marketing is exhausting.  It is filled with new terms and metrics, and seems to change every week as new opportunities and technologies emerge.   However, a dealership can get started simply by matching messaging on their website to their direct mail to their online media campaigns, and slowly tweaking those messages to match the different stages of the buying cycle for the specific media and customers.  It takes thought, but when reduced to the basics, it can be achieved by almost any dealer. The good news is that not only are agencies providing guidance, but also many of the vendors are offering consultation services, too.

Comment by Mark Tewart on May 12, 2012 at 7:06am

Cross channel marketing and multi-stage marketing has always been effective and costs less per sale even if it produces less leads. The customers who go through the channels and stages are the most likely customers to buy. The industry is still too addicted to one stage, one channel marketing which is basic advertising and says "Here we are so come buy from us." The world has evolved. Good post.

Comment by Tom Gorham on May 10, 2012 at 5:14pm

Multi-channel advertising is a challenge in todays digital environment, don't you think?   But when done well, it is a killer.  It truly is possible to track customers along a path to conversion.  I think ad agencies are learning with the rest of us.  They bring a lot of valuable expertise that can contribute if they leave behind their traditional pre-conceptions and attitudes.  Isn't that the same thing we tell salespeople?

Comment by Keith Shetterly on May 10, 2012 at 2:36pm

I can tell you that this is the case in most dealerships I've been involved with our heard about.  Back when folks HAD to come to the showroom to get info on the cars, as in a captive market, there was a lot of undue backslapping about how well the print/TV/radio/direct mail worked together for advertising.  Sales results proved it was coordinated and effective, right??  WRONG.  Now, cross-channel marketing is beyond these same folks.  Great information, Ralph.

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