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Wise words from one of the greatest marketing minds of our time. Today SEM plays a more pivotal role in digital marketing for auto dealers than many realize. Mass media is "what we've always done"; and although digital marketing is growing its footprint with each passing year, the constant evolution sometimes creates the dealer mindset of, "I don't want to have to do much. I'd rather leave it alone and let it work for me."
Convenience, however, is often the first thing to sacrifice when working toward success. This is true in any world, especially the digital world we live in. This is not to say each dealer should pull all digital advertising in-house (especially not SEM). But to stay active in self-education, contact with your vendor, and monitoring success.
The "set and forget" mentality has no place in a successful digital campaign. So why, then, do we see so many vendors selling digital products, building campaigns out, then leaving them to rot? There are a million reasons, but for the most part, campaigns go stale and wither from lack of attention due to companies having too many clients, not enough man qualified power, and lack of adequate technology.
How many vendors have you done business where the end game (for them) was the sale? If client success and partnership are not built into the model they offer, you may as well be buying that fake fruit you see on tables in model homes instead of good, wholesome, organic produce to feed your family.
I'm sure you've either read or heard that 90% of retail purchases start online. 84% of auto purchases begin with shoppers searching on one of the major search engines. No one ever said, "I went to the radio or TV to find a car." So why the gobs and gobs of dollars spent on mass media that offers little trackabilty or verifiable reach on the hope that you are top of mind? It's a rhetorical question, of course. I've worked in both radio and print. I could never figure that one out so I focused on digital.
Speaking of mass media, as a dealer, you would never place a print ad next to a competitor of the same OEM. You probably call your radio or TV rep in a tantrum over your spot broadcast back to back with your competitor. You sure as hell would never place the same creative as a competitor. Am I right?
So riddle me this...why on Earth would you allow a company to place the same ad copy as your competitors in a space where you know almost every shopper goes to find information on how to buy the car they want? I'm talking about cookie-cutter search ads on Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. Why is your mass media messaging NOT tied to your search ads? A better question, why isn't the vendor you use to place your PPC ads thinking of these things? Because it's one thing to know how search engines work. It's another to also know how to advertise.
Take a look at your ads (please go to Google Ad Preview and not a live search, it negatively affects your PPC campaign performing live searches on your own keywords, believe it or not), then take a look at your competitor's ads. If they are identical, or even very similar, you are being done a HUGE disservice and are invisible. If your ad variation is less than 30-40 different ads with no A/B testing, you are not getting your money's worth. If you have to sort through keyword lists on a monthly basis, the technology is absent and you are losing share of voice. If your campaign garners less than 70% share of voice (or impression share), you are being under-served and overcharged.
If you have specific questions on this, feel free to comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember, cookie cutters are great...for making cookies, not PPC campaigns!
Britt Hoffmann, Netsertive