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The Ninth Commandment of Automotive Video Marketing: Make More Than One Video [How to Plan a Campaign]

So you drank the Kool-Aid, you are committed to producing a video to highlight the differentiators of your dealership.  What is more, you’ve decided to launch a YouTube channel, which you intend to plan and execute thoughtfully.  Most importantly, you’ve allocated precious budget to hiring a professional.  Now what?




Know Your Limits

You are not Your Target

It’s easy to allow one’s personal tastes to guide one's decisions about marketing activities, particularly where a creative process is involved.  As professionals we all know that developing some sort of target audience profile is essential to any marketing effort. Video marketing is no different.  You must identify the value drivers that motivate your audience to buy and then align your messaging and creative expressions accordingly.  Remember you are not the target of your marketing campaign. Unless you are selling to your mirror image you need to hold back on injecting too much of your likes and tastes into your content. Tested tactics are best and proven creative resources that can deliver audience driven content are the best choice.

One Size Does Not Fit All

Once you have profiled your audience to a level where you can begin to segment them according to the attributes that best define them, you can really target your marketing efforts and importantly, get the most bang for your marketing buck.  A great example of audience segmentation is the mobile auto user profile shown.  Other examples include matching media consumption patterns to groups based on gender or ethnicity.

Be Prepared to Invest the Time

Having a strategy for producing sufficient video content to fuel great social engagement while maintaining budgetary sanity requires a well thought through plan of attack commonly known as a content strategy.  As shown, content can be mapped along several dimensions. 

The best practice is to align your marketing to the buyer’s process, or when looked at by the seller, the sales funnel.  Planning a content strategy that forces you to align your thinking about what to produce for your audience at various stages of the sales funnel will get you on the path to optimizing your investment in content. 

Understanding which channels of distribution, e.g., which media outlets, best target your audience at each stage of the buyer journey is another great way to slice and dice content.  The point is that in order to maximize your ROI in content development you need to take the time and do some planning.  This is especially the case with video marketing, which has high production values.  The good news is that the ROI from dollars video content will outstrip every other form of content if it is planned for and developed intelligently. 

Without the upfront market research, and planning you might very well end up the automotive video marketing equivalent of John Carter, the recent Disney fiasco.











Plan and Budget For an Ongoing Program

Create a production schedule like the one shown.  Be smart about pacing and don't try to do too much at once.

Set Goals

Branding and Reputation

Boosts to the dealership’s image and the emotional connection to its community should be the two primary goals of branding and socially targeted video content.

 Recognizing the role that the relationship between a customer and sales consultant plays at the ZMOT in most sales scenarios is a good way to think about branding strategies for video marketing.  How do you want to appeal to customer value drivers in your messaging attributes and characterize that relationship? Here’s an example.

Measure Your Success

With a well conceived and cost managed but steady stream of high-value video content that is aligned to your audience profiles, value drivers and favorite search and media hangouts, it’s time to set up the metrics for success.  The most direct measure is of course movement of metal.  There is a second measure of course and that is the front to back advertising and marketing cost per vehicle.  At 30% or more of the margin it becomes a large variable cost.  The metrics of advertising and marketing’s contribution to leads, revenue and its cost per vehicle are the dials you want to be turning.

Content that effectively targets the bottom of the funnel, just before ZMOT must either be vehicle or value specific.  Examples of value specific content include a promotion  or an e-incenive overlay to the campaign.

More On Metrics

Important metrics include viewership, engagement and SEO performance.  All of these metrics can be tracked and should be reported on at least monthly to measure campaign performance.


A well conceived and executed automotive video marketing campaign can produce sterling results.  If you follow a process and focus on the main elements list, you will start to earn the kind of ROI and efficiencies that only video marketing can deliver.


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Tags: 9th, Automotive Video Marketing, Car Dealer Marketing, How-to, VSEO, Video SEO, campaign, commandment, ninth commandment, planning, More…


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Comment by Alexander Lau on February 13, 2013 at 6:09am

Indeed Joe, I suppose I'm beating a dead horse with some of those comments, as I post on this forum quite often. I see a lot of dealers making basic video production mistakes (buying into review systems and packages just because their competitors do it, having zero strategy in place for video production distribution, etc.). It's almost as if they're attempting to avoid the inevitable, but making up excuses that business isn't had online, through means such as you've provided.

Tons of business out there to be had if focused correctly, not only for dealers but groups like ours.

Comment by Joe Schwartz on February 13, 2013 at 6:04am

Yes, all true.  That is why we need to take the time to educate and promote best practices.  All in a day's work :-)

Comment by Alexander Lau on February 13, 2013 at 6:01am

I meant: "This is GREAT and agreed, but without the resources, internal support and frankly dollars (unwillingness of a dealer to spend), it's tough"

Comment by Alexander Lau on February 13, 2013 at 6:01am

This is GREAT and agreed, but without the resources, internal support and frankly dollars (unwillingness of a dealer to spend). Same could be said of anything, but too many dealerships ignore the need to apply these techniques, when in reality it does affect their bottom-line. Most just don't get it. How are textual reviews any more important than actual people explaining how well they were treated at a dealership? Can someone please explain to me why DealerRater, Edmunds, make so much money from textual reviews, when video is so much more effective and frankly ranks better in SERPs. Yes, Multi-Channel or "power distribution" as I call it. Not only can you apply to the channels that you've listed, but creating your own internal Video Blog for syndication is also very smart. Try to kill as many birds with one stone as possible...! :-)

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