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Looking at Automotive Marketing Using Online Video as a Drive-Thru Lesson

Editor's Note: Dealers and Internet Sales Managers should read this article to get a greater impact from streaming online video. Dealers can get more ROI on production costs and time by incorporating their video assets across multiple marketing channels. Brian Epro, who is IMN's automotive services group director writes about how dealers can make better use of video assets:

It's a fact: Streaming video is the hot new trend for creating compelling online advertising and marketing campaigns. Why are industries across the board investing in video? Because it grabs the consumers' attention and keeps them online with a hands-on, dynamic experience.

A May 4, 2007 article on webpronews.com stated that "adult 'streamers' ages 35 to 64 spent 67 percent more time online than non-streamers." Additionally, a recent study by Borrell Associates states that video advertising is on track to hit $5 billion in five years. Adding streaming video to your marketing and advertising plan is a no-brainer, but to get the most benefit you should consider formulating a plan that incorporates video across all your marketing channels. Read on to see what that would look like.

Your e-newsletter
The e-newsletter is an optimal way to stay in touch with your customers and prospects, and adding streaming video can make it more compelling so recipients consistently read it month after month. Adding video to your e-newsletter can take many forms, including using video to highlight new makes and models that have just arrived, to showcase a vehicle for which you are running a promotion or to pique reader interest in a particular model. For example, when an OEM debuts a new model, it is much more powerful to virtually put your consumers in the driver's seat with a full-motion video, rather than just trying to describe the new vehicle's performance and features. Video heightens the appeal of any vehicle and has the power to push consumers to the next step: asking for a test drive. Always include prominent, easy-to-find 'Request a Test Drive' buttons next to your video. The surge in requests may just surprise you.

Your website
Streaming video should be an integral part of your website, especially for the automotive industry because vehicles are meant to be seen on the move. A recent article in the New York Times advocated that vehicle websites include items like "interactive spins and video clips so consumers can see what a car would look like on them;" obviously the trend of including video is taking off. Consider including full-motion video next to vehicle descriptions so your website visitors can experience how a vehicle looks inside and out, how it starts and stops and how it takes precarious corners or slides smoothly along the highway. Video is all about putting the consumer in the vehicle: make that happen.

Social networking sites
By now you are probably familiar with social networking sites like MySpace. The popularity of these sites has exploded, and they're a good place for you to have a company presence. Consider creating a profile for your company and posting vehicle videos and company news. You can even include the URL for your site in direct mail pieces or direct email marketing blasts. One caveat: be sure to familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations of networking sites before you post, as some sites forbid commercial content.

Blogs
Like social networking sites, blogs have become a great way to stay in touch with consumers and share company news. An online journal that you update at least weekly, the blog is a perfect place to post streaming video. If you're a dealer, you can write about new inventory and post video next to the entry so consumers can see the new vehicles in action. If you're a manufacturer, a blog is a great place to write about new vehicle features and then show those features with dynamic streaming video.

Targeted email marketing
When you, your marketing team or sales associates send out targeted emails, start by including a link to a streaming vehicle video. Whether you're following up a vehicle inquiry or letting your customer and prospect base know about new inventory or vehicle developments, video speaks louder than words. When you include a streaming video link, you create a hands-on shopping experience. Consumers want to see, 'touch' and 'feel' what you're promoting. A video heightens the appeal of any vehicle, making consumers more likely to take the next step towards purchase. Remember to make this next step as easy as possible by including a prominent 'Request a Test Drive' button in your email.

Streaming video is the way to grab consumers' attention, create a dynamic shopping experience and show off your inventory in the best possible way. To get the best results from streaming video, take the time to create a marketing and advertising plan that includes video across all of your marketing channels. An integrated approach is the best way to utilize this medium for optimal results.

A Drive-Thru Lesson on Video Streaming
By Brian Epro


Brian Epro is director of the automotive services group at iMakeNews Inc.
Read Brian's full bio by clicking here.

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Tags: Brian, Drive, Epro, Thru, advertising, automotive, car, dealers, digital, lesson, More…marketing, online, video

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