Digital or Traditional Advertising…Who Decides?
Since the invention of the automobile, automotive advertising has customarily taken the traditional route. Television, for years, was considered the perfect medium. A place where manufactures could show their vehicles cruising the open road, teens piling-in headed to the beach, families loading or removing items from their roomy, or compact storage spaces. Pretty straight forward and seemed to work real well and still does, for most automotive manufacturers and dealers.
Print advertising, early on proved to be a fantastic outlet for automotive producers and dealers alike. Newspaper advertising was a great way to feature more than one vehicle at a time, in one large-colorful-announcement. A sort of mini, portable billboard. Snappy headlines and attractive artwork featuring a line-up of vehicles, gave customers a quick “snapshot” of their choices. This strategy still has some minor drawbacks… like, finding the right recipe of eye-catching graphics and attractive pricing that “stands-out” from the crowd. Yet, print advertising is still a mainstay of the trade.
Fast forward to today where digital and social media is yet another hoop the industry has to jump through. As social and digital advertising take an ever more increasing stranglehold on our lives, we are finding that social networks, and their communities, have a strong influence on our decision making. Social Media “trends” make it even more impossible to get an accurate pulse on the wants and needs of the buying public. Advertisers are trying their best to leverage these networks the best they can, using video and other creative ways to attract attention. Some dealers and manufactures actually had to hire a new crop of staffers just to navigate, and stay present, in the Social Media arena.
So, what is an auto manufacturer or dealer to do? Some experts espouse, not worrying about the competition, staying away from following the herd, sticking to what-they-do best and hoping the rest will take care of itself. Ok, that’s one way to go about it. Some CEO’s simply monitor their company’s financial goals and leave the rest to the marketing teams to succeed or fail by the numbers. Others continue to push the envelope by committing to an advertising agencies creative vision—ideas that may seem crazy at the time–sometimes prove to be major successes! (Just look at the Kia Hamsters, who saw that one coming!?). Again, there is no perfect formula, it is all still a guessing game but savvy marketers–with their fingers on the pulse of the industry, can usually sense a wave and successfully ride it into shore.
In conclusion, all media platforms these days are viable. It is smart not to rule anything out! Carefully decide how much you want to contribute to each venue and what creative works best for your targeted demographic. A good strategy is; a well-defined plan, and a “mix” of mediums so you are sure you are covering the majority of your customers. In this era of the 8 second attention span, reaching the right customers where they are-at any given moment-is the real challenge!