Many dealers report that all of the drastic changes in consumer media usage has confused them about how to measure what works when it comes to their advertising campaigns.
You may have even already discovered that the old standby measurement tool — the customer survey — is becoming irrelevant due to the fact that your consumer is spending more and more time “virtually shopping” before “actually buying.” They are using a lot of advertising sources in the process.
In other words, by the time they finally come in to your store, they may have forgotten what advertisement medium actually brought them there!
There are that many different channels, with often one leading the customer to another, and then finally into the dealership.
We already know most consumers begin “actual” car purchases by viewing the dealership website.
But we also know that something motivated them to visit that website in the first place.
In the 1980s, television ads generated immediate store visits. In the 1990s, television ads generated phone calls.
Now, television ads generate website hits. Today consumers begin their shopping pattern “virtually,” well before physically entering the dealership.
Try it yourself. Tell friends about a great new store and most likely the first question they'll ask is, “What's the website?”
So, if you are still asking current customers: “How did you hear of us?” expect confusion when you sit down to go over the final research data.
Today, you need to design new measurement metrics. Here are the best metrics for measurement as reported by a mixture of our dealer associates:
- Organic (non-sourced or also called non-searched) website hits.
- Overall website traffic volume during TV ad flights.
- Click through rates of linked television station website ads.
- Positive/negative relationships of incoming phone calls to television ad flights.
- Closing/conversion ratios of television leads generated.
- Gross sales during television ad flights.
- Net profitability during TV ad flights.
- Increase/decrease in the usage of printed media run during TV ad flights.
Did you notice that none of these measurement tools involve talking to actual customers about what ad medium brought them in?
You need to design “measurability” into your television and Internet message.
Your website address should always be the last thing the consumer sees and hears. Why? Because we already know that interested consumers will go to their computer next!
Don't be passive and make consumers “Google” to find you because your competition will most likely show up on the first Google page as well.
Next, your television flight needs to be planned around consumer lifestyle patterns so people can act immediately after seeing your commercial.
An example of this is for a Honda dealership to run high levels of advertising during early morning news programs in order to reach working women before they leave for work.
That way, they can see and hear your “web driver” message and then log on to your website at work that same morning.
In the end, campaign measurement is a bad news/good news scenario.
The bad news is that TV campaigns have never been harder to measure with traditional methods.
The good news is that better metrics have arrived that are much more accurate than customer surveys.
Getting accurate feedback is crucial to knowing what ad concepts and media plans are most effective. But today, asking the consumer may be the worst place to start.
Adam Armbruster is a partner with the retail and broadcasting consulting firm of Eckstein, Summers, Armbruster and Co. in Red Bank, NJ. He is at [email protected] or 941-928-7192.
Questions or comments about this column? Send us an e-mail at [email protected].
Sales columnist Richard Libin will return next month.