We'll get to the pie in a minute. First: Did you meet your sales goals for 2013?
For local automotive dealers, I can tell you first-hand that in-market shopper demand was strong last year. And if what I'm hearing everyday via phone and in person at trade shows for GM's and Internet managers is any indication, 2014 is off to a rocket start.
Let's leave the anecdotal evidence behind and look at some data.
Research by Compete’s Lincoln Merrihew Automotive 2013: Mixed Market Messages is blunt:
“Not all brands enjoyed success in 2013, and some enjoyed success on only one of the two primary levers needed to drive sales: demand and conversion.”
After coming across this data a few weeks ago, I wrote a thought leadership piece for a national automotive dealer magazine to be useful to GMs and Internet managers.
The focus: Learn about one marketing metric in particular that will spell success or failure this year: share of voice (also called impression share by Google.)
Compete forecasts a breakout year for 2014 in a deeper study released in January: “2014 sales levels can be reverse-engineered using combinations of demand and conversion. Modest increases of 5% in monthly averages for both would yield an average 1.43 million sales per month, which totals 17.14 million per year”.
What's Your Share of the Daily Impressions Pie?
Our deep dive into Merrihew's levers reveals last year's winners and losers. It also brings up a question every dealer must answer to break sales records this year.
Every auto dealer should call their digital marketing vendor or meet with your Internet manager today and ask them this question:
"Is my local Internet share of voice loud enough in this market to turn demand into conversions?"
Did you stump them? Look at all the data they supply, along with your Google Analytics, under the impression share category. This is how Google defines share of voice.
Given the robust in-market demand for your inventory, your online marketing must give you the power to reach at least 70% of active daily researchers in your local market. If you're below this threshold, your weak share of voice is costing you clicks, conversions and sales. Your competition is eating your lunch.
If there's 100 searches today for Honda Civic in your market, that's the available impressions for the day. If your search ads appear 100% of the time in the top 3 locations (what I call a strong position), your dealership would command a 100% share of voice.
Or, to put it a far more delicious way, you get to eat the entire pie of available impressions today. YUM.
Winning Local in 2014
Dealers who meet and exceed their sales goals will work with a digital marketing vendor who protects their turf online, delivering a 70% or greater share of voice for their local advertising. Consistently.
And 70% is more pie than many dealers can handle. Think about the sales process and training needed for a dealer to process and convert a high percentage of the consistent avalanche of inbound leads. But that's a topic for another post.
That said, our highly useful client success managers at Netsertive collaborate with dealers, one-on-one, to provide the digital tactics they need to be assertive local online to be heard by a rising tide of in-market shoppers to efficiently and effectively convert research into rooftop traffic and sales.
There's no time to lose. Right-size your budget to meet in-market demand, work with a vendor who has a strong share of voice at the center of your campaign as a key performance metric, and get your share of the 17M sales starting this month.
Useful metric (via Dealer Communications magazine):
Is Your Dealership LOUD Enough to be Heard Online?