Odds are, your dealership already is practicing IMC, or integrated marketing communication. You’re prepared to air a local television spot, send out a direct mail campaign, as well as run a couple of social campaigns for your most recent sales event. However, do you know the basis behind why you are doing it all? If you do not, hold tight: This may just flip your present marketing plan on its head.
WHAT ISN’T AND WHAT IS IMC?
In the book Principles of Marketing by Philip Kotler, it describes integrated marketing communication as “the idea by which an organization carefully coordinates and integrates its multiple communication channels to generate a consistent, clear message about the business and its products.”
IMC, for dealers, will mean taking automotive advertising to the next level by spreading the campaigns among digital and traditional channels to develop a cohesive customer experience. The strategy will reach beyond adding a website address to a direct mail piece or rushing through a dealership’s Twitter handle during the end of a radio advertisement.
To really master integrated marketing communication, one has to tie all of the marketing channels together in order to develop a foolproof knot of effective and organized communication for all campaigns.
If a dealership’s messaging appears unorganized and unfocused, you’ll risk weakening (or never forming) brand loyalty that is customer driven. The audience will likely question making a $30,000-and-up investment with you if they think you do not have all of your ducks in a row.
In The Advertising Concept Book by Pete Barry, “It’s the consistency of a campaign which usually strengthens and forges a long relationship between the service/product and a consumer. It’ll create what is referred to as brand loyalty—an extremely powerful tool for marketing.”
While working to implement an integrated and effective strategy for marketing, remember the following four rules (referred to as the 4 C’s):
- Coherence: Different communications are logically connected and adhere to one central idea.
- Consistency: Different messages are supported and reinforced across multiple channels, without being contradictory.
- Continuity: The idea behind the messaging is simple and big enough to ensure that communications are connected and consistent over time.
- Complementary: Messages are synergistic, and the overall value of the campaign should complement each of its parts.
In short, all campaigns should appear consistent across all platforms, and all campaigns should complement the brand.
Consider McDonald’s, an organization whose diverse campaigns range from promoting a new beverage to spotlighting healthier options for children. Raking in $27.5 billion in revenue per year, they have a huge amount of money invested in integrated marketing communication. All things, from their radio advertisements to their website and billboards, shout the same message, and all messages advance the same yellow and red “I’m lovin’ it” image for the brand.
How to integrate direct mail with digital marketing
As you work to create a coherent and consistent marketing campaign, consider all the ways that direct mail can integrate with digital marketing. We’re talking on the level of direct mail itself! Your direct mail can be used to jumpstart digital engagement with your brand. Here are a few ways you might do it.
- Follow up with an email to your direct mail recipients a week or two after your mailing was sent out. They may be interested in your offer, but just need to be reminded of it before they bite.
- Add a QR code to your direct mail letter or postcard. When the recipient scans the code with their smartphone, have them land on a video about your product or service, so they can get a real, physical sense of it.
- Provide a digital coupon with your direct mail ad. Recipients can redeem their unique promo codes online and take advantage of your offer.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Digital/Direct Mail Integration
You’re looking to launch a direct mail and digital marketing campaign. You want more success sooner, and we have the strategies to make it happen! Use these tips to see the best results from your automotive integrated advertising campaign.
1.) Drive traffic to valuable digital marketing pieces
You may have all sorts of digital content on your website: eBooks, videos, and maybe even a blog. Use them to create content that your audience will find valuable—content that addresses their pain points and answers their questions.
When you send traffic to your website via direct mail, using custom URLs will help you track results and see where leads are coming from. You can use that information to repeat and fine-tune your automotive marketing campaign.
2.) Don’t hard sell at first—and don’t give everything away
You can’t sell until you’ve started a conversation, and that’s what that first piece of direct mail is all about. Asking too much may turn off the recipient. So, keep your asks small: “Download our eBook by visiting this URL,” for example.
Along the same principle, don’t give the whole game away at once! Think of yourself as a mystery writer (the Agatha Christie of direct mail, perhaps!) and create an air of suspense, so you can effortlessly move users from one channel to the next.
3.) Just one call to action, please
We know, we know. You have plenty of great content and offers to share with your customers! However, they may get lost if you include more than one call to action in your direct mail piece. It’s best to keep things simple.
More really is less! When people have fewer choices, they tend to feel better about the one they make. With just one call to action, they know exactly what they should do next.
DO NOT REPLACE A CHANNEL; CHANGE THE MIX-UP
It is smart for a dealership to create a plan which incorporates both digital and traditional marketing forms to completely surround customers with a single message, irrespective of those individuals’ whereabouts and media habits.
Mix your channels up, and check which combination works better for your dealership’s targeted audience. Stick to direct mail, yet attempt to pair your campaign with an email campaign that is sent to the exact same audience. You could also attempt to add social media campaigns, as well as retargeting advertisements to complement radio spots. The choices are endless when it comes to integrated marketing communication.
While you ought to seek balance between digital and traditional media, the success of integrated marketing communication does not depend upon how much of the automotive ad budget is committed to one over the other. A dealership’s only objective must be to develop an overall campaign that produces a memorable, fully executed brand image.
The customer who views your advertisement on television is the same exact customer who’ll view your advertisement on their phone, and again while browsing the internet. Make it your priority to develop communication that sets up lasting, long-term connections with customers. If you do that, your dealership is going to see the power of integrated marketing.
For more information on digital integration of automotive direct mail, contact Aspen Automotive today.