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JD Rucker

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Your Message Must Match the Marketing Venue


Let's call it what it is. This is a post about active digital marketing versus passive digital marketing. It's one that covers two of the types of marketing disciplines that are near and dear to my heart, but more importantly it lays the groundwork for an understanding of the various marketing styles and how we should classify them.

First and foremost, let's get an understanding of what the difference is between active and passive digital marketing. In our industry, the word "passive" is often shunned, but in this particular case it's not bad at all. Passive marketing lets the customer make the first move. Search marketing is an example of passive marketing because you must wait for them to engage with the search engines to find a car before the marketing kicks in. Active marketing goes out to them - you make the first move. Email marketing is an example of active marketing because you're initiating the action. On our website, we compared it to stand hunting vs still hunting.

With that understood, let's look at more examples of each:

Passive Marketing Disciplines

  • Search Marketing
  • Classified Listings (Autotrader, Craigslist, etc)
  • Buying 3rd-Party Leads
  • Video Marketing (not preroll or paid)

Active Marketing Disciplines

  • Email Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Banner Advertisements
  • Video Preroll

The Active Message

By now you're hopefully asking, "Great. What's the point?"

Passive marketing is a discipline that requires positioning and strong messaging, both guided by relatively consistent ROI. Active marketing tends to have a wider range of success and failure, and I wanted to point out why.

All too often I see dealers applying passive marketing messages to active marketing venues. This is why there is often such a gap between the success levels of two different campaigns. With active marketing, you can be bold and timely more than you can with passive marketing.

We've seen dealers spending decent budgets on social media without a verifiable sale and we've seen the same dealers with the same budgets gaining tremendously in market share by selling cars directly through social media messaging through targeted ads. The difference was in the way that the message was pushed out and what the message said.

Be bold. Tell them why right now, regardless of their current vehicle situation, is exactly the right time to come to the dealership and do business. This is the type of messaging that needs to play on active marketing venues.

On search, it makes sense to advertise "The Largest Selection of Altimas in the State", but in email or on social media, the message is wasted. Who cares? They're probably not intending to buy an Altima at that very moment and you haven't given them a reason to move up their buying cycle. It works for search and other passive marketing campaigns. It fails on active channels.

Instead, the message should be something like "The Biggest Discounts of the Year on Altimas are Happening RIGHT NOW for a Limited Time at Rucker Nissan!"

That's a message that plays.

Digital advertising can be broken down into message and exposure. Make sure the right messages are hitting the venues for the most appropriate exposure.

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