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“The only thing you’ll will need is crowd control”
That was the tag line I used when I first started “Outside The Box Marketing” in 1997, that business was a direct mail marketing company for event sales, you know these sales we’ve all done them:
· The Gorilla on the roof
· Burgers and hotdogs on the grill
· Greeters in short skirts
· The red and the blue balloons (do you remember what the blue balloon meant?)
· 100,000 pieces of zipcode saturation mail
All equaled then a mass of people on the lot. I can still remember the look on the faces of the GM’s and dealers we did this with back then…Big smiles on their face, beatin on their chest “look at what I have done” as they looked over the sea of people on the lot.
The problem I kept seeing is that the board wasn’t increasing much over their normal Saturday. For most of my competitors this didn’t bother them they were fulfilling a need for TRAFFIC and they saw this as doing what the dealer wanted them to do and never looked beyond the actual perceived need of the dealer.
My dealer background wouldn’t allow me to do that, I knew there had to be a better way so I sold that business and started AIMData in 1999 and the rest of that story is for another post.
The point is we are repeating this cycle of TRAFFIC only now it is online not on the lot.
I have been challenged by some in the automotive community that say:
“Wouldn’t you rather have the customer on the lot, that is what our service does…get’s them to the lot”
Here is what I have to say to them:
“Until someone invents a brain scan that can tell the thoughts of a customer as they enter the lot, NONE of us know why the customer came on the lot”
“As a marketer or a marketing company in this industry to say that your marketing brought the customer to the lot is a REDICULOUS statement to make.”
More often than not the reason a customer just shows up on the lot is a combination of several messages and you don't know which one of them set the action in motion. This has always been the problem with traditional media and why John Wannamaker first said “I know 50% of my advertising is wasted…I just don't know what 50%”
Enter Conversion Marketing:
With conversion marketing you know exactly what got the response you wanted, whatever that is a form, a call, an email, a friend or follow you know. You know because you can track it down to the page where it happened and you can see the path the customer took to get there.
To a marketer this is more important than lot traffic, why? Because we can see the behavior and test what gets more of that behavior. Then we can take what we have learned and apply it to traditional media making it more effective to get the behavior we want there.
Conversion is the most important thing to your marketing because it is the only thing that is absolutely Trackable down to view of the offer that is being presented. This is why I get so upset when I hear some vendor spinning a dealer up about traffic, when I hear some online marketing company or listing company talking about how they got the customer to the lot. Its just spin to sell more their product its not helping the dealer if you really want to help the dealer, show them and tell them about what you are doing to get more customers to ACT not LOOK… as a dealer I need action:
“Eyeballs on site, fictional customers that came in maybe because they saw your ad or listing don't help me nor do they interest me.”
In the famous words of a great marketing campaign from the 90’s “Show me the conversions”
I’ll be talking a lot more detail on a Conversion Marketing Strategy, what it is, how you can do it and how it will help you cut your advertising costs and raise sales at the Internet Battle Plan in ATL on the 18th, 19th and 20th of this month Click Here for more info on that event. If you can make it I hope to meet you there. If not stay tuned I will share as much as I can online over the next few months.