Digital Marketing for Automotive: More Than Button-Pushing
The true value of digital marketing by an agency lies in providing strategy, analysis and insight – particularly in the automotive industry, where the sales cycle is lengthy, complex and often emotional.[/caption]
I ran across a blog post recently that raised an interesting question: what is the real value of agency-managed digital marketing, particularly within the automotive industry? The post centered on PPC management fees, the author questioning the appropriateness of firms charging as much as 20-25% of media spend to manage clients’ PPC campaigns. It’s a fair question. That said, I actually have no interest in arguing about management fees or pricing models here. What I would like to address, rather, is the dangerous tendency of some to regard digital marketing (in this case, PPC management) as button-pushing.
The Value is Strategic
Digital marketing is an industry immersed in technology. Despite this, it also remains fundamentally human. The most successful brands in social media, for instance, aren’t differentiated by the tools they use, but by the degree to which they’re able to personalize engagement in with their audiences. Similarly, human capital remains the critical element in managing paid media campaigns. Even given the increasing sophistication of automated bid platforms and analytics packages, effective PPC management is about more than just “clicking a few buttons.” And while 20-25% of media spend may be excessive, the real value of agency management in any kind of digital marketing is not tactical: it’s strategic. The truth is, anyone with a computer and basic Internet connection can create and manage a search marketing or display advertising campaign. But the careful research, planning and strategy needed to run a truly effective campaign requires experience and strategic insight that few clients have in-house. That’s the value of a digital agency.
The “button-pusher” perception is an unfortunate but real challenge that digital marketers have to deal with across all industries. But within automotive marketing, where the purchase cycle is especially lengthy, considered, complex and emotional, that mindset can negatively impact performance. In order to be effective, automakers, dealers and agencies must work together as marketing partners, each bringing unique perspective and resources to the table. That kind of collaboration is only possible when all sides come together at a strategic level.
If You’re Paying for Button-Pushing, You’re Doing It Wrong
As with any digital marketing service, corporate brand managers and dealers will find a wide range of fees associated with agency PPC management. And there is a lot to consider in selecting the agency partner that’s right for your business: capabilities, industry experience, reporting and team chemistry, to name a few. Ultimately, however, the question of agency fees is governed by the same dynamic as in other industries: you get what you pay for. And in digital marketing, whatever you pay for shouldn’t be button-pushing.