Often our account managers are asked when meeting a prospective client for the first time, what the advantages are of using an agency for advertising. Many dealers seem to think that it’s easier and cheaper to DIY ad campaigns, keeping them in-house. Why else would they have marketing staff, if they are just going to outsource the work to an agency?
Our response to this is: well, yes you could do it yourselves. Just like I could have a go at tinkering under the bonnet of my car rather than taking it in for a service. At the end of the day though, I know that, despite the upfront cost, if I take my vehicle to a trained mechanic, they are going to use their expertise to properly tune it, optimise its performance, and more than likely save me a lot of time and money in the long run.
The same can be said for engaging an agency to run your digital campaigns.
There is a vast array of advertising channels being used by the country’s top performing dealers, including search engine, social media, video, audio, and display ads. For each of these, there are different expertise and skill sets required for planning, targeting, setup, and optimisation. And, given the rate at which the industry evolves, new mediums and techniques are constantly emerging and need to be learned.
Marketing agencies hire experts in each of the advertising areas, who are dedicated to and experienced in running campaigns. They know what works and have the time and capacity to monitor and optimise ads to drive performance. They are also required to keep abreast of industry developments, meaning they will always be ahead of the game with the latest techniques and technologies.
One or two in-house marketing staff within a dealership do not have the time nor capacity to upskill themselves sufficiently in every form of digital advertising, let alone stay on top of developments that come about.
Another consideration is the type of marketing partner you choose. There are niche agencies in the market that offer advertising services to particular sectors of the market. By engaging an agency that specialises in the automotive industry, you are able to take advantage of all the experience they have built up running campaigns for your competitors. You would be hard-pressed to find dealership marketing staff with this breadth of knowledge.
Despite the upfront costs of hiring an agency, they can in fact help you save money long term. On average, automotive dealers tend to spend about $60 AUD per lead on their digital ad campaigns. Thanks to their well-honed skills and experience, the digital experts at marketing agencies are often able to drive this cost per lead down significantly. This gives clients a lot more out of every media dollar they spend.
We recently ran an analysis on two similar dealership websites. Both were for the same franchise with similar PMAs, and both were sites built and managed by the same team. The only difference was that one of the dealerships engaged our agency to run their digital advertising, whilst the other decided to organise their own campaigns.
The dealership that independently ran its ads received 1,961 visitors to its website during the three-month campaign period. These users undertook 2,427 website sessions and eight of them lodged website enquiries.
The dealership that outsourced their advertising to our agency, on the other hand, had 7,156 unique visitors to their site, 8,627 sessions, and an impressive 47 website enquiries.
These results clearly illustrate the significant difference that hiring an experienced agency can make. By engaging experts, the second dealership was able to capitalise on their knowledge across a broad range of advertising channels and on their holistic approach to driving results.
Furthermore, as automotive specialists, the agency team’s in-depth understanding of the car buying journey and how best to target their prospective customers made for a high-performing campaign that delivered an excellent return on investment for the client.
So, next time you are considering whether it’s worth getting an agency to run your upcoming campaign, just think of a member of our exec team with the head under the bonnet of their car attempting to change a spark plug.