TJ: To have a successful video marketing program, auto dealerships need to have:  Content: Start with inventory videos, then add value proposition videos, customer testimonial videos, service department videos, etc. Video viewer data can be used to create relevancy, which is the key to any successful marketing strategy. A video marketing program is no different from a TV strategy. Even on the service side of things, customers want to research their options. DMM: Among dealerships that have been using video for years, what are common mistakes or areas for improvement? TJ: The biggest mistake I see is that some dealers think that having videos is the same thing as having a video marketing strategy. To be most effective, videos have to be part of a strategy that includes all of these elements plus content, exposure, data collection, and data utilization. Then add the other three elements to your strategy to generate exposure, capture your viewer data, and utilize that data to deliver the most relevant experience possible for your shoppers. Use inventory videos in your lead follow-up process and email marketing. GG: The biggest mistake dealers make is not investing enough to make a significant, measurable impact.
Part One: Why it matters now, what it should include, and what
mistakes to avoid
If your dealership hasn’t climbed aboard the video marketing train, what are you waiting for? The common objections—it costs too much, it’s too much work, the dealership is too small, etc.—no longer hold up when you consider the reality of what it takes to implement and maintain a video marketing strategy and the bottom-line gains you’ll make by having one.
There’s no shortage of statistics pointing to the effectiveness of video marketing, but one in particular from Insivia is telling, and cannot be ignored by auto dealers: 90% of consumers say that watching a video about a specific product is helpful in the buying-decision process. And consider the well-known quote from Forrester researcher Dr. James McQuivey: “One minute of video is equal to 1.8 million words.”
But there’s much more to the story than statistics. Three auto industry veterans are here to tell you why you should show—not just tell—prospective customers what your dealership has to offer: Tim James, COO of Flick Fusion; Gary Galloway, automotive digital marketing evangelist at Netsertive; and Mike Martinez, managing director of AutoPoint.
In the first part of this two-part online feature, they explain how an effective video strategy costs less than you’d think, and doesn’t require a degree in cinematography to produce. They also reveal the components of a successful dealership video strategy, and warn of the mistakes that can hinder its effectiveness.
DMM: At dealerships that have been slow or resistant to incorporate video strategy into their marketing, what’s holding them back, and how would you persuade them to utilize the full potential of video?
Tim James: The top three reasons why more auto dealerships haven’t embraced video marketing are  they don’t believe they have the budget to create videos;  they don’t believe they have the time to create videos; or  they don’t believe they have the expertise, equipment, or creativity to create videos.
The good news for dealers is that video technology exists that can make videos affordable, and completely automate the production process so they literally don’t have to do a thing. Remember when dealers resisted the idea of having to put up VDPs and photos? It’s like that now with videos, but the reality is that videos will soon become the “new normal.”
Videos are the best way to merchandise your inventory online. Dealers spend a lot of time and money merchandising inventory in their dealership. Their showrooms are immaculate, the cars are clean, and the staff is professionally dressed. Yet when it comes to merchandising online, where 90% of the shopping process is done, many dealers aren’t doing anything to merchandise their vehicles, other than with text and photos. Have you ever noticed how so many VDPs look the same?
Videos can set your dealership apart from the competition. Having a full-motion inventory video with a professional, engaging presentation is like teleporting a salesperson right into your customer’s living room.
It doesn’t have to be time-consuming either. At the very least, stitched photo videos can be automatically created from inventory photos. Many lot-service companies have started shooting videos in addition to taking photos, and dealerships that shoot their own video can just as easily shoot a video and then extract their photos from the video. The technology exists to make the process fast and easy.
Gary Galloway: It’s important that dealers look at video as part of their overall digital strategy, rather than view it as a separate tactic. Though it may seem like a daunting new medium, it’s emerging as one of the most effective ways to market a product—especially to the younger, digital-savvy generation.
According to Marketing Land, 85 million people are consuming online videos daily, and millennials specifically spend 48% more time watching video than any other demographic. Among Netsertive’s customer base, clients saw major changes in their paid-search traffic, including a 56.8% increase in conversions, after introducing video to their campaigns. As such, it’s important that marketers organically integrate video into their digital campaigns, landing pages, and more.
Although many of today’s dealers still dedicate a significant amount of their marketing budgets to traditional TV, advertising agencies are actually recommending that brands start focusing more on digital video. In fact, they suggest marketers shift 10% to 25% of their TV budget to digital video because it gives them more targeting options and enables marketers to measure ROI more effectively.
Dealers have been hesitant about this method because it comes with some significant challenges. One of the primary reasons being that it’s difficult to differentiate a TV spot from an effective video advertisement. TV audiences are captive, while YouTube viewers can skip an ad after five seconds, so online videos must be compelling enough to captivate and keep the viewer’s attention immediately.
To alleviate some of the burden of inserting video into digital campaigns, dealers should work with brand partners to obtain pre-roll footage and ensure content is compliant and up to date with current products and promotions. Dealers should also leverage campaign analytics to determine what is and isn’t working, and how to continuously improve. Understanding ROI is key to expanding future video programs and securing additional co-op support.
Mike Martinez: Video can be an unfamiliar marketing format, and many dealerships don’t know how to go about implementing it into their current marketing strategies. They may feel unsure about whether or not it’s worth it. And if dealerships try to launch video campaigns on their own with no experience in this arena, they’ll have to dedicate a lot of time and effort to something they think has questionable value.
I would tell those dealerships that video is...