LAS VEGAS -- It was a little odd listening to digital marketing consultant Larry Bruce tell assembled dealers here to resist chopping their television advertising budgets.
But data from a study that his company, OnlineDrive, recently conducted showed that television not only builds dealership brand awareness, it amplifies other marketing channels dealerships use to reach customers, including email campaigns, Web site targeting, direct mail and paid and organic search, Bruce said.
"Electronic media is an influencer," said Bruce, OnlineDrive's president and CEO.
As a champion of digital, Bruce said he was surprised how central a role in marketing that television continues to play at the dealership level. It has been an automaker staple for decades.
But a theme of the Digital Dealer 15 Conference & Exposition, a gathering of more than 1,000 dealers and their Internet staffs, is that dealers should seek out data for decision-making and follow wherever they lead. So Bruce is walking the talk here based on the results of the study, which included 125 dealerships, millions of shoppers and 2,200 people surveyed.
His recommended mix for a dealership marketing budget is 35 percent for television, 35 percent for all digital, 15 percent for direct mail, 8 percent for third-party sites, such as AutoTrader.com and Cars.com, and 7 percent for other.