Article

Rich Media Hits Automotive Space

August 2006, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive

by Ali Amirrezvani - Also by this author

Rich Media Hits Automotive Space
Studies show that an e-mail campaign is often the best and least expensive way for dealerships to promote their products and services and keep customers loyal. However, as the average person’s e-mail box fills with offerings from a variety of different sources, it gets harder and harder to keep and hold a person’s attention.

Today’s campaigns have to be creative, unique and different enough from other e-mails to get noticed. Because of the competition among campaigns more companies in the automotive Industry are turning to media rich emails to brand their dealership and capture their prospect’s attention.

What is Rich Media?
Rich Media can be defined as any marketing solution that uses streaming audio, video and interactive elements to deliver a message that cuts through the clutter of other marketing messages. Using these elements together, dealers can send “mini-commercials” to recipients of their database via email, post TV-like ads on their web site or deliver interactive games, coupons etc. online. Examples include virtual assistants, human-like “characters” with audio, streaming video commercials and even pop-up e-Brochures included with animated e-mails. Rich media can be used in Internet advertising, e-mail campaigns and on Web sites.
Why Is It Gaining Ground on Traditional E-mail Campaigns?
Research shows media rich marketing campaigns can pull five times the amount of clicks than a traditional e-mail campaign. The reason? People have more of an emotional reaction to television-quality e-mails and Web campaigns. Rich media e-mails also enable the user to click through to additional marketing materials to secure a sale. For instance, using traditional e-mail, a dealer can send out an e-mail to customers and prospects about new models or specials on their lot and invite the recipient to stop in and take a look. The action stops there.

Using rich media technology, that same dealer can send out a television-like commercial through e-mail and offer a $500 online coupon users can redeem immediately, as well as include an e-Brochure that shows the model’s best features and 360 degree views of the car. The e-mail can even lead that person back to your Web site and give them the option of signing up for an appointment or contacting your Internet Manager for more information.

Using rich media for e-mails also helps boost brand awareness by more than 12 percent according to a Doubleclick 2001 Report. People are inundated with marketing messages all day, rich media helps keep their attention for longer periods of time.

Is it Cost Effective?
While you should always weigh the pros and cons of any marketing campaign before starting off on a new path, many businesses have found media rich e-mails are more effective than traditional campaigns. The interactive nature of these campaigns brings in larger deals with less lead time. Because dealerships can offer extras, such as e-Brochures with interactive elements and pop-up coupons to help seal the deal, interactive e-mails help widen the scope of what one message can accomplish.

Now to Get Started.
You will need a consultant or vendor with specific knowledge of media-rich campaigns, a database of permission-based e-mails to send the message to and a way to track your results to get started. Don’t forget to set a goal in order to measure the success of a media-rich campaign over a traditional e-mail campaign. There are a number of different vendors currently in the automotive space who have tools to help you format, design and send media rich campaigns. Ensure that the vendor you pick also has the ability to track items like who opened the e-mail or clicked through your e-Brochure. This will help you design the most effective e-mail or Web campaign in the future.

When done correctly, rich media campaigns can increase your sales, help your brand retention and keep your customers coming back for more. Good luck!
Vol 2, Issue 8

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