5 Important Elements of Marketing Communication

Who was responsible for getting that last customer through the door?

If you put your entire marketing team in a room, they’ll all have the same answer.

“I did it.”

And why wouldn’t they? Their livelihoods depend on it.

Your web developer will take ownership of anything that comes from the website. The traditional marketing team will point to how radio or newsprint ads aren’t dead because they still brought you a client. And your digital marketing team will take credit since the last click came from one of their Facebook or Google ads. They’ll even take credit for the social media referrals because they had a hand in creating the profile.

The concept of attribution, whether you consider multichannel or last click, is antiquated, however, taken from a time when your marketing was based on competition. The source, be it whatever medium,8 can certainly be attributed as the winner, but you need to move away from that notion.


Changing your perspective

Attribution is short-sighted and fails to address the real issue at hand. Years ago when you asked someone what brought them to your dealership, they would offer one or two sources. Back then, there was no integration. They may have heard your radio spot or read your newspaper ad and it was enough.


Today’s market, however, is far more complex and we need to understand more about what influenced a customer to visit the dealership. And yes, it’s partially so you can adjust your budget, but not just that. It’s about aligning your message and medium properly.


Every marketing channel affects your audience differently. Applying the same language and imagery to newsprint as you do to social media won’t speak to the right audience, nor will it articulate the message accurately.

Gain control

Today’s discerning customer can tell the difference between someone educating them and a salesperson trying to pressure them. And with digital content, not only do they control what they experience actively by going to your website or clicking on an ad, but if they don’t like what they see, they can ban you from their airspace entirely. You need live feedback, not only about what works, but why. A radio ad may have been the first time a customer heard about your dealership or a particular vehicle, but their neighbour sharing an ad on Facebook could have clinched the deal. Whether it’s first or last isn’t the most important thing. What matters is what influenced them the most, or for that matter, if it was a combination of channels.

What to Do about it

Once you realize it isn’t about competition, but aligning the message to the medium then you can establish a plan that takes all of those into account.

You will be able to measure the performance of each medium better when you are comparing them to themselves and not to each other.

You can have direct ads in some media, while others require more subtle techniques. You may find you place more effort into one media knowing it won’t give you direct sales, but strong support to all the other channels.

If you’re finding your marketing agencies unwilling to work together then let them go. Not because they aren’t providing results, but because it’s important that your marketing channels all complement each other. Just like your marketing message has to work with your in-dealership operations, they all have to support the bigger picture.

Attribution is defined differently by different agencies, making it a difficult metric to use.

If change your perspective and see attribution as influence instead, then we can trace how people go through the sales process a lot clearer.


Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more content.

Jason Harris


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