Though much has changed in the media landscape over the past few years, one thing has (not-so-surprisingly) managed to remain constant: the auto industry and its commitment to television advertising. One needs to only look at recent budget allocation trends to see that television is still a major catalyst for car sales, not to mention a staple for delivering overall brand awareness and impressions.
But, like anything else, automotive players have had to change with the times and adjust their marketing methodologies to reflect the new patterns in consumer behavior. In this ever-evolving business, how, then, does the auto industry use the latest breakthroughs in digital and data -- without tampering with its winning TV formula?
TV advertising veteran John Verre (pictured below) serves as Senior Vice President of National Sales and Advanced Products for the NY Interconnect (NYI), which is a go-to media provider for automotive brands across the New York market. Verre has seen dramatic changes in the industry since he started 25 years ago -- back when TV and broadcast received the lion’s share of auto budgets. At that time, the cable spot business was in its early stages, but once the tech and cable spaces advanced, they began to see significant share gains. “The agency community noticedthat ratings were starting to shift towards cable, and what was once a complex execution was now seamless,” he noted. “What’s interesting is that if you fast forward to today, with consumers absorbing content in countless ways, agencies now have to blend TV budgets across multiple product lines, a far cry from the days of when broadcast and cable were the only choices on the menu.”
How flexible has the automotive industry been in adapting to the ever-evolving media landscape? Verre reminds us that the century-old domestic auto manufacturers were slow to react when European, Japanese and Korean brands were entering the U.S. marketplace; as a result, they lost significant share. “Today, they’re much more in tune to the competitive landscape and are quick to react. They’re watching trends closely, eliminating brands and models and spending more on R&D as it relates to ride sharing, electric cars, connectivity and innovation. The same can be said for their media executions, where innovation and connectivity is key. Today, brands are proactively utilizing data and injecting A.I. into their audience-targeting practices, resulting in narrowcasting-type buying. The days of buying adults 25-54 are over; now we can zero in on the precisedemos and profiles we need to move the needle.”
It’s imperative that the industry keep up with consumers -- Millennials in particular -- as they are more empowered than ever. They have the ability to access all the info they need on the makes and models of their choice with just a few clicks, and that’s where the marriage of auto and video advertising is clearly a happy one. The combination of showing the visual, which manufacturers have always seen as the ultimate motivator, along with pricing and intel online, makes multi-screen advertising the best solution. Verre is pleased to be able to help meet the evolved demands of automotive clients through NYI’s offerings. “Whether it’s VOD, OTT, IP, you name it,” he says, “we are screen agnostic and partner with the most prominent media providers in the market. That’s what gives NYI the ability to design and execute effective strategies and create market dominance like no one else.”
When you add the aspect of spot or linear addressable TV it checks all the boxes. Allowing auto manufacturers to match physiographical, demographic and conquest modeling to specific brands and models is a recipe for success.
To help prove out the ROI, Verre says that utilizing manufacturer data and consumer data has become very common today and “allows the marketer to eliminate waste, which allows budgets to stretch farther. The gold standard would be first-party data, but markets are reluctant to use these because they want to protect their clients. Most marketers use third-party data, which specializes in their vertical.”
There are, however, ample data sources which can be pulled. Verre explains that “this data benefits and strengthens the marketers’ TV effort by targeting with greater precision. Axiom and Polk are two examples of our data partners who provide insights into auto registrations, auto leasing, off leasing information and household income, among others. In the retail space, our auto clients often request location mapping, which is accomplished using a device graph, provided by another one of our partners, NinthDecimal. We understand how powerful campaigns can be when they are driven by the right data, and we always look for partners who are able to help push our clients to the next level.”
There is a caveat that Verre wants to share, though, given his two-plus decades of experience: “Targeting is always the most challenging aspect of an auto campaign because segments vary by manufacturer model, and sometimes the data supplied by the manufacturer does not allow large segments to be created.”
Since the days when it offered addressable advertising through Cablevision 10 years ago (when it was relatively new in the industry), NYI can now provide full circle attribution reporting to its clients -- part of its mission to stay two steps ahead. For example, a client buying their largest and arguably the most affluent U.S. market -- New York -- “demands the best in everything. So, we only form strategic partnerships with media providers who complement each other and can also deliver the precise audiences our clients are looking for and expect from us. We achieve that with our Audience One platform for one easy buy across all screens.”
And down the pike? “I firmly believe the auto industry is currently in the stage of convergence, blending media offerings infused by data, and you’ll see more of that in the months and years to come,” Verre concludes.
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