Revving Up Digital Reach

Emily Del Favero

As Kendall Auto Group’s marketing agency of record since 2012, DaviesMoore has helped establish a solid brand presence for one of the largest auto dealerships in the northwest. With 27 dealerships across the northwest and Alaska, Kendall Auto Group sells over 20 brands of new vehicles in six unique markets: Anchorage, Boise/Meridian, Bend, Eugene, Fairbanks and Lewiston.

Throughout the first two years, DaviesMoore and Kendall continually evaluated the company’s marketing strategy and the changing landscape of the automotive industry. In addition to building out a robust digital team to support the emphasis on digital media within our agency, we began conversations with Kendall in the fall of 2014 to reevaluate our strategy across all media. Along with a continual shift in media consumption to digital media by consumers globally, the auto industry has recognized a huge change in car shopping behaviors. Eighty four percent of all car shoppers begin their search online. Additionally, in 2014, car manufacturers announced new requirements for dealerships to increase monthly spend in digital mediums, forcing a larger focus and strategy development for digital marketing efforts.

Marketing Strategy
A two-fold strategy featuring television to brand Kendall (sans promotional pricing messages) as the best place to shop online for a new vehicle, while delivering all price messaging through Kendall’s robust digital presence.

Branding Strategy
In the spring of 2015, we launched our new television campaign as part of our integrated marketing strategy. Echoing the present-day GEICO campaign strategy, we developed a campaign composed of five mini-campaigns with an overarching strategy to drive traffic to individual dealer websites.

Unlike most brand campaigns where consistency is of the utmost importance, flexibility and variety were critical for Kendall because our marketing for similar manufacturer brands (e.g., Ford, Chevy and Toyota) can’t blend together. While each manufacturer needs to stand out and still feel branded as Kendall, each dealership needed to be individually supported.

The complete campaign suite included spots that were taggable, co-op compliant and able to be trafficked by the following:

  • Seasonality
  • Geography
  • Brand Persona
  • Vehicle Type

While each campaign could stand alone, we wanted a creative mix in each of our six markets to accomplish the goal of longevity and flexibility. We developed a traffic strategy to update each brand’s specific creative every two months to give each dealership a fresh feel and eliminate stagnancy.

Our overarching creative strategy focused on eliminating the reactive nature of car advertising and enabling our digital strategy work harder to support the increased attention we placed on the KPI’s for each dealership’s website. We removed price-points from our television creative and replaced it with creative that positioned shopping online with Kendall as the smart choice and easy decision to start your car shopping process.

Digital Strategy
While Kendall had been focusing digital efforts on dealership websites and auto-verticals such as cars.com, Edmunds.com and minimal search, DaviesMoore helped develop a digital strategy that was proactive instead of reactive, making sure the Kendall brand is everywhere the purchaser is online – whether researching, shopping or doing activities unrelated to car buying, while reinforcing Kendall as the premier auto dealer within each market.

With search as the number one resource consumers turn to for information on products and services, we increased Kendall presence in organic search results for new, used, brand and generic search terms entered by prospective buyers as well as in paid search to increase relevant (low-funnel buyers) traffic to Kendall dealership sites to drive lead acquisition on the website and foot traffic in the store.

We created an engagement strategy targeting past customers to maximize positive brand interaction, loyalty and digital word of mouth through social media networks, newsletter marketing, email blasts and reputation management across multiple platforms.

Our branding and digital marketing efforts for Kendall Auto Group accomplished two key objectives. First, the branding efforts raised the bar when it comes to regional automotive advertising. The ads are fresh, funny and edited in such a way that makes them feel editorial in comparison to other ads in the market. Second, our digital marketing efforts increased impressions and click-through rates for the various Kendall dealership websites, some websites seeing at 210% increase in digital traffic.