Nuts & Bolts - Case Study: Dealer.com Is a Video Star
Objective: Generate leads.
Solution: Send prospect e-mails, which led to a Dealer.com landing page containing a video demonstrating the TotalControl Dominator.
Results: Of the 85,752 e-mails Dealer.com sent to prospects in April 2009, 30 percent opened the message, and of that group, more than 40 percent clicked on to Dealer.com to watch the video. Mailings in May and October produced similar results. The campaign generated 800 leads.
It may not star Jeremy Piven and it may not be as entertaining as the 2009 movie "The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard," in which the actor plays a used car salesman who saves a dealership from ruin. But Dealer.com's video for the TotalControl Dominator (TCD)—a paid search product aimed at helping new car dealerships sell pre-owned vehicles—puts the fun in B-to-B calls to action.
So says Dealer.com Chief Marketing Officer Dean Evans. This, he says, is why the Burlington, Vt.-based automotive Web solutions provider is a heavy user of video in its digital marketing efforts that target new car dealers. His company may be riding a trend—in January, comScore reported that more than 170 million U.S. Internet users watched online video during November 2009.
"If I can sound like a television news station for a minute," he says, "we just get more people tuned in because we're entertaining them better. While our competitors are trying to convince them to buy their products with HTML and words, we are 3-Ding them to death; we're color TVing them to death."
The latest campaign to prove these words true was the TCD effort that began in April 2009. Using prospect e-mail addresses—culled from append services, the sales team and the account management team—Dealer.com started with a blast to 85,752 leads. Recipients who clicked on the "Watch a Demo" button within the e-mail were then directed to a landing page (dealer.com/search-marketing/total-control-dom inator.htm?_autoplay=true). On the page, a short video automatically played, teaching them how the paid search product would help new car dealers who had accepted used car trade-ins quickly place geo-targeted ads about those cars. A form on the right of the video collects data from the prospects, such as: name, dealership name and address, e-mail address, and business phone.
Dealer.com saw results from that first blast mirrored in subsequent mailings in May and October: 30 percent of recipients opened the message, and of that group, more than 40 percent watched the video. In 2009, this e-mail-to-landing page TCD campaign netted 800 leads, which the marketing team forwarded to sales to convert.
The most important overall metric his team monitors is cost per lead, Evans says.
In 2009, the team spent $2 million generating nearly 5,000 leads (including the TCD effort). The most important takeaway from that, Evans says, is that 70 percent of those leads came from marketing efforts Dealer.com deployed on its own, rather than through third parties. (For the TCD campaign, Dealer.com did employ other channels beyond e-mail: webinars, YouTube, trade magazine e-newsletters and a social network for auto dealers, drivingsales.com.)
Knowing that 70 percent of the leads came from marketing efforts that cost Dealer.com $1 million and realizing that its prospects and customers have proven receptive to internally generated direct marketing campaigns, Evans says the company will increase its e-mail frequency in 2010.
In 2009, Dealer.com sent 160 marketing and business messages. For each message, the company chose among thousands of potential recipients whose addresses reside within its e-mail database, which is segmented by customers and prospects. And almost all of those messages directed recipients to video.
With results like these, the e-mail-to-video campaigns that introduce TCD's products might even resemble another heavyweight Piven's character mentions: "How much does a polar bear weigh? Enough to break the ice."