Many conventional automotive advertising agencies went kicking and screaming onto the World Wide Web. They feared that they wouldn't be able to control customers travelling at hyper speeds on the Internet Super Highway and technically they were right. After a brief learning curve, automotive advertising agencies accepted their new role to provide relevant information in a transparent manner to accommodate the demands of consumers who were empowered by their new found control of the conversation that is the market.
Just when automotive advertising agencies figured out how to manipulate the algorithms that drive search engine optimization, (S.E.O.), and apply them to website designs and investments in search engine marketing, (S.E.M.), social media put up a few road bumps that automotive advertising agencies struggled with. Eventually they joined the customer driven conversations using technology powered solutions that allowed them to market to social networking communities from the inside out vs. from the outside in using like buttons and similar less obtrusive ways to leverage the viral nature of the Internet.
After a brief period of adjustment automotive advertising budgets shifted from conventional radio, T.V. and print media to online digital marketing. Investments ranged from websites to banner ads -- now including social media -- until the rules of the road changed again. Customers downsized their desk top and lap top computers to their mobile devices and automotive advertising agencies were forced to consolidate their marketing messages to fit into these new smaller and more portable devices.
SMS Text Messaging using short codes embedded in conventional print media linked to PDA sized dealer websites, dedicated micro sites or online coupons allow automotive advertising agencies to extend their more robust messages to targeted customers reading the article, advertisement, direct mail piece or even driving by an SMS powered billboard. This mobile based technology relies on the proven wisdom to go where the customers are and the customers are on their cell phones -- not sitting by their computers.
The next generation for SMS short codes is already evolving in the new QR codes that are appearing everywhere from newspaper articles to retail shopping center display windows. These squared off bar code like patches can be scanned into any PDA with a camera and a free software application capable of breaking the secret code. Less is more when it comes to using up space on a newspaper ad or printed marketing material and these mini sized links to full sized advertising messages are a cost saver for advertisers challenged to justify print advertising in today's internet based market. The result is a real time view of additional information relevant to the viewer in a transparent and convenient manner -- sound familiar!
For some automotive advertising agencies these continuous changes in technology have limited their ability to provide an acceptable R.O.I. from their advertising services and they have joined the ranks of the unemployed. Internal profit centers in radio, TV and print production were hard to replace with limited online production needs while radio and TV commissions were similarly reduced as conventional media went from 75% to 25% of a typical automotive advertising budget. For others, the opportunities presented by a consolidating auto industry and the automotive advertising industry that serves it provide additional revenue streams. For example, print production departments in QR friendly automotive advertising agencies are once again relevant and capable of generating profits.