Force Marketing CRO Jeff Brown on CTV, Video Retargeting, and Digital Ad Spend


On today’s show, we’re pleased to welcome back Jeff Brown, Chief Revenue Officer at Force Marketing. Jeff is one of the leading experts on automotive video marketing and has spoken at a number of events this year to get the word out about video advertising as it relates to CTV and other changing consumer demands in media consumption.


Jim Fitzpatrick: Hi everyone, welcome into another edition of CBT news. I’m Jim Fitzpatrick. Thanks so much for joining us today. Today I’m very happy to have in the studio, Mr. Jeff Brown, who is the chief revenue officer at Force Marketing. I know you know this gentleman, he’s been in our studios a number of times with great content for our viewers, so thank you very much for that. How can dealers determine which streaming service is the most lucrative for their dealer group?

Jeff Brown: I think that’s a great question and as you look at the video ecosystem, right? The customers are across all of these different streaming opportunities.

So for me it is less about what streaming channel. For us it’s about what is the audience that we are going to go after? How do we plan to curate them through the sales funnel? And then we want to create an omnichannel video experience where if they’re on YouTube, we’re having a personal conversation with them, Facebook, personal conversation, connected TV, OTT. We want to storyboard them through their lean back viewing experience based on the best way to get them into the CRM and then ultimately into the DMS as a sold or serviced transaction.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay. For the sake of time, you’re going to be talking to at the Kain Client and Friends Workshop in Kentucky that he’s got every year. I think this might be the 12th or 13th annual event. Talk to us a little bit about what you’re going to be talking about there.

Jeff Brown: Yeah, so it’s going to be a lot about what we’re talking about here today. I have a keynote in and around the video opportunity and the use of dynamic inventory technology, so basically I’m going to shape for them what’s happening in the video ecosystem. You’ve heard me say this a bunch. What used to be a TV strategy is now a video strategy.

Jeff Brown: We know what’s happening with cord-cutting. Now that streaming video, and then I’ll also add streaming audio. Both of these opportunities are well past the period of nascency. So now that we know that the audience is there, what is the best way to capitalize on it? And capitalize at scale to grow your sales, and to drive down your CPU. And we’re going to have a really meaningful discussion around the best ways to do that.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay. And if you were a car dealer today, what would you be focusing on? Or maybe I should say, what are you suggesting to your dealer groups today at Force? What do they need to really focus on in 2020? I mean it’s just around the corner, it’s 60 days away. Here we are the beginning of November. So dealers are looking to say, “What can I fix that went wrong in 2019 so I don’t make the same mistake in 2020?” Obviously video is going to be probably right there at the top of your list. With regard to marketing, if you put your full marketing hat on, what do they need to focus on in 2020 so they don’t make some of the mistakes they made this year?

Jeff Brown: Yeah, I think that’s a great question and it’s a few fold for us. One is really harnessing and understanding your own first party data. We find that most dealers, when we begin to work with them, they usually have about 35 to 40% of their data, is bad data. Whether it be from human error, time, keystroke entries, people have moved. Getting that data really, really cleansed and prepared to be deployed across whatever channel.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay.

Jeff Brown: Incredibly important.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Do you just still, so that I know, is that something the dealer needs to do on their own? Is that a service that Force can help them with? Is that something they need to go to their DMS provider for? Who does that in the dealership?

Jeff Brown: Yeah, so there’s a lot of ways to get that done, but if they’re working with us, we absolutely do that. Our Helix platform. Part of what Helix does is cleanse and arrange the data so that we have 100% deployable records against their entire DMS database.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay, okay. Because I know as a dealer, when you hear that and it’s like, “It’s just one more thing that I’ve got to worry about.” I’m not a marketing expert, although I know when it comes to choosing the right marketing company, I want to get the best of the best that’s out there. That’s so crucial to a dealer’s bottom line. Who’s handling their marketing? You want somebody that’s been doing it right. You don’t want somebody learning how to do automotive marketing, right? And I see that sometimes out there.

Jeff Brown: Yeah. And think about it like this. If you’re marketing against your database, which all dealers do, think about the wasted investment that goes against, let’s round up to half the data being wrong. For a mid-sized dealer who’s sending a few direct mail pieces, deploying across digital channels. The lost investment dollars for a dealer is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars if they do not have a crisp and clean database. And for large dealers that could be a seven figure miss. So not only are you marketing to person that you can’t get the message to, so you’ve lost it there, but then you also lost the upside opportunity because those dollars could have gone against real traffic opportunities. So you miss that twice. So that’s the first part of it.

Jeff Brown: And then the second part is going to be, what’s the media mix look like for 2020? And we’re trying to provide a little pun here, sort of 2020 vision against your media mix and then against next year. And as we look at it, we’re traders in attention. Where should we be investing media dollars on our client’s behalf? And we are leaning in with every single one of our current clients and we are making video a significant percentage of their overall marketing spin.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay. What on an average, what for the dealers that are listening, what should that be? If you had to pick, is it 5% is it 20%, 50%? How big a role should video play in 2020 in a dealer’s budget?

Jeff Brown: Well, I’ll tell you this, if we go back to three, four, five, 10 years ago, and by the way, some today, a lot of dealers today are still spending 30, 40, 50% of their total ad budget in some linear environment.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay, wow, really?

Jeff Brown: No, a lot. More than you would think. So if I’ve got a dealer that’s spending $50,000 a month selling several hundred cars and up, I would have 20, 25% minimum, minimum going into video. Look with some of our dealers we’ve got to walk them into this.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah, sure.

Jeff Brown: And that’s okay. But the way that you walk into it is the way that you walked into television 20 years ago. TV, you might say, “I’m going to buy the nightly news.” And then as business began to pick up, you move deeper into the station. You might add another station. For us, we’re saying, “Okay, let’s start with Facebook and YouTube. Facebook reaches 87% of the market shoppers. YouTube is 90 plus percent. Let’s make that your base buy. As you begin to feel comfortable there. Then from an omnichannel perspective, let’s now add on Connected TV. Let’s now add on OTT and you’re not adding it on from a channel perspective, per se, you add CTV and you say, “Okay, I want to go on brand, in market.” So you’re really just adding the audience.

Jeff Brown: You want to invest more? Okay, now where’s the next conquest audience that I would like to go after? Or is it a different audience segment?

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right?

Jeff Brown: An audience segment that’s trade up, ready, expiring lease, sold never serviced, service never sold. So you’re able to move into it based on the dynamics of your business, not based on the dynamics of how media companies sell product. And that’s a big difference where it really puts the automotive dealer in charge of how and what to buy based on the ever-changing needs of the dealer. Inventories change. Incentives have changed. The audience composition has changed from a data standpoint.

Jim Fitzpatrick: In addition, for the dealers that are listening right now saying, “It all sounds confusing at some level, and it all sounds very smart at other levels,” which it is. Can I, from a geographical opportunity, when you’re talking about CTV and OTT, am I able to buy just my market?

Jim Fitzpatrick: One of the problems that dealers have when they spend money on TV, if they buy their local channel, is that for instance, here in Atlanta, if we’re at the North end of Atlanta with a dealership, the likelihood of me getting somebody from South Atlanta, because it’s an hour away, to drive up with the traffic in Atlanta to my dealership is little and none. Although the money that I’m spending when I buy a TV station here in Atlanta is throughout the entire Atlanta metro Atlanta area.

Jeff Brown: That’s right.

Jim Fitzpatrick: There’s a huge waste factor. What does CTV and OTT offer a dealer with regard to a geographic location?

Jeff Brown: Well you’re, you’re highlighting the inefficiencies of TV for an automotive dealer. And in the online video or CTV space, you can take as surgical of an approach as you would like. If you want to reach females, 40 plus with a certain credit score who are ready to trade out of an Altima and it looks like they would trade into another Altima. You can build a campaign like that.

Jim Fitzpatrick: But within my PMA? Within my-

Jeff Brown: You could build it one mile, five miles, 10 miles.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s a beautiful thing.

Jeff Brown: You could build it within one zip code, and that’s the beauty of it. And by the way, you could run 10 audience sets like that right at the exact same time if that’s what you would like to do. So the precision targeting, the data opportunities, that’s really why we are so bullish on driving efficiencies for the dealer and not efficiencies for efficiencies sake. We’re also trying to sell more cars. And this goes back to, “I’m not down on the TV audience, but I only want the part of the TV audience that I want right now based on the dynamics in my dealership.” And by the way, “I also want to know, did I reach them? How much of the spot did they watch? By the way, did they click through on the VIN and the dynamic panel to go straight through to the SRP?”

Jeff Brown: Okay, now they’re on my site. Are they in my CRM or now do I need to re-target them? Do I re-target them with video? Do I re-target them in some other way? Do I send a direct mail piece to the house? It’s changed everything and it’s making everything work better together.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right? For dealers that are watching, you’ve got to pay attention to this kind of stuff because what they’re doing at Force is amazing. You can hear it right from Jeff and your enthusiasm comes through because you’re excited I think to bring this kind of a high level technology advanced approach to dealers today to bring down the cost of their advertising, to sell more cars in a dealership, to be more laser focused on who it is we’re marketing to, which is what dealers need. For dealers that are out there listening to us, having this conversation, do yourself a favor and, and get with Jeff Brown at Force Marketing. You’ve been on a number of times. Every time you’re on, we get great response from of our viewers and dealers that are watching. So thanks so much for joining us on, on CBT news we appreciate it. Love to have you back. Want to find out, you know how your next event went and good luck to you out there and keep up the great work.

Jeff Brown: Well, I appreciate it. Thanks for having me. It’s always a great time.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Great. Thanks.

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