Trendsetters Using the Web to Drive Sales: Major Companies Like GMC and BMW Moving More Marketing Dollars Online

Heads up! This post was written when Metric Marketing was known as Canada's Web Shop.
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Today's larger, progressive companies are investing millions of dollars into discovering how to deliver their message effectively to consumers via the Internet. For smaller businesses with smaller budgets, the dollars that larger corporations sink into bolder internet marketing campaigns are like free internet marketing lessons without risk or expense.

While your company may not be as large as those mentioned in this article, the following scalable examples illustrate how moving even a small portion of your marketing budget over to Internet Marketing can translate into noticeable returns for your company.

BMW Takes Hollywood Online

6.5 years ago on bmwfilms.com BMW released and distributed a stunt-filled, action mini-film series called “The Hire” starring actor Clive Owen (Sin City and The Bourne Identity). Guided by such directors as John Frankenheimer, Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, The Hulk, Brokeback Mountain), Wong Kar-Wai, Guy Ritchie, Alejandro González Iñárritu, John Woo (Mission Impossible II), and Joe Carnahan, this was unquestionably a big-budget Hollywood style production.

The 8-part series, each directed by a different director, won numerous awards and received accolades from the New York Times and Time Magazine. The result: over 100 Million film views translating into approximately 1.9 million film views per month over its 4.5 year run which ended in October of 2005. Though the series is no longer available for download, various websites still sell the DVD 6.5 years after it first debuted at the Cannes Film Festival.

If these films released via non-traditional media such as television, the statistics would have been less accurate and much more time-consuming and expensive to track. Imagine if those films made just 1% or 1 Million of those viewers curious enough to visit a BMW showroom. If even 1% of those 1 Million leads purchased a vehicle at an average vehicle cost (est.) of $50,000.00 USD that translates into $500 million USD of additional sales over 4.5 years; just over $111 Million a year of additional revenue.

Sure, few companies have the budget that BMW has but try scaling it all down and finding a unique way to present your own products online that will excite your target market and leave your competition in the dust. The lesson here is thinking outside the box.

GMC Uses Traditional Media to Support Online Campaign

For the last 3 years, GMC has been working with creative company Digitas – the National Football League (NFL), and the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN) – to power an online interactive campaign for GMC.com. Mary Kubitskey, national advertising manager for GMC had this to say about the decision to move advertising dollars online: “Any day I'll trade traditional media money for something nontraditional. Digitas did a great job in putting together a promotion, and we feed the promotion with traditional media.” The campaign is a direct result of the company moving a larger percentage of its advertising dollars online.

She also added, “As with all our traditional marketing advertising, we're trying to go more digital. It's not a surprise that 30-second ads aren't working like they used to, and this gave us an opportunity to interact with NFL fans and football. I spend too many hundreds of millions of dollars in traditional media and broadcast 30-second spots and it's getting hard to see that money work for us. So we're engaging Digitas to keep trying to bring us what's new.”

Bigger companies are starting to realize that traditional media doesn’t have the same bite as it used to so they’re thinking of ways to use traditional means in conjunction with newer online strategies to advertise effectively. Think of ways you can use your existing locations or marketing mediums to augment or enhance a web marketing campaign. 

Benefits of Internet Marketing: What’s In It for Your Business?

BMW chose to deliver its message via a very aggressive, multi-million dollar web campaign and got the attention of the media, potential buyers and non-buyers alike. GMC, instead of funneling marketing dollars into traditional media advertising has decided to use traditional media to feed an online advertising campaign. It may seem like bigger corporations have the upper hand but when you really break it all down, whether you’re a small business or a large corporation, the benefits of moving towards internet marketing are the same.

  • Measurable – Track visitation stats, conversions, paths through a website and more so you know where to channel your advertising dollars and where you shouldn’t.
  • Affordable – Internet Marketing is on average less expensive than traditional media, potentially saving your company money.
  • Wide Reach – Geographically, you can access local, national, or even global markets to expand your potential revenue exponentially for a fraction of the cost of using traditional media to accomplish the same task.
  • Geographic and Demographic Targeting – Certain types of campaigns allow you to target consumers by age, income levels, education, location and many other factors increasing the effectiveness of your campaigns and website.
  • Interactive – Allows quick and easy communication between advertiser and visitor via filling out online forms, email, or even live chat that further increase the chance of a sale or conversion. Visitors receive information on demand.

Compare that with traditional “show-and-tell” one-way media such as print, radio, magazine, and television and internet marketing suddenly becomes a very attractive way to get in front of a changing market. As more and more people begin to embrace the web as a rich source of information and entertainment, the importance of achieving an effective online presence and delivering your unique message over this new, digital medium is climbing its way to the top of the priority list.

Your customers are changing their thinking and your competition is starting to adapt. Is your business ready for the revolution?

Learn more about Internet Marketing.

  1. Official BMW Press Release. “The Hire – The Acclaimed Film Series By BMW – Will End A Four And A Half Year Internet Run October 21st”  October 11, 2005.  Accessed on: October 05, 2007. http://www.bmwusa.com/bmwexperience/filmspr.htm
  2. Clickz.com News. “GMC Launches NFL Site in Move Away from Traditional Media Buys”, Oct 05, 2007, Matthew G. Nelson.  Accessed on: Oct 5, 2007 http://www.clickz.com/3627219

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