It was one of the most used made-up words of 2012 (and in many cases, one of the most annoying). Just about every marketer in and out of the automotive industry used some variation of "SoLoMo" (Social/Local/Mobile) in a blog post, video, presentation, or declaration of things to come. The underlying concept - that many people and the sites they visit are becoming more social, more localized, and more mobile based - is likely here to stay for a while, but is it something that dealers should embrace in 2013 or something that they should wait on until it either explodes or fades into the same obscurity that QR codes and SMS marketing seem to be heading?
Before anyone jumps on that last statement, I'm not downplaying the effectiveness of either QR codes or SMS marketing. Used right, they can be very effective. They simply didn't materialize into the "next big thing" that many thought they would back in 2011.
I have three questions which I'll answer briefly just to spark the conversation, but I really want to hear from the ADM community.
Q1: Should they really be grouped together or should they be treated as independent marketing and communication forms?
There's a certain beauty in SoLoMo. With the rise of smartphones and tablets, the improvements by Google and Bing in serving consumers localized results, and continued expansion of social media into our daily lives, it all seems to tie together nicely. Social is accessed most often from mobile devices. Mobile devices and their operating systems are generating search results, apps, and other tools that tie in perfectly with localized engagement. Local interactions are becoming more prevalent in social media and through review sites.
It would seem that grouping them together is easy enough and presents the ability to save time and resources by consolidating strategies. However, each of the three components also have their own nuances and attributes that may require an active automotive marketing professional (both at the dealership and vendor level) to split the strategies into more focused campaigns and separate styles.
Should they stay grouped or not?
Q2: Is the time and effort required to make them "hum" worth it from an ROI perspective?
Let's get local out of this question immediately. Few would argue with the clear trends and data that shows the value of localized focus. Reviews, search traffic, retargeting - all have shown benefits that make the question silly in regards to local.
Mobile and social are different. Mobile is a tough beast to tame. It requires the right software, platforms, and strategy to get the desired effect, but is the effect worth the effort? Is there a large enough difference between good and great to make it worth the wholesale changes necessary to get to the highest level? Social is always a question from an ROI perspective - enough has been written for and against it so there's no need to rehash here.
Is there enough ROI to justify going to the next level?
Q3: Will SoLoMo grow in relevance or decline in 2013
I'm going to leave that question open. I have very firm beliefs about the direction of SoLoMo in 2013, but I'll hold my opinions until others are posted so as not to spoil the conversation prematurely.
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What say you, ADM?