Lucit Cofounder and CEO, Gina Gordon, was honored to join the COMMB Toronto “Let’s Talk Automotive” event.

They discussed a wide array of topics related to Automotive and the OOH Industry.

She was joined by Christine Smith, Head of Marketing Hyundai Canada and Jason Harris, Digital Dealership Solutions to discuss the current state of the automotive industry and what it needs from OOH.

Hosted by Amanda Dorenberg, President of Canadian Out Of Home Marketing & Measurement Bureau and Jason Feifer Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur Magazine.

Below are highlights of Gina’s main points.

Question: The automotive category has always been a big one for the Out-of-Home Industry, but we know lots of things have changed so what worked before may not work now. Why is automotive such a hot topic right now, post pandemic? There’s a lot to touch upon there with inventory, high demand, shifting marketing strategies, but talk to me about why this is the subject we need to be focused on right now.

Question Expanded to Gina: What are you hearing from your clients that are using your platform about why it matters to them so much now?

Gina’s Response: What this inventory shortage has done, has really made these dealers, at least at the local level, sit down and try to revisit their entire marketing strategy, cut the fat on everything that they’re doing and figure out what they really perceive to be working for them; that’s really an important thing. With the new privacy regulations that have been coming out with Apple and everything else, they’re willing to take a fresh look at Out-of-Home, in a way that they didn’t do before. There’s all this emerging tech for Out-of-Home that they can be using that maybe they didn’t even know existed, so that’s what we’re seeing, a lot more excitement in this space and a renewed interest. That’s really exciting for media owners.

Question: I know you leverage a lot of automation within your platform and your tactics that you’re working with some of the dealers, do you want to talk a little bit about how you’re working in the automation component and sort of the programmatic piece?

Gina’s Response: For Out-of-Home and for auto dealers, measurement is huge. Automotive brands have been catered to for forever, ever since advertising began they’ve been catered to. Tech was built around them, all the online marketing was built around them first, clients tried to sell them first, what this means is that the automotive industry is no stranger to these analytics and really what the Out-of-Home industry needs to do is to step up and provide them a similar experience as they’re getting from every other medium that they buy; that tech exists. They need to provide them with engagement, the ability to engage with their digital billboard campaigns, real-time analytics, and truly dynamic digital. That’s what we provide is this truly dynamic digital where we have a connection, think AutoTrader, Car Gurus, things like that, we connect right into that, we bring in this inventory and all the data real-time, so as it changes in the dealear management software, the creatives are updated every minute on the Out-of-Home screens. These auto dealers then can run hundreds, thousands of creatives, and they can control it all like a remote control from their phone. That’s really what we bring to the table and what we think is how we’re going to be able to win over those auto dealers, because Out-of-Home isn’t just long-term branding and it shouldn’t be seen that way. It can compete; it’s not going to be Facebook, it doesn’t need to be. It’s not going to be Google, but it can be what it is and it’s very special anyway.

Question: How important is creative, what role does it play in a campaign and how can it be optimized, perhaps with a good example of someone you’ve seen do it really well?

Gina’s Response: Creative is critical. It’s critical that you don’t have stale creatives creating disinterest, not only from your consumers but also from the advertiser themselves; that is not going to lead to renewals. Changing those creatives and having them change as quickly as the data is changing is completely critical as we move forward in Out-of-Home, and I wanted to touch real quick on attribution. I hate the attribution question because I think it’s so difficult. When I work with these auto dealers, there’s 5 reps in line trying to take credit for the sale of that Tundra; they come in and they say it was my stuff that sold it and the truth is that it’s so much more murky than that, it’s all these things that add to the funnel and you can’t just completely prove attribution, not with Out-of-Home, not with online. It is very difficult and I think it’s based on a lot of factors. It’s based on the sales rep, it’s based on how they perceive the medium in general, I mean it can be so many things, at least at the local level, and it’s not just analytics alone so I wanted to touch on that too.

Question: Gina you spoke to me prior to this particular panel, when we first met, you spoke a lot about that contextual relevance and the creative component. I think you gave an example of how a happy consumer who just purchased their car, they took a selfie in front of it, and the dealership ended up feeding it through your system and there it was as they drove out. Can you talk a little bit about that because I think that’s a really powerful sort of contextual use of digital Out-of-Home in particular?

Gina’s Response: We actually just launched yesterday a Mother’s Day campaign and we’ve had 150 random people putting their moms all over billboards throughout the state right now in the last 2 hours, so it’s really exciting because they’re using their digital billboards like they’re using their social media which is a different conversation than we’ve ever had in Out-of-Home. It’s so exciting, but it goes back to that, yes we have auto dealers down here that are taking a photo of this girl that just bought a car, they’re saying Congrats Brittany, and the sales rep is just putting it on the billboard literally in seconds and, theoretically, that woman can drive out of that lot and see her face on a billboard on her way home and that’s powerful. There’s something about that that’s more powerful than anything they could have posted on social media, not that it’s a contest, but there are so many things that are so good about that. Christine hit a lot of that on the head too when she was saying I have $100, where am I going to spend that, and it makes a lot of sense. When I started doing this, I was in the online world for the last 12 years, selling to auto dealers. In 2008, I was taking the scraps because they were still spending heavily in newspaper and everywhere else. What I have told sales reps here is, listen, go in and take the scraps. Sell them a bucket of plays, take the scraps from the auto dealers, show them what Out-of-Home is capable of, the new tech that we have in this space and then you’ve got 5 auto dealers spending a small amount of money. When the next sales rep comes in, they say oh I already have a sales rep. Then they go back to their marketing budget and they say ok we want to spend more in Out-of-Home because they’ve proven to me that this a relevant medium, this is something we need to move into. I just think there’s a lot of things that we could do differently in the industry, to bring people back and to prove to them that we’re not trying to be Facebook, we’re not trying to be Google, we’re never going to be, cause there is a finite amount of space on these Out-of-Home screens and it’s infinite on the internet so you’re creating a lot more brand trust when you’re on an Out-of-Home screen.

Question: What are the unique challenges presented by using Out-of-Home to advertise automobiles and what, in your opinion, would solve this?

Gina’s Response: There’s a lot of new tech, it will give a notification on the dealer’s phone when a vehicle has sold and come off of the billboard. There are things like this, they’re not going to prove attribution, but they’re definitely going to keep that dealer engaged with their Out-of-Home campaign in a way that they weren’t before. Just measuring the success is perception; it’s however that dealer perceives that campaign to be. You can give them all the information that you can, and that’s what we try to do is give them all that information, show them how many times their creative has been changing, and moving dynamically, but at the end of the day it’s just are they happy with that spend? How can we make them happy with that spend and give them as much as possible that can compete with all of their other ad buys?