How Scion Turned Local Campaign Into Nationwide Co-Op Search Program

The latest Scion digital marketing campaign will drive online Web traffic from a common branded Web site to specific local dealerships, but an AdWords campaign running last year became so successful that it led the automaker to roll out a nationwide co-op advertising program based on search engine marketing.

Scion's campaign began as a test pilot with a handful of dealerships, grew to 52, and then blossomed to bring in dealerships across the country. The campaign integrated coupons, display advertising, lead generation, search campaigns and retargeting, site targeting, and more.

It took time, but the heart of the campaign introducing AdWords to local dealerships ran from late February through early June 2013. Mary Pham, Scion brand manager at Toyota Motors Sales, U.S.A., worked with ReachLocal to build a campaign supporting San Jose, San Francisco, and Sacramento dealerships. "We're a brand that likes to experiment and try new things," Pham said.

The effort focused on coupons, display advertising, lead generation, search campaigns and retargeting, site targeting, and more.

ReachLocal set up the AdWords campaigns, but also educated Scion and dealership employees about search engine and digital marketing. The location-based campaigns ensured that the correct customers would see the dealers’ ads by targeting the best audiences. Support brought in 56% of total new Web site visits.

The regional digital campaign grew to 52 Scion stores in the San Francisco Bay Area and led to a nationwide co-op advertising program that Pham and ReachLocal designed. Participation meant the dealerships had to meet specific Web site criteria and sales volume.

Overall, the pilot generated more than 28,000 click-through rates, grew digital local dealership investments from 10% to 80% of marketing budget, drove more than 1,100 calls and 715 form leads to dealers, and Scion's banner ads received more than 4 million impressions.

Typically automotive promotional events are difficult to measure, but the AdWords campaigns gave Pham solid metrics. The goal to drive more traffic to local San Francisco dealer Web sites and increase leads using Google AdWords drove up sales 17% year-over-year for the seven participating Scion dealers. One dealership experienced 134% lift in sales YoY.

The San Francisco Bay area was California's only region with double -digit YoY growth. The results convinced Scion's corporate executives to co-fund a nationwide rollout of a similar program.

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