March 26, 2020 KahnMedia

How to Maintain Sales, Even When the World Is Freaking Out

In our last newsletter, we talked about the massive shift away from traditional marketing to Media 3.0 and the realities facing businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, and offered some strategic marketing ideas on how to keep things moving forward. This week we thought it was time to get a little more tactical – with specific programs that drive sales, site traffic and revenue, 24 hours a day: we’re talking about direct sales through Digital Marketing

We have been working hand-in-hand with clients around the clock to navigate this crisis, and while the entire industry has been dealing with challenges ranging from regional stay-at-home orders to consumers with jangled nerves, one thing is becoming very clear – as we approach “news burnout,” people are not only turning to digital entertainment, they are also refocusing on non-stressful hobbies to stay distracted, and that means they’re spending money. As a result, companies set up for direct-to-consumer sales with a robust digital marketing funnel are making sales and their operations are running strong. Let’s talk about why that is, how it works and how you can take advantage of it. 

The key to growing any brand’s digital footprint starts with the ability to sell direct and needs to be supported by four things: 1) active social media and websites with quality content, 2) an easy to use/navigate e-store for online purchases, 3) a targeted digital marketing effort across all channels and 4) robust back-end reporting to determine effectiveness and ROI. 

The reality is, both low-cost and high-cost products require multiple touchpoints across the web to drive sales. Consumers need to see digital content ranging from search results and reviews, to peer recommendations, social content, video ads and high-quality brand content multiple times before they make a purchase decision.

The process can be visualized as a sales funnel like the one shown here:

The general idea behind DM is to first engage the consumer who may not be familiar with your brand with social media content that targets them by their interests, hobbies, location or a combination of the three. Once they see posts on their social media channel of choice showing them the product in engaging videos, photos, or both, we transition into the research phase, where they are delivered targeted search results through Search Engine Marketing. Finally you enter the conversion phase, directing them to your product landing page on your site through targeted digital advertising and – if necessary – converting them through “remarketing” ads that redirect them back to the site or shopping cart if they leave the site without making a purchase.

We have created a few case studies based on real world campaigns we have run recently to illustrate how this strategy works across different types of companies and products appealing to a variety of different audiences. 

Race Parts Case Study

CHALLENGE: This performance hard-parts brand developed a new product for Chevrolet trucks and wanted to use the limited quantity of stock on hand to test the market’s demand. Our goal was to use a digital marketing campaign to drive awareness of the brand’s new product in a market they had little to no presence in and to generate sales of a product with a higher price point ($700) in a short time frame with a very small budget. 

TACTIC: We first used website analytics to identify the brand’s primary customer demographics. Next, we created a social media campaign across the Facebook/Instagram networks that leveraged both demographic and interest targeting to hone in on a qualified audience of potential customers. Our targeting group included people interested in competitors, complementary brands in that market and TV/media that cover these trucks. Facebook’s algorithm learning was used to further optimize the placement of ads to the users most likely to complete a web purchase for the maximum ROI.  

RESULT: A blended DM campaign drove 1751% ROI over a period of 9 days using only cold audiences (an audience that has never interacted with the brand previously). 

Car Care Line Case Study

CHALLENGE: This car care brand launched its vehicle car care line by selling directly on its own website, but didn’t have any paid advertising bringing new users to the site beyond posts on organic social channels and plugs on its YouTube channel. We created a series of how-to product videos, but needed to push them beyond use on product landing pages and social media.

TACTIC: Kahn Media deployed a paid Google display/AdWord, YouTube and Facebook/Instagram campaign using a combination of how-to videos as social content, product-specific display ads and targeted YouTube ads shown as pre-roll on competitor videos as well as suggested videos.

RESULT: By setting up an automated funnel-based advertising strategy with remarketing, we were able to create a seamless e-commerce experience with minimal time required to manage campaigns. Our new marketing strategy averaged a 439% return on investment from January to August, driving sales on all platforms while using a portion of the budget to promote future growth of the brand.

Undercar Lifestyle Brand Case Study

CHALLENGE: This brand sells most of its product based on two things: sound and performance. Our goal for this campaign was to place specific part numbers in front of potential customers that followed other channels and related videos on YouTube. The challenge is that there was a lot of competition in this space and varying levels of quality video and sound among its competitors.

TACTIC: For each specific part number/vehicle, Kahn Media utilized product spotlight videos and targeted users on YouTube. We targeted competitors’ videos with discovery style ads, and placed sound clips in the “suggested videos” section on channels with content relating to the specific make or model. Because this brand did not sell direct, our goal was to generate impressions and views of its videos to drive users back to its website to learn more about the product.

RESULT: Between three product videos targeting completely separate markets, we generated 4.5 million impressions and 34,000 complete video views for an average cost of $0.03 per view with a minimal overall budget that was shared between all three products.

Muscle Car Parts Brand Case Study

CHALLENGE: This brand is a small business that sold primarily through multi-step distribution at the beginning. We worked to build up the brand’s image and create product demand at the consumer level through organic social media and PR, along with launching and optimizing a new e-commerce website with direct sales. Our goal was to use the significant social following we’ve created for the brand to sell parts to classic car fans directly on the new site while maintaining a conservative ad spend.

TACTIC: Kahn Media implemented a series of Google display and Facebook/Instagram display ads targeting fans in the classic truck and muscle car space, using halo vehicles to draw them in. We also created video content educating consumers on their quality compared to overseas knockoffs.

RESULT: We have been able to consistently increase the amount of sales driven from our digital marketing campaigns by 24.5% year over year using roughly the same budget. In November, the brand had a record month with a 68.28% increase in overall parts sales over the previous year and drove over 2,300 clicks and 54 website purchases of a fairly high cost product to their website.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers have been shifting to a new paradigm of buying direct from manufacturers and finding new products through digital marketing, but the current combination of “social distancing” and being cooped up inside has force the change to happen even faster, and we believe this shift in consumer behavior will be permanent. If you are currently set up for direct sales and need help with digital marketing strategy or execution, Kahn Media has been executing successful campaigns for nearly a decade, particularly when it comes to automotive digital marketing. 

If your company is not yet positioned to take advantage of these programs, we can help turn things on fast. We have helped clients navigate everything from product data implementation to website development to the buildout and execution of turnkey digital marketing-driven online sales programs. Our staff is well versed in everything from automotive and lifestyle brand marketing and content creation to creative, audience building, demographic research and thorough back-end reporting. 

For a free consultation and digital marketing road map, please contact us at and we will be in touch within 24 hours.