Thursday, May 10, 2012

Google News and Updates with Digital Marketing and Advertising for Website Optimization

Google News and Updates with Digital Marketing and Advertising for Website Optimization

The ProfessorDavid Andrew, aka "The Professor"

There are so many opinions and theories on what good effective SEO is.  Fortunately, we have news and updates sent out by Google constantly through their blog clearly saying their changes to their search engine so we can use this information for website optimization.  Google is the largest search engine by far!  If you can rank well in Google for some active keywords…you will get loads of traffic.  Google news and updates are sent out often by Google and any webmaster worth his snuff will react appropriately.  Generally there are three things to look out for from Google News and that is: rankings updates, changes to how Google crawls and indexes their websites, and updates to their clustering and grouping.  You can apply this yourself, or seek the help of a professional that can do the work of website optimization for you, which in the long run saves you time.

When shopping for a digital marketing and advertising company look for agencies that stand out from competing advertising agencies by aligning directly with dealership owners to focus on significantly lower advertising cost, while increasing traffic, sales, and ROI. Look for companies that strive for affordable marketing for your size of business. You don't necessarily need to find the largest website optimization company out there; but find one that strives for dealership owners return on investment as a top priority.  If you have the time to invest, you can do all this website optimization on your own, but there is certainly a learning curve to it.

Once your site has been 'crawled' by a search engine index (if you are unsure how to do this please research it) you will want to make sure your news stories are easy to find and discover by Googlebot.  You need to make sure your news fits Google's criteria, which includes unique quality content, a static URL and more.  You can find all the details at Google's support section.  A news sitemap is the next thing to create to get crawled by Googlebot.  You need a subsection specific to news on your website for Googlebot.  This will usually look something like www.mywebsite.com/news with a clear subsection devoted to news updates. For website optimization and to list higher in Google news you need frequent updates and a good amount of traffic coming in.

The next step for website optimization is all about understanding grouping and clustering.  When an important news story is released it will be clustered into a single group about that one topic.  For example when the Giants won the super bowl that was grouped into a cluster on Google news.
The final thing to keep in mind for Google news website optimization is ranking.  News story ranking by Google does its best to determine which stories are most important and will be ranked accordingly.  Things like number of articles produced, breaking news, and time of delivery will boost news story ranking and help you achieve website optimization for Google News.  Keep your head up and keep trying new strategies for your dealership site!  Stay on track, follow the rules by Google and you might not win immediately, but you’ll be a step up from the other guy getting dropped in indexes as he wonders why.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

How To Get Started With Search Engine Optimization In Digital Marketing and Advertising

How To Get Started With Search Engine Optimization In Digital Marketing and Advertising

The ProfessorDavid Andrew, aka "The Professor"

So you'd like to get started with Search Engine Optimization for your automobile dealership but you are unsure how to get started?  Well, in general if you want to save time you can contact a top service SEO company to help improve your search results such as iPitCrew.  Often it can be more costly to bypass a Search Engine Optimization company and waste time with mistakes and learning the SEO game.  Webmasters that do this often run into several headaches and mistakes they could easily bypass with the help of a Search Engine Optimization consultant.

Search Engine Optimization can be done by yourself too of course!  When you are ready to take the plunge, consider these basics.  First you will want to set out goals for your Search Engine Optimization plan. Make sure these goals are measurable and easy to track and start small.  You don't want to make a goal to conquer the entire industry and get first page in Google for top keywords anytime soon.  Small manageable goals are key.  The next phase after goal setting is keyword research.  Does your automotive company have some keywords that you can use where there may be less competition?  A good idea for this is optimize for your automotive dealership's city as a keyword such as 'Dallas Ford trucks' or 'Chicago Hyundai Dealership'.  Phrase order for keywords is something you can mix around until you find a match.  If you've done these, you've taken the first steps on your way to a successful SEO campaign!search engine optimization

Now you're ready to start creating content with your keywords mixed in to your articles.  Write in a natural conversational style so you don't scare off your audience, but at the same time make sure to add your keywords mixed in throughout.  Meta, title, and description tags with keywords help, but having the content in your quality articles is most important for Search Engine Optimization.
So is there anything you need to avoid when starting out with your new SEO campaign?  There are a lot of newbie mistakes to avoid!  But most importantly you will want to avoid link buying from unrelated content and never have more than 100 links on any of your pages.  Other newbie mistakes are adding unnecessary flash or Ajax elements.  A good rule of thumb is to avoid anything that makes the job of search engines difficult when it doesn't need to be.  Simplicity is key.

For most webmasters and car dealership websites that want search engine traffic professional help with a SEO company is your best choice.  If you are the type of person that is a do-it-yourselfer and you are willing to do the SEO on your own, you will want to learn the basics of an effective campaign.  This means setting goals, researching keywords that you can pounce on and write quality articles.  Avoid mistakes like buying links from unrelated sites and making search engine's job difficult and you're halfway there.  The best of luck to your Search Engine Optimization campaign.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Digital Marketing and Advertising: What to do and not to do with Mobile Marketing

Digital Marketing and Advertising: What to do and not to do with Mobile Marketing

The ProfessorDavid Andrew, aka "The Professor"

Did you know there's a growing giant in the digital marketing and advertising sector?  Mobile marketing has seen incredible growth over the last few years and has an audience of approximately 1.1 billion people!  Despite this massive audience, mobile marketing and advertising only accounts for 1% of global advertising funding.  It's a completely new and free playground for those who know about mobile media and marketing, and it is constantly evolving.  Working with a top professional Search Engine Optimization company is probably the best way to 'get in' on this nearly undiscovered advertising medium.

You will need help from a company specializing in digital advertising and media marketing serving automotive dealers from all around the world.  Look for companies that lead the way in automotive marketing and advertising in the automotive industry, companies that put together up to date technologies and processes with experience that is world class.  Look for an agency that continues to service dealerships in the automotive sector with the most successful marketing strategies!  With a campaign partnered with a top advertising online agency in the mobile marketing medium, you can achieve better results with less work from you.  And trust us when we say mobile isn't going away any time soon. 

Mobile phones now outnumber TV sets by more than 3 to 1.  In many countries, phones that receive mobile advertisements account for more than 50% of the total phones and this will likely be higher as the market matures.  Some economists now forecast that mobile advertising will grow at an annual rate of 40 percent for the next few years and by 2014 advertisers will buy over 8 billion Euros in mobile advertising.  So what does this mean for us?  Opportunity!  But we need to know what works, and what doesn't.

Mobile advertisements need to be brief.  Because automobile dealership mobile ads need to fit on a small phone screen, they often can't go over a set number of words in their format.  There are a lot of options available to you though in variety of ads.  For example, now with smart phones you can advertise with video, image and text links rather than older mobile marketing that only allowed SMS and image advertising.  An absolute must is having a mobile site component to your website.  Without a mobile website, it is impossible to enter the automotive dealership mobile marketing medium.  If you're unsure how to start your own mobile website, you will have to learn this as well, or again get professional help through a web marketing company.

As mobile marketing continues to evolve they will become more and more in-line with internet advertisements.  Many newer phones, especially smart phones now have full access to internet pages similar to desktop computers.  The mobile market is constantly growing and there's little chance this is going to change any time soon.  Entertaining automobile dealership mobile advertisement campaigns can be extremely successful, but if your mobile marketing ventures come off as pushy or spam then they will crash and burn.  Best of luck to your mobile campaign and let us know how your experience with the booming mobile advertising and marketing industry goes.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Smart plans of action for Reputation Management in Automotive Dealership Digital Marketing and Advertising

Smart plans of action for Reputation Management in Automotive Dealership Digital Marketing and Advertising

The ProfessorDavid Andrew, aka "The Professor"

Is your car dealership site starting to grow more and more?  It may be time to implement a new strategy, reputation management.  Managing your car dealership's reputation involves dealing with negative commentary for your business in an effective way.  Even the best businesses experience negative feedback from clients.  A great example of this is the website Yelp, where consumers share their (usually negative) experiences with local businesses and review them.  Managing your reputation can be dealt with effectively in only one way, and that's treating the cause of the negative reviews.  Yes you can get away with some censorship but too much will often backfire on you and your business.  If your business is large enough you will start getting online reviews.  Do a Google search of your business and look for any keywords like "scam", "sucks", "bad service".  The role from taking action with reputation management is to drown out these negative reviews with positive ones.  Censorship is often just a displacement and doesn't treat the problem of what part of your service the complaints are coming from.

You can also hire a team like iPitCrew to do the reputation management for you.  iPitCrew is an agency that specializes in working Brand Reputationwith automotive dealerships and creating dominant brands online through services such as client management, customer acquisition, and lead conversion.  Their solutions include reputation building as well as delivering to consumer needs with timely messages.  iPitCrew can figure out the source of your negative client reviews and provide step by step solutions to these reputation management issues.  A positive or at the very least neutral reputation is at the top of the list for any growing business to protect and improve.  It's advised to go with professional help to improve your business's reputation online but you can also do it on your own.

A sliver of prevention is worth heaps of the cure in reputation management.  So when you first encounter negative feedback or a nasty mention in a comment keep these tips in mind to deal with it.  First ask yourself, does this negative feedback have merit?  If it does then open up the discussion and work harder towards solutions.  If it doesn't you can provide facts to the contrary or simply ignore the negative feedback.  Make sure to listen while communicating with a client that had a negative experience with you.  Your brand and reputation is on the line here.

Next you need to treat the symptoms of your problems with reputation management.  Optimize your communications such as investor relations, marketing, and PR to give off a better image and lay out facts that your negative clients overlooked.  Look into social media to further brand your content with images, video, text, and audio.  Sure doing this won't necessarily take the bad feedback away but you are taking steps to promote the brand in the ideal picture with facts supporting that.  These are the basics of a reputation management campaign.  If you choose professional help, see what services iPitCrew or another digital marketing professional can offer your dealership.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Dealership Digital Marketing and Advertising - Do You Know About E-mail Marketing?

Dealership Digital Marketing and Advertising - Do You Know About E-mail Marketing?


The ProfessorDavid Andrew, aka "The Professor"

Has your Dealership heard about Email Marketing?  It could be the right way to advertise for your car dealership.  Sure it gets a bad rap with all the spam, phishing links and those 'get cheap viagra here' emails.  But e-mail marketing can be a cost effective, fast and reliable traffic source.  To do Automotive Dealership Email Marketing on your own takes rigorous testing and can take hours of learning methods to get even a semi-successful campaign!  As bleak of a picture as that is, there is a solution.  You can get help from an SEO company that specializes in effective Automotive Dealership Email Marketing campaigns.

Look for a top SEO company that can partner with you to flourish with an Email Marketing campaign.  Make sure they are a well known, experience digital marketing and advertising company that can serve dealerships in the automotive industry.  When you find that company that can really take automotive advertising to a top level of professionalism is when you can see fast success.  These companies are hard to find, especially when they offer up to date technologies with in the business experience to provide dealership incredible success!
It doesn't have to be with the largest SEO company out there, but rather find one that is focused on what's most important to you, email_marketingand that's your return on investment!  Affordable marketing is important all around of course.  If you're on an ultra tight budget or love doing it yourself, you can tackle the task of email marketing on your own.  In general these campaigns take lots and lots of testing before seeing any success.  Follow our 5 easy steps for Automotive Dealership email marketing success.

First you want to plan ahead.  This should include going over your budget if you choose to buy an e-mail list, conversing with your staff and going over possible problems with e-mail marketing (e-mail addresses being marked as spam is a big concern).  With your rough plan in place, set out some objectives.  Good objectives are to optimize response rate, bulk responses, or conversions to sales from those responses.  Next, shop around for an e-mail list that has people with as close to the niche interests as possible.  The more interested they are in your car dealership the higher conversion your responses will be and therefore sales!  A good e-mail list is everything, so do your best to shop around for a good one.  The best thing about a good e-mail list is you can repeat the e-mail blast over and over.  The e-mail list stays with you forever.

So, great you have your e-mail list in place but that's just the set up of Email Marketing.  Now we move on to the e-mail itself.  Make your 'call to action' obvious to your email list and show your intent clearly.  Compelling offers will mean the difference between success and ruin with your target audience.  This is where testing comes in handy.  Offer the same message, but test out variations and alternatives to the original message.  Next you'll have to decide how often you will be setting out your emails to your list.  Are these bi-weekly e-mails or monthly?  After you've decided this and have started getting your feet wet with your email campaign then it's time to revise and optimize.  With these steps in mind you're set and ready to have an amazing Automotive Dealership Email Marketing campaign.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Digital Marketing and Advertising Tips and Tricks for Search Engine Marketing

The ProfessorDavid Andrew, aka "The Professor"

Everyone loves great advice right?  Well we're here with a huge pack of advice and tips from the pros about what you can do for great Automotive Dealership Search Engine Marketing results!  Who are we?  iPitCrew specializes in creating dynamic brand energy for automotive industry providers and automotive dealerships. We create dominant brand leadership for our car dealership clients by focusing first and foremost on the consumer's satisfaction. Our in depth data-driven engagement targets what the consumer's needs, this results in the delivery of needs driven, timely and engaging marketing and advertising messages. Customer acquisition, lead conversion or client management, iPitCrew advertising and marketing solutions deliver results for Automotive Dealership Search Engine Marketing.  With that said we know what makes Search Engine Marketing tick and we'd love to share our success with you!  If great tips and tricks on Search Engine Marketing excites you read below.

Our surprising number one trick is if you want your traffic to stay at your site, you have to give out traffic yourself.  Google especially looks kindly on sites that link out to other similar niche sites with Search Engine Marketing results.  So don't be stubborn with your traffic and try hard to keep them at your site, have effective links out to other related sites!  Even better if you can set up partnerships with these sites and trade links.  Give out linking love and you will receive linking love.  Do this along with our second top trick and you are on your way to a great ranking site.
Second you need to focus on quality content for your site.  Yeah this seems obvious, but content really is still king!  People need Automotive Dealership SEOsomething from your site, maybe it's just to shop around for a price on a certain car or maybe it's researching the market.  Figure out what you can provide and provide it well!  You bait links to your site the old fashioned way, by really servicing the traffic with the goal of them pulling more into your site with backlinks to you!  This is known as organic Search Engine Marketing.

Third, it's time to get with the times!  Figure out what's viral right now, some news or videos that are really popular in your niche and add your take/review on the topic!  You might just end up with some very fast traffic which can of course turn into customers and brand recognition.  Get with the times with social media too.  A facebook page is almost a must now, add your business to Yelp, Google Maps and possibly Twitter if you have enough updates to 'tweet' about.  Facebook traffic is very very effective for Search Engine Marketing and building a crowd of people.
Other media can help grow your site, you don't need to resort only to boring text articles on your car dealership site.  You can add videos, news feeds, podcasts and more.  SEM is more than just adding blue links and Google is finding ways to bring out top results for sites that include this media.  Keep these tips in mind and they will bring out the best for your Search Engine Marketing campaign success!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Digital Marketing and Advertising Top Ten for Online Marketing

Digital Marketing and Advertising Top Ten for Online Marketing

The ProfessorDavid Andrew, aka "The Professor"

Building up your automotive dealership brand through online marketing is not something that comes over night.  There is a lot of competition and it takes great technique to make sure your brand grows rather than staying stagnant with little improvement.  We've created a top ten list of the best tips to get you results in online marketing and digital marketing.  Check below for the most effective brand building tips, tricks and techniques to really set your automotive dealership brand over the top.  Along with these tips, the most effective thing you can do for your brand is get professional help from a digital marketing and advertising company.  These tips and tricks involve everything from pay per click, marketing for social media, conversational marketing, email marketing, marketing for mobile search, affiliate marketing and search engine optimization.  Success involves leverage and tapping into traffic most of your competitors would never think about.

10.   Get involved with video marketing.  You don't want just some boring automotive dealership site with basic labels and pictures that won't excite traffic do you?  Instead create informative videos going from your expertise in the field.  No matter what that is, start from your strengths when creating videos.  You can send these through video sharing sites, start a YouTube and put them on your main website.
9.  Try out conversational marketing.  This method of online marketing is all about talking with other sites in your niche.    You can join forums and contribute there.  Leverage sites that have your sponsored reviews to really kick start a buzz about your site online.  This is a great way to build partnerships too.
8.  PPC Advertising.  Pay Per Click advertising has been around a long time as far as online marketing goes, and it still works magic if your dealership site is up to snuff.  Stick with the big guns like Google ads and do extensive research on keywords to optimize your campaign.
7.  Market on Social Media.  Create content on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.  Give your clients something interesting to talk about and build a strong subscriber base.  Stay active in your online communities with consistent daily updates.  Give out something for free or discount to people that visit your dealership page.
6. Email marketing.  Partner with agencies that have double opt in listings.  Try to leverage your e-mail list and network with sites that are focused on lead generation just as you are.
5.  Organization.  Make sure everything in your online marketing ventures is trackable.  If it's trackable and accurate, then you can improve it.
4.  Banner Advertising.  Advertising through banners can make your PPC campaigns most cost effective.  You will get more views which leads to more brand recognition
3.  Affiliate marketing.  Connect with major affiliate networks, and pay people that refer direct sales to your business.
2. Market through Mobile Search. Possibly the fastest growing online marketing medium. It's fast and easy to create a 'click to call' campaign.  There's really no reason not to do this.  You will need to develop a mobile version of your site to advertise through mobile.
1.  Search Engine Optimization.  This is the most important, because if you get it right the results are huge.  Let's face it, Google is still king.  Listing high on search engines will make your business extremely popular and lead to long term online marketing success.

Online Marketing

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Automotive Dealership Digital Marketing And Advertising Is Growing in Size Every Day!

Automotive Dealership Digital Marketing And Advertising Is Growing in Size Every Day!

"TheProfessor"David Andrew aka "The Professor"

Even with ten years of consistent growth in automotive dealership digital marketing and advertising and over years of which were a 50% bounce, many businesses still haven't caught on and took action with marketing digitally. How far does the market need to grow before these automotive dealership marketers open up to the idea of digital marketing and advertising? It's a likely vision that over the next ten years everyone across the developed world will be able to access broadband internet that is high speed with any number of digital devices. Also, in the future over half of us are expected to buy products actively online! More and more will start spending more time on the PC rather than watching TV. In fact this reality could be less than ten years, it could be five years or even three! If you were the head of a automotive dealership marketing department could you really ignore the idea of digital marketing and advertising online? The opportunity available and growth online is incredible!

So what exactly is so great about digital marketing and advertising anyways? Did you know that the average individual now spends 14 hours online per week, which is now on par with the amount of TV they watch? That is a huge market to tap into, with exposure for anyone at over 50 hours a month. Another interesting statistic is that digital marketing and advertising's percentage of total advertising increased 100% in just three years to 15% of total in 2009, up from 8% of total in 2006. Big brands are catching on to this incredible growth in the sector. Their budget continually goes more towards online and digital advertising. Many automotive dealership companies are creating successful digital marketing and advertising campaigns but it takes careful integration. Persistent testing, retesting and revision are needed for a successful ad campaign online. The most successful automotive dealership campaigns will leverage the relative strengths of the online advertising medium and create organic links to open up engagement and feedback from their audience about their brand and message.
TV is now watched more and more online. In a recent survey 27% of users from Europe in the survey said that they regularly watch TV and video clips online. Of that group 57% in the age group 16-24 said they watch TV and video online! It's obvious that  digital Automotive Dealership Digital Media Marketing Is Growingmarketing and advertising is vital to the marketing mix for a automotive dealership business. But with that said, the automotive dealership industry has its own set of success rules and methods to avoid just like any other method of advertising. Most ad campaigns are defined by pay per click advertising, sponsored links and CPM. Pay per click advertising is when an advertiser mainly pays just when the audience clicks the ad to the business's site. Sponsored links are generally partnerships with other websites with an advertisement to the partnered business's site. Finally, CPM campaigns focus on exposure and the rate is determined by how often the ad is viewed rather than clicked. Combining these methods effectively and understanding when to use each one separates an average automotive dealership internet marketer from an expert.

In conclusion, the digital marketing and advertising industry is booming and has been for years. More and more people are going online to watch video clips and TV shows rather than watching TV itself. And automotive dealership marketers have several ways to approach internet advertising, with methods such as CPM advertising, sponsored links, and pay per click advertising. Digital media now accounts for over 15% of the advertising industry and is constantly growing. If you are an automotive dealership marketer then it's hard to ignore this booming digital marketing and advertising sector!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Digital Marketing and Advertising Automotive Online Trends and Social Media

Digital Marketing and Advertising Automotive Online Trends and Social Media

The ProfessorDavid Andrew, aka "The Professor"

Following recent automotive online trends is really important for overall business success online.  What's surprising is how many automotive dealership sites are having success with video and social media.  Car dealers are learning how effective viral videos are for their success and how important brand recognition can be with video.  Additionally, social media pages such as Facebook can add some credibility and value to your dealership and service and don't take much effort to get started.  Viral video marketing is attempted by many car dealerships  and while only few get massive attention, they can add a face and atmosphere to your business for interested customers.
Dealers shown in a recent study by the Kelsey group said as many as 33% of car dealerships that were surveyed have some form of onlineAutomotive Dealership Viral Video Strategy video and over 59% of them plan to add video to their website within the year!  Fewer dealers are advertising with traditional media, in fact 46% said they're done with the traditional advertising route and they're ready to advertise their site online.  Dealers every day are joining Facebook as a business for the presence it provides.  The study also said that 62% of the surveyed dealers will increase their budget for online media and social media to accommodate the massively growing industry.

So what are these online videos that car dealers are adding to the mix of their websites?  Some are just informative videos about their dealership, showing their friendly nature.  Some of the car dealerships show off their best deals right now and how they have some of the greatest deals in town.  But the overall successful trend for this social media is to add a professional feel and introduce yourself as a dealer and as a business.  You want to show off a clean and tidy dealership service with website video.  This integration of social media will give you value to your service and potential clients will feel more trusting of your service!

Dealers that are with the times need to utilize track-able conversions from online marketing efforts.  Consider call tracking, overlays that are track-able and online video players.  The most common online video player would be youtube, but you can embed these videos directly into your dealership website and even your Facebook page.  Talk about a sweet deal for you.  Make sure you add discussion options to your videos, such as a way to request more information about your service.  Call tracking is where you add your number into your video, similar to a television advertisement.  Lots of clients would rather call ahead first.  Overlays that are track-able will determine whether your video is a mess or if there is a clear message.  Dealers can add messages on their videos with text that is overlay on the video, and when a potential client clicks this overlay they are sent to that section of your website.  This adds more information and more service options shown through your video.
These are just a few of the important factors for social media success and creating viral videos in this ever changing digital environment.  Keep researching and staying on top of information and changes to automotive trends and you can succeed with clients referred from your website, social media and videos.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Can Digital Marketing and Advertising through Gaming Work for Automotive Dealerships?

"TheProfessor"David Andrew aka "The Professor"

Perhaps the holy grail of advertising for promoting the essence of a brand name comes through gaming. Gaming plays a big part in digital marketing and advertising. Not online gaming but integrated in the landscape of a game! This makes the game more realistic while also connecting the business's brand to the audience and engaging them. This new digital landscape rewrites the rules of how brands and consumers interact with each other. If a company gets it right with advertising in games then the player/audience plays in the brand story.

This is truly a way to bring a automotive dealership brand closer to customers than ever before realized in TV ads, radio ads and other advertising venues. Along with gaming there are other great options to consider in automotive dealership digital marketing and advertising such as plain text ads, social media advertising and search engine ads. Search engine ads involve showing up on top of search by paying for this top ranking for relative content on search engines like Yahoo, Bing and Google. And plain text ads are less likely to get blocked by corporate firewalls compared to banner and video ads. Possibilities with digital marketing and advertising truly are limitless. Automotive dealerships have to think long term when considering gaming advertising strategies. These are advanced strategies that can grow new customers into the automotive dealership brand. But Gaming advertising is more than just future customer targets. Gaming Advertising reaches many age demographics.

So what are some common misconceptions about digital marketing and advertising? The first misconception is that it's quick. Advertising effectively is usually a slow process that can take patience to realize effective results. Ad campaigns that are too rushed often come across as false, spam filled or as too pushy. Another misconception is that digital advertising is cheap. Digital marketing and Digital Marketing in Gaming for Automotive Dealerships advertising takes time and commitment, which usually means a continual investment to build credibility. Many think that it's going to be easy starting an online ad campaign, but in reality there aren't many simple solutions available. Your automotive dealerships campaign's success depends upon careful planning and you may need professional assistance from an agency for large projects. Finally, many think that it will just work out. Chances are rare that a slapped together digital marketing and advertising campaign in the digital medium will be successful without proper research. You will have to invest to get your brand noticed, and seeking out your target audience's feedback is vital to your campaign's success! Embracing the context of ad campaigns, while making it accurate, easy to access, and community oriented, are four of the golden rules to follow to get off on the right track.

How do you target automotive dealership audiences effectively with your digital marketing and advertising campaign? This strategy involves tracking visitors through their journey online and finding their specific needs and habits. Targeting can increase the effectiveness of your campaign greatly but you have to find out what your main audience is looking for! There are a few things you can do today to get closer to your target audience. First, focus on which segments sound right such as idealized profiles of your customers. After studying data on these profile characteristics to find any targeting criteria you can use this knowledge to improve your return on investment (ROI). Second don't neglect the idea of re-messaging your past impressions. This may well create the most successful ROI through the whole digital marketing and advertising campaign! Finally use tools that give you information on your customers. Customer insights are crucial for digital marketing and advertising, and uncovering these will give you the best results.


Monday, April 30, 2012

Measuring Dealership Results with Digital Marketing and Advertising

Measuring Dealership Results with Digital Marketing and Advertising

"TheProfessor" David Andrew aka "The Professor"

How can you measure automotive dealership results with your digital marketing and advertising campaign? Surprisingly, some traditional measures work with digital marketing but digital marketing provides a much more immediate response from the target audience. This quick automotive dealership audience response comes in the form of open rates, viewing times of the site, click through rates and more. You can use these feedback tools to better gauge your automotive dealership campaign's success and often shows where improvement can be applied. First of all, you need to know what you are looking for with these tools at your disposal. With your campaign goals in mind plan out the stats you want to look for specifically. This might be what the specific number of visitors is to your website, awareness for your brand, conversion rates and more. Many automotive dealership businesses have recognized that automotive dealership digital marketing and advertising is more measurable than any other advertising medium.
Digital Advertising Measured Results for DealershipsSo what automotive dealership statistics can be tracked through digital marketing and advertising? There are many statistics that can be tracked, the most popular being bulk number of visitors that have been sent to your site from your automotive dealership ad campaign. But there are other stats that are trackable too for your ad campaign such as cost per click, cost per lead acquisition and more. If you have Google Analytics or a similar advertising program then you will have rapid up to date campaign information with dozens of statistic results that you can track. The most important thing to look at for your automotive dealership digital marketing and advertising campaign is the big picture. Is your ad campaign pulling your audience in and creating engagement? Or is your dealership campaign appearing pushy and without interest or value? Creating engagement and interactively are goals of successful online marketers. Successful marketers will accommodate changes to get closer to these objectives rather than stubbornly sticking with a failed digital marketing and advertising campaign approach.

Have you considered an automotive dealership e-mail campaign for your digital marketing and advertising? Many e-mail ad campaigns fail while a few succeed. The few that succeed focus on timing, plain text, testing, shaking up the campaign, flexibility, professionalism, never forgetting the basics, and finally consistent and rigorous testing. You have complete control over delivery time and when your e-mail is received, so make use of this accordingly. Plain text generally adds more to the audience for communication that is personal. E-mail attachments are a no and will get you flagged as a phishing scam even if you have a legitimate download. E-mail digital marketing and advertising campaigns should be spread out not just thrown together all at once. Stay professional with a genuine e-mail, there is no tolerance for typos in a professional e-mail! Finally, test and continue testing, continually check if your e-mail is white-listed or considered junk.

Keep these tips in mind and you'll be on your way to an ultra successful automotive dealership digital marketing and advertising campaign! Ignore them and you could end up stuck in a campaign where you are just constantly throwing money at methods you are too stubborn to change. Don't let that be you! See the big picture, review your target audience and learn to advertise through e-mail effectively!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Learn the Ins and Outs of Social Media with Automotive Dealership Digital Marketing and Advertising

Learn the Ins and Outs of Social Media with Automotive Dealership Digital Marketing and Advertising

"TheProfessor"David Andrew, aka "The Professor"

Traditional media has some similarities that social media has, including participation from a limited audience similar to TV and radio. With that said there are tons of differences and online social media is a completely dynamic environment for automotive dealership digital marketing and advertising. While this is an abstract medium, it also opens up opportunities for open access to consumers. Effective automotive dealership marketers know that social media is a delicate medium. With a wrong step it can negatively affect your dealership brand and it's easy to seem pushy or unwanted. Web 2.0 is all about file sharing, social networking and more through sites like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube as the most well known. Along with these big three social networks there are also several niche social networks that cater more to specific interests, age groups and more. It's important to consider these smaller social networks too with automotive dealership digital marketing and advertising. There are business social networks like LinkedIn that provide ways to market in a targeted way and also free methods that are not available in other social media.

With such a delicate balance for brand reputation through these social networks, it's easy to see why many automotive dealership marketers stay away from large scale digital marketing and advertising on them. But with these warnings aside, there is a true power in this medium that is unrivaled in almost other form of advertising, and that is building up existing relationships with your consumers even further! If you have something you think many users of the social media would find truly interesting, then word of mouth on these sites can spread like wildfire! But that is the hard part, getting your message accepted by the general public in that social media. Add blogs and niche forums to the mix and you can quickly see how these community-oriented sites can be of value to advertise to! Input from the user community is essential here. You want precise feedback for your automotive dealership digital marketing and advertising campaign.

The internet provides an opportunity to reach out to a greater audience and allows you to reach targeted demographics for your campaign. In fact you can get so specific, especially with social media, that you can advertise solely to young mothers that like chocolate, or older gentlemen that have a passion for fishing. You can even branch off further by audience behavior and purchase intent. Automotive Dealership Social Media Digital Marketing and AdvertisingUnderstanding audience behavior is essential for any demographics and digital marketing and advertising can exploit that fact. Digital marketing and advertising can help you identify the most valuable demographics of your automotive dealership visitors to maximize your returns. There are three main ways to target your audience. The first is category targeting, which is based around what visitors are interested in, whether that be insurance, ice cream, financial services or travel. Secondly you can target profiles. This means targeting a specific age group, gender or location. Lastly you can target your audience with behavior targeting. With all of these options available, digital marketing and advertising is likely the best medium for really targeting a direct audience and should be looked at by any marketer.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Benefits Of Automotive Dealership Digital Marketing Advertising

The Benefits Of Automotive Dealership Digital Marketing Advertising

"TheProfessor"David Andrew, aka "The Professor"

Everybody wants to have a successful automotive dealership business, but how are you going to do that if you only have a retail store in town? The customers aren't just going to drift in anymore, in most cases. You have to have some form of automotive dealership advertising strategy in order to make your business well known in the community. In this changing technological age, more and more automotive dealership advertisers are looking into the benefits of digital marketing and advertising. Once people know that your goods and services are available, they can come and see you in person, directly at your place of business. This is where digital marketing and advertising fits into the equation. The most effective means known to advertise a product and service is indeed, the Internet.

Automotive Dealerships will reach a wider audience of people and a more targeted group of individuals or companies by using digital marketing and advertising. People all over the world will see your advertisement and possibly inquire about your goods and services. It's not expensive either, most advertisements can be placed for a select period of time that's best for your automotive dealership, staying available for long periods of time in order to net new customers.
It doesn't require a lot of work to get an effective advertisement online for the world to see through digital marketing and advertising. Online Advertising Strategies

Reaching people in different areas of the country is especially valuable to automotive dealerships who advertise online. Items can be shipped for cheaper than you might expect and yield a whole new realm of customers to get business from. You can reach and interact with customers according to their targeted demographic, which is what automotive dealerships has strived to do since the inception. The Internet makes this possible.

Other people involved in competing automotive dealership businesses might have the same idea as you. Reach the highest amount of potential customers that could make an automobile purchase. This is where automotive dealership Internet marketing specialists come in. They can help you rise above and beyond the competition and make sure that you get the customers and not the competing dealership.

One of the best parts about automotive dealership digital marketing and advertising is the fact that it might cost you very little to do. You can reach your target audience, get your advertisement seen or heard, and gain the customers you've always wanted for cheaper than you might have expected. You can use the money you save to further your business or put back in your pocket for personal expenses. Viral marketing is an option and is a self propagating way to advertise. It requires very little effort and the return is sometimes substantial.

Digital marketing and advertising for automotive dealership is essential to look into for any dealership marketer in the 21st century. By keeping an eye on your conversion rates, you'll be able to get a better idea as to which advertisements and marketing strategies are doing well and which ones are failing. This means an ever increasing cycle of improvement in your profit margin. Digital marketing and advertising will help your dealership reach your target group quickly and without fail.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Why Digital Marketing And Advertising Is So Important For Automotive Dealerships?

"TheProfessor"
David Andrew, aka "The Professor"
  It's been said that by 2014, the use of cell phones will be more than the usage of laptops. Of the 4 billion cellular phones being used worldwide, about one fourth of them are SmartPhones and at the very minimum SMS compatible. What does this mean for automotive dealerships? The automotive dealerships digital marketing and advertising space is heating up! Consumers nowadays are trying to find more and more information through their phones and through the use of the Internet. That means one thing, more competition for automotive dealerships!

People can do all kinds of things with their cell phones and computers. Everything from checking out the nearest coffee shop to checking out the status updates of their friends. With the click of a button, you can easily find all the information you need about a subject, a service, or a location. It's a simple fact of our current time that people are relying less and less on traditional forms of print media and publications for purchasing decisions. The truly great automotive dealerships are entering the automotive dealerships digital marketing and advertising medium every day! Computers and cell phones have continually updated information and are the smarter way to go about conducting your day to day business and social activities.

The sad fact of the matter is that most automotive dealerships aren't utilizing the Internet to get their advertisements across. Even though the effectiveness of print media is dying out, and costs to obtain paper and print media are up, traditional marketers are still trying to make use of this dying advertising medium. Traditional automotive dealerships advertising media like billboards, magazines and newspapers are more and more disconnected with their target audience compared to interactive digital media.

There are lots of ways for automotive dealerships to advertise on the Internet through digital marketing and advertising. One of them is to use Google Pay Per Click campaigns. Each time your automotive dealerships advertisement is clicked, you are charged a certain amount. You aren't charged every time the automotive dealerships advertisement is shown, just anytime someone clicks. Unlike traditional advertising where you are charged for total "eye on" (even not in market readership). Another way to use digital marketing and advertising to your automotive dealership's advantage is to show your advertisements in videos people are watching.

Dealership Digital AdvertisingSo what exactly is the point of all this? Digital marketing and advertising is your automotive dealerships best chance at getting new customers and to keep old ones coming back. Print media and older forms of advertising are far less effective. Their effectiveness has dropped by an irrefutable percentage since the advent of the Internet. With online marketing, automotive dealerships can see precisely who is generating clicks on your ads, the length of time they stay at your site, and whether or not they purchase something or sign up for your services. Nearly everything about a customer’s behavior can be tracked and used to your automotive dealership's advantage.

Take a proactive approach to your automotive dealership's marketing efforts and begin working with an online advertising agency at your next possible convenience. Look for online advertising companies with a proven track record of success and you'll be one step closer to achieving higher and higher amounts of sales with your digital marketing and advertising campaigns. Within a short time frame, you will have new customers and you'll be asking yourself why you didn't start with digital marketing and advertising for your automotive dealership earlier!

www.ipitcrew.com 


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Monday, February 13, 2012

Can the Automotive Industry Repair the Online Consumer Experience?


Can the Automotive Industry Repair the Online Consumer Experience?
Written By David Andrew, aka “The Professor”


Core Issues:

1. The manufacturer destination site in many ways restricts Dealerships and Consumers to designated market areas.

2. Some OEM sites require the consumer to enter zip code prior to relieving desired information, then redirect the consumer to the Dealer assigned to the market area, regardless of the consumer's choice of Dealer.

3. Some manufacturer site encourages the consumer in many ways to competitively shop other Dealers, placing downward pressure on price.

The Internet by nature levels the playing field. It's like a Coke it tastes just as good no matter how rich or poor you are; the identical concept holds true for online markets. It does not matter how big your dealerships are or how small. It only matters how you choose to engage the consumer through the medium it’s the great equalizer that allows a little family-owned and operated store surrounded by trees and water to perform at the equivalent level as competitors in metropolitan areas.

The “manufacturer-preferred site” term is also Red Herring the inference is that manufacturer's sites or site providers have the ability to provide special discounts over and above the dealerships normal pricing. This is simply not true,

  • The manufacturer chooses the vendor that will provide sites to the Dealer Body.
  • The website provider rolls out a beautiful presentation of their full potential for the manufacturer, the manufacturer then leverages their buying power to negotiate an affordable deal. The Website provider pulls together a lesser package of basic services based on the final agreed-upon price and then attempts to up sell the Dealers. This where the primary point of contention begins. The Dealer / Manufacturer website should absolutely be “Best in Class” but never is.
  • The manufacturer site circumvents the Dealer relationship by offering pertinent ownership specific information throughout the ownership cycle directly to the consumer.

If the OEM wants to sell more cars, realize higher profit margins, and become brand domination by controlling a larger piece of the consumer experience, (without dismantling the Dealer Body), they should do this:

  • If OEM wants to help dealers establish Owner Loyalty, then "consumer specific" "needs targeted marketing" should be provided at the dealership level and “perceived” as so by the consumer.  
  • To ensure brand loyalty to the manufacturer provide consumers the ability to move ownership cycle data to another Dealership or track "servicing dealer history" and move data to the Dealer, whom is getting the customers vote through patronage.
  • To maintain more consistent Brand Experience hold Dealers too more stringent standards.
    Provide all third party website providers with the ability to interface with the OEM manufacturer's database. This way, all vendors and dealers have the awesome features that benefit the consumer most. Everyone wins most importantly the consumer. 
  • OEM provided tools include centralized databases of products, available services, and are targeted to ownership cycle of individual. Including:

  1.  Vehicle Build Pricing and locate features.
  2. Accurate OEM Incentive info, including rates, residuals, lease pricing,
  3. Integrated DMS Service Scheduling,
  4. Access to membership rewards programs and points,
  5. Up to service history
  6. Up to date integrated national service campaigns,
  7. Vin specific targeted service specials,
  8.  Full line parts catalog, parts locators, parts ordering,
  9. Online OEM Credit financing integration. 

  • In the online space do not provide pricing and inventory at the OEM base site in the way they do now, redirect shoppers to their chosen dealer's site for that information and allow them to browse all types of inventory from a national centralized inventory database (not individual Dealership inventory), post an estimated delivery time, and cost of good’s to dealership of choice.
  • On OEM, sites allow customers to search for Dealership of choice by Dealership Name or provide multiple Dealership listing by a predetermined zip code radius (50miles)
  • Once in the chosen dealer's site, stop the return navigation or at least bring them back to OEM home page not back to the Dealership listing, this way its more difficult for consumer to place multiple quote request for the identical vehicle in a matter of seconds. The idea is to stop pitting dealer against Dealer or trying to segment dealer geographical territories in the identical way as they are set up on a map. That’s not how the Internet or the new market economy works. It’s a losing strategy for Dealerships, because in centralizes the focus on price, not quality of product and service.


If the OEM were to make these changes alone, Dealers could be more profitable because they would not be in a constant cycle of negotiation, OEM’s would sell more products and services because all products would be available to the consumer. The consumer wins because they have access to the right product from the Dealership, he or she desires to do business with. The consumer also wins because now the determining factor for doing business with the Dealership is the consumer experience the Dealer creates. 

Look to other industries for marketing strategies

The Auto Industry should look to other industries for great digital media marketing strategies. 

written by David Andrew, aka “The Professor”

At iPitCrew.com we think The Auto Industry should look to other industries for great solutions on how to reach their target consumers. Why? Because ‘Interruption Based’ marketing hasn't been cost effective for years. I am sure in the last six months your local cable, radio, or newspaper account sales rep has stopped in your store and told you viewers, listeners, or subscriptions were improving, and they have the statistical data to support it! I don’t know about you but not one of them has been able to show me DATA that "quantifies" the retention period or effectiveness of the message.


In the most sophisticated scientific studies done to date Martin Lindstrom and his group did just that. He writes about it in his most recent book, Buy-ology released in 2008. During one testing period while comparing Coke and Ford's messaging aired on American Idol. Lindstrom’s group effectively proved that Ford’s traditional "at break interruption style messaging" had no retention effect on viewers, while Coke’s participation within the show itself, with color branding of the stage, drink props, etc. had a far greater top of mind presence among the viewers, and for longer, even though they never verbally mentioned the product.


Today, some of the team from ‘the crew’ and I were out and about, we saw a plane flying overhead with one of those banners trailing behind. Ironically it was an ad for a "Body Shop", but not one of us can remember which dealer or brand it was just four hours later. We can pretty much guarantee if that Body Shop, had spent the same money on Digital Media, like iCrewMobile, iCrewmail, or iTurboLeads they would have gotten far more measurable results, and higher ROI. Why? Because the brand message is offered as a tool to assist the consumer at the moment in time the consumer is most interested, and most in need, of the Body Shop brand’s assistance. The "Super Charger" is that it’s also the moment when the consumer is most connected to that brand. We couldn't call out to the plane and ask the questions that were most on our mind in the same manner, the paper, radio, or TV, won’t answer the questions we ask. The nitrous in all of this is that ‘online content’ last forever, when the plane was out of sight the messaging event was over, same with the paper that now lines the daughter’s rabbit cage, and the radio or TV ad that just finished playing, all are one and done, but online content is there to be seen over and over. Just food for thought the next time some fast-talking sales rep stops in. The only thing you ever need to ask is what’s the ROI.

The Three Phases of Digital Marketing (Uncut)

The Three Phases of Digital Marketing (Uncut)  

Written by David Andrew, aka “The Professor” 

 You ask, “If you had to segment the Internet marketing down into four steps (the first being where a dealer would start and the fourth being what a top-notch dealer’s internet marketing consists of), what would be included in each step?” Wow! What a great question! Where would I start? Let's see, if I were a Dealer….

   

Phase 1: Enlightenment

Start by accepting a few truths about the evolution in consumer behaviors. In “The New Rules of Retail by Lewis and Dart” it’s referred to as a paradigm shift of power from producers to consumers. “Those who make to those who buy” says Harvard Business School’s Rosabeth Moss Kanter. That’s not to say Dealers should succumb to the downward pressures placed on dealerships by the consumers growing ability to harness the power of connectivity and free flow of information, it's only to suggest that Dealers should accept the fact that the new market economy demands a new level of transparency. Dealers must understand that consumers have the ability to research and assimilate volumes of information in a matter of minutes. Mobile devices and smart phones allow consumers to do comparative geographical location based product and service analysis in real time. The Internet provides consumers with infinite choices, and consumers are leveraging that information to make comparison valuations on quality and experience.

Consumer Motivation

We are witnessing The Perfect Storm a convergence of Maslow’s Law of Diminishing Returns as it relates to the human condition (Hierarchy of Needs), and Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerated Returns, which is an expansion upon Moore’s Law regarding the doubling of technology every 12 months, in which Kurzweil describes an exponential growth of technological progress. This technological progress is creating affordable mobile connectivity for the masses, it is no longer one consumer influencing ten, its now one consumers immediate circle of influence being one hundred and fifty.
As consumers are transitioning to self-actualization, the highest level in Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs” consumer satisfaction, or “happiness” as Maslow references; It is no longer driven by things, “satisfaction / happiness ” is now driven by “the experience”. How can this be relevant to the Dealer? Let me break it down like this. For the last ten years Dealer profit margins have been getting squeezed from all sides. The manufactures push production and supply-chain model, third party vendor's exploitation of information, consumers desire to receive best deal, internet connectivity, information’s demand to be free, and dealer-manufacturer negotiation based multi-tier pricing strategy, have all placed downward pressure on profit margins. As the automotive industry struggled not to become the next victim of the Internet revolution, it’s the Dealer, who has been offered up as the sacrifice in the supply chain. But there is hope if things no longer motivate consumers, if satisfaction/happiness is driven by “the experience”, then price is no longer the motivating factor in the buying equation. If price is not the centerpiece of the purchase decision, then just as quality of product and experience improves for the consumer, quality of sale (profitability) and consumer loyalty for Dealer Brand also can improve, as does consumer demand for the manufacturer brand. The window of hope is small however, if Dealers cannot shift the organizational mindset to “profitability being a bi-product of the consumer experience in other words from selling cars and service for profit to selling the experience”, they will continue to be squeezed out of the supply chain. Why because the Internet isolates inefficiencies, consumers understand the middleman is an added expense, and manufacturers / marketers understand true Brand Dominance is achieved through consistent representation of “the brand experience”.

 Winning Hearts and Minds

Brands like Apple, Coke, and Abercrombie, are creating Dynamic Brand Energy by maintaining control of the entire consumer experience, then fine tuning those consumer experiences by leveraging neurological triggers, as Martin Lindstrom outlines in his book “Buyology”- Why We Buy. To better understand references to neurological triggers and the impact of Sensory Branding consider the elements present in the Tommy Bahamas store’s island like atmospheres, an Abercrombie’s club like atmosphere, or Apple’s use of white and stainless steel in it’s store’s attempt to create a subliminal association with a religious or healing experience. Science is helping us to understand that there is much truth in the saying “car buying is an emotional purchase” as recent studies show the pursuit and discovery process trigger the release of a chemical in our brains called dopamine, the same reaction one might feel during a life altering experience, intensely religious experience, gambling, fond family experience, etc.. Dealers who are able to successfully control their environments delivering dramatically superior consumer experiences will achieve Brand Dominance in their markets. Dealers spend exorbitant amounts of money trying to achieve top of mind dominant presence, Newspaper, Billboards, Radio, TV, the real secret is they don’t have too! Why? Because delivering a true powerful “World Class Consumer Experience” creates the neurological reaction, which as consumers, we are not even conscious of (remember that release of dopamine). The reaction leaves a marker in the consumers subconscious. When the consumer sees an advertisement or needs a related service or product that subliminal marker is recalled and the consumer is motivated to return to the source that created the marker. This is pre-emptive marketing. In the same way that some Dealers used traditional advertising in the past, to saturate print, radio, and TV effectively drowning out advertising messaging of competitors, pre-emptive marketing trumps all other. Dealers delivering true powerful “World Class Consumer Experiences” in affect receive more benefit from a competitor's interruption style traditional marketing practices, because the consumer is subliminally recalling “the positive experience”, while simultaneously associating a negative feeling about the organization running the competitive ad. As tradition advertising, and marketers continue to lose credibility, word of mouth referral is gaining more and more power to influence consumer-buying decisions thus the importance of creating “the ultimate consumer experience”. Local businesses are outpacing larger big box retailers by listening to and understanding the invidual-ized needs of the consumer. Niche local brands are creating individualized emotionally connecting environments and in turn experiences giving them sustainable competitive differentiation against mass marketing mega brands, as consumers pursue individualized exclusivity. These trends are being accelerated by technology (Digital Media). No longer is it effective to use shotgun like “interruption style” marketing messages. Dealers can realize a far greater return in personalized individual “needs based” marketing/messaging delivered through an array of Digital Media Channels centered around individual consumer preferences, and lifestyles (The right message to the right consumer at the right time), best of all its measurable.

The Power of the Consumer Experience

The benefit of providing ‘the ultimate consumer experience” goes well beyond an improved profit margin, “the experience” generates “BUZZ, or Conversation”, from a trusted voice (source), it drives a desire in peers to seek the same experience (happiness). The connectivity (one consumer to another) provided by technology accelerates and amplifies the “BUZZ”. However, be forewarned there is no statement truer than “Your Brand is not what you say it is, it’s what your customers say it is” and under that premise (with or without your participation) “Buzz” can make or break you, and will definitely break the Dealers, who do not embrace the consumer transition to Self Actualization. In other words, the New Marketing Economy magnifies everything exponentially good or bad. Which brings me to the heart of your question. I don’t believe you can build a great Dealership Brand without accepting these truths as reality. Once a dealer embraces these fundamental truths he is ready to begin building an online presence equally as important as his bricks and mortar physical location.

 

Phase 2 Identifying Target Audience

Use Porters Five Forces Model to look at the landscape of the market. Ask specific questions about what the immediate market looks like. Identify the Blue Ocean opportunities and navigate away from the Red Oceans of the competition. Understand competitor’s strengths and weaknesses and how competitor strategies work for or against connecting with the Dealer Brands desired target audiences.




Phase 3 Develop Marketing Strategy

Setting the Stage

Develop a marketing strategy and marketing plan built upon the research and analysis of phase two. Invest in the best consulting agency or Internet savvy marketing person you can find. This person is critical to the success of your entire organization. In the past dealers have placed this position too far down the org chart in terms of compensation and organizational power structure. The “in Dealership” person filling this position wears many hats and is critical to the success of every department and the organization as a whole. Therefore it can be argued that the position warrants equal status and compensation to the General Manager’s position. Both positions are equally important. Most often if not always the General Manager is a car guy, he understands the intricacies of the car business. His experience may or may not prevent him from understanding the concepts presented here. One thing is for certain. He has a Dealership to run and doesn't have the time to do the required reading, learning, research, or testing necessary to become an expert in the evolving new marketing economy. The position requires a highly motivated, highly educated, Digital media and Marketing savvy individual, not necessarily from the automotive industry. It’s not the non-producing salesperson; we want to find a spot for. The right person is going to drive sales, while simultaneously lowering cost, they are going to develop and implement strategy, champion new initiatives, and be instrumental in building organizational culture. Most often they are most qualified to make technology decisions, directly responsible for implementing technologies, responsible for all marketing decisions (including negotiations), developing processes that build on marketing strategies, developing e-commerce, and monitoring success of each of these initiatives. To further quantify or justify the expense beyond survival, and Brand market domination consider the total savings could be as much as $400 per vehicle sold. Another great measure could be advertising cost savings somewhere in the neighborhood of 30% to 60% depending on how much traditional untargeted marketing is still utilized.

Mapping the Course

Once your champion has been chosen, set short term and long-term goals. Establish short-term mile markers designed to allow for short term wins along the path to long-term goals. The short-term wins are going to be important motivators for your team to stay continuously focus on the end game. Gain buy-in from the most influential people within the dealership, those with both informal and formal power. Helping them to understand how the new or improved direction could specifically benefit each of them personally. Likewise, Have organizational meetings for gaining consensus throughout the dealer organization. Consistently measure and publicize results, create incentives, bonuses, rewards and recognition opportunities built around the strategic vision, and milestones. Organizational buy in is the key to success. I have learned over the years that technology is not a replacement for human capital. In the New Marketing Economy, every team member from the Groundskeeper to the Owner is critical to the overall consumer “experience”. You can tear down all the Silos you want but in the end it always has been, and always will be the human connection that is most important to the equation. With that in mind help key personnel to understand that unfortunately not everyone can or will rise to the new elevated standards, therefore a greater emphasis must be placed on best practices in recruiting, training, and development (after all you as only as strong as your weakest link).





Removing Barriers to Progress

Let me be clear on one other point related yet beyond the scope of this discussion. As it relates to downward pressure on price I can’t encourage Dealers enough to seek expert advice from those who discuss investment in terms of delivering quantitative ROI for the products and services. Additionally, I encourage Dealers to stand united in avoidance of third party lead providers who's business models rely heavily on the leveraging of the Dealers brand and franchise brand to gain traffic. I would argue that most third party lead providers simply capture lead traffic destined for the dealership, and that funds diverted from third party lead providers and then concentrated on the Dealerships own branding, SEO, and other key Digital Media efforts would net far superior results. It’s important to note, this pre-emptive strategy can be applied to Online positioning as well. Furthermore, I encourage the Dealer Body to un-leaver itself from the OEM Manufacturers efforts to implement a one size fits all Digital strategy for its Dealers. The long-term relationships that are being established throughout the industry are detrimental to innovation, they serve little purpose beyond consistency of message and presentation, and are often forged with sub par vendors by decision makers not equipped with the complete technical knowledge to make informed decisions, merely adding additional cost to Dealers looking for innovative differentiation and competitive edge. The Dealer Body would be far better served seeking individuals to work on the Dealer's behalf, even if they came at a premium cost. The importance of controlling the brand is obviously critical to the success of the manufacturer so it's understandable that the OEM would like to be involved at all points of consumer distribution. Yet like the inefficiencies of big government and the unintended consequences of not allowing free markets to compete, the same holds true for manufacturers. Manufacturers should establish clear expectations and guidelines for both dealers and vendors. They might even go as far as to endorse “Best in Class Vendors” but not enter into agreements on behalf of the entire Dealer Body.  

 

Phase 4 Building an Online Presence

Based upon the strategic planning previously outlined, identify which best practices and processes will align the entire organization with its online presence. Match those needs to “Best in Class”technologies, within and out of the industry.


   

Dealer Websites

Great websites have: • Architectures that are “naturally favorable to search engines” • Sensory Branding Elements • Subliminal consumer hotspots • Strong calls to action/ clear points of contact • Self service and full service features • Strong brand value messaging • Readily available pricing with inclusion of manufacturer applicable rebates and incentives • Active specials in all departments • Inclusion of Real Time Social Media Elements and Engagement Opportunities • Inclusion of Fresh Relative Content • Ratings and Reviews • Live Chat, Hyper Connect lead contact • Inventory and Build your Own Vehicle Features • Real time Inventory Posting, Specials Postings • Intelligent reporting and tracking • Access to helpful widgets, and mobile apps • Strong manufacturer branding  relationship • Multimedia engagement


   

Beyond the Website

Great Internet departments actively manage online engagement. Using state of the art intelligent reporting analytics they consistently measure SEO, SEM, VSEO, Landing pages, and content marketing initiatives, ensuring it remains relative. Great Internet departments integrate email marketing, mobile text marketing, and mobile smart phone apps into their arsenal of consumer interaction. Great Internet departments effectively mine both internal and external data and use state of the art CRM tools to efficiently deliver engaging multi-media messaging to their target audience. Great Internet departments create visibility for the entire dealership organization assisting individual team members to maximize social capital by leveraging online relationships in social media channels. Great Internet departments serve as Public Relations departments, “Blogging”, implement processes for commenting, monitoring reputation, responding to ratings and reviews, publicizing unique fulfilling consumer experiences, posting relative informative content. Great Internet departments maximize the tools available today by building best practices and implementing effective processes to maximize ROI while researching emerging technologies for the cutting edge differentiators. Great Internet departments engage the entire organization with training and development to improve customer interactions, and gain understanding of marketing strategies. Great Internet departments analyze a wide array of Data Points to determine effectiveness of organization, individuals, marketing channels, and processes. Close ratios, length of time to first response, website and channel conversion ratios, over various time periods are only a fraction of data analysis.




The Future

What elements will Brand Dominant Internet Department of the near future possess? Internet sales departments will merge with traditional sales departments; there will be no differentiation. All personnel will be required to develop necessary skills to communicate effectively and professionally through online channels. The words will be real-time, and mobile will replace social media as the buzzwords of the moment. Tech toys like the iPad with integrated payment and RFID functionalities will take mobile computing and marketing to the next level. Mobile apps, text messaging, virtual, real time mobile marketing will become a primary focus, mediums like email marketing will fade much like traditional postal as “marketers” inundate mailboxes with irrelevant marketing messages, real-time 24-7-365 connectivity will become increasingly important. Dealers will shift the heavy lifting of communications to professional call center teams and virtual BDC’s with professionally trained and incentivized teams to cultivate ultimate consumer experiences on behalf of the dealer, including appointment setting, confirmation, lost sale follow-up, service reminders, customer service follow-up, targeted marketing initiatives allowing in store personnel to manage relationships and create environments and ultimate consumer experiences.




 

 

Social Media

The illustration below is what I like to call the Wheel of Fortune. It’s a great map for outlining engagement strategies across various social media platforms. The goal is to understand your target audiences touch points throughout the life cycle of the ownership, buying cycle (“consumer experience”) and to craft individual laser targeted personalized consumer experiences and messaging that reach the consumer in their preferred method of communication, in their preferred media or social channel, at points and times that are most relevant to their individualized needs. So many dealers and marketers today are placing the wrong message at the wrong time, in the wrong place. Social Media can be a powerful force for any business, including Dealerships, but it has to be engaging, and conversational. They call it social for a reason, its sharing, its community. The approach will be the measure of success. For instance, someone thought it was a great idea for dealers to place inventory, on Facebook and Youtube, but it's really not, at least not in the way that most dealers and marketers are inclined. People are there to share with one another, or to be entertained, not to shop, or be distracted from their original intent. A conversation about a Dealer who created an awesome “experience” or a vehicle that is simply “amazing” is genuine and trusted. A dealer saying the consumer will be treated well or get your best deal today, is not trusted or respected. There is a time and place for everything, and dealers continuing to do so will eventually suffer for it. I hear the arguments for it and the cars sold by doing it, but for every car sold you lose hundreds of advocates.



 

Becoming a Market Force

A few years ago the best way to get competitive as a Dealer and improve bottom line profitability was to cut non-effective traditional media expenditures then funnel a portion of those savings into lower cost, highly track able, more effective Digital Media Channels. Today that’s not enough. As Digital Media Marketing Channels continue to create added value, demand increases, and Dealers flood the space; price of those products and services will increase, until we are again at unsustainable pricing levels. Additionally market trends, and technological innovation will continue to challenge and stretch the conceptual understanding of how to best capitalize on opportunities by Marketers and Dealers, as is currently seen in the social media space. Just as MySpace fell lost favor, there will be other Facebooks, Twitters, and YouTube trends. Search providers like Google in an effort to deter individuals bent on gaming the system is constantly changing the rules of the game with complex ever evolving SEO and SEM algorithms, and other structural modifications. Therefore, there truly is only one path to Market domination and it’s through Dynamic Brand Energy, and sustainable profitability. It’s a path that requires leveraging of innovative technologies, solid processes and best practices, transparency, and sense of community, to cultivate relationships, and establish the “ultimate individualized needs based “consumer experiences”. By doing so Dealers will no longer be at the mercy of today's latest trend because the consumer will be the driving marketing force. In my mind that’s an investment worth making with an ROI like no other!




Sources:
  • Martin Lindstrom-Buy-o-logy
  • Chris Anderson-Free The Radical Future of Price
  • Lewis and Dart- The New Rules of Retail
  • Rapaille- The Culture Code
  • Mitch Joel- Six Pixels of Separation
  • Chris Brogan-Trust Agents
  • Stephen Hall- Wisdom From Philosophy to Neuroscience
  • Erik Qualman- Socialnomics
 Appeared in Auto Dealer Monthly Magazine, June 2011, pages 22-24. 
Online version: http://autodealermonthly.epubxpress.com/link/ADM/2011/jun/1?s=0