Archive for category AutoConnections

AutoCon2012: Thank You TrueCar! – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

AutoCon2012: Thank You TrueCar!

Ashley Lopez writes: “AutoCon was a wonderful event and I feel so blessed knowing that I was able to attend. �The agenda flowed well…The general sessions were inspirational! I couldn’t decide which workshops to attend because there were so many GREAT ones to choose from! The floor plan of the convention center worked so well with the exhibit hall, sessions, meals…and who didn’t love the dessert?!” Use the link provided to read Ashley’s article and check out her photos from the event. �Please be so kind as to leave Ashley a comment. http://AutoCon.US�

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AutoCon 2012 Review – AutoConnections Conference and Expositon

AutoCon 2012 Review – AutoConnections Conference and Exposition


This past week, myself and Dan Collingridge had the pleasure of attending Auto Connections Conference and Exposition at the beautiful Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The event for automotive dealers and allied industries was the first of many AutoCons to come, presented by Ralph Paglia’s Automotive Digital Marketing, Chris Saraceno’s Dealer Elite, and Brian Pasch’s First Class Educators (PCG Digital Marketing). These men and the groups of people associated with them pulled out all the stops to make an excellent event, filled with education that dealers can actually bring back to the dealership, take action on, and achieve greater success. 


AutoCon Speakers

All of the presenters at AutoCon including Ralph Paglia, Brian Pasch, Glen Pasch, Lon Safko, Grant Cardone, David Johnson, Stan Sher, Craig Lockerd, Richard Bustillo, David Anderson and more were second to none. The material they presented was deeply focused on helping dealers get results from their traditional and modern marketing efforts. 

Not one of them appeared unprepared. In fact, their messages were delivered so naturally that you could tell weeks if not months had gone into preparation. The information they provided can seriously be taken all the way to the bank. I know that because it’s clear that they practice what they preach. 


Push for Success

I believe that the first step in the pursuit of success (whatever your definition may be) is knowing who to listen to. For instance, you’d never get real estate advice from someone who has never owned a home. Rather, you’d learn from someone who owns 12 homes, 5 condos, and an office tower. That person’s information will get you where you need/want to go. 

At AutoCon, the opportunity to learn from men and women who have accomplished success by doing what they teach was the key differentiator between attending events like this and purchasing that .99 cent book about success from Amazon. Accept information from those that practice what they preach and you’ll become a champion. It’s a pattern. 

The push for success is what I love so much about the auto industry. Where else do you find men and women coming together in the pursuit of personal, family, and business success? The energy I felt at AutoCon was so positive and motivating making it the fall conference of choice to attend. 



The thing that I find interesting about conferences like AutoCon is that no matter what, the chances of you running into a competitor of yours is pretty high. I even attended workshops where arch-enemies were in attendance together. The interesting part is that at the end of the day, all of us (both dealer and vendor) were (and are) united in our pursuit for success. We understand that behind the dealership or company stand real people. Real people who have a husband or a wife and children. Real people who have dreams and aspirations. Real people, united in the pursuit of personal, family, and business success. I love that.


Don’t Wait. Dominate. 

If you know me, you’ll know that I say this a lot. “Don’t Wait. DOMINATE!”. I love the idea of striving to become better, working smarter/harder, and achieving greatness. AutoCon has armed many dealers to kick things into high gear and bring their dealerships to the next level to which I encourage: Get out of your own way and make things happen. Don’t Wait. Dominate!



I literally have nothing negative to say. Okay, maybe the chicken on Thursday was a little dry, but besides that, I’ve come back from AutoCon with a renewed desire, great friendships, and information that is more valuable to my business and personal success than expected. I encourage any dealers who didn’t attend this year to make the choice right now to attend next year. You will not be sorry, I guarantee it.

What did you think of AutoCon? Leave your comments below!


via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Michael, thank you for attending the very first of many AutoConnections Conference and Exposition events… To follow up with this detailed review and report on your experience at AutoCon 2012 is very highly appreciated! Readers and ADM Members who want to learn more about this annual event can do so by visiting http://AutoCon.US and you can post a review on the event itself, individual speakers and the facilities based on your experience attending #AutoCon at

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Dealer Synergy and Cactus Sky Fund AutoCon Scholarship Program

Dealer Synergy and Cactus Sky Communications Create AutoCon Scholarship Program

Dealer Synergy and Cactus Sky Communications Create Scholarship Program For AutoCon 2012

Audubon, N.J. — Dealer Synergy and Cactus SkyCommunications have partnered with AutoCon to provide 50 Scholarships to dealership personnel so that they can attend the upcoming AutoConnections Conference and Exposition National Training Event at the Aria Resort in Las Vegas from September 5th to the 8th.

AutoCon’s goal is to provide dealerships with Digital Marketing Training, and they have assembled some of the industry’s top experts for this event.

Dealer Synergy and Cactus Sky will provide 50 Scholarships covering the Registration Fee for the event of $895 for a total of $44,750 in Scholarships. The goal of the Scholarship is to provide an opportunity for a dealership staff member that normally would not be able to attend the event to receive this valuable training.

With over 30% of vehicle sales coming from the Internet, Dealer Synergy and Cactus Sky recognize the need for ongoing training for all the members of the Internet Team, and these scholarships will allow more training and growth in the retail automotive industry.

Sean V. Bradley and Peter Martin decided that one of the best ways to demonstrate their commitment to the betterment of the industry was to commit the funds necessary to support independent dealer focused educational events such as AutoCon 2012.

Automotive Media Partners, LLC and First Class Educators are proud to announce the creation of this scholarship program sponsored by Dealer Synergy and Cactus Sky for the full AutoCon conference registration fee.  The AutoConnections Conference management team of Ralph Paglia, Carrie Hemphill, Chris Saraceno and Mike Myers will administer the program to ensure unbiased selection of scholarship award recipients.


Dealer Synergy and Cactus Sky’s sponsorship program will provide 50 fully funded AutoCon Registration Scholarships. Fifty automotive professionals will receive the educational, networking, inspiration and innovation benefits from attending the AutoConnections Conference and Exposition. The recipients only have to cover their out of pocket expenses for travel, meals.

Individuals interested in applying for a scholarship to the 2012 AutoConnections Conference and Exposition should go to and fill out the short online application.


Source: AutoSuccess eNewsletter

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TrueCar: Is It Time For Car Dealers To Reevaluate?

TrueCar: Is It Time For Car Dealers To Reevaluate?

Is It Time To Reevaluate Your Opinion About TrueCar?


I have seen many issues polarize dealers, and at times energize them during my 30 years in the car business. Very few issues have rallied so many people in the auto industry to cry out than the advent of TrueCar’s advertising campaign in the Fall of 2011.  In fact, since the creation of the two automotive professional networks I am involved with, and, there has been no other issue that has attracted even a tenth of the visitors to these sites, or engagement in the form of comments and subsequent posts… From October 2011 through January 2012 the most popular subject matter on many online sites catering to people working in the car business was the thorough vilifying of TrueCar. 


Meanwhile, the outcry from dealers reached a crescendo of volume that was enough to get many State Dealer Associations and a handful of state regulators to “investigate” TrueCar for potential violation of everything from brokering without a license, to operating out of compliance with advertising regulations. 


Amazingly enough, despite all the name calling and personal bashing that executives at TrueCar received, not a single “cease and desist” letter was sent, or lawsuit was filed by TrueCar against those of us who pushed our criticism of TrueCar beyond the boundaries of civilized and professional discussion or debate.  In hindsight, I am very surprised that TrueCar took such a beating without resorting to legal measures against some of the worst name callers and accusers, including yours truly!


After receiving several phone calls and speaking with Scott Painter in December 2011 I put off visiting TrueCar’s headquarters at their invitation until just a few weeks ago.  My first encounter with TrueCar executives on a face to face basis was in March 2012, at the Automotive Leadership Roundtable in Miami, FL.  Bernie Brenner from TrueCar’s board came over to my table and asked me if I would sit with the TrueCar team during the lunch session and discuss changes they were making to their business model.  Curiosity piqued, I accepted.  Looking back on that lunch, I gave the TrueCar executive team a fairly strong rebuttal… I was polite, but explained my objections to their business model as inserting an unnecessary dealer expense.  Mike Timmons, Bernie Brenner and a couple other TrueCar executives were polite, rational in their explanations and determined to convince me that they had seen many of the problems with their pricing models and were making changes so that TrueCar would make sense for dealers as a means of acquiring incremental business at about half of what the NADA average cost of advertising is Per Vehicle Retailed (PVR).  At the time I remained resolute in my stated opinion that TrueCar was a bad deal for car dealers.  However, I will admit that maintaining that opinion in the light of new information, changes TrueCar was making and the logic around their affinity model was already starting to erode the certainty I had in my position on TrueCar… Not that I was admitting any of that at the time!


The next time I saw any TrueCar executives was at Digital Dealer 12 in Orlando last April… Bernie Brenner approached me and asked me to bring any dealers who were avid TrueCar haters to him so he could meet them and listen to their grievances.   Seemed like an odd request, but he was sincere and the entire TrueCar team was looking for people with negative perceptions of their company so they could show them all the aspects of their business model that had been changed, so that with new information these dealers might reevaluate their perception of the benefits of doing business with TrueCar.


What I have since learned is that from the beginning of January through May of 2012, TrueCar experienced a large number of dealers cancelling their TrueCar agreements and dropping out of the TrueCar program.  This, combined with various state legislative issues is what prompted TrueCar to make so many dramatic changes to the way they do business.  They simply had to change in order to move forward.  Something that more people in the car business ought to consider!


When I accepted TrueCar’s invitation to visit their headquarters in Santa Monica, CA the timing was perfect… I arrived the day before a “all hands on deck” meeting where every TrueCar employee who works out of the headquarters was traveling in to attend.  During my visit and tour I was able to spend more than an hour of quality time in detailed conversation with Scott Painter.  Mike Timmons arrived a couple hours after I did and took me on a tour to meet various team leaders and department heads in the two building that TrueCar operates out of.  I met many people and watched a team of TrueCar employees working directly with dealers all over the country, helping them to put deals together and sell cars.  The people I met were intelligent, well spoken and knew what their part of the TrueCar mission was, and how it tied into selling cars.  What I found was hardly a bastion of evil, nor were there any indicators that they were trying to eliminate car dealers or harm anyone working in a dealership.  Like many companies I have visited, such as Edmunds, Kelley Blue Book, Dealix, AutoUSA, Cobalt, Reynolds, ADP and others, what I found at TrueCar was over 250 people who are educated and intelligent going about their specific duties and focused on generating more car sales for their participating dealers. 


So, what about all these so called “changes” that TrueCar has made since the end of 2011? Let’s take a look at ten of them, why TrueCar made the changes and their intended impact.


10 Key TrueCar Changes – January to April 2012


In late 2011, TrueCar started receiving significant feedback – much of it critical – from the automotive retailing industry including dealers, dealer associations, manufacturers and industry consultants.  In the first half of 2012, TrueCar made substantial changes to address industry concerns.  By no means is TrueCar finished with implementing changes and revisions, but they do feel they have taken the necessary actions to ensure TrueCar is acting as a key auto industry partner.  Listed below are 10 key recent changes:


1. Changed Website Experience Nationwide and Billing Model in Certain States to Address Regulatory Compliance Concerns


What TrueCar Heard:  Through trade publications, dealer association communications and social media sites, there was a lot of attention on whether TrueCar’s novel business model complied with the existing regulatory framework in certain states.


What TrueCar Did:  Completely overhauled its website experience to address state-specific concerns related to advertising regulations.  Among other changes, dealers no longer communicate price offers relative to invoice through the TrueCar website experience.  Additionally, “bait and switch” concerns have been addressed through website features expressly clarifying that TrueCar users who use our website to explore the new car market are configuring “virtual vehicles” – not vehicles that are actually in inventory at our participating dealers.  TrueCar has also implemented a subscription-based billing model in certain states.  30 of the 50 states continue with TrueCar’s pay for performance model, while 19 other states have variations designed to comply with that state’s laws.  Lousiana remains a state not served by TrueCar.


2. Overhauled Display of Information on TrueCar Price Curves and Dealer Portal to Address Dealer Concerns


What TrueCar Heard:  Though not our intent, TrueCar heard loud and clear from dealers that the TrueCar price curves and Dealer Portal did not provide the most contextualized, relevant, and informative display of information to assist consumers and dealers.  


What TrueCar Did:  TrueCar’s continued success depends on providing services that result in a better car buying experience for dealers and consumers.   TrueCar changed the TrueCar price curves in January to provide more robust, comprehensive data that allows consumers to understand what constitutes a “fair” price in the current market.  They also switched from providing “network-pricing” information in the Dealer Portal (which focused on the pricing of other TrueCar dealers) to providing “market-based” pricing information driven by recent transactions in the dealer’s local market area (not just transactions by TrueCar dealers).


3. Reduced DMS Data Received From Dealers


What We Heard:  A small number of industry consultants used social media sites to spread misinformation that participating dealers’ sales matching data is used to create the TrueCar price curves and/or that TrueCar actively markets to customers found in the dealers’ DMS.  To be clear, these are both myths. 


What TrueCar Did:  TrueCar only requires dealers to provide customer contact information (name, address, phone, email for buyer and co-buyer) and basic vehicle information (VIN, make/model/trim, year, new/used, stock number, sale date) in order to perform the sales matching, billing (in states with performance-based billing models), dealer scoring and analytics and reporting aspects of their business.  TrueCar does not directly access dealer DMS systems and we never have.   All data extraction and compilation is handled by respected third-party vendors, Digital Motorworks (DMi) and Netlink.   All dealers also have the option to “push” their sales matching data via FTP to TrueCar’s third-party vendors; the data received by TrueCar is the same whether the dealer chooses automated or manual sales data reporting.  To address concerns that TrueCar was receiving extraneous data from its third-party vendors, TrueCar worked with both Digital Motorworks and Netlink in February to remove all unused fields from the data feeds sent to TrueCar, reducing the fields to just those listed above.


4. Rolled Out More “Dealer-Friendly” Dealer Agreement, Including Indemnification


What TrueCar Heard:  Some dealers told TrueCar that the dealer agreement needed to be more fair.


What TrueCar Did:  In February, they rolled out a new dealer agreement, the key aspects of which include:  (i) dealers can cancel at any time for any or no reason; (ii) more clarity and control on how dealers provide sales reporting data to TrueCar; (iii) confirmation that the dealers’ sales reporting data is NOT used to create TrueCar price curves; and (iv) confirmation that dealers’ sales reporting data is NOT used to send marketing-related communications to customers.  In April, we added a limited indemnification provision to the new dealer agreement.  The decision to indemnify dealers is another manifestation of TrueCar’s commitment to their dealer partners and underscores that they are fully invested in standing behind the valuable services that TrueCar provides.


5. Launched TrueCar National Dealer Council


What TrueCar Heard:  Many dealers, dealer associations and manufacturers expressed concern that TrueCar was making major product, process and policy changes without incorporating feedback from dealers.


What TrueCar Did:  In April, 2012 TrueCar launched a National Dealer Council with 20 Members representing 24 states, 35 unique makes and 281 franchises.  The purpose of the Council is to ensure TrueCar is actively listening to dealers, and the Council is chaired by Gary Marcotte (former SVP Marketing & Strategy at AutoNation).  The inaugural full-day Council meeting in April was excellent, with great feedback from the Council Members.  Going forward, the Council will meet periodically with TrueCar senior executives to provide guidance on how TrueCar can improve the services it provides to dealers.


6. Initiated Dealer Associations Outreach


What TrueCar Learned:  TrueCar had not historically communicated with state and large metro dealer associations and paid a price for not directly engaging this important constituency.


What TrueCar Did:  In March, TrueCar hired Pat Watson, VP of Industry Relations, to directly communicate and work collaboratively with dealer associations on how to help our mutual partners – dealers.  Pat is the former CEO of the South Carolina Automobile Dealers Association, where he worked for 38 years.


7. Started Participating In Key Industry Conferences


What TrueCar Learned:  Prior to 2012, TrueCar did not have an active presence at key industry conferences, which was perceived by some as an indication that TrueCar did not care to engage directly with the industry.


What TrueCar Did:  In 2012, TrueCar has sponsored and actively participated at key industry conferences, including Automotive Leadership Roundtable in March and Digital Dealer 12 in April, and the upcoming AutoCon 2012 in September.  TrueCar will continue to have an active presence at future conferences, including Digital Dealer 13, Driving Sales, J.D. Power Automotive Internet Roundtable, various 20 Groups, trade associations and dealer group events.


8. Improved TrueCar’s Social Media Response and Presence


What TrueCar Learned:  Social media can be a powerful medium for individuals in the automotive retail industry to share opinions and shape stories.


What TrueCar Did:  Mike Timmons, EVP of TrueCar and an auto retailing veteran (VP Operations AutoNation; independent auto dealer; new car sales and management) has taken ownership of monitoring and responding as appropriate to social media related to TrueCar and industry-related issues. Additionally, Mike has directly reached out to key TrueCar detractors to understand and address their concerns, as well as to correct any misinformation, and he will continue to do so.  In the future, TrueCar will be taking a more proactive approach to leverage social media to showcase our product and company changes.


9. Increased Communication With Manufacturers


Before:  Previously, TrueCar’s communication with manufacturers was sporadic and reactionary, sometimes leading to significant misconceptions.


What TrueCar Did:  In the past four months, Larry Dominique, EVP Data Solutions, with over 27 years of OEM experience (former VP Advanced and Product Planning and Strategy, Nissan, plus stints at GM and Chrysler), has met with key decision makers from 20 manufacturers to listen to their concerns and inform them as to what TrueCar is all about.  Going forward, TrueCar will continue to directly engage with manufacturers to discuss ways that TrueCar can improve the services it provides to dealers.


10. Added More Dealer Support


What TrueCar Heard:  Dealers have told us they want more face time and support from TrueCar dealer-facing personnel.


What TrueCar Did:  In the first four months of 2012, they added 13 new employees to the TrueCar Dealer Development Team, including Ken Potter (VP Dealer Development; former VP & GM of Internet Brands / CarsDirect; former GM of two dealerships), Amir Rizkalla (Director Account Management; formerly of Fisker Automotive and Toyota), two Area Sales Managers and four Account Managers.   TrueCar is currently looking to hire 9 additional dealer-facing employees in the next 60 days, including six more Area Sales Managers (Philadelphia, Charlotte, Atlanta, Seattle, Des Moines, and St. Louis) as well as two more Account Managers, to ensure that we continue to provide dealers with the support they want and need.


After traveling to TrueCar headquarters on a Monday in July and then visiting Southern California dealers, I returned home to Phoenix on Tuesday evening.  Later that week I had an appointment with the owners and management team at Courtesy Chevrolet in Phoenix.  This is the same Courtesy Chevrolet that I worked at from 2005 to 2007, and I have a close bond with the leadership team there… During my visit, which was to convince them to attend AutoCon 2012, I mentioned visiting TrueCar headquarters earlier in the week.  The response I received from the owner and several managers was “we really like the TrueCar program, they have gotten a lot better about invoicing us and the business we get from them seems to be purely incremental… deals we would not otherwise have made.” These statements and the discussions I had with the team at Courtesy, as well as all the information I had witnessed firsthand during my meetings at TrueCar, and from the conversations I had with at least a dozen TrueCar employees lead me to a conclusion I feel very certain about.  It would be foolish for any dealer to ignore the changes that TrueCar has made and not reevaluate whether to do business with TrueCar based on the new information available and the changes TrueCar has made to the way they do business.

Researched and written by Ralph Paglia


Be sure to take advantage of the “2 For One” AutoCon 2012 registration promotion that is good from now through Tuesday… This is the best buy on the best automotive conference for dealers in 2012! Go to

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QR Codes Most-Used Mobile Channel For Engaging Car Buying Customers

QR Codes Most-Used Mobile Channel For Engaging Car Buying Customers

For Car Dealers, QR Codes are the Most-Used Mobile Channel for Engaging with Automotive Consumers

1 in 2 auto industry marketers say they are using QR codes to encourage their customers to interact with their brand, per results [download page] from an Econsultancy survey released in June 2012, in partnership with Responsys. QR code usage by these respondents surpasses other mobile channels, including creation of applications (35%), mobile commerce (29%) and mobile optimized emails (29%). 


Roughly one-quarter are using SMS marketing, while less than 1 in 5 are employing location-based marketing. Just 7% have turned to MMS and 2% to NFC.


Automotive Advertising Agencies show some different patterns with regards to their clients. 54% say their clients use apps to encourage their customers to interact with their brands, while 49% indicate their clients use QR codes. Agencies are more likely than companies to report client use of mobile optimized emails, SMS, and location-based marketing.


According to a Multichannel Merchant survey also released in June, merchants are integrating QR codes into their marketing strategies …. 47% of respondents this year said they are using QR codes, a dramatic increase from just 8% a year ago.


Search Most Popular Ad Type

Data from Econsultancy’s “Cross-Channel Marketing Report 2012″ indicates that mobile search marketing is the most popular type of mobile advertising used by company marketers, at 35% of respondents, followed by push notifications (29%).


A plurality of agencies also say their clients are engaged in mobile search marketing (42%). Mobile display advertising (banner) is cited by 41% of agencies, compared to one-quarter of companies, with agencies also more likely to indicate their clients’ use of advertising on apps (37% vs. 22%), location-based targeting (30% vs. 22%), and mobile display advertising using video (19% vs. 12%).


Various studies have highlighted the growth of mobile’s share of search marketing budgets of late, with IgnitionOne most recently reporting mobile paid search spend growing 333% year-over-year in Q2, to reach 14% of total US paid search budgets.


Display Ad Engagement Sentiment Mixed

Respondents to the Econsultancy survey do not paint a clear picture when it comes to engagement rates with display advertising via smartphones as opposed to via PCs. Among company respondents, 33% feel that customers are more engaged with display advertising on smartphones than on PCs, while 40% say they are less engaged. Among agencies, 35% feel that engagement is higher on smartphones, compared to 33% who feel that it is lower.


Other Findings:

  • 1 in 5 car company marketers say they personalize mobile display advertising based on location, while 28% of agencies report their clients’ use of this targeting method.
  • Roughly one-quarter of car companies are using offline advertising to promote engagement on mobile devices, and a further 17% are planning to do so.
  • Automotive Advertising Agencies indicate slightly higher levels of offline ad use by their clients: 35% say their clients are using offline advertising to promote engagement on mobiles, and an additional 20% say their clients are planning to do so.
  • According to Google survey results released in February, two-thirds of US smartphone users who say they at least rarely notice advertising have used their device to run a search in response to an ad they have se….





The AutoConnections Conference and Exposition scheduled for September 5 through 8, 2012 at the Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas is an excellent resource for auto dealers seeking to develop a more effective mobile marketing strategy.  With an entire workshop and lab track focused on automotive mobile marketing, AutoCon represents a tremendous opportunity for car dealers to advance their skills and understanding about marketing to automotive consumers using smart phones and tablet computers while outside their homes or offices.  Shuki Lehavi, CEO of Gumiyo Technology, the auto industry’s leading mobile marketing platform, is the Chairman of AutoCon’s Mobile Marketing Certification Track for dealers and will be available for your direct connection.  Gumiyo supplies the backbone platform used by companies such as Reynolds and Reynolds, HomeNet, the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Buzzmedia and many others.  They are by far the auto industry’s leading provider of carrier certified application, SMS messaging and mobile website products for companies serving car dealers.


Over 90% of Americans keep their cell phones within arms reach 24 hours a day. Mobile is one of the fastest growing consumption channels with smart phone adoption rates skyrocketing among consumers.


With more website visitors coming via mobile devices, it is increasingly important for dealers to have a strong presence in this area. AutoCon 2012 delivers key information about mobile topics such as responsive web design, creating custom mobile apps, SMS marketing strategies, and more.


Register to attend the AutoConnections Conference and exposition by clicking on the advertisement shown above… This is by far the best opportunity for American car dealers to develop a truly effective competitive advantage through the implementation of a mobile marketing strategy based on the correct information delivered by the right connections!

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Relevance Drives Car Buyer Attention to Mobile Advertising – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Relevance Drives Car Buyer Attention to Mobile Advertising

Subject Matter Relevance a Key Factor for Driving Increased Car Buyer Attention to Mobile Advertising

Roughly one-third of car buyers using smart phones and tablets say they would be more likely to pay attention to a car dealer’s ad on their device if the ad’s topic was relevant to their online activity, per results [download page] from a Prosper Mobile Insights survey released in July 2012.


Closely following is the proportion of automotive consumers saying that fewer ads overall (31.4%) would likely spur greater attention levels. Other factors that would make automotive consumers more likely to pay attention to ads on their devices include them looking funny (28.4%), looking informative (24.2%), and containing animations that catch their eye (23.9%).


4 in 10 Automotive Consumer Pay More Attention to Video Ads

Although just 11.5% of car buyers said video makes them more likely to pay attention to an ad, slightly more than 4 in 10 said that are more likely to pay attention to a video advertising from a dealership versus a standard display ad on their device. The most popular reasons given by automotive consumers for paying more attention to video ads are that they are more likely to grab their attention (51.3%), they are more enjoyable than standard ads (34.5%), and that many do not let them click away until at least part of the ad has been viewed (30.4%).


Display Ads and Sponsored Stories Most Regularly Noticed

Further data from the Prosper Mobile Insights survey indicates that 11.2% of automotive consumers who are smartphone and tablet owners regularly pay attention to sponsored stories or links on their device, while a further 32.6% at least occasionally do so. A significant proportion of automotive consumers also appear to frequently (8.2%) or occasionally (32.3%) pay attention to display ads (like the AutoCon 2012 ad shown to the right). Interestingly, 64% of respondents said they never notice video ads, slightly higher than the proportion who never notice ads playing before or during a video (60.7%), but less than the 71.3% who never notice pop-up ads.


According to survey results released in February 2012 by Google, 88% of automotive consumers who are smartphone internet users say they rarely notice ads through a variety of contact points on their device.


Other Findings:

  • Female automotive consumers who are smartphone and tablet owners are 9% more likely than their male counterparts to say they never notice pop-up ads on their devices (74.3% vs. 68.1%).
  • Female automotive consumers are more likely to pay attention to an ad if it is relevant (35.7% vs. 31.3%), looks funny (32.7% vs. 23.8%), or has animations that catch their eye (25.1% vs. 22.5%). Men are more likely to be pay attention to ads that contain video (13.1% vs. 9.9%).
  • When asked which web-based activities they perform using only their mobile device (instead of any other internet-capable device), 51.1% of respondents said they check email only on their mobile. A high proportion also said they search the internet (45.3%), access Facebook (42.3%), and instant message (34.4%) only on their mobile device. Overall, about 7 in 10 respondents indicated that they performed at least one of the identified activities only on their device.

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Lon Safko, Author of Extreme Digital Marketing, Keynote Speaker at AutoCon 2012

Lon Safko, Author of Extreme Digital Marketing, Keynote Speaker at AutoCon 2012

Gilbert, AZ – Lon Safko, one of the marketing world’s most successful entrepreneurs and best-selling author and social media strategist, will deliver a keynote address on September 6th at the AutoCon 2012 conference.  Lon will also host a panel workshop discussion on September 7th.  Lon is the founder of 14 successful companies, including Paper Models, Inc., which developed Three-Dimensional Internet Advertising and Virtual-Electronic-Retailing “V-E-Tailing” for business, promotions, and education, for which Lon holds three patents. He also privately coaches Fortune 1,000 companies on harnessing innovative thinking and social media strategies to create higher productivity and profits.  His latest of seven best-selling books, “The Social Media Bible,” unlocks the mysteries of the hottest new Internet wave, Social Media, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for business. This book is transforming corporate, government, and non-profit marketing strategies and how they use these new media to reach their desired audiences with powerful messages and efficiency and is now in its second edition, which hit #1 on Amazon in both Business & Marketing categories.  Lon is a sought-after professional speaker, wowing audiences in a hundred cities nationwide with his insights into innovation, creativity, and how to be a successful entrepreneur / intrapreneur in this global digital age. His presentations are described as “informative and entertaining, packed with useful information.” And the U.S. Postal Service called Lon “inspiring and motivational.”  To see Lon Safko speak at the AutoCon 2012 Conference, please visit

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AutoCon 2012 Provides Diversity and Women’s Issues Workshops – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

AutoCon 2012 Provides Diversity and Women’s Issues Workshops


AutoCon 2012 Provides Diversity and Women’s Issues Workshops

The AutoCon 2012 Planning Committee is pleased to announce our partnership with Jody DeVere, CEO of to create a powerful set of workshops that address diversity marketing and Women’s issues in the automotive industry.


Rarely do mainstream conferences invest the time and workshop space to cover what we consider as important topics for today’s auto dealership.


The workshops will include subject matter experts, women in leadership in the automotive industry, dealer principals, and diversity specialists.   Attendees that attend at least three of the Diversity Tract workshops will receive a Diversity Training certificate on the closing day of AutoCon 2012.

Diversity Workshop Offered at AutoCon 2012

Here are the current workshops offered in this tract:

  • Diversity Marketing to Latinos
  • Recruiting, Hiring, & Retaining Women in Automotive Industry
  • Case Studies of Dealerships Getting It Right With Women
  • Diversity Marketing to LGBT Community
  • A Candid Discussion With Women Leading Successful Dealerships


We encourage members of the automotive community that would like to see more discussion on Women’s issues, leadership opportunities for Women, and marketing strategies for our diverse customer base, to please share the information about AutoCon to their peers.


For more information and online event registration, please click the image below:

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Google Enters New Car Lead Generation Business – Automotive Marketing

Google Enters New Car Lead Generation Business

Another prediction that I wrote about has come true.  Change is in the air again at Google.  Paid Search just took a big step forward or backwards, depending on how you think.  It’s called “Google Commercial Unit For Cars“.




In November 2011, I wrote about a product called “Google Advisor” which will change the landscape of paid search marketing for new car sales.    It has taken a very long time for this product to get off the ground.  This type of product has been around in the mortgage lead generation business for years.




Well the Google Advisor product for automotive leads is here and it has a more common name: Google Cars.




I finally was able to see the product live today and so can you.  Just change your browser location to Zip Code 94301 and conduct a search on Google with this phrase:


Palo Alto Toyota


What you will see might shock you, as Google has clearly entered into the new car lead generation business.  I created a few screen shots to explain how the model works, and I am sure this will be evolving.  I would love to get your opinion on this strategy and if you would be interested in testing this new service.


San Francisco Bay Beta Test of Google Cars




Currently, this product is only available in the San Francisco Bay area.  We will find out when this will open up to other markets.   This is only for new cars and it requires a dealer to provide and inventory feed of their new cars.





According to my sources,  this product is focused on lower sales funnel queries meaning the buyer has already decided on a brand and a model to purchase.   So it will not be showing up for all automotive search queries, just a subset that Google believes have already made a brand/model selection.


Google Cars Inventory Model Results Page




When you Click on the first photo of the Toyota Camry in the red box above, you will be shown this page





Google Cars Pricing Info





If you click on the “Google Price Info” link, you might get a chill down your spine, like TrueCar did for car dealers.




The Google Price popup box is shown on the right.  If you click on the “Learn More” link, you can read about how these prices are determined.




The “regional price paid” data according to Google comes from data shared by dealers to the DMV in their state.   Here is what Google says:




Regional price paid tells you how much the vehicle you want tends to sell for in your area. It is calculated from real new car sales in your area over the past 90 days, as reported by dealers to the DMV.




Regional price paid is specific to the make, model, trim, packages, and options shown. It includes destination charge; it excludes taxes and fees. It may include incentives and other promotions running at that time that may have impacted the average price paid.”




Google Cars VDP




When you you click on a specific vehicle, you will be taken to a VDP page that looks like this:



Google Cars Email Contact Options




And when you click to contact the dealer, you have three options.  Clicking on the “Email Dealer” choice reveals this screen.



Notice that the consumer can easily select other local dealers to quote on the same vehicle.




Communication Via Proxies




I was able to confirm that this is a pay per lead model and user contact information is not shared, all communications will go through proxies.  Take a peek at the image above to see the statement “Google protects you from spam“.






This is an attempt to limit spam to consumers from dealers. Read the information on this link:…




This adds a degree of complexity since normal CRM workflows and contact strategies will be impacted by lack of direct phone number via proxies.  This means that leads generated by the program will really need to be worked to get direct contact information before the proxy period expires.




I will be working to get the information you need to prepare for this new opportunity in new car vehicle marketing.  If you have any specific questions, let me know.  You can send me an email to:




In the meantime, I’ll be busy researching this and getting the facts.   Keep in mind that at AutoCon 2012 will have 3 deep dive workshops on all the latest paid search strategies that car dealers can leverage.







Brian Pasch, CEO
PCG Digital Marketing

Brian Pasch 

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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Marketing Directors Choose AutoCon Over Other Fall Conferences

Marketing Directors Choose AutoCon Over Other Fall Conferences – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Why Marketing Directors Should Choose AutoCon 2012 Over Other Fall Conferences

We understand that Marketing Directors have many choices where to invest their time out of the dealership. We have made AutoCon the ideal choice for Marketing Directors for these reasons:

  • AutoCon is a new with fresh ideas and an innovative approach to the conferences structure.
  • Advanced Marketing and Advertising workshops are include in the educational offerings.
  • Breakfast, Plated Lunch, Breaks, and Evening Cocktail Receptions are included in the registration fee.
  • AutoCon provides over 60 workshops and hands on labs to maximize the learning experience.
  • Sponsored workshops are clearly labels to allow Marketing Directors to shop for new products or not.
  • Exhibit hall allows Marketing Directors to shop for new products and connect with new technology.
  • Conference format allows for peer networking and group discussions to improve your sales strategy.
  • WiFi is provided in all conference areas and hotel rooms so you can stay connected to work.
  • Marketing Directors receive vendor coupons worth over $5,000 in product discounts.
  • Attendees receive conference workbook, Dry-Fit Conference T-Shirt, and assorted logo brands gifts.

Suggested Conference Workshops

Only you can know what workshops best interest you today, but here are a few workshop examples that would be ideal for Marketing Directors:

  • Leveraging Google+ Local For Marketing and Online CSI Scores
  • Diversity Marketing: Latinos, LGBT, and Women
  • Dominate Your Local Market With Video Pre-Roll Marketing
  • Why Pinterest & LinkedIn Should Be Part of Your Social Strategy
  • I Know The Top 10 Profit Leaks At Your Dealership
  • Data Mining & Segmentation Strategies To Identify Buyers
  • The Power Of Landing Pages – 10+3 Tips To Drive Conversion
  • What Influences Customer Loyalty & How Do We Measure It?
  • Set Your Fixed Ops Video Strategy on Fire
  • Sell More Cars Using The Service Drive

Lock In Your Attendance – Limited Time Offer

We encourage Marketing Directors to confirm their participation for AutoCon today. Take advantage of the Early Bird pricing for you and your team, which adds further savings to your September conference budget.

General Manager Registration For AutoCon

via Marketing Directors Choose AutoCon Over Other Fall Conferences – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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