Posts Tagged Automotive industry

ADM Community Ranked 10 of 100 Top Auto Blogs by Independent Source

The dramatically tall Infographic that appears below showcases an independently produced and ranked directory of the Top 100 Automotive Blogs selected for recommendation to visit, subscribe, join and follow in 2013…

When the author (Ron Mays) who assembled and created the infographic that shows this ranking of the “Top 100 Automotive Blogs and Networks for 2013” first contacted Ralph Paglia, we did not know what to expect. Ralph provided Ron Mays with the information he requested. When the list was announced by CouponAudit and the below Infographic published, all of us associated with the Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community were pleasantly surprised to see that the ADM Professional Community came in at number 10 out of 100 sites that were selected and ranked.

The infographic that Ron Mays and the CouponAudit team created to display this ranking of auto industry and car business networking UGC sites is available below:

Top 100 Fashion blogs to follow

An infographic by the team at CouponAudit

In above infographic, you can view top 100 Auto Blogs to follow in 2013, which CouponAudit ranked according to quality of posts.

Visit and join the Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community at www.automotivedigitalmarketing.com

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Sometimes It’s Better To Cut Your Losses – Automotive Digital Marketing ProCom

Sometimes It’s Better To Cut Your Losses – Automotive Digital Marketing

Richard Holland writes: “Through the actions of this call center rep, and a customer with a recorder at hand, over 5 million people have now listened to this call.”

While it’s hard to believe that this is a typical experience, it only takes one extraordinary experience to make a huge difference. If that experience is good, wonderful things happen. If that experience is poor, there is always the chance that our always-connected world makes your business a celebrity – but not in the way you want to be known.

Great companies realize that great experiences can create more business for them.

They also know when it’s time to say goodbye to a customer who wants to leave. Providing a great customer experience is absolutely important to customer retention and loyalty. Smart business people also realize that providing a great customer experience for someone who doesn’t want to do business with you anymore can be just as important. That last impression can be vital.

How you say goodbye is just as important as how you say hello.

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Automotive Website Awards (AWA) Book is a Must Have for Car Dealers

The Automotive Website Awards (AWA) reception and celebratory event was held in conjunction with the 2014 NADA Convention in New Orleans.

Regardless of what anyone’s opinion is about the merits of the companies selected by Brian Pasch to receive the awards presented at this event, there is no other reference document, book, guide, website, Top Ten List or any other compilation of information regarding the companies that supply car dealers with eCommerce websites and associated peripherals that comes close to this book… As a reference tool used to see “Who’s Who” as an automotive supplier, the AWA Research Report for Car Dealers is without any competition… Neither is there anything out there that could serve as a reasonable substitute.

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So… With all that said, is this book worth the $50 cost to buy it from PCG Consulting? I have heard it said that actions speak louder than words. I purchased two of these books at the event in New Orleans and I paid full retail of $100. Every car dealer in America who considers Digital Marketing to be a core competency requirement for their business should order and retain this book… Every year.

If you are a Car Dealer then you need to invest the 50 bucks that this book sells for… The Automotive Website Awards #AWA2014 may not always pick the suppliers that I would have chosen, but the research done, which is published in this book, is the most comprehensive review of dealer website suppliers available from any source. Buy this book and review over 50 digital marketing suppliers who have their information listed, dealer customers cited and an assessment of their products and services shown. Learn more at http://ADMPC.com (photo taken at Automotive Media Partners, LLC)

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What Do You Think About Dealertrack Acquiring Dealer.com?

Dealertrack Acquires Dealer.com – What Do Automotive Professionals Think?

The biggest news of automotive M&A came at the end of the year as Dealertrack has agreed to acquire Dealer.com. Following their acquisition of ClickMotive earlier in the year, I’m wondering what the Car Peeps community thinks of the acquisition.
Here’s the release:

Dealertrack and Dealer.com Unite to Transform Automotive Retail

Dealertrack Technologies Announces Agreement to Acquire Dealer.com

Lake Success, N.Y. and Burlington, Vt., December 19, 2013 –  Dealertrack Technologies (Nasdaq: TRAK) and Dealer.com today announced a definitive agreement for Dealertrack to acquire Dealer.com, a leading provider of marketing and operations software and services for the automotive industry. Through the combination, the companies expect to realize their shared vision to transform automotive retail by delivering the most advanced solutions for dealers, OEMs, lenders and car shoppers.
Under the terms of the agreement, Dealertrack will acquire all the equity of Dealer.com for approximately 8.7 million shares of Dealertrack’s common stock and $620 million in cash, subject to customary post-closing adjustments. Dealertrack expects to finance the cash portion of the purchase price through cash on hand and with fully committed debt financing. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014, subject to regulatory approval, and the transaction is expected to be accretive to Dealertrack’s standalone multi-year organic growth profile to Dealertrack’s diluted adjusted net income per share.
Established in 1998, Dealer.com is a pioneer in bringing automotive dealerships online. The company has grown to 830 employees across its Burlington, Vermont, headquarters and Manhattan Beach, California, office, and serves approximately 7,000 U.S. dealers with its integrated suite of products. Dealer.com expects to generate annual  revenue in excess of $230 million for  2013, representing year-on-year growth in excess of 25 percent relative to 2012.
Dealertrack places a high value on the culture of creativity and innovation that has been the hallmark of Dealer.com, and plans to establish Dealer.com’s Burlington, Vermont, headquarters as a center of excellence for digital marketing solutions, along with Dealertrack’s Dallas, Texas, office. Based on the strength of Dealer.com’s brand, Dealertrack will retain the Dealer.com name in the marketplace to represent Dealertrack’s advanced and complementary set of digital marketing products and services.
“By joining forces with Dealer.com, we will be able to provide dealers, OEMs, and other industry partners with a deep and broad array of integrated solutions,” said Mark O’Neil, chairman and chief executive officer, Dealertrack. “Dealer.com and its team, whom we’ve long admired and respected, complement our solutions, catapulting our vision of delivering the market leading suite of integrated technologies capable of transforming automotive retailing even further.”
“This is a very exciting opportunity for Dealer.com,” said Rick Gibbs, chief executive officer, Dealer.com. “By combining our strengths with Dealertrack, we will be able to enhance our marketplace offering with an integrated, end-to-end solution that will help bring the automotive retailing industry to a new level of efficiency and performance.”
Gibbs further added, “Dealer.com is proud of the unique culture we, as a company, have nurtured over the years, making this a truly outstanding place to work. We will look to carry this same culture – along with our energy and spirit of innovation – forward as we unite with Dealertrack.”
Upon closing, Gibbs will become Executive Vice President and Group President of Dealertrack’s Digital Marketing solution team.
In connection with the transaction, Evercore acted as financial advisor and O’Melveny & Myers LLP provided legal advice to Dealertrack.  Goldman Sachs & Co. acted as financial advisor and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Professional Corporation, provided legal advice to Dealer.com. J.P. Morgan, B of A Merrill Lynch, Barclays and Wells Fargo are providing Dealertrack’s committed debt financing for the transaction.
Dealertrack will host a conference call to discuss this announcement on December 19, 2013 at 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The conference call will be webcast live on the Internet at ir.dealertrack.com, where a supplementary presentation is also available. In addition, a live audio of the call will be accessible to the public by calling 877-303-6648 (domestic) or 970-315-0443 (international); no access code is necessary. Callers should dial in approximately 10 minutes before the call begins. A replay will be available on the Dealertrack website until March 19, 2014.
About Dealertrack Technologies (www.dealertrack.com)
Dealertrack Technologies’ intuitive and high-value web-based software solutions and services enhance efficiency and profitability for all major segments of the automotive retail industry, including dealers, lenders, OEMs, third-party retailers, agents and aftermarket providers. In addition to the industry’s largest online credit application network, connecting more than 20,000 dealers with more than 1,400 lenders, Dealertrack Technologies delivers the industry’s most comprehensive solution set for automotive retailers, including Dealer Management, InventorySales and F&I,Interactive and Registration and Titling solutions.
About Dealer.com (www.dealer.com)
Dealer.com is the automotive industry’s leading provider of a streamlined and intuitive solution for managing dealership marketing and operations. The company’s platform-based Inventory, Advertising, Website and CRM products allow OEMs, dealer groups, retail and agencies to leverage innovative technology to relevantly connect to their customers. The company’s unique commitment to culture, with a focus on health and wellness, makes it one of the most desirable places to work. 
Safe Harbor for Forward-Looking and Cautionary Statements
Statements in this press release regarding the benefits of the Dealertrack, Dealer.com and all other statements in this release other than the recitation of historical facts are forward-looking statements (as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995). These statements involve a number of risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results, performance or achievements of Dealertrack Technologies to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Factors that might cause such a difference include the performance and acceptance of the Dealertrack, Dealer.com and their solutions, and other risks listed in our reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ending December 31, 2012 and our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q. These filings can be found on Dealertrack Technologies’ website at www.dealertrack.com and the SEC’s website atwww.sec.gov. Forward-looking statements included herein speak only as of the date hereof and Dealertrack Technologies disclaims any obligation to revise or update such statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events or circumstances.

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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Use “Hummer Tax Loophole” To Sell More Vehicles In December

Are You Using \”Hummer Tax Loophole\” To Sell More Vehicles In December?

Car Dealer uses “Hummer Tax Loophole” to Educate Commercial Vehicle Buyers and Close More Deals In December

I received the following commercial vehicle buyer targeted explanation of the tax advantages businesses can gain by purchasing one or more new vehicles before December 31st. I received in my overcrowded Gmail inbox, where it caught my attention and I found it to be so compelling that it merited being shared with the ADM Community… The dealer group that sent it to me is the Resnick Automotive Group of Schaumburg, Illinois. I also added several sections with further detail directly from the IRS towards the bottom of this post:

One of the more popular uses of the Section 179 Deduction has been for vehicles. In fact, several years ago the Section 179 deduction was sometimes referred to as the “Hummer Tax Loophole,” because a the time it allowed businesses to buy large SUV’s and write them off. While this particular use (or abuse) of the tax code has been modified with the limits explained below, it is still true that Section 179 can be advantageous in buying vehicles for your business.


You still have an excellent opportunity through 12/31/2013 to minimize your tax liability by purchasing a qualifying Car, Truck  Van or SUV. Plus, under the Tax Relief / Job Creation Act of 2010, qualified small business owners who purchase a qualifying vehicle GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight) of 6000 pounds or more, may even have greater benefits if the vehicle is entirely used for business purposes.

  • Under the IRS ruling, the following  new “trucks” qualify.
  • Consult your accountant/tax advisor for complete details and eligibility.
  • Qualifying Vehicles of 6000 lbs. GVWR

Mercedes-Benz

Lexus

Toyota

Sprinter Van
ML350
GL450/550
GL350 BTC
G550

GX460
LX570

Tundra
4Runner
Sequoia

Additional Savings:
 Special Finance Rates, Factory Incentives and Dealer Year-End Discounts

Additional Section 179 Details Published by the IRS:
Update / IRS Guidelines for Vehicles in 2013

The IRS has not yet released guidance concerning Section 179 and Bonus Depreciation as it relates to vehicles for the year 2013. The guidance will be published in the Internal Revenue Bulletin sometime after April 15th. So be patient, and check back here often for the release date.

There are a number of qualifications for vehicles, all with varying tax treatment. Please refer to page 6 of these Instructions for Form 2106 to read the exact IRS language.

What are the limits on Typical Passenger Vehicles?

For passenger vehicles, trucks, and vans (not meeting the guidelines below), that are used more than 50% in a qualified business use, the total deduction for depreciation including both the Section 179 expense deduction as well as Bonus Depreciation is limited to $11,060 for cars and $11,160 for trucks and vans.

Exceptions include the following vehicles:

  • Ambulance or hearse used specifically in your business;
  • Taxis, transport vans, and other vehicles used to specifically transport people or property for hire;
  • Qualified non-personal use vehicles specifically modified for business (i.e. van without seating behind driver, permanent shelving installed, and exterior painted with company’s name).

Limits for SUVs or Crossover Vehicles with GVWR above 6,000lbs
Certain vehicles (with a gross vehicle weight rating above 6,000 lbs but no more than 14,000 lbs) qualify for expensing up to $25,000 if the vehicle is financed and placed in service prior to December 31 and meet other conditions.

What Vehicles Qualify for the full Section 179 Deduction?

Many vehicles that by their nature are not likely to be used for personal purposes qualify for full Section 179 deduction including the following vehicles:

  1. Heavy “non-SUV” vehicles with a cargo area at least six feet in interior length (this area must not be easily accessible from the passenger area.) To give an example, many pickups with full-sized cargo beds will qualify (although some “extended cab” pickups may have beds that are too small to qualify).
  2. Vehicles that can seat nine-plus passengers behind the driver’s seat (i.e.: Hotel / Airport shuttle vans, etc.).
  3. Vehicles with: (1) a fully-enclosed driver’s compartment / cargo area, (2) no seating at all behind the driver’s seat, and (3) no body section protruding more than 30 inches ahead of the leading edge of the windshield. In other words, a classic cargo van.
Other Considerations
  • Vehicles can be new or used (“new to you” is the key).
  • The vehicle can be financed with certain leases and loans, or bought outright.
  • The vehicle in question must also be used for business at least 50% of the time – and these depreciation limits are reduced by the corresponding % of personal use if the vehicle is used for business less than 100% of the time.
  • Remember, you can only claim Section 179 in the tax year that the vehicle is “placed in service” – meaning when the vehicle is ready and available – even if you’re not using the vehicle. Further, a vehicle first used for personal purposes doesn’t qualify in a later year if its purpose changes to business.

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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Auto Dealers Beware: New Texting Regulations In Effect – 7 Tips

Auto Dealers Beware: New Federal Texting Regulations NOW In Effect – 7 Tips for Mobile Marketers

New FCC Regulations In Effect: Telephone Communications Protection Act (TCPA)

With the latest Telephone Communications Protection Act (TCPA) rules settling into place, we’ve got to remember that not all texts are created equal.

Is your dealership’s texting up to snuff? Do what it takes to get there…because 97% of texts are opened and read within 3 minutes vs. 22% of emails!

Did You Know?

According to the latest Telephone Communications Protection Act (TCPA) rules:

  1. As of January 14, 2013 – Messages (phone calls and texts) must include the ability to immediately opt out.
  2. As of October 16, 2013 – You must get unambiguous written consent before sending telemarketing calls or text messages via automatic telephone dialing systems (ATDS).
  3. As of October 16, 2013 – Established business relationships with consumers no longer relieve you of that written consent requirement.

First Things First: What Are the New Rules?

The TCPA is often updated to reflect changes in technology and use, and the 2013 updates say…

  • Messages (phone calls and texts) must include the ability to immediately opt out – effective Jan. 14, 2013
  • You must get unambiguous written consent before sending telemarketing calls or text messages via automatic telephone dialing systems (ATDS) – effective Oct. 16, 2013
  • Established business relationships with consumers no longer relieve you of that written consent requirement – effective Oct. 16, 2013

Know Who and What You Text

So, what can your dealership do to insure compliance?

Check out these seven pointers, then make sure you do your research and talk with an attorney for specific legal advice*.  

Here are 7 urgent tips…

#1: Do you use SMS ShortCode programs for blasting text messages out to a long list of mobile phone numbers (used for mass marketing specials, contests, etc.)?

While they can be effective, they’re probably the most heavily regulated type of texting. It’s also the type that got the Lithia group in big trouble a few years back, resulting in a multimillion-dollar settlement. You may want to hit pause until checking with your vendor and attorney.

#2: Do you (or others at your dealership) text with customers?

If your employees text on behalf of the dealership from their personal cell numbers, you have a problem. You likely have no idea how employees got customers’ numbers and no record of their written consent to be texted. You also probably have no transcripts of the conversations and no control over opt-out messages. So while your dealership needed a system to manage and control one-to-one text messaging before the new TCPA regulations—a system like Contact At Once! Mobile Text Connect (MTC)—the need is truly urgent now.

#3: Do you have a process for gaining a customer’s express written consent to text?

It’s one of the new regulations as regards SMS text marketing, but it’s smart to apply it to any texting. So make it part of the process when capturing lead information. Keep a record of that written permission too, in case the customer challenges your dealership somewhere down the road. (MTC does all this for you, making it easy to be compliant and pull up records of written permission should the need arise.)

#4: Do you tell customers that “message & data rates may apply” when they text with you?

Even if they aren’t signing up for text marketing, this is a best practice. (MTC adds this on all consumer-facing calls to action, like the first “click to text” form.)

 

#5: Do you offer clear ways to opt out?

If marketing, you should include it in every message. If texting back and forth with customers (like about setting appointments), you should send it in the very first confirmation text message. (MTC automatically requires this opt-out message to be the first text you send.)

#6: Do you have a process for those who opt out?

Ensure that no one at your dealership texts them again by mistake. (MTC automates this compliance by blocking the phone number of opt-out customers…until that customer opts back in.)

#7: Do you already use a vendor to help manage your dealership’s one-to-one text messaging?

See if your vendor is up to date on the latest TCPA details. Then, make sure their system integrates mobile leads into your CRM, includes opt-out procedures, and lets you monitor and track the conversations so you can ensure these texts are used the right way…to provide information and customer service, not unrelated marketing. (If you are using MTC, you’re all set.)

Keep on Texting

Think that texting just isn’t worth this extra effort? Think again.

Texts sent to your customers bypass clutter and get read—Adtruth says that people check their smartphones 150 times a day.

And it’s in our interest to keep it that way. So while any rules change can be annoying, these TCPA changes can help prevent spammers from diluting a powerful communication channel.

That’s worth a few extra steps to ensure compliance!

*Please note: This article does not provide legal advice. Please consult your attorney for legal advice that pertains to your situation.

CONTINUE READING  AT THE ORIGINAL SOURCE OF THIS ARTICLE 

ADM Professional Community Members can download a full report in PDF file format:

TCPA-Guide-October-2013.pdf 

 

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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Edmunds Releases 2013 Car Shopping Trends Study – Automotive Marketing Professionals

Edmunds 2013 Car Shopping Trends Report

There are many dealers who have strong criticisms regarding Edmunds.com, but regardless of whether you consider Edmunds an asset or a liability to the retail auto industry there is little debate about their unique position within the vehicle buying process for many millions of automotive consumers…

The stark reality for car dealers seeking greater understanding of how car buyers shop online in 2013 is that Edmunds.com has the ability to paint a vivid portrait of today’s online car shopper… Which includes 9 out of 10 new and used vehicle buyers!

About 18 million visitors use the Edmunds.com site every month to shop for their next new or used car, and this gives the Edmunds team an unparalleled insight into the car buyer’s research and shopping process.  For as many years as I can remember, Edmunds has used the online automotive consumer activity to generate extensive research data and analysis to drive the sort of car buying insights that would establish itself as one of the more valuable resources for car companies and dealers to better understand car shopping and the way buyers use automotive information.  Historically, Edmunds has made the analysis and insights available to their business partners and to the public through academic inquiries and media requests.  However, Edmunds has not previously assembled together the complete volume of current time period data and the analysis and insights gleaned in one coherent piece.

By publishing and making available the 2013 Edmunds.com Car Shopping Trends Report, they have provided the auto industry and especially dealers and automotive marketers with a true gem of a document.  The report which ADM Professional Community members can download using the link at the bottom of this blog post, shows the results of extensive data mining within the Edmunds.com’s extensive database to reveal the most relevant car shopping and purchasing trends in America today.  These trends offer direct clues toward ways that the automotive industry can move forward by empowering a more engaging car shopping experience.

Throughout the 2013 Edmunds.com Car Shopping Trends Report, you’ll also find references to a 2011 survey conducted by “Added Value” on behalf of Edmunds.com that asked 2,476 online car shoppers representing the U.S. car shopper population to describe their expectations for their next car purchase.  Edmunds correlated these responses to real-world buying data to see if shopper expectations match reality. In preparing their analysis and conclusions, the Edmunds market research team found many striking consistencies between the two sets of market research data. These surprisingly strong correlations between the two reports suggest that car shoppers have a strong sense of the automotive marketplace and that they know how to set reasonable expectations around price, availability and product performance.


By evaluating this wealth of data provided by the Edmunds team, you will find a story about car shoppers that is often surprising and counter-intuitive to many dealers and automotive professionals.  While at other times, the Edmunds data reinforces critical theories held by car dealers, automotive sales professionals and throughout the auto industry. Some of the key findings in the 2013 Edmunds.com Car Shopping Trends Report include:

  • Two out of every three car shoppers consider themselves highly engaged in the car shopping process, and they turn to a variety of information to help them decide on a new or used car. Time spent on Edmunds.com is up 2 percent from 2011 to 2012. And the most-viewed elements by new car shoppers on Edmunds.com are reviews, pricing information and photos.
  • Mobile access is becoming a powerful tool for car buyers. Traffic to Edmunds.com’s mobile site spikes on the weekends – and especially on Saturdays – when the bulk of car buying takes place.
  • Shoppers are very good at anticipating how much they’ll pay for a new car. New car shoppers told us in 2011 that they plan to spend $30,500, on average, for their next vehicle. In fact the average transaction price for a new car the following year was $30,803.
  • The average age of a new car buyer is about four years older than the average age of a used car buyer.

  • Shoppers are turning to leases now more than ever. And the difference between the average monthly lease payment ($433) and the average monthly finance payment ($468) is greater than at any time since Edmunds.com started keeping records.

  • About 44 percent of all trade-in vehicles last year went toward a new car by the same brand, which is consistent with our 2011 survey that found that 49 percent of shoppers say they “plan to stick with a brand that has worked in the past.”
  • Luxury car owners and shoppers are buying and considering more nonluxury cars. The trend speaks to the improved quality of non-luxury vehicles.

  • Many shoppers say they want just the basics in a new car, but emotions can drive buyers to add options. New car buyers are willing to spend an average of $2,200 – or about seven percent – above base model and trim prices to add more options on their cars. 

The Edmunds.com’s 2013 Car Shopping Trends Report is intended to be a free resource for ADM Professional Community members who are interested in creating a better car buying experience. This is just the first in a series of reports that the Edmunds Research team hopes will shed more light on car shopping behavior.  The team intends these findings to open up a dialogue which will contribute to the ongoing improvements within the automotive retail industry. They also want to encourage ADM Professional Community members to contact Edmunds at any time to discuss more ways that Edmunds.com can help you better understand today’s car shopper.

Here is a link to download a PDF version of the Edmunds.com’s 2013 Car Shopping Trends Report: http://static.ed.edmunds-media.com/unversioned/img/industry-center/… 

Edmunds Points of Contact

For Dealer Inquiries: 855-EDMUNDS
For Press Inquiries: 310-309-4900

Source: http://www.edmunds.com/industry-center/car-shopping-trends/

Edmunds Annual New Vehicle Sales Forecast for 2013 and Historical Actual Sales:

via Edmunds 2013 Car Shopping Trends Report – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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Competitive Advantage: Professional Networking for Car Dealers

Competitive Advantage: Professional Networking for Car Dealers

Professional Networking as a Competitive Advantage for Car Dealers

About a month ago I had the honor and privilege of speaking at the Automotive Leadership Roundtable in Miami Beach, Florida. As each of the previous ALR events have been, the venue was superb and the dealers who attended were among the nation’s most successful and each of them true leaders within our industry.  

One of my favorite General Managers, Mr.Richard Bustillo of Rick Case Honda was a featured speaker at this year’s Automotive Leadership Roundtable and tells me that one of the most productive uses of his time is the contacts and networking connections he makes at this premier industry event.

“April 11, 2013 — DAVIE, Florida – Richard Bustillo, General Manager of Rick Case Honda, the World’s Largest Full Line Honda Dealership, will be leading a panel discussion at the Automotive Leadership Roundtable (ALR) on Monday, April 15, 2013, at the Fontainebleau in Miami Beach, Florida. This is the second consecutive year Mr. Bustillo was selected to speak at ALR, an annual conference of leading automotive management executives.”

Another more recently acquired friend of mine who is a dealer, Neil Amaral had accepted my nomination to attend the ALR event as one of the top independent car dealers in America. His “Amaral Auto Sales” dealership in New Jersey puts many franchised points to shame in all measurements of dealership operating criteria, including units sold, customer satisfaction and retention.. During and shortly after the ALR event, Neil opened my eyes up to an opportunity for car dealers that translates into sales and profits which I am sure too many dealers fail to take advantage of… The power or networking in the Auto Industry.  

Although I am going to use an example specific to Amaral Motors, it is merely one of many examples I have witnessed or participated in over the years… Profiting from a network of professional contacts.  Previous to this year’s ALR event I had several conversations with Mike Timmons and Ken Potter at TrueCar regarding a Used Car Affinity Sales Program for TrueCar dealers.While at ALR I took the opportunity to Introduce Neil Amaral to both Mike and Ken from TrueCar. Before the end of the event, they had worked out a deal for Amaral Motors to be an exclusive TrueCar Used Vehicle Center for their area of New Jersey.  As Neil pointed out when he thanked me, had he not listened to my description of the ALR event and trusted me as part of his professional network, he would not have secured his deal for the TrueCar Used Car Program at Amaral Motors.

As difficult as it may seem at first glance to be able to predict such “six degrees of separation” type of connections, it is actually a lot simpler than most dealers realize. Let me explain, because of social and professional networks online, today’s automotive professional and his or her networks of business connections are more readily available and visible than ever before.  Take a look at my profile onLinkedIn.com/in/RPaglia and you will see that there are over 200 auto industry professionals who have written recommendations of some sort… It does not take a clairvoyant to predict the potential for referrals and introductions.

Neil Amaral is a lot like several very successful dealers and General Managers I have known over the years, he sees the opportunity to leverage relationships for the benefit of his dealership’s marketing, sales and operational efficiencies, then focuses on developing those relationships.  In many cases, the dealers who are the most effective at getting more value than other dealers spending similar amounts of money on the same auto industry suppliers are the ones who focus on their relationships with key people working or running those supplier companies and business, while creating the desire within that supplier organization to deliver above and beyond what the dealership is actually paying for.

This begs the question… Do the dealers who focus on developing relationships with key marketing resources, thought leaders and suppliers get more for their dollar than the dealers who maintain arm’s length relationships and focus on negotiating price points? Do dealers who belong to online networks and professional communities such as the Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community establish relationship networks on a more efficient basis than those dealers who do not become active members of such networks?


There are many professional managers who believe in the “Purchasing Department” approach of grinding for the lowest cost deal… But it appears that in recent years there are also a growing number of highly successful dealers who have become advanced “relationship management practitioners” from the marketing supply side perspective…  

…Are you one of those dealers?

 

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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Is Your Mobile Website Ready for Google Enhanced Campaigns?

Is Your Mobile Website Ready for Enhanced Campaigns?

Is Your Mobile Website Ready for Enhanced Campaigns?

Today’s car shopper prefers a mobile-responsive experience. Tomorrow’s search ads demand it…

In an attempt to drag all of its advertisers into the new multiscreen reality, willingly or otherwise, Google recently announced the impending switch to Enhanced Campaigns. Ads in all campaigns will have the potential to run across all devices, so whether your prospective buyer is researching a car on a phone, tablet, or desktop, she may be served the same ad. 

If your site isn’t flexible enough to take users directly to the page they want – regardless of the device they are shopping on – then it’s time to start tweaking your stylesheets. Otherwise, you risk wasting thousands on mobile and tablet users who bounce the moment they’re redirected to your homepage instead of the inventory, lease offers, or service coupons advertised.

What’s changing?

Along with disabling the ability to select which devices you want your campaigns to target, Google Enhanced Campaigns usher in greater flexibility in device preference, ad extensions, geographic targeting, and conversion optimization.

In legacy campaigns, AdWords set device targeting and ad extensions at the campaign level. So, all ads in a particular campaign were set to show on phones, tablets, desktops, or a combination thereof, all with the same sitelinks, phone number, or address extension attached. Enhanced Campaigns let you drill down and select devices and ad extensions in a much more granular manner.

Here’s an example of a new Enhanced Campaign in action:

A dealership is ramping up its Service Enhanced Campaign. During business hours, mobile users are served ads with copy boasting quick wait times, an address with one-click directions, and a click-to-call phone number. Desktop users see coupon-focused copy with a tracking phone number and expanded sitelinks to soft-sell service pages. Once the dealership closes, ads with links to service forms go live in place of the phone numbers.

Another big change arriving with Enhanced Campaigns is geographic bid adjustment. Dealerships can now boost bids in zip codes where they sell the most cars. Before, advertisers chose geographic targets for their ads at the campaign level, and you were forced to create different campaigns for every zone in which you wanted to have separate bids. With Enhanced Campaigns, you can easily adjust bids by location without having to create dozens of separate campaigns.

Here’s an example in action: 

Browsing sales reports, a dealership sees that a significant number of their new vehicle sales are coming from users in select zip codes. Using bid adjustments in Enhanced Campaigns, the auto dealer can quickly and easily increase their bids by 50% for targeted keywords in that zip code, leading to a greater market share in an already receptive area, while decreasing bids in zips known to have a weaker return.

Four things dealers can do right now:

1. Ensure that you have Google Analytics installed on your site, and link your AdWords and Analytics so that you can measure the effectiveness of your ad traffic.

Before you begin upgrading your account, make sure that you know what’s happening with the traffic you’re paying for. If you’re not looking at what’s happening after a user clicks on your ad, then you’re flying half-blind.

Linking accounts is easy – just make sure you’re an administrator on both your AdWords and Analytics accounts, and you’re halfway there. Follow the instructionshere to close the loop.

2. Make sure the destination URLs on ads for inventory or other deep links won’t redirect mobile users to the homepage.

If you have a responsive-mobile site – that is, a singular site for all devices that doesn’t redirect mobile users to a mobile.yourdealership.com or yourdealership.com/mobile/ version of your site – then you’re already ahead of the game. 

Otherwise, contact your PPC provider and make sure that they create new Enhanced Campaign mobile ads with destination URLs that go right to the relevant page. Even if they have separate mobile campaigns right now, once they’re upgraded to Enhanced, those ads will show on any device.

3. Adjust bids based on location to make sure you dominate in zip codes you know have high sales numbers.

Take a look at your sales data over the last 12 months and send your PPC provider a list of the zip codes where you know you do well. Start with those locations, and concentrate on building out more sophisticated targeting in the future.  Focus on areas aren’t ranking well Organically.

4. Use upgraded call extensions to get free call tracking on your search ads.

Upgraded call extensions on Enhanced Campaigns no longer charge $1 per call, so take advantage of that free call tracking by adding it to any ads where a phone number will make a difference. You can also set up conversion tracking through AdWords to register any call greater than a specific duration to count as a conversion. That extra data will help guide on where the call extensions are most effective.

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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My Response to the Many Concerns I’ve Received Regarding Craigslist Block on Mass Posting Tools

My Response to the Many Concerns I’ve Received Regarding Craigslist Block on Mass Posting Tools

 

My Response to the Many Concerns I’ve Received Regarding Craigslist Block on Mass Posting Tools

Craigslist blocks on auto uploads, mass population tools and templates.  A system of checks and balances in software ‘law’ – Terms of Use http://www.craigslist.org/about/terms.of.use

I have no desire to build an automated posting tool that violates the terms of use of another software company (Craigslist). Keep in mind, Craigslist is not a lead source provider, it is a mostly free, “bottom up” oriented classified website. That being said, do we want dealers to be able to sell their products and services on Craigslist? Sure – Our entire philosophy is to make it easier for buyers and sellers to connect. However, just like Auto Dealers know that we can never replace the emotional aspect of buying a vehicle, so does Craigslist about their advertising. There’s a personal touch aspect that the developers of Craigslist do not want to lose to automation and mass posting mechanisms. Each time that a software company develops a way to violate Craigslist Terms of Use, Craigslist will fire back with a block; a means to protect the virtue of their product.

It is very unethical to violate Craigslist terms of use. I don’t believe in free lunch; no pain no gain.

   

So what does this means to auto dealers? It means that they may need to put a little elbow grease into posting their inventory on Craigslist; this could mean adding a staff member or allocating this responsibility to an Internet or BDC manager. Our most valuable assets are our integrity and the integrity of our staff, vendors and advertising sources.

I’ve decided to take an alternate path and train our dealership personnel to properly upload their vehicles to Craigslist and abide by their terms and conditions. We will always ask this question and decide: is it just, fair, and right to do what we intend to do and put ourselves in their (Craigslist) position. The answer is obvious. We will prosper and grow when we obey their ‘laws’ even if we don’t like them.

 

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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