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Being successful as an auto dealer in the US is hard. Each year, there are a ton of companies in the US that default, because they fail to beat the competition, can’t craft and execute an effective market strategy, or simply neglect to keep up with industry innovations. But we learn as we go along, and there are many organizations and people in the business from whom you can “steal” an idea or two.
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The US auto industry is in the midst of a tremendous run-up in digital ad spending, piggybacking on cross-industry shifts in marketing budgets and historically strong domestic sales volumes. Automakers and dealers will spend $6.15 billion on US digital advertising in 2014, up 18.8% from the previous year. All told, substantial annual digital ad spending increases by the US automotive industry will continue for the foreseeable future, according to a new eMarketer report, “The US Automotive Industry 2014: Digital Ad Spending Forecast and Trends,” part of our new report series, “2014 Digital Ad Spending Benchmarks by Industry.”

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eMarketer also expects growth in the sector’s share of total US digital spending through 2018. By the end of the forecast period, automotive will rank as the second-largest industry segment in the US for digital ad spending after retail, keeping it near the forefront of digital marketing for at least the next several years.

More than one-third (35%) of US automotive-related digital ad spending will be on mobile this year, eMarketer predicts, accounting for $2.15 billion of the $6.15 billion total. This will put the auto industry in line with the US industry average when it comes to mobile’s share of digital ad spending. Investment should continue to shift into mobile advertising, accounting for a larger percentage of total spending each year, although the pace of this shift is likely to be tied to advances in attribution and targeting on mobile devices.

Even without those advances, mobile-based branding and upper-funnel advertising efforts are increasing in response to evolving consumer research behavior—which has shifted to mobile.

For the past two years, eMarketer’s US automotive industry digital ad spending data has shown budgets split 60% on direct-response tactics and 40% on branding—in line with the cross-industry average. Put simply, digital marketing strategies have solidified mainly around tactics that entice new-vehicle buyers to take action while they are in-market.

It’s a delicate balance given the long buying cycle associated with new vehicles. Brands must remain well considered and top of mind among consumers who are not yet in-market in order to win a place on their shopping lists once they are. Original equipment manufacturers with a slate of new product launches also gravitate toward branding campaigns as they attempt to drive awareness with native advertising or social media pushes.

Clearly, however, the baseline automotive industry digital strategy is weighted toward investing even more to win sales in the final weeks of a consumer’s shopping process using tactics like search and programmatically purchased, targeted ads. A major reason is the measurability of return on investment for direct-response tactics, which provides an easy case at budget time for further funding.

The effectiveness of such tactics has helped redefine how auto marketers approach branding campaigns. These too are becoming more targetable to specific consumers, blurring the line between branding and direct response.

2014 DIGITAL AD SPENDING

BENCHMARKS BY INDUSTRY

  • Retail
  • Financial Services
  • Automotive
  • Telecom
  • CPG
  • Travel
  • Consumer Electronics
  • Media & Entertainment
  • Healthcare & Pharma

The complete series by

eMarketerDownload the free executive summary today

- See more at: http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Digital-Ad-Spending-US-Auto-Industry-Racing-Ahead/1010872/1#sthash.YHopfFtm.dpuf

Source: http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Digital-Ad-Spending-US-Auto-Industry-Racing-Ahead/1010872/1

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Brace Yourself, CASL Is Coming!

Beginning July 1, new Canadian Anti Spam Legislation will go into effect, enforcing strict regulations on the way emails are sent, as well as how lists are collected and maintained. For most businesses, this means rethinking the way they structure their email marketing strategies to be in compliance.

Whether your business is located in Canada or not, these new regulations are good practice for email marketing in any country. Canada is not the first country to impose regulations on unsolicited emails. Several European countries have been enforcing email spam laws for quite some time, and with electronic media taking off, it’s a matter of time before new legislation is passed in the United States. 

On this episode of Hard Facts, Samantha details exactly what’s in store for Canadian businesses facing these new laws, and how to best prepare for the coming changes. Learn how you can make the transition as painless as possible when legislation goes into effect, and how your business can avoid hefty penalties and fines.

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25 Things Veteran Managers Need to Hear

(But don’t want to…)

In life, we all need someone to just tell us the hard truth.  Even when it’s something we really don’t want  to know.  Call it tough love, a reality check, or the ugly truth..  It is what it is.

My wife is talented beyond measure in this department.  For example, if it is apparent that I need a Kleenex (I think you know what I mean) my wife will give me a subtle elbow to the ribs and say, “Hey Batman, you have a bat in the cave.”  She finds this un-naturally entertaining, I might add.  The next exchange goes a little like this.

“Gone?”

“Nope”

“Now?”

“Still there.”

“Damnit!”

“Got it.”

“Thanks”

But even though I am a little embarrassed, I’m glad I didn’t walk around the party for two hours with an uninvited guest hanging out of my nostril like a baby kangaroo.

The bottom line is this.  The longer that you have been in the car business, the more you need this list.  You are guaranteed to disagree with me on some or all of this list.  It’s just my opinion.  Remember, I’m the guy who can’t even keep his nose clean…

  1. Quit worrying about the number of leads you’re getting and worry about HOW your handling the leads you currently have. There’s a good chance you’ve got this backwards.
  2. Trust me, you’re not spending enough time or money on training. How about consistently spending wasted, untracked advertising dollars on good training?
  3. Quit worrying so much about Average Gross Profit per unit and start measuring Spread. (Published Internet Price minus What you actually ended up selling it for, including under/over allowance.) You’ll find out who your strong ones are.
  4. There is practically no such thing as a “Walk-In” or “Drive By”.  Assume all of your customers are from the internet.  You’ll only be wrong 1 out of 10 times.
  5. You don’t HAVE to use 900lbGorilla.com. I think we all know the providers I’m talking about.  You have the ability to create more of your own leads, you know.
  6. Stop generalizing about advertising. (“XYZ never works” or “ABC always works”) It’s all in the offer.
  7. Stop using clichés: “This is the way we’ve always done it.”  “We tried that once and it didn’t work.”  “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”  I don’t care if they’re true, I’m just sick of hearing them.
  8. Stop only looking at your desktop when thinking about your website.  Wake up, we live in a handheld world.  The average person looks at their mobile device 104 times a day.
  9. Quit procrastinating on using video to communicate with customers.  Start creating a video culture, now.
  10. You DON’T need more inventory. You DO need better inventory. This IS a net profit thing, right?
  11. Shut up about having to give cars away on the internet.  It’s getting old and it’s making you look silly.  No matter how loud you cry, the internet is not going away.  Just make sure your customers don’t.
  12. Stop managing petty things and start managing your people’s habits and expectation levels.  People produce exactly what they expect to produce.
  13. Stop saying that Facebook doesn’t sell cars.  Read “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” by Gary Vaynerchuk.  He is smarter than you.
  14. Start treating your employees better.  Get them involved.  We all want to feel like a part of something bigger.
  15. Quit being lazy and implement a strict aging policy and a turn policy on your vehicles. Quit managing cars and start managing parking spaces and ROI on your inventory dollars. Does the term “Holding Cost” mean anything to you?
  16. Get your cars cleaned and online within 48 hours of getting them. If your vehicle is not online with pictures, thoughtful pricing, and good descriptions, it’s invisible to EVERYONE but you. (and your floorplan company)
  17. Stop talking so much about units. Start talking about net profit.  This goes for vendors, too.
  18. Your pay-plans probably suck.  I just said probably.  I have seen poorly constructed pay plans derail good intentions.
  19. Start treating your Internet/BDC Department like a REAL Department.  If 90% of your customers are online, why are you spending 10% of your time thinking about this department.  The Internet Manager needs to be treated and paid like the rest of your managers.
  20. Take off your bib and put on an apron. Practice servant management.  Serve, serve, listen, listen. Cook your damn employees a hamburger, for goodness sake!
  21. Start paying more attention to retention.  Quit ignoring your OWN dealership’s owner base.  Your sitting on a treasure chest.  Get off your butt and open it.
  22. Start listening to your incoming phone calls.  Just make sure there are no sharp objects nearby.  Then hold your vendors accountable for REAL number of leads.
  23. There’s a sales GOLDMINE on your service drive right now.  Next time you’re bored, count the number of ROs in your service department versus the amount of showroom traffic for the month. Where’s the opportunities?
  24. Stop teaching the “Silent Appraisal”.  While you’re at it, stop using VHS tapes, Sony Walkmans, and rotary dial phones.
  25. Stop getting upset when someone hires the superstar you developed.  It’s the ultimate compliment. When people leave you better than they came, you’re doing your job and your company is getting better.

I hope I didn’t ruffle your feathers.  I just don’t want you walking around with a bat in the cave.

Who’s your Danny?

@Danny_Benites

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Do You Respond Well To Customer Reviews?

Whether positive or negative, customer reviews have a major impact on your brand’s reputation. It’s important to understand how to handle both positive and negative reviews.
 
On this episode of Hard Facts, Samantha discusses:
  • How to tackle negative reviews from customers
  • Client experiences with negative reviews
  • Actionable items for building a response strategy

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Okay, check it out.

In my last article I wrote about how most dealerships come across a little conceited online, but say that they are a customer-centric organization.

I mentioned that it's alright to talk about yourself, but ONLY in a way that demonstrates maximum benefit to your customers.

Well now I'm going to reveal how to kick your website up a notch and dominate the web, (and your market).

Like I was saying, people don't care about you nearly as much as they care about themselves.

That means that the name of the game is presenting information on your website that people care about.

But how can you produce content and information that EVERYONE will find interesting?

It's more simple than you think.

Unlike traditional media, your website has the power to cover a wide array of topics that address the needs and wants of different customer segments AT THE SAME TIME.

How do you get started? Fhugetaboudit, it's easy peasy. 

1.) Look at your current customer portfolio and identify the variety of customer segments that you already serve.

These could include Seniors, Young Families, Bachelors, Bachelorettes, College Students, Union Workers, Military/Veterans etc.

2.) Create a list of topics that those various segments would find interest. Use logic and common sense. 

What I mean by that is this:

If you want to create content topics geared toward Seniors, think about the things that they are interested in. 

a.) Vehicles that are easy to get in and out of (maybe just had a knee surgery or something)

b.) Vehicles that can tow a travel trailer

c.) Vehicles with a little more luxury (they're done raising children and have a little more money to keep for themselves etc.)

Do you see where I'm going with this?

Once you've identified the topics for each segment do this:

3.) Identify the objectives for each piece of content that you want to create.

If it's a video, figure out what the call-to-action will be so that you can track the effectiveness of it.

If it's a blog, think of the path you want that customer segment to take and what action you want them to complete.

Here's why this is important:

Everyday, millions of automotive shoppers around the globe go online to find information that addresses their concerns or answers their questions.

Right now, there aren't really any dealer websites that provide the content that automotive consumers are looking for.

You're giving the OEMs and other third party websites the power to scoop up qualified vehicle shoppers and distribute them how they please. Most of the time, to your competitors.

By segmenting your content, you're empowered to reach various people with the topics that they care most about. 

In my next article, I'm going to reveal why this strategy works so extremely well and why you HAVE to start doing it.

Want help identifying your customer segments? Send me a friend request and we can set up a time to get connected.

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Success is a fascinating thing because every individual on the planet has their own definition of the word.

The dictionary defines success as a “favorable or desired outcome”

This is SO genius because it means that, not only can everyone have their own definition, but that THERE IS ENOUGH SUCCESS TO GO AROUND!

For some people, success is having the necessities…

For others, it’s making loads upon loads of money…

BUT, no matter what your definition of the word is, there is something that so many people miss out on when pursuing success.

Any idea what it is?

Have you ever heard that saying, “Success Breeds Success”? 

Believe it or not, there is something so powerful about rubbing shoulders with highly successful people.

How do you know who's truly successful though? The best way for you to know if they’re successful is to ask yourself two simple questions:

1.) Are they the type of person that you hope to be (character traits, qualities etc.) and, 

2.) Do they have the things that you want to have? (Could be material objects, status, expertise etc.)

When you find someone that you can answer ‘yes’ to those two questions, do whatever you can to be apart of their circle.

You see, when you rub shoulders with successful people (the people that are who you aim to become), there are natural born opportunities that arise from your mere association with them.

One of the best ways that I know of to be in the presence of successful people is to attend as many workshops and conferences as you can. Where else do you get the opportunity to be in the same room with these successful people, have lunch with them and ask them questions?

There are approximately 17,000+ dealerships in the United States today. Including every employee, how many people work in the retail car business? LOTS! …

Yet, there are very few who attend conferences. 

There is no question that these conferences come with a price tag, but you absolutely, 100% CANNOT let the price of success, cost you your success.

Listen, I am not involved with any particular conference for financial gain. I have just come to learn that if you want to be successful, you need to get connected with other like-minded, successful individuals and I don’t know any other better place than at the plethora of workshops and conferences going around. 

One of the next ones you can see me at will be the Internet Sales 20 Group in Boston this coming September.

Supercharge the achievement of your personal definition of success. Start rubbing shoulders with successful people. 

Have questions? Hook me up in the comments below.

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Are You Using Google's Hidden Treasure?

Chances are, there’s already been a Google account created for your business, but are you correctly using Google Places and Google+ Local to increase your exposure? Find out how you should be setting up these features to market your dealership.

Get the Hard Facts from Samantha Cunningham at POTRATZ, and learn strategies for increasing your dealership’s online visibility.

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Have You Gone Too Far?

Do you ever find yourself asking: How long should a video walk around be? When do you have too much content in an email blast? What makes a great landing page? On this week's Think Tank Tuesday, I'll cover these questions and more!

  Tune in now and learn how long you should be making your content on several different marketing channels.

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There is something going on with dealership websites that needs to stop ASAP!

It’s something that should be pretty obvious, but clearly isn’t.

Know what I’m talking about?

Most websites for car dealers look, feel and flow the same way as each other.

They all have the same messaging, calls-to-action, design concepts and lack the site traffic needed to make a big impact on gross or net profits.

The problem is that automotive consumers are much more web-savvy than they’ve ever been.

They have been conditioned to use the internet in a specific way based on the sites they visit on a regular basis.

Sites like Amazon, eBay, Facebook and other ecommerce and social sites.

Most dealer websites are not providing the experience that online users are already used to. They are playing catchup.

I think most dealers would agree that the objective of their website is to get more leads from their website. After all, more leads = more sales opportunities, right?

Well here’s a secret that will get your website converting traffic like a machine.

I must warn you, that this secret will require...WORK.

Nonetheless, it’s a tried and tested strategy that will separate your dealership from the vast majority of other dealers and help you dominate your market online.

If you look at the other websites out there that your consumers are visiting on a regular basis, what do they all have in common?

Information in the form of content.

You see, every day MILLIONS of automotive consumers are going online to research your products and services. You know what they’re finding? Your competitors.

Why? Because your competitors are providing more information on their websites than you are.

Why is it that I can go online and find more information about a $20 cell phone case than most consumers can about the second largest investment of their life?

Think about it!

You need to get more content on your website that covers a variety of topics.

Blog about the latest vehicles on your lot. Do video test drives. Talk about your products and services in a way that provides REAL value to your customers. Leave the pitch out.

Just focus on value, value, value and more value.

The cool thing about providing value in the form of content is that you’ll attract the right type of customers to your site.

All you need to do is identify the type of customer you wish to attract and then create content that speaks to them.

When you know who you’re speaking to, it gets that much easier to know what to ask them as well. All you have to do is line up the call-to-action with the content that you’ve created.

This strategy will give you an immediate increase in leads because you’ll be able to leverage your existing site traffic.

So here’s the breakdown on how to get started:

1.) Figure out what type of customer you want to speak to (vehicle sales, parts, services, finance etc.)

2.) Create content in the form of a blog, videos, images etc that speak to them about what they’re interested in

3.) Keep the pitch out of your content - just focus on providing REAL value to the customer

4.) Include a call-to-action that’s relevant to your content

Doing so will allow you to:

1.) Leverage your existing site traffic

2.) Attract new Qualified site traffic

3.) Increase leads from your website

Have fun with this, and feel free to comment with your questions if you’d like some help getting started.

 

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http://www.automotivedigitaltraining.com 856-546-2440 

http://www.dealersynergy.com ;

Car Salesman "Ups" A Waitress & Sells 2 Different People Cars & Sets 4 Additional Appointments For Future Car Sales!

Sean V. Bradley, CEO of Dealer synergy recently conducted a training session at Roswell Honda in New Mexico and inspired a fledgling Automotive Sales Professional to try some of the Dealer Synergy Prospecting strategies… And the VERY FIRST time, Dexter hit a grand slam home run! Congrats Dex! 

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Cloudy With A Chance Of Sales

You can't control the weather, but you can control how your dealership responds to major weather events. Find out how your dealership can be the sunshine after the storm by helping shoppers who have recently been affected by these conditions.

Get the Hard Facts from Samantha Cunningham at POTRATZ, and learn strategies for responding to bad weather in your area.

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