page contents Automotive Thought Leadership: Ralph Paglia: December 2011 My title page contents

Thursday, December 29, 2011

True Car and ZAG - Cyber Bandits or Good for the Business? Automotive Marketing

True Car and ZAG - Cyber Bandits or Good for the Business?

Jim Ziegler Guidance: Ten Areas We Need to Concentrate on to Bring This Monster to It's Knees...
1. Government investigation of ALL Data Aggregators taking consumer information from dealers' DMS. Sadly enough, dealers who do business with TrueCar are exposed to liability charges. Cut off all access to unecessary data, no matter who takes it from the dealers DMS and make it illegal to "resell identifiable consumer data" and "transactional data".
2. If anyone takes financial transactional data, they expose the dealer that allowed it to violations, especially if it is passed on to other vendors or shared.
3. Educate Consumers to what they're doing with their information...
a. You buy a car from a dealer, do you really want your personal information, and maybe
even your financial information, passed along and sold and shared by "God knows who?"
b. These People Charge the Dealer $300 which the dealers have to build into the deal
c. Your Privacy and the Security of your Information could theoretically compromise your identity if you do business a company that takes data from the dealership.
4. Educate Investors and potential investors they could possibly be mislead if anyone is telling them this is a safe investment because of all of the dealers pushing back, associations pushing back, and government regulators in many states coming after TrueCar's business model as NOT compliant, in some cases they're saying it is Not Legal.
5. AMEX, USAA and all of their affiliates do not want the bad consumer relations this push back is creating with their members and customers.
6. Cancel your dealership's Affilation with TrueCar. Tell people with certificates YOU don't honor TrueCar and you feel the company is NOT reputable. Educate consumers as to perceived data exposure if they buy from a TrueCar dealer.
7. Make the dealers selling at huge losses take all of those deals. Big problem right now is too many Nissan Dealers and others are taking huge losers to get the factory money. The TrueCar reverse-auction business model will continually push those numbers down until the factory money is non-existent. Consumers need to hear from many dealers, "We don't do TrueCar"
8. Keep calling your National and State Dealer Associations demanding they get involved and stay involved... No excuses.
9. Get the Manufacturers into the game. If GM, Ford, Toyota, and other majors change the rules about how we advertise and do business to protect the dealers, we can cut off their ability to set pricing. So keep it up at every dealer meeting. Call your Dealer Council Members and protest to your factory reps.
Tell the manufacturers, if they want showroom and facility improvements, we need the ability to make fair profits.
10. Tell everyone you know. Educate other dealers and industry people. Watch the Painter interviews...I believe this the first time a vendor has publicly announced they intend to bring down the dealers and hijack our business, taking our profits and starving us out with our own data. Painter has said manufacturers and dealers should bankrupt and he, in his God-like way" will control distribution.
When their Yahoo Deal kicks in we need to stand firm and "Just Say No" we don't honor TrueCar deals.

Source: Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

5 Reasons It’s Not Your Breath - Automotive Marketing

5 Reasons It’s Not Your Breath

Kurt Kubicki asks; So why then do customers leave without buying? Are the reasons they give to our sales staff for walking the real ones? It’s kinder to the ego to believe they left to check with a spouse or for other excuses than for the “Real Reason versus the False Excuse.”

Use the link provided to read the full article...



Source: Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Thursday, December 22, 2011

TrueCar Consumer Incentive to Report Dealer Sales - Automotive Marketing

TrueCar Consumer Incentive to Report Dealer Sales

In my opinion, this is simply brilliant. The data provided by this sweepstakes will include sales made by dealers NOT PARTICIPATING IN THE TRUECAR VEHICLES SALES PROGRAM!

Source: Automotive Marketing Netword

ADM Members - Is AutoTrader Your Secret Santa? - Automotive Marketing

ADM Members - Is AutoTrader Your Secret Santa?

Brian Pasch has published a fascinating automotive digital marketing strategy... My digital marketing teams have seen the connection between Online Display Advertising (ODA) and Google search queries for branded terms used in the display ads for years, but this article and the attached charts illustrate the consumer's movement through the channel from seeing an ad, to doing a search, to visiting the dealer's website and submitting an inquiry, or initiating a chat conversation, physically visiting the store or calling via phone. Thanks to Brian Pasch for a great article!

Source: Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Automotive Industry Message from Scott Painter, Founder-CEO of TrueCar, Inc. - Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Automotive Industry Message from Scott Painter, Founder-CEO of TrueCar, Inc.

Scott Painter states; "Is TrueCar good for all dealers? There will always be those that resist change. To our dealer partners, we applaud your understanding that truth, transparency, and customer service is at the center of success in our changing market. And, to those that still have questions, we invite an open dialogue. One of the great virtues of transparency is that we have nothing to hide." Please use the link provided to read the entire message published by Scott Painter and TrueCar...

Source: Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Kansas Bans TrueCar - KANSAS AUTOMOBILE DEALERS ASSOCIATION - Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Kansas Bans TrueCar

It is our understanding that a number of Kansas franchised new car and truck dealers are currently doing business utilizing the TrueCar/Zag format. It is also our understanding that several formal complaints have been filed with the Kansas Department of Revenue’s Division of Motor Vehicles requesting an investigation of those dealers who have been identified. Use the link provided to read the entire letter sent to dealers by the Kansas Automobile Dealer Association...

Source: KANSAS AUTOMOBILE DEALERS ASSOCIATION - Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

For Those of Us Not on ADM.... SMH - Automotive Marketing

For Those of Us Not on ADM.... SMH

70% of Americans are online daily, checking emails, facebook, google,etc. Google alone gets over 91 million searches daily. According to QVC.com, QVC expects that 50% of its sales will come from the internet by 2014. Facebook has over 320 million users. Understand that 70% of Americans online includes 70% of your previous customer, 70% of your future or potential customers and 70% of your service customers. Also,your sales force, your family, everyone and this number is growing. Go to where your customers are. I see no downside to branding yourself online. It's cheaper than traditional advertising and it's 100% trackable. Marketing ideas can be implemented instantly, measured and changed with a click of the mouse.

Source: Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Top 20 Google Search Engine Advertisers of 2011 - Automotive Marketing

Top 20 Google Search Engine Advertisers of 2011

The top spender is IAC/InterActiveCorp at more than $174 million. IAC owns Ask.com, Match.com, Citysearch and several other companies that are all buying long-term non-used inventory from Google.

Other top players such as Amazon ($118 million), eBay ($70 million), and several car insurance agencies (State Farm, $54 million; Allstate, $50 million; Progressive, $46 million) invested several millions as well through the third quarter of this year on Google.

Microsoft, at just under $71 million and one of Google’s biggest rivals, is the sixth largest search advertiser on Google. Other notables include large travel sites Expedia ($92 million) and Priceline ($67 million). Experian Group was the fifth largest advertiser, spending more than $79 million.

What really caught my eye that I never would have thought about is how much telecoms AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint spend. They will likely combine for more than $300 million this year (estimating the fourth quarter). That's a ton of money and a ton of clicks. Though we do have to keep in mind that AT&T also owns online companies like YP.com and other relevant sites.

Source: Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

AutoData and Chrome combine forces - Now known as Chrome Data Solutions - Automotive Marketing

AutoData and Chrome combine forces - Now known as Chrome Data Solutions

"The combination of Autodata and Chrome will allow the North American automotive retail industry, including Internet portals, OEMs, lenders, automotive retailers, and solution providers, to benefit from one-stop shopping for their data and content needs," said Mark O'Neil, chairman and chief executive officer, DealerTrack. "Each company has an established, trusted legacy of more than two decades of providing data and services to the industry. By bringing together the breadth and depth of both companies, we will set new standards for data excellence and spur innovative new offerings."

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Digital Advertising: Math Plus Magic is the Future - Automotive Marketing

Digital Advertising: Math Plus Magic is the Future

Math and magic are essentially polar opposites, but share two similarities. The first is that they are both a much more hands-on approach to digital media. With magic, that means creating new experiences. With math it means managing programs on a daily basis, constantly evolving and improving. The second similarity is that math and magic are both underdeveloped skillsets in the industry. They were nice to haves in the past; it was enough to have a handful of people who had these talents. But from here on out, they're the two skills that matter most.

Click the link provided to read the article...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

TrueCar Insider Information - Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

TrueCar Insider Information

Mr. Painter my statements & questions to you:

  1. A fair price is one the customer accepts based on their own parameters not oneS you artificially create with the TureCar Curve…PERIOD!
  2. Zag / TrueCar is a pass through middle man, your company is the very company the internet eventually eliminates. All you and TrueCar are effectively doing is creating a point for the dealer & the customer to argue about (The TrueCar price) It’s not your inventory and not your place to price it. Mr. Painter when you start paying for the dealers overhead you can start pricing the car until then GET OUT OF OUR BUSINESS. If you want to be a marketer great! YOUR JOB, bring a customer to a dealer. THE DEALERS JOB, sell the car.
  3. Mr. Painter & State Attorney Generals where is TureCar’s Responsibility in advertising a price? Where are their disclaimers for incentives etc?
  4. Mr. Painter DOES EVERY DEALER ALLOW Zag / TrueCar into their DMS? I think we all know the answer to that question.
  5. Mr. Painter You say you don't use the dealers DMS data but you buy data from DMS companies, here’s a shocker for you… IT’S NOT THEIR DATA TO SELL!
  6. Mr. Painter it might also shock you to realize that the data given to finance companies and insurance agencies (if Zag / TrueCar really is?) isn't their data to sell either and potentially is a violation of GLB (Gramm, Leach, Bililey Act) and has potential liability for the dealer.
  7. Mr. Painter is Zag / TrueCar willing to take a feed from the dealership that only includes what you need to bill (Name, Address, phone, email address)? I think not, but I would love to hear the answer on that one.
  8. Mr. Painter who holds Zag / TrueCar accountable, and for what?
  9. Mr. Painter if you are getting paid on the sale how can you say you are objective? That’s non-sense.
  10. Mr. Painter you say your vast data and research shows that price is not what drives a customer to buy convenience and selection are big decision makers, GREAT! Get rid of the TrueCar Curve and let the dealers post the price. As I said earlier it’s not your inventory to price to begin with.

Dealers at the end of the day it is up to us to protect our data from thieves like TrueCar. That is a harsh statement I know, but I have had it with TrueCar trying to justify this process its BS.

NO MATTER WHERE THE DATA CAME FROM IT ORGINATED AT THE DEALERSHIP IF THE CUSTOMER WANTS TO DISCLOSE THAT DATA…FINE, BUT YOU DON’T GET TO BUY IT FROM DMS COMPANIES, INSUREANCE COMPANIES, DATA AGGORGATORS OR ANYONE ELSE IT IS NOT THEIR DATA TO SELL PERIOD.

Source: Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Friday, December 16, 2011

TrueCar Insider Information - Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

TrueCar Insider Information

I am posting this information that was sent to me by a TrueCar/ZAG insider to the ADM Forum section to generate discussions around the topics referenced in each section and the bullet points that follow... What is your opinion or insight on the listed sections shown?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Quality Grows As Top Factor in Car Buying Decisions - Automotive Marketing

Quality Grows As Top Factor in Car Buying Decisions

Women Want an Easy Transaction - Besides vehicle build quality... According to a separate CarMax survey conducted by Ipsos released in November, roughly 1 in 4 women said what was most missing from their last car-buying experience was a quick and effortless transaction. A fair trade-in value, trustworthy salesperson, or low, fair pricing (all at 15%) were most missing for relatively fewer women. In 2009, when a similar study was conducted, the leading element missing from the experience was also a quick and easy transaction (25%), followed by a fair trade-in value (19%), a trustworthy salesperson (15%), and low, fair pricing (13%).

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

How Dealers United Works for Automotive Dealerships

How Dealers United works

When considering the Dealers United value proposition, there are at least two important points to identify and evaluate:


1. What is the problem being solved?

2. Who are the principals and can they be relied upon to deliver?


In the case of Dealers United, the problem the company seeks to solve is fairly easy to understand, it is simply one of economics and purchasing power... Large buying groups have the economic clout to drive lower costs, while individual businesses are relegated to serving the quest for higher gross margins by the supplier. Dealers United will give the single point and smaller privately owned groups the ability to access mega-group buying power.


So, the real question is really one of do you trust and have confidence in the leadership of Dealers United? I (for one) have dealt with Jesse Biter for several years and have found him to be smart, trustworthy and a man of good conscience with strong business ethics and a sense of morality that is based on simple "Right or Wrong" dynamics, rather than being guided by selfish reasons or greed. Do I trust Jesse Biter? Yes, I do...


In my professional opinion, there is no reason why every independently owned dealership and smaller dealer group in America should NOT join Dealers United, and many valid reasons why they should.


Use the links provided to watch the Dealers United video...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Honda Warns Dealers About TrueCar - Bad for the Honda Brand!

Honda Warns Dealers About TrueCar

Mike Warwick, director of digital marketing for the seven-store Kelly Automotive Group in suburban Boston, agrees with Honda's policy toward TrueCar. "Honda's trying to protect the gross profit in selling a car and trying to protect the salespeople who are the backbone of the industry," Warwick said. Kelly, with a Honda store and two Nissan stores among its holdings, dropped out of its TrueCar contract this month after just three months as a participating dealer, Warwick said. In November alone, the group was inundated with 700 leads from TrueCar customers who took a guaranteed vehicle price that Kelly offered, he said. But the stores closed on just 20 of those deals and only three were profitable given the discounts negotiated, Warwick said. The vast majority of customers went elsewhere, using the deals negotiated on TrueCar to get lower prices for vehicles at other non-TrueCar dealers, he said. Meanwhile, Kelly had to follow up with all 700 customers, Warwick said.

Source: Bad for the Honda Brand! - Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Sunday, December 11, 2011

TrueCar Sales Process - Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

TrueCar Sales Process

Adam Barish's list makes me want to thump my chest, do high fives and smack-downs... However, in all sincerity, if you work in a dealership that uses TrueCar or any other value-diminishing price focused based marketing strategy, once the vehicle is sold, the damage is done. The mistake was made long before the customer showed up at the dealership. Therefore, why punish the customer for taking advantage of the stupidity that permeates your dealership's marketing decisions?

If anything, I would want to win the "Hearts and Minds" of these TrueCar mooches and try to ensure that next time around, they do not want to do business anywhere else... Or, service their vehicle anywhere else. After all, if your dealership is so poorly managed that you cannot generate a fair profit margin, then I hope you are able to retain some of these customers in your service drive to earn SOMETHING from selling that car.

Now, I will also agree that Adam's list made me smile and think "Hell Yeah!", but let's be smart enough to realize that wasting a customer is simply not the best way to go, so consider showing these TrueCar customers some love so they do not feel so compelled to use TrueCar in the future, instead preferring to deal directly with your dealership by cutting out the middleman and the extra $300 in dealer cost they incurred by using TrueCar.

Use the links provided to view Adam Barish's extensive and detailed list of TrueCar Sales Process steps...

Source: Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

How Dealers United works - Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

How Dealers United works

This video explains how Dealers United works and why it is a must do action item for all independently owned car dealerships who seek to control costs and be competitive with the large mega groups. Use the links provided to watch the video...

Source: Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Selling to the New Consumer - Service & Parts Coupons on Automotive Websites - Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Selling to the New Consumer

Silia Hatzi states "I realize that I may be preaching to the choir because it seems to me that most of the professionals engaged in a forum such as ADM try our hardest to have all aspects of our online marketing presence dialed in. I hope though, that for those who may have had it on a “To Do List” for a while and may have just needed a bit of inspiration for the New Year, that this post serves as such."

Source: Service & Parts Coupons on Automotive Websites - Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Dear Autobytel, Dealix, Edmunds, KBB - Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Dear Autobytel, Dealix, Edmunds, KBB

Jerry Thibeau - Early Monday morning I start receiving e-mails from third party lead providers thanking me for submitting my information. The e-mails were on the same vehicles I shopped on TrueCar. Coincidence, I think not! Now here is where it gets interesting, my data had been corrected to reflect my current e-mail, and my current phone number. I also started receiving phone calls from dealers. I am guessing my information could have been taken was from the DMS of the dealership where I last purchased my Infiniti. My questions to you, where did my lead originate from and how did you get my information?

Source: Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Truecar - Scott Painter DMS Data Speech - Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Truecar - Scott Painter DMS Data Speech

Jerry Thibeau - Early Monday morning I start receiving e-mails from third party lead providers thanking me for submitting my information. The e-mails were on the same vehicles I shopped on TrueCar. Coincidence, I think not! Now here is where it gets interesting, my data had been corrected to reflect my current e-mail, and my current phone number. I also started receiving phone calls from dealers. I am guessing my information could have been taken was from the DMS of the dealership where I last purchased my Infiniti. My questions to you, where did my lead originate from and how did you get my information?

Source: Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mark Boyd's ADM Profile page - Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Mark Boyd's ADM Profile page

Mark Boyd is an auto industry technologist and entrepreneurial legend... His startups include Chrome Data, Dealix and other well known automotive technology brands.

Source: Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

TrueCar Scam - Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

TrueCar Scam

I love the way Jerry created this video to be viewed by car shopping consumers... Be sure to show this clip to any customers considering the use of TrueCar.

Source: Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Probability of Accountability

The Probability of Accountability

Joe Webb "reveals" the hidden truth behind the BS that masquerades as a CRM installation in most USA based car dealerships... This article could have also been titled "The PROBLEM Of Accountability". I can attest to the fact that what Joe observed is something I have seen on far too many occasions in dealerships I was assigned to visit for CRM installation purposes back when I worked for The Reynolds and Reynolds Company, but is also a painful reality of what we see up to this day. These sorts of false accountability systems were destructive 8 years ago, and remain destructive to this day.

The good news is that most BDC's and slightly fewer Internet Sales Teams do not engage in such shenanigans because they do not have the luxury of putting their names on deals that they did not bring into the dealership (for the most part).

The bad news is that regardless of the systems you put in place, employees will usually figure out a way to game the system... For example, the nonsense I see of dealers blocking access to Facebook only results in the use of smartphones for this purpose and their employees bringing in their own laptops. In other words, technology does not prevent or provide accountability as much as it gives owners and managers a false sense of security that policies are being followed.

Source: Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Saturday, December 3, 2011

American Auto Industry Resurgence Infographic

American Auto Industry Resurgence Infographic

Have you seen the American Auto Industry Resurgence Infographic created and published by the United States Federal Government? Given that your Federal income tax dollars were used to create and publish this chart, I thought it would be well worth sharing with members of the Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community...

Source: Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Friday, December 2, 2011

TrueCar - Banned YouTube Video

TrueCar - Banned YouTube Video

WARNING: This is the same video that TrueCar forced YouTube to delete in their attempt to squash the message it contains... Watch this clip while you still can and before the army of attorneys that TrueCar uses to suppress America's Free Speech constitutional rights are successful in their "Mob Enforcer" style of witness suppression yet again!

Source: Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community