page contents Automotive Thought Leadership: Ralph Paglia: May 2015 My title page contents

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Story Behind B.B. King's Love Affair With Lucille


With every iconic guitarist comes an iconic guitar. Willie Nelson has Trigger, his tattered acoustic Martin. Eric Clapton played a black Stratocaster, Blackie, for much of his prime until mechanical issues forced him to retire it. But from blues to country to rock, the most famous guitar might be B.B. King's Lucille.

Unlike other guitarists, King didn't bestow the name Lucille upon a single guitar. Instead, he gave it to all his guitars to remember a particularly memorable show early in his career. In 1949, King had just signed to RPM Records, where he was recording as a session musician and touring throughout the United States. At a gig in Twist, Arkansas, two men began to brawl over a woman named Lucille, knocking over a kerosene stove—it was the dead of winter—and igniting a fire at the venue.

Despite a blaze that "looked like a river fire," King ran in to save the guitar as the buildings walls began to crumble. When he found out the next day that the two fighters had died, King vowed to name future guitars Lucille as a reminder—against fighting over women and doing risky things, like running into a building to save a guitar.


That night King was playing a cheap Gibson L-30, but the guitar most frequently associated with the name "Lucille" is a Gibson ES-355. With its fat, curvy, semi-hollow body, mother-of-pearl fretboard markers, and dual pickups, the ES-355 informed King's signature aesthetic and sound as much as his voice. In the '80s, King worked with the company to make his own "Lucille" model of the ES-355, which featured a couple of schematic modifications and the guitar's name emblazoned on the head.

Lucille influenced much of King's career, from the 1968 album and song he named after the guitar to a 1997 visit to the Vatican when he gave Pope John Paul II one of the instruments as a gift.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Time For Car Dealers To Reconsider Landing Page Microsites - Automotive Digital Marketing

Car Dealers Should Reconsider Their Landing Page and Microsite Strategy 

The tried and true landing page — an automotive marketer’s best friend
In the ‘old’ days of the web, all of a brand’s web traffic would be funneled into their website home page, or to deep links within that site. Sloppy and ineffective digital marketing was soon exemplified by worst practices such as:
  • Drop an email, land those clicks on the home page.
  • Launch a display ad, drive those visitors into the main product category page.
  • Run a print ad with your main website URL.
While this worked at getting lots of ‘hits’ and ‘eyeballs’ to a dealership's website, it wasn’t as efficient at getting those visitors to take an action that turned into sales or service business results. At some point, early in the days of automotive digital marketing, some smart car guys turned marketers (or vice versa) woke up and said to themselves, “Hey, if 1% of our site traffic is converting into a lead or a sale, what’s going on with the other 99%? How can we get more visitors to take action on our site?”
Enter the landing page. Technically, any page a web visitor might land on after clicking any web link, is a landing page. But the term quickly came to mean an offer-specific page created exclusively for a single stream of campaign traffic.
By removing the distraction of main site navigation, and focusing page content on the car, the offer or campaign message, landing pages are effective at getting far more campaign visitors to land and convert into a lead, visit or phone call. Landing pages quickly became the defacto type of digital experience deployed for most paid advertising campaigns — working particularly well for pay-per-click, display ads and affiliate traffic from inventory search sites.
One of those ‘smart’ marketers who first asked how to get more site visitors to take action was Seth Godin. Seth coined the term ‘landing page’, perhaps as far back as 1991, and said of landing pages.
“Landing pages are not wandering generalities. They are specific, measurable offers. You can tell if they’re working or not. You can improve the metrics and make them work better. Landing pages are the new direct marketing, and every one... is a direct marketer.”
- Seth Godin

Infographic shows 18 facts and statistics on how effective landing pages can be: 
A landing page is any page you direct campaign traffic to, and it works incredibly well at getting more of your web visitors to land and take action — it’s the mechanism by which you can turn your 1% conversion rate into 2%, or your 15% conversion rate into 30%.
Best practices for landing pages include:
  • Relevant — Specific to the ad or message the visitor clicked on to get there
  • Focused — Without extraneous content, navigation and calls to action, singularly focused on an offer or specific topic, such as a car or truck model line
  • Directional — Visually with content and calls to action, clearly show what action the automotive consumer visitor should take next

In 2006 Seth Godin blogged about using landing pages to increase five possible actions from your visitors. These pretty much hold true today — I've flushed this list out to 7 desirable results. Almost all digital (and non-digital) campaigns seek to have visitors do one of these seven business critical actions.
A landing page (when done properly), will cause one of seven actions:
  1. Get a visitor to click (to another page, deep link into your website or somewhere else)
  2. Get a visitor to physically visit your dealership
  3. Get a visitor to call your dealership
  4. Get a visitor to give permission for you to follow up (by email, phone, etc. via a lead form)
  5. Get a visitor to tell a friend, relative or co-worker
  6. Get a visitor to learn something
  7. Get a visitor to communicate (which could include posting comments or giving your dealership some sort of feedback)

As effective as landing pages originally were at converting campaign web traffic into leads and sales, they came to represent a fairly static, formulaic experience. A typical landing page designed to capture leads contains basic elements like headline, sub-headline, content blurbs (and maybe a video), images, calls to action and a lead form. A typical car dealership landing page fares no better with product and specifications information and a ‘Get a Price Quote’ button.
These formulaic pages can be effective, but they only work up to a point. As user expectations on the web rapidly evolve, the landing page hasn’t necessarily always kept up.
So what do automotive consumers want?
What makes their experience with your landing page a positive one?
It’s probably not some text copy and a form hastily slapped together on a web page. Nor is it a big, flashing “get the buy now price” image. Users expect useful, meaningful digital experiences every time they interact with your dealership and the brands you represent.
According to Forrester Research:
“Digital touch-points can drive revenue, lower costs, build brands, and engender customer loyalty. But to achieve these potential benefits, companies must deliver digital interactions that meet their customers’ needs in easy and enjoyable ways.”
~ Top 10 Ways To Improve Digital Experiences, Forrester Research

The marketing campaign landing page is often your dealership's very first digital touchpoint, providing a critical opportunity to meet (or exceed) automotive consumer visitor expectations through easy, enjoyable, useful experiences. The fact that it is so frequently a prospective customer’s first impression of your dealership makes it all the more critical to elevate your landing page into a truly effective digital experience. Interactive content transforms landing pages into engaging, high-conversion experiences...
Several trends are combining to radically raise the expectation of the average visitor to your landing page:

Mobility
Users are increasingly conditioned to interact with mobile apps, which provide an instant feedback loop. Put in data, get a result. Book an appointment. Play a game and see your stats. There is an inherent interactivity in a mobile app that users are coming to expect with their browser-based experiences as well.

Youtility
It’s no longer enough to pitch your wares and win the sale. Consumers expect useful experiences from the brands they do business with. A helpful experience will always win the day over a self-serving experience that simply overloads the visitor with information.

Content Overload
With the explosion of content available at every turn, web users are increasingly taking their content in small doses. Consumption becomes about skimming and surfing rather than settling in for a long read. Content chunks are more easily digested than an endless tome of paragraph after paragraph.
Adding app-like, useful, enjoyable interactivity to your digital experiences can significantly elevate your user engagement and conversion rates. That’s where interactive content comes in.
Interactive content can elevate any digital experience, from a home page to deep links to landing pages. In the case of campaign-specific digital landing pages, interactive content is particularly transformative.

Forrester Research identifies 3 types of customer perceptions that a digital experience must align with:
  1. Enjoyable — How enjoyable were they to do business with?
  2. Easy — How easy were they to do business with?
  3. Useful — How effective were they at meeting your needs?

Interactive content can take the form of...
An interactive content experience is a browser-based marketing experience designed for automotive consumer user engagement. It’s not a mobile app that runs on a mobile operating system as an installed application! Rather, it’s an interactive, engaging experience that’s lives within the browser, regardless of device. It’s desktop, mobile, tablet — it’s any device, any time.
Interactive content can take the form of:
  • Quizzes & Assessments
  • Calculators
  • Surveys
  • eBooks
  • Contests
  • Conversion Paths
  • Wizards & Configurators
  • eCatalogs
  • White Papers
  • Pricing Spreadsheets 
  • Messaging Apps
  • Needs Assessment

Getting started with interactive content
In essence, interactive content delivers an app-like, engaging experience within the browser, to visitors to your website and landing pages. The app-like experiences are responsive, and work elegantly across any device from desktop to smart phone.
Great. But...where on earth do you start? How do you actually come up with ideas for interactive content, let alone get one built and deployed?
Transforming static content into a useful, engaging interactive experience is actually easier than it sounds. You likely already have some great content and it’s just a matter of some creative brainstorming to find areas of opportunity to transform that static content into interaction for your visitors. 
“The degree of sophistication of the digital experience that is created is a clear predictor of brand perception.”
- Demand Metric, Digital Marketing Landscape, The Power of Digital Experiences in 2014

BEST PRACTICES
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Here are some ideas to get started:
Does your dealership have any in-depth white papers? Turn them into an interactive, ‘choose your own adventure’ eBook. Add more interactivity by sprinkling quizzes or surveys throughout.
Do you have a pricing spreadsheet used internally by your Internet sales team to determine pricing? Turn it into an online calculator that automotive consumer visitors can use. Even complex pricing on vehicles that are hard to get can be turned into a pricing range estimator.
Automotive products tend to be complex and require complex configurations to determine the right solution (especially trucks), use a model configurator that walks automotive consumers visiting your sites through a series of questions and then serves up results in a customized solution based on their question responses.
Do you have a set of best practices for automotive consumers that apply to your region and are specific to the automotive products and services they are likely to be seeking?
Turn those recommendations into an online self-assessment. Based on automotive consumer visitor responses to questions you can deliver personalized recommendations for improving their automotive purchase experience and the results they get.
Do you have specific messaging pre-written and ready for new vehicle sales campaigns, used vehicle sales, service department and accessories? Have roles been assigned to qualified employees, or does your dealership need and struggle with getting the right content into the right hands? A conversion path can help automotive consumer visitors step themselves through a series of simple choices to quickly get to the most relevant and targeted information.
The best way to get started with interactive content is to look at your existing assets and re-envision them as interactive experiences. The possibilities are endless! And to ensure they are high-performance and result in more leads and sales, consider experimenting with the presentation and messaging around the apps. It’s great to test content, flow and design when deploying an interactive experience, using real-time A/B testing. 
“A relationship exists between placing a high priority on digital experience marketing and revenue growth. 76% of participants reporting revenue growth in the most recent fiscal year also put a high priority on digital experience creation. For organizations that reported declining revenue growth, only 6% report digital experience creation as a high priority.”
- Demand Metric, Digital Marketing Landscape, The Power of Digital Experiences in 2014

Next steps
Implement an interactive content experience and see how it can improve your campaign results
It’s time to turn your landing pages into interactive, useful, enjoyable experiences. It’s what your web visitors expect, and the technology exists to enable you to rapidly deploy & test interactive content while minimizing development time and costs.
Interactive content can change your campaign results from “so-so” to “wow” by decreasing bounce rate, increasing visitor consumption of your content, and ultimately delivering far more leads & sales to your organization.
Jay Baer, in his New York Times best selling book "Youtility" says:
“In a world where every prospective customer is facing an invita- tion avalanche, where every business is asking people to follow their tweets, read their blog, or watch their videos, you must resist the temptation to communicate solely and endlessly about your company, hoping for a quick sale. Helping can replace selling, or at the very least reduce the friction within that sales transaction. And you can do this. You can help your customers learn...You can help them plan....You can help them enjoy.”

As you evaluate your campaign landing pages — those crucial first impressions of your dealership's digital touch points, ask yourself the following questions:
  •   Is this page useful?
  •   Is this page helpful?
  •   Does this page do more than just ‘pitch’?
  •   Does this page provide meaningful value?
  •   Is it engaging?
  •   Is it responsive across all devices?
  •   It is app-like?  
Evaluating your pages through these lenses will help you see the opportunity in front of you to transform your online marketing results.

Score your landing page
Discover how your landing page stacks up and what you can do to improve it. Ion Interactive asks you 13 multiple choice questions about your dealership's landing pages. Based on your answers, we instantly give you specific recommendations that you can use to improve your automotive consumer user experience and your digital marketing results. It’s free, fast & easy!

Score your landing page!  Discover how your landing pages stack up and what you can do to improve it. Ion asks you to answer 13 multiple choice questions about your dealership's websites and campaign landing pages. It’s free, fast and easy!
Get Started Now...The sooner you complete the questionairre and get their recommendations, the sooner your dealership will be on its way to more sales and service leads... More local dealership branding... More revenue and profits.

Looking for more helpful tips?
Use the link below to jump on over to the ion blog for 13 more landing page best practices... www.ioninteractive.com/interactive-content/how-to-assess-the-quality-of-your-campaign-pages
  
Bonus Landing Page Toolkit
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Get started creating, testing and optimizing campaign-specific landing pages with ion interactive's
28-page Landing Page Toolkit.
The toolkit includes tools for all levels of expertise, from beginner to landing page rockstar! Register and get instant access to 13 diagnostic exercises, plus a downloadable companion with templates, charts & online tools.  Register to receive the toolkit via email!

About ion Platform and Services
ion is an interactive content marketing platform loved by hundreds of leading brands. It’s used to create and test interactive experiences that generate leads, enhance brands, and drive revenue.
✔ Create engaging interactive experiences in minutes
✔ Pass segmentation and sales enablement data in and out
✔ Test and auto-optimize alternative interactive experiences
✔ Save time, money and resources
According to TechValidate: 73% of Ion customers double their website conversions. 90% get positive ROI. And 95% would recommend Ion.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Phil Penton Accepts Position At SureCritic

SureCritic Taps Phil Penton to Lead Brand Development and Strategic Alliances 


Online automotive, social media, and reputation management expert excels at accelerating growth for fast-paced technology companies

Seattle, WA – SureCritic, creators of the industry's first SocialCSI® Customer Experience Management (CEM) platform that combines the best features of reputation management with the best features of CSI, is pleased to announce the addition of Reputation Management expert Phil Penton. Penton brings over a decade of experience in automotive, reputation management, and social media solutions in well-known companies, including SOCIALDEALER, Xcite Advertising, and CDMdata. 

In his new role, Penton will drive business development and strategic relationships with automotive brands to further the aggressive growth of SureCritic's expanding platform, which includes the industry's first SocialCSI solution, and an enterprise-level survey platform capable of handling the most complex branch logic survey requirements. 

Penton has a proven track record of accelerating growth for fast-paced technology companies. Currently he serves as partner and strategist for Xcite Advertising and CDMdata, where he oversees digital advertising strategies and strategic alliances. Previously he served as partner and president at SOCIADEALER, where he helped to drive tremendous growth for its managed reputation and managed social media customers. Prior to that, he co-founded Social Integration, an end-to-end platform for managing reputation and social media marketing. He has also served as vice president of business development for HomeNet Automotive. 

"I 'm most impressed with SureCritic's technology platform and the new features and functionality we'll be bringing to market over the next twelve months for manufacturers, dealerships, and independent repair shops," said Penton. "SureCritic is advancing Customer Experience Management from a technology and implementation perspective, which is unlike anything else I've seen out there. They are literally on a mission to dramatically change how businesses and vendors interact with customers. From what I've seen behind the scenes, it's revolutionary and I'm excited to be a part of it!"

"Phil is at the forefront of reputation management and social media solutions and his expertise and relationships within the automotive industry will be invaluable as we grow our relationships and brand presence," said David Brondstetter, CEO of SureCritic. "He's a wonderful asset to our team and we look forward to continued strong growth with him on board."


EDITOR'S NOTE: I have personally worked with Phil Penton on several projects while he served two previous companies. Phil is a consummate professional with outstanding integrity and a deep knowledge of how social media and reputation management resources can be leveraged by car dealers and automotive enterprises to drive marketing communication objectives. There is no doubt in my mind that Phil Penton will serve SureCritic well and ensure they become a significant part of the automotive marketing landscape. 

[Sent from Ralph Paglia's iPhone]
Ralph Paglia | President 
ADM Advertising & Consulting, LLC
Twitter and Instagram: @RalphPaglia 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

America's Most Hated Car Brands

According to a survey from the American Customer Satisfaction Index, buyers of both foreign and domestic cars aren't overly happy with their purchases. In fact, customer satisfaction in the auto industry is at a five-year low.

The decline is widespread, with 80 percent of car brands experiencing drops in customer satisfaction. 

Forrest Morgeson, ACSI's director of research, told MarketWatch that the decline is likely due to a lack of incentives -- meaning people are paying more for cars than they did a few years ago -- and a wealth of recalls across the industry.

A few brands performed worse than others in the study, and we've compiled those in this gallery right here. Head on through to see the brands that car buyers are liking the least. 

Cadillac

Cadillac

Score (Out of 100): 80

Cadillac, which is the luxury arm of General Motors, has struggled with customer satisfaction, taking seventh place on the list with a score of 80 out of 100. The brand has launched a number of new vehicles over the past few years that have been met with enthusiasm from critics and decent sales numbers, but it still has a ways ago before it is competing with the likes of Mercedes-Benz and Lexus, according to the study.

Notable cars from Cadillac include the Escalade (pictured here), CTS and ATS. 

Click here to research Cadillac vehicles

BMW

BMW

Score (Out of 100): 80

Though BMW is one of those brands that youngsters dream of one day owning, it has still struggled with customer satisfaction as of late. It's not entirely clear why the German automaker is so disliked at the moment, but the brand has a reputation for requiring frequent and expensive maintenance, likely causing its buyers a good deal of grief.

In addition to sporty sedans like the 3 Series and 5 Series (pictured here), BMW has begun offering green cars like the i3 and i8.

Click here to research BMW vehicles
Mazda

Mazda

Score (Out of 100): 80

Mazda has been on a roll with car reviewers who love its cars' sporty driving dynamics, striking exterior design and great fuel economy. In spite of this, the brand has struggled to keep its customers satisfied, according to the study. Mazda tied with Cadillac and BMW with a score of 80 out of 100. 

Mazda's current stable of cars includes the Mazda3 small sedan (pictured), Mazda6 midsize sedan and CX-5 crossover.

Click here to research Mazda vehicles
Acura

Acura

Score (Out of 100): 77

It's surprising to see Acura on this at all, let alone having the lowest customer satisfaction overall. Its parent company, Honda, is among the highest for customer satisfaction, the brand has a sterling reputation for reliability and last year it was in the middle of the pack in this study. Acura certainly hasn't been wowing anyone with its products, and perhaps its buyers aren't impressed with how they compare to its competition. 

Acura vehicles include the RLX (pictured here), ILX sedan and MDX SUV.

Click here to research Acura vehicles





Cadillac

Cadillac

Score (Out of 100): 80

Cadillac, which is the luxury arm of General Motors, has struggled with customer satisfaction, taking seventh place on the list with a score of 80 out of 100. The brand has launched a number of new vehicles over the past few years that have been met with enthusiasm from critics and decent sales numbers, but it still has a ways ago before it is competing with the likes of Mercedes-Benz and Lexus, according to the study.

Notable cars from Cadillac include the Escalade (pictured here), CTS and ATS. 

Click here to research Cadillac vehicles

BMW

BMW

Score (Out of 100): 80

Though BMW is one of those brands that youngsters dream of one day owning, it has still struggled with customer satisfaction as of late. It's not entirely clear why the German automaker is so disliked at the moment, but the brand has a reputation for requiring frequent and expensive maintenance, likely causing its buyers a good deal of grief.

In addition to sporty sedans like the 3 Series and 5 Series (pictured here), BMW has begun offering green cars like the i3 and i8.

Click here to research BMW vehicles
Mazda

Mazda

Score (Out of 100): 80

Mazda has been on a roll with car reviewers who love its cars' sporty driving dynamics, striking exterior design and great fuel economy. In spite of this, the brand has struggled to keep its customers satisfied, according to the study. Mazda tied with Cadillac and BMW with a score of 80 out of 100. 

Mazda's current stable of cars includes the Mazda3 small sedan (pictured), Mazda6 midsize sedan and CX-5 crossover.

Click here to research Mazda vehicles
Acura

Acura

Score (Out of 100): 77

It's surprising to see Acura on this at all, let alone having the lowest customer satisfaction overall. Its parent company, Honda, is among the highest for customer satisfaction, the brand has a sterling reputation for reliability and last year it was in the middle of the pack in this study. Acura certainly hasn't been wowing anyone with its products, and perhaps its buyers aren't impressed with how they compare to its competition. 

Acura vehicles include the RLX (pictured here), ILX sedan and MDX SUV.

Click here to research Acura vehicles






















Cadillac

Cadillac

Score (Out of 100): 80

Cadillac, which is the luxury arm of General Motors, has struggled with customer satisfaction, taking seventh place on the list with a score of 80 out of 100. The brand has launched a number of new vehicles over the past few years that have been met with enthusiasm from critics and decent sales numbers, but it still has a ways ago before it is competing with the likes of Mercedes-Benz and Lexus, according to the study.

Notable cars from Cadillac include the Escalade (pictured here), CTS and ATS. 

Click here to research Cadillac vehicles

BMW

Score (Out of 100): 80

Though BMW is one of those brands that youngsters dream of one day owning, it has still struggled with customer satisfaction as of late. It's not entirely clear why the German automaker is so disliked at the moment, but the brand has a reputation for requiring frequent and expensive maintenance, likely causing its buyers a good deal of grief.

In addition to sporty sedans like the 3 Series and 5 Series (pictured here), BMW has begun offering green cars like the i3 and i8.

Click here to research BMW vehicles

Mazda

Score (Out of 100): 80

Mazda has been on a roll with car reviewers who love its cars' sporty driving dynamics, striking exterior design and great fuel economy. In spite of this, the brand has struggled to keep its customers satisfied, according to the study. Mazda tied with Cadillac and BMW with a score of 80 out of 100. 

Mazda's current stable of cars includes the Mazda3 small sedan (pictured), Mazda6 midsize sedan and CX-5 crossover.

Click here to research Mazda vehicles

Mazda

Score (Out of 100): 80

Mazda has been on a roll with car reviewers who love its cars' sporty driving dynamics, striking exterior design and great fuel economy. In spite of this, the brand has struggled to keep its customers satisfied, according to the study. Mazda tied with Cadillac and BMW with a score of 80 out of 100. 

Mazda's current stable of cars includes the Mazda3 small sedan (pictured), Mazda6 midsize sedan and CX-5 crossover.

Click here to research Mazda vehicles

Audi

Score (Out of 100): 79

Audi has seen sales skyrocket in recent years with its large fleet of sporty and sexy luxury vehicles. Still, customers aren't satisfied with it. Audi scored a 79 out of 100 points to put it near the bottom of all automotive brands. Interestingly, Volkswagen, which is Audi's parent company, found itself on the list of brands customers are most satisfied with.

Audi vehicles include the S4 (pictured) sedan, Q5 SUV and R8 supercar.

Click here to research Audi vehicles

Jeep

Score (Out of 100): 79

Jeep has been a legendary automotive brand since it made its first appearance during WWII, but it has been suffering as of late. Lackluster offerings with poor reliability have caused the brand to sour with consumers. The good news is that under new ownership Jeep seems to be on its way back up with a growing fleet of solid vehicles.

Jeep SUVs include the Cherokee (pictured), Grand Cherokee and Wrangler.

Click here to research Jeep vehicles

Dodge

Score (Out of 100): 78

Dodge, which is a brand under Fiat-Chrysler, was the second-worst rated brand for customer satisfaction in the study. This isn't too terribly surprising. Almost all of its offerings are far from being class-leading, and reliability has been a problem. However, Dodge, like Jeep, is under new ownership and seems to be headed back in the right direction with encouraging new products and concepts. 

Vehicles in the Dodge stable include the Dart (pictured), Charger and Challenger.

Click here to research Dodge vehicles

Acura

Score (Out of 100): 77

It's surprising to see Acura on this at all, let alone having the lowest customer satisfaction overall. Its parent company, Honda, is among the highest for customer satisfaction, the brand has a sterling reputation for reliability and last year it was in the middle of the pack in this study. Acura certainly hasn't been wowing anyone with its products, and perhaps its buyers aren't impressed with how they compare to its competition. 

Acura vehicles include the RLX (pictured here), ILX sedan and MDX SUV.

Click here to research Acura vehicles

Source: http://www.autoblog.com/photos/most-disliked-car-brands/


Reposted by: 

Ralph Paglia | President