page contents Automotive Thought Leadership: Ralph Paglia: March 2018 My title page contents

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Newsletter Announcement: 'Ralph Recommends...'

'Ralph Recommends...' Newsletter Announcement

"Ralph Recommends..."
  Newsletter Announcement

 
Having been the Editor-In-Chief and managed the ADM Professional Community for over ten years now, it seems that every technology development, software and application being sold to car dealers, along with various service provider programs and just about anything somebody conceives of that they would like to sell car dealers has been pitched to me at some point...
       
Usually in the form of a product demonstration, sometimes starting with a two minute "Elevator Pitch". The vast majority of time I have considered incumbent upon my obligations to this professional network to listen, watch, take notes, try it out, talk to any dealers currently using the widget in question and generally become aware of what it is, what it costs and what the claimed Return On Investment (ROI) is all about... The how when and why of ROI.
    

More background and qualifications; For over 30 years I have been blessed with work and assignments that required me to (in addition to selling cars) create product and solution development "Road Maps" used to guide future products and when they would be released for companies such as American Honda Motor Company, Reynolds, ADP (CDK), JD Power, BMW North America, Tier10 Marketing, Ford Motor Company, Toyota Motor Sales, Mercedes-Benz USA and a few more. These projects resulted in me spending countless hours with software developers, project planners and executive committees as we defined what car dealers would need to stay competitive and to improve what customers experience when dealing with them.
    

As a result of this exposure, combined with my experience in selling cars while managing car dealerships, solution development and professional services to car dealers while working at the Reynolds and Reynolds Company, ADP Dealer Services (CDK Global), Tier10 Marketing, Courtesy Chevrolet and many other dealerships... I have developed a strong sense of which products and services do what, how well they do it, and whether or not they are worthy of consideration by car dealers, auto groups and enterprise organizations.
   
  
You may be thinking "Everybody has an opinion", and you are correct... However, my opinion comes from an auto industry veteran with Bachelor of Science and Masters Degrees in Business Administration, who has implemented software and business procedures in car dealers that I served as a manager, as well as being employed by the largest software development companies in the car business to serve as Practice Leader and manager of consultants deployed to assist car dealers in the implementation of technology, people and process designed to drive improved business results and customer experience. I know what I am talking about when it comes to deploying solutions in car dealerships and I am eager to share my experience, insights and wisdom on the use of existing solutions and those to come in the future.
   
   
Several weeks ago I was approached by a couple of automotive professionals who I consider to be "Thought Leaders" within our industry... They asked me to consider creating and publishing a weekly newsletter with insights, opinions, guidance, reviews and recommendations for car dealers focused on products and services, along with sharing best practices and what I see as future developments, strategies and tactics in the car business.
   

My initial response was to say I am already doing this with the ADM Professional Community website and network. These people, who I consider to be wiser and possibly more intelligent than me, responded with, "Maybe so, but you currently provide your members with something that they must go to your site to find and see..." Which I acknowledged was true. They went on to say, "We want to create a newsletter that is delivered to members of the ADM Professional Community and additional professionals who are not members, but who work in the auto industry, which will become a valuable resource throughout the car business..."
        
     
I agreed and so the genesis of the "Ralph Recommends..." eNewsletter has come to be. Within the next couple of weeks you will be sent the first issue of "Ralph Recommends..." and I would like to ask for your help. Please take a look at what is in there and let me know your opinions about what's good, what's bad and what you would like to see. You can send me an email to RPaglia at Gmail dot com, a message via this network, Facebook Messenger, Twitter DM, call or text me on my cell at Five Zero Five, Three Zero One, Six Three Six Nine, or contact me in whatever manner suits you... But any feedback will be appreciated and considered as I move forward with the "Ralph Recommends..." project.
  
       
"Ralph Recommends..."

I look forward to hearing back from each of you...

Ralph Paglia
Editor-In-Chief
www.AutomotiveDigitalMarketing.com

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Automotive Content Marketing Professional Capability Requirements

What is Content Marketing?


What are the Benefits of
Automotive Content Marketing?  

  1. Keeps Your Dealership "Top-of-Mind" – Whether you’re a dealership selling to consumers, or a vendor selling to dealerships, not everyone buys immediately. In addition, those customers who did purchase, and your current clients, may be ripe at some point to repurchase. A great content marketing strategy keeps your business, product and services in front of the customer without being intrusive or in-your-face salesy.

  1. Leads to Indirect Exposure – Blog and magazine articles are an excellent way to position executives as thought leaders, and your business as a source of helpful content. People like educational material that is relevant to their needs.

    If you are a dealership you can perhaps provide information on vehicle service, or how to synch your smartphone with your in-vehicle entertainment system, for example...
    As a vendor you could focus on some key pain points dealers are faced with daily. By providing that material, you can easily get exposure through comments, sharing and just plain curiosity. Perhaps the person reading the blog doesn’t need your product or service right now. But, by adding them as an audience member, creating your company as a thought-leader, they could easily consider you first when the need arises.

  1. Drives Engagement and Builds Relationships – Content marketing can increase exposure through engaging the audience with relevant, thought-provoking material. I’m not talking about click-bait or pictures of puppies and kittens, but rather helpful information that is welcomed by and, eventually, looked forward to by the audience. This promotes a sense of relationship and begins the process of trust.

  1. Search Engine Optimization – Google looks for relevance in content. It crawls sites and includes you in its search results when it finds new content. The more often that new content is added to your website, the more likely you are to appear in a relevant search on the topic, increasing organic exposure to your website. Without content, there would be nothing to optimize for search engines. Every link earned by every marketer points to a piece of content, and the keywords that people type into search engines are an attempt to find that content.

  1. Website Traffic – The more eyeballs you have on your website, the more likely you are to get leads and sales. A good content marketing strategy will push people to view that content on your website which could then lead to further exploration and conversions on your website CTAs.

The bottom line is this: If you create great content that targets potential customers, you can shorten the distance between these customers and your products, increasing the chance that they'll make a purchase later.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Witt's Wise Words - Don’t Let Fear Control Your Success

Witt's Wise Words - Don’t Let Fear Control Your Success

Walmart Selects CarSaver to Expand Car Buyer Program at 250 Stores

CarSaver and Walmart Expand Program to Make Car Buying Easy

CarSaver Expands Walmart Car Buying Program to 250 Stores - Posted by Ralph Paglia 

 

CarSaver to Open 250 Car Shopping Centers inside 250 Walmart Stores

Bentonville, Ark. and Miami, Fla. – March 21, 2018 – Walmart and CarSaver today announced they will expand a program that helps customers save time and money when buying a car.

CarSaver is the first and only one-stop-shop platform that helps Walmart customers save time and money when they buy, finance, lease and insure all the top brands of new and used cars.    

Purchase Fulfillment

CarSaver uses a network of certified dealers, banks and insurance companies to provide transparent, up-front pricing and the highest level of customer service to Walmart customers. In addition, every vehicle purchased through CarSaver comes with a lifetime warranty.*
    
By skipping the often stressful, time-intensive car negotiation process, CarSaver is one of the latest ways Walmart customers can save time and money. 
    
According to CarSaver data and research, the average CarSaver customer has saved more than $3,500 off of MSRP on the purchase and $3,900 on repairs covered by CarSaver’s lifetime warranty.
     

Walmart Perspective

“We’re constantly looking for innovative services that help us save busy families money and time,” said Daniel Eckert, Senior Vice President, Walmart Services and Digital Acceleration. “CarSaver’s unique platform helps our customers understand the true cost of ownership, while also helping them save money with buying, financing, leasing and insuring a new or used vehicle.”

Car Buying Process

Customers can use Carsaver.com to find a car in seconds by comparing the vehicles with the biggest savings and the lowest prices. Once a customer finds what they want, they are connected with an “express manager” who makes it easy to test drive or pick up their car at a local certified dealership. CarSaver will soon help consumers sell their car by providing an “instant cash offer” from a large network of certified dealers who bid on their car.

“We are excited to work with Walmart to make car buying easier for their customers,” said Chad Collier, President, CarSaver. “We are leveraging the buying power of Walmart’s 140 million shoppers a week to get them great deals without wasting time negotiating.”

Financial Services

Ally Financial is currently offering gift card incentives to Walmart customers who finance through Ally using the CarSaver site. “We are honored to work with CarSaver to help make it easier for Walmart customers to get the car they want at a payment they can afford," said Tim Russi, president of auto finance at Ally, one of the largest auto finance providers in the country. “CarSaver is leading the way by providing a simple, transparent and innovative customer experience.”

In addition, a vehicle purchase program for Walmart associates will be launched shortly to help Walmart’s 1.5 million U.S. associates save time and money when buying a car. The CarSaver platform will also be available via a microsite on Walmart.com.



About CarSaver

CarSaver is a digital automotive marketplace that makes it easy to buy and sell new and used cars. CarSaver provides everyday low prices and a lifetime warranty on all the top brands of new and used cars through a network of certified dealers who provide the highest level of customer service. CarSaver customers save time and money when they buy, finance, insure and lease all in one site. CarSaver’s mobile marketplace integrates competitive offers from the top dealers, banks and insurance providers to provide an “all-in-one” experience for customers who receive up-front, transparent pricing information that includes all taxes and fees so there are no surprises at the dealership. Additional information about CarSaver can be found by visiting www.CarSaver.com, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/CarSaver and on Instagram at CarSaverUSA. For Press inquires: press@carsaver.com

About Walmart

Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better - anytime and anywhere - in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices. Each week, nearly 270 million customers and members visit our more than 11,700 stores under 59 banners in 28 countries and eCommerce websites. With fiscal year 2018 revenue of $500.3 billion, Walmart employs approximately 2.3 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity.

Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting http://corporate.walmart.com, on Facebook at http://facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/walmart       

Contact:

Richard James, CarSaver Media Relations
+1 (954) 610-3284
press@carsaver.com

Erin Hulliberger, Walmart Media Relations
1-800-331-0085
news.walmart.com/reporter

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Use Instagram Marketing to Generate Business

How to grow business with Instagram marketing

Growing New Business with Instagram Marketing

Instagram may have started out as a humble way to get people together (like most other social media sites and apps), and to allow people a place where they could document their pictures and videos, but it is a well-recognized source of business nowadays.


From makeup brands to clothing stores, Instagram has allowed nifty entrepreneurs to find a way to sell their products to a global audience. As with any other business, however, you need to find new and innovative ways to keep your account in the loop with the other Instagram users and Get more Instagram followers.

Communication

One of the best strategies to build a business from the ground up is to reach out to customers and potential buyers. The line of communication between the two of you should be open. Of course, once established a proper customer care unit should be built to cater to customer queries and complaints, but till then, you need to attend to your followers yourself.
There are many ways to do this, apart from just answering relevant messages to your account of that of your brand. You could also host Q-and-A sessions by means of live videos so as to actually get a chance to interact with those interested in what you have to sell. You can also buy instagram followers cheap from smmpoint to attract your audience.
  


Sponsorships and collaborations

In order to expand your business, you need to make sure that you get enough time in the spotlight to advertise your products. You could enlist the help of celebrities to endorse your business, but that might be impossible if you are just starting your business from the grassroots level. The next best thing is to enlist the help of similar businesses and individuals on Instagram, who have a substantial fan following and asking them if they would be interested in collaborating with you on a project.
   
Don’t shy away from sponsorships either. Advertising products of big brands not only helps you earn good money, but also bolsters your popularity.
    

In-Instagram store

Of course, Instagram is an excellent tool for advertising your business, but there is so much more that you could do with it! For instance, you could directly advertise your products and set up an Instagram shop. Most Insta-based businesses are doing this of late. All you need to do is take pictures of your products from different sorts of flattering angles and upload them. In the description, list the product details, price, features and other things that you would like to mention.
   
If, however, you are selling services, you could design a virtual poster describing what exactly it is that you do and post them. Interested buyers usually message.
     

Increasing followers

Despite all the different methods, the one that is absolutely necessary is the number of followers you have on your Instagram account. Your business will not get the chance to develop if it does not get the exposure that it requires to become a household name. An increase in the number of followers is a sign that more and more people are interested in buying what you have to offer.
   
Of course, putting out good products consistently is very important as is keeping the customers satisfied as their reviews will be there in the comments section. You can also buy Real Instagram followersas that is the latest hype in the social media sphere.
         

Target your selected demographic

Every business must zero in on a target audience: a specific age range, gender, socioeconomic category, among others. This does not mean that people who do not fit into these boxes will not be buying your products, but your target demographic should reflect the kind of buyers who will make up the majority. Once you have figured this out, use it to your advantage by catering to that distinct category.
   
For instance, if you are selling makeup, your target demographic will most likely be girls between the ages of 12-30. Make your posts eye-catching and post pictures of women in that age range wearing them to make them more relatable.
   
Instagram marketing is all about being a clever businessperson, i.e., utilising the usual business strategies, but adapting them in a way that is suited for social media by combining them with trends and hypes. Knowing the basics of how Instagram popularity works will get you a long way.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Dominion Now Offers Advanced CRM Applications


Dominion Dealer Solutions Launches New
Cloud-Based Automotive CRM Software


NORFOLK, Va.--()--Dominion Dealer Solutions announced today the launch of its new CRM, Dominion VisionTM. The most advanced automotive CRM in the market today, Dominion Vision combines the most intuitive CRM interface in the market with customized reporting and consumer-focused communication tools to create an easy-to-use CRM that will satisfy customers, sales reps and management. Powered by CRMSuite, Dominion Vision is the result of a business partnership designed to integrate CRMSuite's state-of-the-art CRM technology with Dominion Dealer Solutions' portfolio of high-performance digital marketing and data-mining software offerings.
"There are many CRMs in the marketplace but Dominion Vision is truly different. From our rich CRM legacy with AVV and Autobase, Dominion has always been committed to the dealer – using the latest technology to build simple and elegant solutions"
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Dominion Vision CRM eliminates conventional CRM thinking by combining ease-of-use functionality with user-tailored dashboards. Intuitive technology erases the need for traditional action plans and lineated work flows. Dominion Vision learns about your customers and their preferences – helping your sales people connect with prospects using the best possible method at the best possible time. With real data at your fingertips, Dominion Vision is a true business intelligence tool. Mobility for all users is available via both a tablet-friendly interface and a downloadable mobile app.
"There are many CRMs in the marketplace but Dominion Vision is truly different. From our rich CRM legacy with AVV and Autobase, Dominion has always been committed to the dealer – using the latest technology to build simple and elegant solutions," says Jack Ross, president of Dominion Dealer Solutions. "Now all of our tools, from DMS to CRM,  equity mining to digital products, can work together to help car dealers sell more cars."
Dominion Vision also includes proactive communication using machine learning to track consumer communications preferences in the form of a virtual, personal assistant, "Olivia." No longer will customers fall through the gaps. This feature will scan the customer database on a regular basis and communicate via email, text or voicemail with prospects who have not been contacted. Customer responses will be forwarded to the salesperson to re-initiate sales and service communication.
Get a firsthand look at our NADA Booth #3716C. To schedule a presentation of Dominion Vision, please call 877-421-1040 or visit www.transformyourcrm.com.

About Dominion Dealer Solutions

Dominion Dealer Solutions improves dealers' lives by developing advanced technologies including: reputation and social media management, responsive websites, digital advertising, SEO, SEM, multi-channel marketing, and custom market reports. Coupled with award-winning lead management, inventory merchandising, equity mining, customer relationship (CRM) and dealer management (DMS) solutions, Dominion redefines automotive retail by delivering first-class customer experiences for today's automotive dealerships. Based in Norfolk, Virginia, every OEM and more than 10,000 U.S. dealers depend on Dominion's foundation of innovation, integrity, excellence and teamwork to provide them with results at every turn. For more information, visit our website, like us on Facebook, LinkedIn or Youtube, or follow us on Twitter.

About Dominion Enterprises

Dominion Enterprises is a leading online marketing and software services company offering client solutions across multiple business verticals. Our B2B cloud SaaS solutions directly support clients in establishing their online and mobile brands, generating leads, and managing customer relationships. Our B2C web and mobile portals serve the housing, franchise and travel markets and include popular sites such as Homes.com. Dominion Enterprises is headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia and has offices across the U.S.

Contacts:

Dominion Dealer Solutions
Jennifer Sanford, 757-351-8183
Vice President of Marketing and Industry Relations
jennifer.sanford@drivedominion.com

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Facebook Live Quick Tip: Gone in 60 days



Maryann Keller Calls Automotive Digital Marketing Shakeup Imminent

Automotive Digital Marketing Shakeup Imminent

Maryann Keller Calls for a Shakeup in the Automotive Digital Marketing Service Provider Space

Is a Shakeup Imminent in the Automotive Digital Marketing Space?


Maryann Keller - Not that long ago new car dealers relied almost entirely on Friday newspapers ads promoting weekend specials along with lists of new and used cars in stock. But the advent of the internet revolutionized how U.S. consumers researched and shopped for cars, shifting more than 50% of car dealerships’ advertising budgets to digital.*

Dealerships that quickly adopted digital advertising saw higher sales and lower per unit advertising costs…but that advantage disappeared when all dealerships subscribed to the same services. As one dealership owner told me;

“When I was the only Chevrolet dealer in my town on TrueCar, I was getting customers that probably would not have come to my store. But today, all the Chevy dealers in my town are on TrueCar, so all we are doing is paying a fee for people who would have bought from us anyway.”
   

Today, it still costs a dealership more than $600 per vehicle in advertising expenses (nearly the same amount dealerships spent on traditional advertising before the advent of digital marketing – and when per unit front-end margins were much higher). Yet, many digital platforms offer little differentiation among dealerships than the ancient Friday newspaper. With profit margins under pressure from rising interest rates and plateauing sales, dealerships are beginning to evaluate the productivity of each of their digital subscriptions and are cutting those that fail to deliver actual car buyers.

The auto retail space is heavily populated with companies promising to deliver real customers for a fee. There are at least 112 vendors selling CRM tools, 87 offering lead management, 75 providing chat services, and 104 offering new and used car leads. There are also more than 300 marketing solutions, data mining, reputation management, e-commerce ‘shopping carts,’ and owner marketing/equity mining vendors with their own customer targeting and retention tools. For our purposes, I’ll focus on some of the larger vendors that car shoppers turn to initially. This list includes marketplace sites, like CarGurus.com, Cars.com, AutoTrader.com, TrueCar.com, and many others that have added inventory listings and lead generation to their core businesses like Carfax.


All of these companies have business models that generate revenue from dealerships in hopes of intercepting car shoppers before a car sale. But growth has plateaued, as nearly all franchised dealerships and most larger used car dealerships are already listing their inventory on these marketplace sites, meaning that small (if any) incremental increases in dealership count won’t generate much in revenue. Moreover, despite traffic claims, over 90% of U.S. car buyers already use the internet to research a vehicle purchase. Consequently, these sites are not generating new automotive shoppers for dealerships (vehicle purchase demand is determined by affordability). Instead, they are battling amongst themselves for ‘screen time’ with the same car buyer who’s visiting multiple sites, a war being unwittingly financed by car dealerships.

Last year, approximately 17 million new passenger vehicles were sold in the U.S., an estimated 3 million, of which, were sold to fleets, leaving a retail market of 14 million (a third of which were leased). According to Urban Science, in 2017 there were 18,213 U.S. franchised dealerships as measured by rooftops. A simple calculation results in 2.1 new cars sold per day per dealership. Assuming that new car dealerships sell about 0.7 used cars for each new (likely greater than reality), that equates to 1.5 used cars per day, for a total of 3.6 cars sold per day in the average dealership – or roughly 108 units per a 30-day month. The average dealership in the U.S. maintains a 70-day supply, or 252 vehicles, which equates to a total of 4.6 million vehicles available for sale on an average day in 2017.
   
In the third quarter of 2017, Cars.com noted 4.9 million average vehicle listings from 21,307 dealerships, illustrating that the overwhelming majority of U.S. dealerships’ inventoried cars are already listed on its site. Cars.com is only one of many marketplace sites, and dealerships are discovering that when they also list their inventory on other sites, they are essentially paying for the same customers to view their inventory multiples times. A large dealership group recently analyzed its $2.5 million contract with a single digital marketplace and eliminated $600,000 in annual spend, after the group’s data showed the site provided decreased value. It plans to do the same with its other lead generator vendor subscriptions.
 
Every lead generator or marketplace site boasts unique visitor traffic in the high tens of millions, but these are meaningless in terms of actual sales. Cars.com says that it had more than 100 million 'visits' in the third quarter of 2017. Depending on how many of these 'visits' were comprised of unique visitors, this could potentially equate to more than a third of the U.S. population visiting its platform in three months compared to new and used car purchases of only 7.1 million from franchised dealerships during the same period. And Cars.com is only one of many such lead generating and marketplace sites, as well as the dealerships’ own websites and those of the automakers that they represent.
  
As these sites become saturated with commoditized inventory at symmetrical prices, coupled with a recycled pool of car shoppers visiting most of them, they prevent any single dealer from gaining a competitive advantage, and thus they become perfectly competitive marketplaces that cannot generate sustainable profits for their sellers (i.e. dealerships).
To this end, many dealerships claim that their only motivation to list their inventory on these sites is to simply make sure that their local competitors don’t gain exclusivity in searches.


It is no wonder that dealerships are questioning the value of paying high monthly fees to list inventory on sites that have diminishing conversion rates, commoditized inventories, and soaring costs. Some dealerships are shifting more to traditional media while others are looking at services that provide them with the data and analytics to engage with their customers more profitably. 
 
The automotive digital marketing space is saturated, and a shakeup among the undifferentiated listing services seems imminent as dealerships’ front-end profits continue to decrease.
   
Written by Maryann Keller, who is principal of Maryann Keller & Associates, a Stamford-based automotive strategy consultancy.

*We’ve obtained this percentage from our own surveys of franchise dealerships. We’ve subsequently confirmed our measurement with NADA, which will publish a similar percentage in its next version of NADA DATA.
   
Source: www.linkedin.com/peak-auto-automotive-digital-marketing-reaches-maturity-keller