page contents Automotive Thought Leadership: Ralph Paglia: October 2016 My title page contents

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Do Your Employees Have a Suggestion Box?

Do Your Employees Have a Suggestion Box?

Joe Webb writes: "Consider putting up an anonymous suggestion box.
Willfully ask everyone to submit thoughts or feedback. Or it can be an open email inbox where people can send anonymous emails from fake accounts. (Don't think of this box only in the literal sense. It can mean a digital representation of one, one found in an open social media forum, or another version)."

"Only the owner should have access to this "suggestion box", or someone from HR that is entirely unbiased to a situation, and never should they try to uncover who it is that made the suggestion. Or, you can promise to make the suggestion box entirely confidential with a promise that no direct negative action will occur from being open and honest. If presented to the team as a professional yet safe way to be heard, the suggestion box won’t be abused."
"One way or another, you should rely on your people to give you the best feedback on how to make processes better. So long as they feel it won’t come back to bite them, these unfiltered opinions and peeks behind the curtain are the necessary ingredient to building a winning team. That is how organizations evolve."

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Millennials Are Busting Car-Shopping Gender Stereotypes

Millennials Are Busting Car-Shopping Gender Stereotypes

Millennials Are Busting Car-Shopping Gender Stereotypes

Redefined Gender Roles Underscore the Need for Personalized Car Shopping Experiences

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — October 25, 2016 – The notion that women are “damsels in distress” and that men are the confident decision-makers has been a persistent car-shopping stereotype. But new research from, the leading car information and shopping network, reveals that these antiquated generalizations don’t reflect the attitudes and behaviors of today’s car shopper, and are becoming more archaic as millennials begin to make up a bigger portion of car buyers. The revelation is one of many important findings from Edmunds’ Car Shopping and Gender Report, released today.

According to the study of 3,000 U.S. adults ages 18-65 commissioned by Edmunds and conducted by the research firm Hypothesis, more than 70 percent of both men and women feel self-assured during the car buying and negotiating process. However, when broken out by generation, Edmunds found that millennial men and women are more alike in their feelings towards car shopping than Gen Xers and Baby Boomers. For example, when asked if they believe if women are equal or better than men at car shopping, 64 percent of millennial women and 54 percent of millennial men agreed. When baby boomers were asked the same question, 67 percent of women agreed while only 48 percent of men did, resulting in an opinion gap nearly twice as large.
“The world where millennials grew up was very different than that of older generations. For many, both parents worked and financial decisions were made equally, which is reflected in their different attitudes about gender roles in car shopping,” said Jessica Caldwell, executive director of industry analytics at Edmunds. “Millennials are poised to become the predominate consumption group in the automotive industry, making it key that automakers, dealers and marketers understand how their perceptions are changing the way consumers approach car buying.”

Other noteworthy differences between millennials and older generations include:
  • Millennial men are more likely than older men to believe that women are equally or more logical than men during the car shopping process. There was a 15 percentage point gap in gender opinion for millennials (59 percent of men vs. 74 percent of women), compared to a 27-point gap among Generation Xers (52 percent of men vs. 79 percent of women).
  • Millennial men and women feel nearly equal levels of self-assurance and empowerment during the car shopping process, with a gap of only one percent and two percent respectively between the genders. This gap widens within the older generations, to eight percent for Gen Xers and 14 percent for boomers.
  • When it comes time to close the deal and purchase the vehicle, millennial men are more confident in women than men in older generations. Sixty percent of millennial men say that women are stronger negotiators versus 50 percent of Gen X men and 49 percent of boomer men.

Even as the gap between genders is getting smaller by generation, there are still nuanced differences that drive home the need for personalized car shopping experiences. Across the entire population, while more women feel assured that they made the right purchase than men (80 percent of women vs. 75 percent of men), 30 percent of female respondents stated that they didn’t know where to start the car shopping process, compared to just 18 percent of men. Additionally, 67 percent of all women wish there was a faster, more efficient way to shop for a car, compared to 57 percent of all men.
“Gender inequality has been in our society for a very long time,” said Lacey Plache, chief economist at Edmunds. “Shifting gender roles have been a main catalyst for lowering gender inequality, but this change is still in motion and the differences aren’t fully dissolved yet. As this continues to decrease on a societal level we’ll see its impact manifested in major industries like automotive, but until gender inequality is completely gone, the old fashion notion that men control the garage will still linger.” 

The survey also showed differences within each gender based on the needs of individual shoppers during the different stages of their process. For example, a millennial female who is a luxury buyer has a different set of needs than a Gen X non-luxury buyer. This finding is supported by Edmunds’ site engagement data, which reveals that men and women both engage in similar shopping activities, such as new inventory search and dealership research.
“With amount of consumer data available to us, we’re no longer forced to look at shoppers under the lens of these over-generalized stereotypes,” said Michelle Shotts, senior director of customer insights at Edmunds. “As more research continues to debunk these outdated assumptions, there is no excuse why automakers, dealers and marketers can’t begin to engage with car shoppers on a highly personalized, individual level.”   

To see the full report and additional information about the survey, visit Edmunds’ Industry Center...

About the Methodology
The survey was conducted in July of 2016 and polled 3,129 U.S. adults ages 18-65 and included a mix of respondents who recently bought a car within the past year, or who intended to within the next six months. Data was weighted to reflect the national representation among adults 18-65. All significant differences noted at 95 percent level of confidence.

About  Car shopping destination Edmunds serves millions of visitors each month. With Price Promise®, shoppers can buy smarter with instant, upfront prices for cars and trucks currently for sale at 10,000 dealer franchises across the U.S. Shoppers can browse not only dealer inventory, but also vehicle reviews, shopping tips, photos, videos and feature stories on both Edmunds' wired site and on its acclaimed mobile apps.  Regarded as one of the best places to work in Southern California, was also named one of “The World's Top 10 Most Innovative Companies of 2015 in Automotive” by Fast Company. Edmunds welcomes all car-shopping questions on its free Shopper Advice Line at 1-855-782-4711 and, via text at ED411 and on Twitter and Facebook. The company is based in Santa Monica, Calif. and has a satellite office in downtown Detroit, Mich., but you can find Edmunds from anywhere on: YouTubePinterestLinkedInInstagramGoogle+ and Flipboard.

About Hypothesis
Hypothesis is a full-service research and consulting agency headquartered in downtown Los Angeles since 2000, with a second office located in Seattle. We work with clients in a variety of industries including entertainment, consumer packaged goods, automotive, apparel retail, and QSR. Using a variety of qualitative and quantitative techniques, and our in-house analytics and design teams, Hypothesis conducts research for a wide variety of Fortune 500 companies in the U.S. and globally. For more information visit

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Personalization Drives Major Uplift to Search Marketing Conversion Rates

Personalization Drives Major Uplift to Search Marketing Conversion Rates

Personalization Drives Major Uplift to Search Marketing Conversions

European Marketers Say Personalization Drives Major Uplift to Search Marketing Conversions

Roughly 2 in 3 client-side marketers (predominantly from the UK and Europe) engage in some form of personalization in their marketing activity, according to a report from Econsultancy and RedEye [download page]. While few are personalizing channels beyond email, those who have implemented personalization in other channels are reporting sizable benefits from doing so.

In particular, although the use of personalization in search engine marketing is quite sparse (18% of company respondents), almost half (48%) of company respondents have experienced a major uplift in search marketing conversion rates since implementing personalization. Moreover, another 43% report a minor uplift in search marketing conversion rates after having implemented personalization.
[The Blended Attribution Playbook]

Personalization is credited with varying levels of conversion rate improvements across other channels, too. More than one-third say they’ve experienced major uplifts in conversion rates since implementing personalization of SMS (37%) and website (36%) channels, and more than one-quarter say the same about social media (28%) and email (27%).
Compared to a similar study carried out in 2014, it appears that more marketers today are seeing gains from personalization. In 2014, for example, 32% reported a major uplift in search marketing conversion rates from personalization, and one-quarter experienced an uplift of that magnitude for SMS.
The only channel for which personalization’s impact seems to have declined over the past couple of years is offline. In fact, only about half as many respondents this year are personalizing their offline marketing (12% vs. 23% in 2014). Even so, about 9 in 10 respondents to this latest survey say that they’ve experienced at least a minor uplift in offline conversion rates since implementing personalization.

Read more about trends in personalization here.

Marketers Finding Email Personalization Effective, Web Content Personalization Difficult

The most important goal of a data-driven marketing strategy is to personalize the customer experience, with this of far greater importance than customer acquisition or measuring ROI, according to the latest study [download page] from Ascend2 and its Research Partners. Luckily, with marketers confident in their data-driven strategies, few feel that personalizing the customer experience is a significant barrier.

Instead, integrating data across platforms and enriching data quality and completeness are considered more significant barriers to data-driven marketing success, per the 229 respondents.

However, various personalization tactics differ in both perceived effectiveness and difficulty, per the report’s findings. The most effective data-driven personalization tactic is email message personalization, cited by 47%. Indeed, increased personalization ranks as the leading method by which US companies feel they can improve emai..., according to recent Experian Data Quality research.
Beyond email, marketers also consider targeted landing pages (43%) and contact data segmentation (38%) to be effective forms of personalization. Interestingly, triggered emails (36%) are slightly further down the list, despite having high response rates as evidenced by these benchmarks.

Web content personalization is not perceived to be as effective as email message personalization, but that may be related to difficulty. Indeed, marketers feel that web content is one of the most difficult personalization tactics to execute, behind only lead intelligence collection.
In order to build content personalization capabilities, research from Forbes Insight and PwC indicates that marketers are prioritizing strong data collection and analytics as well as improving their content creation and distribution speed.
About the August 2016 Data: Econsultancy’s Conversion Rate Optimization Report is based on 889 respondents to its research request, which took the form of an online survey fielded in August 2016. Two-thirds (66%) of the respondents work for client-side organizations who are trying to improve their conversion rates. Some 71% of client-side respondents are based in the UK (56%) or another country in Europe (15%), and 61% come from companies with at least £10 million in annual revenues.
About the July 2016 Data: The Ascend2 data is based on a survey of 229 marketing influencers around the world. Respondents were fairly evenly split between B2B (41%) and B2C (36%) channels (the remainder marketed to B2B and B2C equally). The majority (70%) come from companies with more than 500 employees.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Digital Advertising Overtakes TV For Top Ad Budget Dollars

Digital Advertising Overtakes TV For Top Ad Budget Dollars

Digital Media Purchases Are Higher Than TV For 2016 Ad Budgets

By the end of this year, US digital ad spending will reach $72.09 billion, while TV spending will grow to $71.29 billion. That means digital will represent 36.8% of US total media ad spending, while TV will represent 36.4%.

“Digital advertising is not only pulling dollars from traditional media, but it’s also creating new advertising opportunities at the local and national level,” said eMarketer forecasting analyst Martín Utreras.
Importantly, TV ad spending is still growing.
In fact, eMarketer increased its 2016 TV projections due to increased spending tied to the Olympics, presidential election and a strong scatter market.
The strong performance of the digital ad market is being driven by several factors, including, not surprisingly, mobile and video. Mobile ad spending will grow 45.0% this year to reach $45.95 billion. As it grows, it will represent an increasing share of overall ad spending. By 2019, mobile will represent more than a third of total media ad spending in the US. Google is the undisputed king of mobile and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Google will capture 32.0% of the mobile ad market—its closest rival Facebook capturing 22.1% this year.

Not only will video ad spending continue to grow by big percentages, its share of total digital spending will increase as well. This year, video ad spending will reach $10.30 billion, representing 14.3% of total digital spending. That figure will climb to 15.1% by next year.

“Programmatic is making a lot of the inventory more accessible, not just to larger marketers but also to local and smaller advertisers,” said Utreras. “At the same time, the focus of the industry on viewability, native and better measurement is driving more dollars and delivering better results.”
Display will continue to be the top format for digital ad spending through 2020. Display spending will reach $34.56 billion this year, slightly ahead of search’s $33.28 billion. Facebook will capture the vast majority of display spending, taking in $11.93 billion this year, 34.5% of total display spending in the US. Google is a distant second, with $4.79 billion or a 13.8% share.