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Wednesday, July 8, 2020

How Bad Have Car Sales Been Hit By The Corona Pandemic?

Have Car Sales Been Hit By Corona

How Bad Have Car Sales Been Hit By The Corona Pandemic?

How Auto Sales Fared in Q2 2020 Amid Pandemic
Virtually nobody doubted that the coronavirus pandemic would hit the auto industry hard and lead to supply chain delays, parts shortages, and a sharp decline in sales, so it doesn’t really come as a surprise that sales numbers were rather bleak this past quarter. GoodCarBadCar has released its report on Q2 2020 sales, and while some automakers were impacted more than others, none of them had good news to report.

The auto industry was hoping that the stimulus package would help sales at least a little, and many dealers and automakers also decided to offer great discounts, warranties, and return options. Despite these measures, numbers still suffered. Some of the steepest decreases in Q2 were seen by Dodge (-62.8%), Mitsubishi (-58.0%), and Nissan (-50.0%), whereas others weren’t nearly as bad including Mazda (-9.6%) and Volvo (-15.3%). Not only did the previous dealership and factory closures hurt, but many consumers also lost their jobs and are rigorously limiting their spending habits.
  
 
Overall, automakers reported a sales decline of more than 30 percent for Q2, which is detrimental but perhaps not as bad as it could have been, according to many experts.

Nora Naughton of The Wall Street Journal noted that even though numbers did decline, “the drop wasn’t as steep as feared” due to the incentives and extra cash in consumers’ pockets. Some of the offers were reminiscent of those offered during the Great Recession and undoubtedly helped sales at least a little. Jessica Caldwell of Edmunds referred to the incentives as “once in a lifetime” and stated, “thinking back to where we were in mid-March, this result wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be, fearing the worst.”
Naughton surmised that these deals “bolstered sales of profit-rich pickup trucks and sped a rebound in retail sales as dealers got better at selling cars online.” Of course, dealerships have had to ramp up their Internet sales efforts as many of them were forced to close for a period of time and some consumers are still leery of venturing out to a car lot. We have quickly learned that many people, including employees in various departments within dealerships, can still succeed if not working onsite, and car sales might just be included in that.

Despite feeling positive and optimistic, Caldwell didn’t shy away from the fact that there is still a lot of uncertainty, stating “current sales paint an optimistic picture given the circumstances, but between Covid-19 and today’s politically charged climate, the industry needs to prepare for uncertainties ahead.”
Regardless, although Q2 definitely did not end up how automakers wanted it to, there is hope for a brighter future ahead as the rest of the industry (and the world) gradually recovers from the pandemic. The U.S. is taking serious measures to make sure their facilities are safe and can remain operational without having to shut down again. Many other countries that automakers rely on for parts and vehicles have also restarted operations and are working hard to regulate and normalize supply chains.

Sweta Killa of Zacks reported that several factors will likely help out the auto industry, too, including “lower interest rates coupled with lucrative discounts from automakers desperate to boost sales volume” as well as the Federal Reserve keeping rates extremely low and promising to continue its attempts to get the economy in better shape. If things go as planned, lending will go up along with consumers’ spending, aiding in the recovery from the drastic effects the pandemic has had on the industry.
Reposted and Edited from an Article Written By Kimberly Hurley

Did you enjoy this article from Kimberly Hurley? Read other articles from her here.
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andemic?

Sunday, July 5, 2020

More Social Media Marketing Ideas for Car Dealers

More Social Media Marketing Ideas for Car Dealers

More Social Media Marketing Ideas for Car Dealers

With the recent corona outbreak, everything has come to a halt – except social media marketing. 
The global economy has been thrown into recession, but fortunately, working from home through online channels is saving businesses from a complete shutdown and major losses.

This just proves what an important part of our lives social media is – as consumers, its something we cannot live without and as marketers, we need to take advantage of that.
   
2020 is the year of social media– with Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and so many others aggressively competing to come out on top.   
                                                                                           
However, you need to invest in the right social media marketing ideas for your business.
 
Check out these social media marketing ideas to incorporate into your strategy:
  

#1. Know which platforms your target audience is active on

The first thing you need to do is pick out the top 3 platforms your target audience uses.
 
For this, you need to team up with your R&D department. An older target market over the age of 40 is most likely active on Facebook.
Busy, working individuals of all ages are active on LinkedIn and Generation Y is most active on Instagram.

Once you have this information on hand, use the STP model:
 
Every target market has multiple segments that businesses can focus on. 
A shoe manufacturer like Nike can target business individuals, athletes, school kids and many more segments.

Use your research to find out which segment requires your product or offering and then target those segments.

To effectively convince customers to try out your brand, position yourself by establishing a unique selling point.

Coca Cola and Pepsi sell carbonated beverages that are almost exactly the same in taste with similar pricing, yet Coca Cola shares a much larger market share globally.

Why? Because Coke sells happiness.   
 
Check out these 10 social media marketing statistics to help you make a decision about which platforms to opt for. 

#2. Hold Engaging Social Media contests 

If you normally look up social media marketing ideas, contests are one of the most common suggestions.

However, it’s time to move away from the typical like and win a free item contest.

If you want your brand to be noticed, come up with a unique and engaging idea. The best way to do that is to incorporate user-generated content.

Kelloggs recently held the ‘Great Eggo Waffle Off’, a two-part Facebook contest.

In the first part, participants were required to submit their best waffle recipe and in the second, fans voted for their favourite recipe.

Not only was this extremely fun and engaging but there was a great prize for motivating participants to make the effort – a $5000 prize bond!


Similarly, Colman’s Mustard also got creative with their contest on Instagram.
We all know how hard it can be for customers to leave positive reviews after an experience.
Many of them only make the effort if they get something in return and that’s what Colman’s Mustard did.

Not only did they motivate customers to leave reviews by offering free products, but they also created the hashtag #HotMessSquad which participants were required to add in their reviews.
 
Instagram’s algorithm is curated in a way that hashtags categorise content and make it more discoverable:

That’s why using hashtags improves engagement on posts and help in making your content go viral faster.
 
To create your own engaging social media contest, complete the following steps:
  1. Decide on a prize or a giveaway: This could be your brand’s product, a free service, cash or even a chance to meet and greet with a famous celebrity
  2. Set up a list of terms and conditions: There are a lot of followers willing to play dirty, for example, creating fake profiles to participate multiple times in order to increase their chances of winning – so
    make sure you draft up a set of rules to minimise any loopholes
  3. A point of contact: A lot of the times, contests can be complicated and difficult to understand for participants. Offer a point of contact such as a phone number, email address or website chatbot where interested participants can leave queries
  4. A creative way to enter: You need both logic and art to be successful as a business. If you play by the book, you’ll be good at what you do but you won’t be the best until you get creative, so brainstorm an come up with the most unique ideas that you can think of! 
 

#3. Interact with your followers 

Because there is so much competition in every industry, customers expect the best of service from businesses – whether small or big.
That is why one of the most trending social media marketing ideas is increased communication with customers.

Smaller businesses, especially startups, have the advantage of direct communication with their customers.

Due to limited employee personnel, business owners deal with the major aspects of the business which is why it is easier for them to address customer concerns.

However, as I said, customers expect the same attitude from all businesses so even larger businesses need to appoint PR heads and customer representatives than do more than just customer support:
  • Host an AMA 

As you probably already know, AMA stands for ‘Ask me anything’.
It’s a great social media marketing idea and a very popular feature on Instagram that a lot of celebrities use for interacting with their fans.
As a business, you can take advantage of as well.

For business profiles, the feature is also referred to as AUA i.e. ‘Ask Us Anything’:



AUAs could be used by the head chef of a restaurant to offer tips and hacks to customers on how to cook better.

A lot of freelancer makeup artists also host AMAs to give tips for glowy skin, using the right brushes and other makeup tips to look great.
  • Go Live 
Live videos are one of the biggest marketing trends of 2020 as interactive content is replacing text and traditional marketing channels.
Even if you’re the CEO of a multinational firm, interact with all of your customers once in a while.
 
Customers trust brands that are transparent, honest and make an effort to show that they care. The cosmetics manufacturer MAC often hosts live videos of their makeup artists teaching followers makeup hacks, tips and full looks:
 


Host a live video once in a while to share the reasons behind your success, how you can build a business from the ground up or just answer general questions from your customers in the comments section.

A live video is great because it allows for instant, two-way communication between businesses and customers; thus, making it the most interact channel of communication currently.



You can also live-stream exclusive events to share updates with your followers and make them feel more included:
This is a great tactic to improve customer loyalty.

  • Don’t miss out on the smallest contact points 

There are so many different communication channels now and businesses are expected to be responsive and active on each which is why I advised you to pick only the top 3 social media platforms that your customers use for effective communication.

Even the biggest corporations like Macy’s, HandM, Pepsi and others are making the most of customer interaction.

You’ll notice that these businesses are now responding separately to thousands of customers in the comments section of social media posts:



By paying attention to each and every customer’s concern, brands can manage to improve customer retention, loyalty and avoid negative reviews and word of mouth.

However, this is not an easy task especially for larger businesses with a huge fan following on social media.
                                                                       
With over millions of subscribers, it can be difficult to respond to each and every customer which is why you need to incorporate automation into your strategy.

Check out these tools for online marketing that not only allow you to respond with pre-written messages to deal with customer queries but also provide you with detailed analytics to help you improve your social media marketing performance.
 
You can also check out ManyChat, a platform that provides you automated chatbots integrated with platforms like Messenger so that your customer representatives are relieved of some of their job’s burden:


#4. Take Advantage of Your Partnerships and Alliances

There’s a business term called ‘co-opetition’ which refers to brands co-operating with their direct or indirect competition.

It may seem unusual but partnerships benefit both parties – it reduces competition as customers double up and it offers a stronger position in the market.

A very famous example of this is Taco Bell and Doritos co-branding campaign, ‘Doritos Locos Tacos’. Frito-Lay used Taco Bell’s crunchy taco recipe to create the Locos Taco – a taco with a Doritos shell.
The campaign was a huge success: it sold an estimated 1 billion tacos within a year:

Similarly, the podcast industry is a hit with millennials and one of the most popular shows is Impact Theory.

The host Tom Bilyeu recently invited Marie Forleo, an entrepreneur who hosts a similar podcast, to tell the audience the secret behind her success.

The point is, none of these co-opetitions would have been successful without the use of social media marketing to create awareness and promote the campaign.

You can also partner with brands in the industry that sell complementary offerings.

Sprout Social, the social media management platform that provides analytical tools to help businesses measure performance, recently partnered with Moz, a platform that provides link metrics, to conduct a webinar.

The result? The two allies were able to sign up with over 40 new companies and a spokesperson from Sprout Social said that the partnership boosted webinar reach more than the two companies could have managed on their own.
  

#5. Do Social Media Takeovers 

Often, during an event, you’ll see firms giving control of their social media accounts over to influencers, celebrities, experts and other personnel.
This is similar to a partnership except the brand compensates the individual and the period of time for a takeover is usually 24 hours.
So how does it help your brand?

Your influencer’s followers will automatically be following you – keeping up to date with events, offers and your brand’s offerings in general.
This means awareness and potential clients, but that’s not it.
Another very important reason why you should opt for social media takeovers is exposure, or as Sprout Social puts it, ‘a new way to inject life into your business’.

It’s a change away from the normal routine so you should go for it when you need to improve engagement and reach for your posts.
  

Conclusion 

So that wraps up what we believe to be the top social media marketing ideas of 2020. However, it’s important to understand that different ideas work for every business... One thing experience has taught us, is that following your competition will not help you come out on top!
 
Even if you utilize the same ideas, make sure you put a creative and unique spin on them to ensure success and ROI. Did you enjoy this article? if so here are another 5 ways your business can benefit from social media.
 
Edited and Reposted from an Article Written by

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Car Dealers: 5 Tips to Train and Retain Your Salespeople

5 Tips to Train and Retain Salespeople

Five Best Practices to Train and Retain Automotive Sales Professionals

How well do you retain sales staff?  The average annual turnover rate for salespeople in our business is 67 percent, according to Automotive News.
That’s an alarming statistic when you consider it can cost upwards of $10,000 to replace one salesperson. This figure accounts for recruiting fees, on-boarding costs and potential lost revenue from missed deals.
The good news is that there are proactive steps you can take to stop, or at least slow down, the revolving door of sales employee turnover. These five tips will help reduce the likelihood that your sales team and your profits will disappear.  

Invest in digital training
Training isn’t an expense. It’s an investment. And it pays off in a number of ways, including lower turnover, better customer relationships and more sales.
Poorly trained sales staff can’t succeed in volume selling. When you set your team up to fail, it leads to frustration and often means they quit before they reach their full potential.
An efficient and cost-effective way to help train your employees is by utilizing online courses in addition to your in-person training efforts. Online courses can be taken at the employees’ own pace and schedule and is a great remote option for dealers. You should provide at least a couple of weeks of additional online training before allowing new salespeople to greet prospects on their own.
Training should focus on soft skills (such as problem-solving) and technical skills like CRM training and certification programs. Your CRM partner should have remote and in-person training and certification resources available.

Get serious about phone handling skills
Don’t skimp on phone training. A single 30-minute session or a one-time visit from an outside trainer just won’t cut it in today’s market.
Up to 61 percent of vehicle shoppers make initial contact with dealerships over the phone, according to the Local Search Association. You only get one chance to impress those callers. That first impression could mean the difference between a buyer visiting your dealership or choosing your competitor down the street.
Phone training should be on-going, managed and monitored. Practice effective voicemail messages and appointment closing techniques with your team every day.
Invest in a call recording and analysis solution and listen to a couple of calls every day with your team. Identify the most challenging phone calls and make those the focus of your meetings, using peer collaboration and feedback to brainstorm what could be improved. This will create a thriving culture of continuous improvement make your team feel more connected and boost morale.

Create a Collaborative Culture
It doesn’t help anyone when you pit salespeople against each other. Everyone needs to work together to reach the common goal of a thriving dealership – and that’s not going to happen if your team is competing with each other.
Create a collaborative culture by encouraging salespeople to share techniques that work for them. Include winning strategies for converting customers over the phone, via text, and on the floor. 
Promote mentoring. Pair a newbie with a seasoned veteran for at least 30 days and encourage collaboration by compensating the veteran with a bonus or a percentage of the mentee’s sales. This helps build relationships within your team by giving your veterans a way to earn more and refine their skills while giving newbies a mentor who can provide guidance and advice.
Encourage your managers to prioritize staff development and team cooperation by tying a portion of your sales managers’ compensation to sales staff productivity. That way, when the team wins, everyone wins.

Let Data Drive Your Sales Goals
Having specific goals increases motivation and drives better results. Salespeople who stick to a goal-orientated plan perform 30 percent better than those who don’t, according to a Harvard Business study. 
Lean on trend and tracking reports in your CRM to set precise and attainable goals for every salesperson. A good rule of thumb is to have a 90-day sales plan based on each individual’s 90-day rolling average.
For example, a salesperson who sells 10 cars in January, eight in February and five in March has sold a total of 23 cars, divided by three months, for a rolling average of 7.6 cars. Thus, it’s reasonable and fair to set a monthly goal of seven cars for this salesperson.
When you forecast goal attainment you can identify and flag those salespeople at risk for attrition. This allows you to offer more training before they throw in the towel and cost you money as a result.

Commit to Helping Employees Grow
Not all salespeople want to remain in the same role forever.  Some may want to climb the corporate ladder, and it behooves you to encourage their ambition.
When these high-achievers don’t have a clear advancement path, they start to question their place in your dealership and may set their sights on new opportunities.
Be a “scale-up” dealership. Help employees grow and find advancement. It’s important to encourage your sales and human resources leaders to work together to develop career advancement paths. Share these paths with salespeople to demonstrate that a career at your dealership can be long-lasting and fulfilling.
You can also share success stories with your team. If someone has taken the path of advancement a salesperson wants for him- or herself, connect the two employees so the junior can learn what the senior did to get there.
Your dealership can buck the trend of high sales staff turnover by taking the proactive steps outlined above. You have the ability to make changes that encourage employees to stick around for the long haul and reward them for doing so. When you invest in training and execute retention strategies, you’ll reap the benefits of a thriving dealership today and far into the future.
   

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Corona Virus Data by State from CDC

Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

Powered by Socrata

10 Steps You Can Take in 10 Minutes to Develop Stronger Google Campaigns

10 Steps You Can Take in 10 Minutes to Develop Stronger Google Campaigns


  1. Red Zone Foreign Countries--aka Negative them Out
  2. Eliminate Smart Bidding
  3. Move Settings for Display off of Recommended
  4. Turn off App Ads
  5. Use the same Google My Business login that you use for your My Client Center
  6. Establish In-Store Conversion Tracking for Service Purposes
  7. Ramp or reduce spending to $100 per car
  8. Upload Your Target Audiences--then choose to exclude OR include them from the Advertising. Either way, make the call.
  9. Amplify by 900% on Geography for Dealer Name Campaigns
  10. Extensions, Extensions, Extensions--All for One, One For All
All the best for the industry in its rapid recovery.
                     

Saturday, June 20, 2020

CDC Health Alert Network (HAN) Health Advisory: Detection of Drug-Resistant Meningitis


Health Alert Network (HAN) for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

This information has recently been updated, and is now available.






This is an official CDC Health Advisory








Meningococcal disease, which typically presents as meningitis or meningococcemia, is a life-threatening illness requiring prompt antibiotic treatment for patients and antibiotic prophylaxis for their close contacts. Neisseria meningitidis isolates in the United States have been largely susceptible to the antibiotics recommended for treatment and prophylaxis. However, 11 meningococcal disease cases reported in the United States during 2019–2020 had isolates containing a blaROB-1 β-lactamase gene associated with penicillin resistance, as well as mutations associated with ciprofloxacin resistance. An additional 22 cases reported during 2013–2020 contained a blaROB-1 β-lactamase gene but did not have mutations associated with ciprofloxacin resistance.


Learn More





Connect with emergency.cdc.gov: Follow emergency.cdc.gov on Facebook logo  Follow emergency.cdc.gov on Twitter logo   Follow emergency.cdc.gov on Linked In logo   Follow emergency.cdc.gov on RSS logo 


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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

1600 Clifton Rd   Atlanta, GA 30329   1-800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636)   TTY: 888-232-6348




Thursday, June 18, 2020

Auto Industry Evolution ACES: Autonomy, Connectivity, Electrification and Shared Mobility.

Auto Industry Evolution ACES: Autonomy, Connectivity, Electrification and Shared Mobility.
 
You may have already heard of the acronym “ACES” or “CASE” to describe four areas in which technology and innovation are rapidly changing automotive.
                                                                                            
    
Those four areas being, in whichever order put them, autonomy, connectivity, electrification and shared mobility.

“The way we think about that is basically using IT to help large incumbent corporations to streamline their operations,” Garcia said in a phone interview.
That happens in two different ways, he said. The first is to streamline internal operations


“If you’re a manufacturing company or if you are a parts distribution company, you can use AI and IT to optimize your internal workflows. Industry 4.0 is a term that’s used for that,” Garcia said.

“Then the other way you could use IT to digitize your operations is your external relationship with the world, meaning the way that you interact with and communicate with your suppliers and your customers,” he said. “And that's also known as e-commerce.”
   
Garcia gives some examples of such “digitization of enterprise” companies within Autotech’s portfolio, which focuses on the “ground transportation” space and building bridges between startups and incumbents.
 
One of those companies is Frontier Car Group, a startup from Berlin that aims to “develop, launch, and operate used-automotive marketplaces within emerging market economies,” according to the Frontier website.
 
Frontier Car Group has primarily operated overseas but did recently acquire We Buy Any Car, a buyer of used vehicles from the public with locations in the U.S. and U.K.
  
“They’re essentially enabling e-commerce in the used-car wholesale and retail world,” Garcia said of Frontier.
Another is Work Truck Solutions.
Within Work Truck Solutions is an online marketplace for new and used work trucks called Comvoy.com, which Garcia said is, “the first real marketplace for those types of vehicles.”

Meanwhile, another company in the digitization space within Autotech’s portfolio is Cogniac, which uses AI to “automate visual inspections of vehicles and auto parts.”

Beyond digitization of enterprise, Autotech remains interested in and has made several investments on the “CASE” side of the equation.


Arguably the most notable of Autotech Ventures’ investments have been in ride-sharing company Lyft, which is now publicly traded. It also included DeepScale, which provides computer vision in autonomy. The firm recently sold that to Tesla.
 
Portfolio company XNOR.AI was recently purchased by Apple, to be used for both connectivity and autonomy purposes.
 
Certain elements of “CASE” tend to get the most media attention. Others may be more imminently practical. But which one is getting the most interest from the investment community?
 
“There continue to be investments in all of these areas,” said Joe Vitale, a global automotive leader at Deloitte. “I think the focus appears to be more around those technologies they can bring to market quickly.“What we’re seeing is a lot of focus around ADAS and those things that are providing technologies that make vehicles safer — collision avoidance and the like,” he said. “They will continue to invest in those things that have a near-term commercial buy-ability associated with them.”
  

Vitale also points to Deloitte’s 2020 Global Automotive Consumer Study, which shows an increasing interest in and needs for electric vehicles among consumers.
 
In the U.S., the percent of consumers “actively considering” buying an alternative-powertrain vehicle (including hybrid-electric, batter-electric and other options) during their next purchase has climbed from 29% in 2019 to 41% this year, according to the study.

The numbers are even higher elsewhere in the world. India is at 49% (up from 39% in 2019). Germany is at 51%, up from 37%.

China’s preference for alternative powertrains has dipped from 65% a year ago but is still at 57%. The Republic of Korea is at 58%, up from 43%. Meanwhile, Japan’s interest in these vehicles has climbed from 59% to 63%.

“I think there has been a significant shift in capital allocation towards electric vehicles, partly driven by the demands of consumers and interest in sustainable, safe vehicles and also to maintain compliance with regulations,” Vitale said.
  
What’s more, in places like Europe, he said, restrictions on the use of internal-combustion-engine vehicles could mean “we'll continue to see a significant focus on investments around electric vehicles.”
  
In a news release, Craig Giffi, who is vice chairman of Deloitte Insights and global managing principal, Deloitte LLP, said: “Technologies in the alternative powertrain domain appear to be advancing to a point where they have offset some of the concerns we have seen over the past decade.
 
“However, to encourage the consumer uptake of advanced vehicle technologies, the automotive ecosystem still has some work to do in terms of making EVs as easy and convenient as internal combustion engines, lowering the cost of EVs, and figuring out just who will build and pay for the charging infrastructure,” Giffi said.
 

On the autonomous side, the Deloitte study found that consumer viewpoints have “stalled” when it comes to the safety of these vehicles. Forty-eight percent of U.S. consumers believe fully autonomous vehicles would not be safe and 68% think fully autonomous commercial vehicles would not be safe enough on highways.

Similar results were found elsewhere in the world, with other countries having close to half of their respondents expressing concerns on AV technology’s safety.
 
“In fact, in India and China, the percentage of people that think autonomous vehicles will not be safe has increased to 58% and 35%, respectively,” Deloitte said in a news release. “This trend goes hand in hand with consumers' views on testing autonomous vehicles, with over half of consumers in India (57%) and the U.S. (51%) concerned by the idea of autonomous vehicles being tested in areas where they live.”
 
Over at Fraser McCombs Capital, an investment firm in the auto technology and mobility space, managing partner Chase Fraser said: “You’ve got to choose right with autonomy. It got a bit overheated. Evaluations went crazy for a lot of these autonomous businesses.”
  
The buzz in mainstream media around fully autonomous vehicles was perhaps a bit premature, if not overstated.

“Think about the big publications love to talk about these Level 4 and 5 cars going to be driving around tomorrow,” Fraser said. “Even when they were doing all that a year and two years ago … it wasn't accurate.

“You had big regulatory hurdles,” he said. “And the challenge at Level 4 and 5 is, it’s 95% there, but it’s that last 5% that’s the problem. And that last 5% takes a long time to get to a place that you’ll see these vehicles.”

FMC is looking at simulation companies that would play in that last 5%, using AI algorithms to simulate both computers and human-generated scenarios “where we can bridge that gap, that last 5% for autonomy,” Fraser said.
 
But going further back to the basics of autonomy, Fraser points out “you need a connected vehicle in order or it to be autonomous.”
 
Connectivity, a “baby step” in this process, is “very hot,” and FMC has made several investments in the space, two of which are GuardKnox, an Israel-based company in the vehicle cybersecurity space, and Aurora Labs, which provides over-the-air updates to vehicle computer systems.

Investors “can see a more immediate return” in connectivity, Fraser said.  

And then there is shared mobility, which would include — among other models — the ride-sharing services many of us use on a regular basis.
  


While the Lyft and Uber initial public offerings “were truly not great” and the stocks were challenged last year, Fraser said analyst reports indicate those companies have “cleaned up the mess a little bit” and perhaps there will be a rebound in their stocks this year.

“We still like shared. I think that model is a little immature and you do need autonomy to make those businesses profitable,” Fraser said. “You can get profitable by cutting a lot of other expenses. But what that essentially means is the fares are more expensive and you pay the drivers less … I just don't know that that's a feasible path for Uber and Lyft.”

Within the shared mobility space, FMC is invested in a company called Via, which provides Software-as-a-Service for municipalities.
  
For example, a city might have a bus route. The city could use the Via system to streamline the operations and optimize passenger capacity, to where instead of a bus making the route, it is a minivan or small bus, managed by entrepreneurs, making the rounds. The city could, in essence, reduce or eliminate the need for buses, using smaller, less costly vehicles.

“You take a ton of cost out of the system for these cities,” Fraser said. “We think that's going to be a really interesting play. And Via’s doing quite well.”

Edited and Reposted from an article written by:
CARY, N.C.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Shopping for Used Cars? Here's What You Need to Know

If you're interested in saving money on the purchase of a vehicle, used cars are the way to go.
Part of this has to do with their lower cost when compared to new cars, but the other reason behind buying used is that a new vehicle's value depreciates considerably in the first year of ownership. While you likely aren't buying a car as an investment and instead consider it a necessity to get from one place to the next, the fact remains that nobody wants to lose a portion of the money they've spent on any high-priced item. When you're shopping for a used car, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Be smart about your used car loan

You might think that every car loan for your used vehicle is created equally since the amount of the loan is consistent from lender to lender; however, interest rates can make the total amount you pay over time much different. As a result, it's a good idea to compare used car loans online prior to making a purchase. This can help you calculate how much you'll be paying in the long run on any car you buy, which can help you make the right decision when choosing between lenders. Being smart about your car loan can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on the price of your used vehicle.

Know what to look for during a test drive

Once you've found a vehicle that you're interested in, you'll want to give it a spin before making a purchase. During a test drive, there are a variety of things you'll want to test and inspect once you get behind the wheel. First and foremost, you want to make sure that you're comfortable in the car and can reach all of the necessary controls. If the car has Bluetooth connectivity, make sure your phone can connect to it, too. Drive the car offsite and park it in a public parking lot where you can walk around the vehicle and look for cosmetic damage, too. If you need a test drive checklist, this article from Forbes is a great starting point to help you know what you might miss.

Be ready to repair aspects of the car if it means a good deal

During your test drive, you may find some minor cosmetic issues or other problems that aren't dealbreakers—but they're annoying to deal with. If you know how to fix these issues, though, you may be able to get a better deal on your car purchase since other buyers might be unwilling to overlook these sorts of problems. Knowing where to buy the right headlight restoration kit could give you the tools you need to save money on your car by fixing the problem yourself. If you really want the best deal possible, being flexible about the condition of the car and knowing how to find kits that help you solve problems yourself can be a major money saver.

Negotiate — but not too aggressively

Everybody thinks they're a good negotiator, but when buying a used car, you may need to be a little more tactful. Car dealerships are used to people trying to bargain their way down thousands of dollars on a vehicle, and the last thing you want is to go toe to toe with a car salesman who won't have any patience for your shenanigans. By all means, be firm in your offer—especially if you already have a car loan to cover the purchase. But if the price of the car you're looking at is already a good deal, don't try to haggle the price down too much.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Car Dealers Moving Forward with SEO: Preparing for New Marketing Normals

Moving Forward with SEO: Preparing for New Marketing Normals


Car Dealers have tremendous potential right now to entertain, assist,
educate, and inform automotive consumers. Here are six ways to leverage
SEO in preparing for the new normal...


The demand for SEO from many business leaders is trending to an all-time
high, with more than 1.5 million searches in the month of April.

Automotive Marketers are searching for the most affordable and
cost-effective ways to understand shifts in consumer behavior and demand
volatility, while optimizing content for all of their digital channels.

SEO has become mission-critical and is the front and center of
digital marketing strategies spanning paid media, local, mobile, video,
email, and across verticals like Amazon and eCommerce.

Car Dealers and OEM's that can activate their search insights with
speed and accuracy are best positioned to recover and make gains, both
during and after COVID-19.



How SEO Paves the Way Forward

Even prior to COVID-19, car dealers were challenged to keep pace with rapidly evolving consumer behavior.

Now, automotive digital marketers – even as they adapt to their own
work-from-home and isolation strategies – are having to rethink their
digital marketing channels and ROI forecasts.

SEO, once considered a simple marketing channel, has grown
over the last decade into a rich, abundant source of business and
consumer intelligence.


SEO has become the most accurate representation of “voice of the
consumer” inside organizations, offering digital marketers from car
dealers of all sizes the opportunity to enhance visibility and expand
their digital footprint while generating that rich, valuable business
data the entire dealership needs.

Search marketers are in a position to really help customers recapture
or transform their dealerships into a more digital-focused marketing
operator, as:
  • People always need products and services.
  • SEO reaches consumers when they are in need and regardless of state of mind.
  • When there is scarcity, people turn to search.
  • SEO is affordable and efficient for ROI.
  • Optimized content helps protect, build, and grow brand equity.
  • SEO is the voice of consumers and provides insight into car buyer behaviors.
  • Search helps future-proof the dealership while providing immediate, midterm, and long-term wins.
With over 53% of website traffic coming from organic search, now is
the time for organizations to leverage SEO in a multitude of ways.

Many companies have halted paid search due to Coronavirus-related
business interruptions and now need to re-evaluate how their paid search
advertising strategy works in synergy with SEO.

How can automotive organizations drive more traffic to the best
content, feeding consumers’ need for media to consume while protecting
and furthering enhanced online brand equity?


SEO Now: Utilizing Insights & Taking Action

As the pandemic situation continues, opportunities will arise for car dealers and car companies to win prime search visibility and dealers who get the first-mover advantage will be quickest to recover, dominating share of voice in-market.

In fact, the conditions generated by COVID-19 present a great opportunity for proactive automotive marketers willing to double down on SEO as consumers crave interactive, engaging content.

Car dealers have unlimited potential right now to entertain, assist, educate, and inform.

Search is the pulse of the market and as recent research from BrightEdge (disclosure: the author's company) has shown, COVID-19 has impacted every industry.

Depending on how the vertical has been affected, strategies will differ.


BrightEdge data on Industry trends – mid-May update
  


1. Real-Time Data: Leverage to Understand and React to Trends and Consumer Behavior

With demand so volatile across all industries it is important, where
automotive companies can, to utilize real-time research to answer
questions and uncover opportunities as they happen.

This helps account for industry-wide trends but also empowers
marketers to ask specific questions and discover quantitative,
data-driven answers with speed, ease, and accuracy.

Automotive Marketers must take action to understand, in real-time,
how content is performing and ranking across all vertical and global
search engines.

As video consumption increases dramatically, it is important to track rankings there, as well.
This can help you unlock which models, categories, and influencers
are taking off and use that to further promote those videos and inform
future content strategy.

For automotive organizations, it is particularly important to protect the brand on Amazon.

Track how and where makes and models rank, and quickly identify
whether rogue merchandisers are taking away sales and diminishing your
brand equity.

SEO Is Your Best Representation of the Voice of Your Customer

The insights that SEO data gives marketers in terms of understanding
intent, behavioral, and buying patterns has never been so important.

At a time when consumers are making both rational and irrational
decisions based on emotion and the formation of new habits, it is
essential to make sure you have technology and systems in place to
identify and action “in the moment.”

Search data is valuable not just to the SEO team, but for
marketing, product, and PR teams who are all looking to understand new
types of customer journeys and what drives people on their journey.



2. Benchmarking Competition: Know Your Share of Voice and Work to Capture Market Share

As the shift to digital accelerates, the online landscape becomes increasingly more competitive.

With new content being published every second, organizations must
understand who is outranking them for the topics they want to own in
dynamic SERPs.

Understanding share of voice helps marketers increase SEO authority by identifying sites that canhelp the brand reach the target audience with paid ads or otherpartnership opportunities such as co-authorship or backlinking.

Competition in search results can vary widely by search topic or user device.

This is very important as working from home has consumers using both
desktop and mobile devices in different ways than they did as commuters.

Content strategies must be informed by insights on how aggressively
competitors are targeting search topics and how their content performs
in smartphone, tablet, or desktop searches.

Share of voice accurately maps key competitors to help marketers prioritize competitive content marketing work plans.

The more informed decisions marketers make based on understanding the
brand’s share of voice, the better they can maximize return on spend
and increase revenue from all digital marketing efforts.


3. Website Optimization: Enhance User Experiences and Create New Experiences

In order to get ahead and stay ahead, regardless of your vertical, is to ensure your website is primed to convert traffic.

That means ensuring every aspect of your site, including content, is optimized and easy to navigate.

Consumers are looking for an experience that informs and gives them the best experience possible.

Configure site audits for the site health issues that matter most.

Audit on-page elements such as page title and H1 tag, and off-page
factors including page loading speed, redirects, and 404 errors.

Tailor site audits to support specific business needs. It is also important to monitor and detect anomalies such as:
  • Loading issues.
  • Changes in performance.
  • Drops in conversion.
  • Decreases in traffic or revenue from content.
Detecting these issues as they happen and fixing them rapidly will
mitigate any revenue loss and keep websites clean, healthy, relevant,
and informative.

It is important to run ad-hoc audits to ensure website performance is
not affected when and if organizations are taking on large projects
such as:
  • Site migration.
  • Regulatory and accessibility projects.
  • Penalty recovery.
  • International expansion.
  • Pricing management.
  • Social media integration.


4. Content: Create & Optimize Content in Synergy to Ensure Relevance & Performance

At a time where so much content is being produced, it is vital to make sure the content you produce is of quality.

Content needs to be authored with usefulness and trustworthiness and in line with Google E-A-T guidelines.

Systematically review all of the content you have on your site.

Look closely at your optimization efforts to see how well you are meeting your current COVID-19 business objectives.

Find any gaps in your content and adjust your process to better serve your (old and new) intended audiences.

This allows marketers to align content with the buyer’s journey and measure the impact it is having on the growth of the business.

With consumers’ media needs so high due to COVID-19, it’s a great time for marketers to fill gaps in the customer journey with quality content.

Depending on the type of business and the extent to which operations have been affected, this may not even be the time to convert prospects to a sale.

However, opportunities are still there to re-optimize to convert to another action that will deepen relationships and keep the brand top of mind until sales pick up once again.
   

5. Global, Local & Mobile: Manage, Pivot & Optimize for People, Places, Content & Devices

Digital media continues to create global interconnections.

Many brands want to expand or pivot focus beyond their borders and engage with new prospective customers in foreign countries.

From store closures through to store reopenings, local search is intrinsically linked to SEO.

Now is time to look at your strategies and opening plans and ensure
your site and content is optimized for local and hyper-local search.

This is especially true for brick and mortar stores hard hit by the initial impact of COVID-19.

Trust is a big part of recovery so it will be important to analyze search volume and ranking data on key store target locations.

Evaluating the searches conducted in the areas surrounding locations
will help you build content to drive traffic to re-opened locations.

It is important to also do this at a global and local level across multiple geographies, locations, and languages.

And as consumers interact on multiple devices, from desktop to
mobile, marketers must track mobile demand, mobile searches, and mobile
rankings changes.

Focusing on key areas related to Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP),
mobile site structure and page speed will help further enhance user
experience, conversion, and revenue.

6. Technology & Innovation: Scale Performance With Additional & Valuable Automated Resource

Real-time research powered by deep learning is already helping marketers get the information and insights they need, right when they need it.

Advancements in these areas are opening key opportunities for all types of digital marketers (a trend BrightEdge has seen directly withinits platform over recent months).

The ability to ask questions and find answers on demand reduces time and increases revenue performance.

Utilizing the power of a one-stop solution platform also brings instant impact, since marketers do not have to struggle with disparate and unconnected data silos and the inflexibility of narrow point solutions.

Advancements in the fields of AI and machine learning have already proven successful in being the “extra SEO person,” that additional data scientist and digital marketing Sherpa needed to help with time-consuming and labor-intensive tasks.

From an SEO perspective, intelligent automation can improve many of the auditing and optimization tasks that will help brands stay on top of Coronavirus-related shifts in demand and consumer behavior.

It is especially important to save time and maximize output in these times of resource scarcity when marketers are being asked to accomplish more (and faster) during COVID-19.

In its most simplistic form, automation gives marketing capabilities the gift of scale. Technology does the

It frees up time for human marketers to focus on more creative and impactful work.

Utilizing advanced automation is already helping many marketers simplify complex and time-consuming tasks, even while drastically improving their impact on business outcomes and helping them make smarter and better-informed decisions.

Conclusion

In this time of uncertainty, search is the best option for responding to ongoing COVID-19-related business interruptions with speed and agility.

SEO, in particular, is critical not only for discovery but as the channel that provides the greatest insight into consumer behavior in real-time.

Search insights can inform every stage of COVID-19 brand response through to post-pandemic success.

There will be business winners and losers in this new digital economy, and search insights will inform every stage of a proactive COVID-19 brand response.

Understanding the challenges of COVID-19 and resulting consumer behavior is key in the path to evolving in sustainable and even profitable ways.

SEO insights will uncover opportunities and provide key insights foroperations, customer service, product development, R&D, the C-suite, and businesses as a whole.

As a result, the relationship between SEO and business strategy is set to become even more tightly intertwined.


Edited and reposted from the original article: Paving the Path Forward with SEO: Preparing for New Normalities that appeared first on Search Engine Journal.