Well first I would like to excuse my lack of following up quicker, it has been a world-wind of branding that has me occupied. Finally over the Memorial Day Weekend I set out to give my 2 cents on the expo and make sure there was no sugar coating. Though it might be almost 8 weeks since my return to good old Newark, what was seen, heard, and the people I have met, made a lasting experience.
Beyond my epic trail out there via the auto train, the expo was setup extremely well and organized. As I mapped out my agenda I focused on intermediate to advanced sessions that I could grab a few new tidbits on the industry and how to better serve our automotive client base. Classes from Successfully Selling to Millennials, how to get your fair share of sales this year, Creating the “Apple Store” experience in your dealership, and many others. The thing was, there was some great ideas but nothing that left me with the WOW factor. The conference is great for a dealer, marketing director in the automotive space that is getting their feet wet into the age of digital sales. There are many auto groups and dealers out there that still think that the marketing budget just includes your traditional outlets of print, radio, and tv. Incredible I know! Some quick areas you should address and begin to take notice are summarized in the next few paragraphs. Remember this was a DIGITAL Conference
1) Digital Consistency: Make sure you understand Local Search, Social, Reputation Management, Organic Search, and Paid Search as you enter your dealership into the digital world these areas basically make up your digital assets. They need to be used effectively and managed correctly in order to drive traffic and sales into the brick-n-mortar. Local Search is basically your modern day Yellow Pages. Make sure your listed on all key sites. Test your accuracy via GetListed.org Make sure socially your engaged and PAY ATTENTION, the last thing you want is a customer saying things about your service and you not responding. Reputation is like graffiti, if they are going to paint a picture make sure its positive! Google Places is a huge driver of feedback, get on it and be active. Organic Search is important and deep-linking to drive consumers to the correct content is KING. I like to say here, don’t think that just pasting your homepage URL is what many buyers want to see. Navigating and driving traffic to the information they are trying to find is the answer here! Lastly be effective with your paid search budget and make sure it hits all the key areas you want to get across to your audience.
2) The new buyer = Millennials: Integrating your selling process is going to win over the new buyer. They want it all so sell to them, be transparent with price, mpg, etc. because they are likely to have all the information before they even set foot in your dealership. Implement some tools they use to communicate, via texting capabilities (example). This is where MOBILE should standout. Your social media rating is going to need to be high here because they are likely to use a review a friend wrote about the dealership to drive them to purchase. Reviews are extremely important and specially from when they are linked to that source. Lastly… you need to become human, digitally. The sales team, service advisors, etc. need to be accustom to the channels the digital landscape has created and act quickly to adapt to these. If you don’t your new customers will be going elsewhere.
3) Dealership Marketing/Advertising: The avoidance of understand the digital outlets is going to hinder your growth and basically make you irrelevant to the auto buyer today. While you are working on your monthly advertising budget and putting great ideas out there to sell cars, gain more service ROs, don’t forget to initially survey your current customer base. This is going to give you an accurate understand of how they consume media and how they act on the information. Ask how they like to receive coupons or incentives, is it via email? or does a text message work best to let them know your due for your next service. Do you find yourself gravitating to TV commercials for a specific deal or do you search deals online? Does a friend’s recommendation for a product or service hold value towards your decision to use it or not? Today you can easily ask your customers what makes them create a conversion and you will be surprised at the results. Lastly don’t be afraid to try new mediums or ideas! With today’s tools you can see quickly the results and begin to implement them within the dealership. Don’t stay behind in the old ways of getting your message out there, because likely they aren’t listening anymore.
Besides some of the information that was useful, the one thing the conference was successful at was bring together industry leaders, vendors, and people behind the scenes. Meeting and talking to vendors we are currently using one-on-one, opened the doors to how the backend is handled and new ideas on integration. The synergy in the room for these mini-meeting is where a lot of headway was made. These new relationships are finally transpiring to a work level within GMLV and I am really looking forward to the growth around the corner!
I am really excited for the next coming months as we begin to integrate more with these providers and the individuals I met to help move our ideas to reality. Thanks to Dan, Stan, Larry and Jack Wilson for taking the time to talk with me and sharing ideas and directions we are all trying to move the industry towards! Ciao – @nownunz