Archive for September, 2010

Reputation Management: Reactive vs. Proactive Marketing

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

The ever-changing online environment requires direct marketers to deal with many different obstacles in trying to keep entrenched and viable in the marketing realm.  The Internet continues to play a huge role in handling customer feedback as it relates to direct marketing efforts in any industry, especially the automotive business.

When engaging in reputation management activities online, there are typically two types of disciplines that lead the Missy Jensen - DMEautomotivepack: reactive and proactive.  Each field can set the pace to your automotive marketing endeavors and can have a strong influence on others.  Both types should also drive search engine optimization (SEO) rankings and provide a positive spin to your reputation management initiatives

In the automotive sales and marketing arenas, it’s common practice to essentially do little to nothing in reacting to a social media-based push.  Why is it easy to choose the reactive marketing path?  Dealerships are understandably timid due to potentially upsetting the applecart and straying from message, i.e. “don’t bite the hand that feeds” theory.  However, it’s detrimental in that the lack of reaction fails to influence their social media friends or followers.

Proactive marketing, on the other hand, acts like an independent steward in your direct marketing planning – it’s a guide that sets the course of your intentions.   As a rule, proactive marketing provides direct marketing personnel an active role in continuing to inform customers on products and services.  The one advantage it does have over its marketing cousin is proactive marketers tend to spend wisely and have control over their message.

Proactively creating ongoing lines of communication with your customers has been known to drive positive results to your dealership’s bottom line.  In fact, establishing a proactive automotive marketing campaign can help exploit changing consumer behavior and in turn, sell more vehicles off your showroom floor.

In the reputation management game, it’s vital to be able to strike a delicate balance between both reactive and proactive automotive marketing.  While doing so, be sure to commence each initiative with the proper research and listening programs to ensure that your campaigns are following a consistent message throughout.

So be proactive: Listen to what your customers are saying online and react via your direct marketing campaigns appropriately!

~ Missy Jensen, Social Media Manager at DMEautomotive

Bio:
Missy designs, deploys and maintains the social media initiatives for DMEautomotive in an effort to increase brand awareness, distribute company and industry news, provide updates on products and services and promote consumer engagement. Missy enjoys the process of learning; researching and watching projects come to fruition!

Prior to her transformation into a web specialist and work with DMEautomotive, she has 10 years of experience in the marketing and communications industry. Missy served as the Director, Handicapping & Communications for a regional golf association and helped successfully launch and maintain a cutting edge technology-based ticket resale program on behalf of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Missy attended St. Lawrence University where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BS in Psychology. She also holds a Master’s Degree from Miami University in Oxford, OH. She can be reached at missy.jensen@dmeautomotive.com and check her out on LinkedIn.

Tracking Your Targeted Direct Mail Campaigns Can Reap Returns

Friday, September 17th, 2010

In last month’s blog, I touched upon how Tracking – Targeted Direct Mail (TDM) was an integral part of the automotive direct marketing process.

We also asked the following questions: How do you process and use the results about a particular direct marketing piece? How do you rate its effectiveness and how does it impact your current strategy in regards to TDM? Paul Ryan, DMEautomotive

In attempting to answer the above, it leads to another simple – but true – cause and effect relationship-type question in your TDM as it relates to foot traffic in your dealership and sales: How many times did your door swing and your cash register ring?

This month, I want to point out where you should be able to evaluate the results of the previous TDM and start implementing a strategy for your upcoming TDM.

One place dealerships can review TDM results is through their customer marketing program, allowing you to easily monitor an array of data and activities on a real-time basis in order to evaluate which direct marketing pieces get customers into your dealership.  The dashboards typically include:

Þ   Customer Dashboard

Þ   Sales Dashboard

Þ   Service Dashboard

Þ   Email Dashboard

Þ   Competitive Customers Dashboard

These dashboards will reveal your “Lowest Bearing Fruit”. In other words, how do we take those opportunities for sale and turn them into quick sales for your dealerships?

Most robust programs offer dashboards, in which dealers can quickly identify their target audience — whether current customers or conquest customers — to create a relevant, timely and personalized “Call to Action”.

Where do you begin to look for all of this? Do you even have the technology, processes and systems in place to quickly analyze these reports and facts?  If you use a customer-marketing program, an important tool like a dashboard makes the data readily available and easy to implement in your automotive direct marketing strategy.  Learning to use the dashboards and interpreting the data is a pivotal part of TDM strategies.

At the conclusion of that process, how quickly and how long do you want to proceed with a particular strategy?  In my experience, most strategies of this nature should include a quarterly rotation of both current and conquest customers

So…do you know your “Lowest Bearing Fruit”?

In next month’s blog, we will discuss how I develop and determine the “Hook/Theme/Messages/Content” for my TDM initiatives.

Happy planning…

~ Paul Ryan, Field Account Manager @ DMEautomotive

Bio: Paul Ryan brings over 25 years of experience in sales, sales management, marketing, and client services. He joined DMEautomotive in February of 2008, as a Regional Territory Manager. With proven success as an inside sales representative selling the FullCircle Solutions’ Bullseye program, he was recognized frequently as Sales Person of the Month and received the highest honor of Sales Person of the Year for 2008. In August of 2009, Paul managed, “Direct-To-Dealer” – Mail Division, responsible for overseeing the sales for the “Direct-To-Dealer” Mail Division. Currently he is traveling in the Midwest as Field Account Manager. Paul graduated with a B.B.A, in Business Administration from Iowa State University in 1982.

The Importance of Reporting in Your Targeted Direct Mail Campaign

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Paul Ryan, DMEautomotiveAt the conclusion of my last blog, I mentioned return on investment (ROI) for your particular targeted direct mail (TDM) pieces.  I presented the following questions for you to mull over:

  • Do marketing companies and automotive dealers report results about a particular piece and its effectiveness?
  • How many times did your door swing and your cash register ring?
  • What activity was created from your TDM piece?

To measure the effectiveness of your TDM piece, it is important to have your “cash register ring” (sales).  It is equally important to see how many times your “door swung open” and what you did with that opportunity.

With the assistance of technology, you can track a customer’s response to a particular targeted direct mail piece.  More specifically, you will be able to accurately gauge what actions your customer took when they received your TDM piece and what your dealership did to take advantage of that particular activity.  Having this information at your fingertips can be a valuable asset in potential sales and service lists for the future.

Let’s take a look at some of those reports that could create new revenue and break them down:

  • Potential Sales
  • Potential Service Repair Orders
  • Website Activity

Potential Sales

In the potential sales category, you have to ask yourself the following questions for a good measure of your data:

  • Did a client receive your TDM and go to your website to research “New Car Inventory”?  “Used Car Inventory”? 
  • Did the customer call in to inquire about a particular vehicle? In other words, were you able to define what category (news/used cars) for the customer was calling about?

Potential Service Repair Orders

In the potential service repair orders class, you have to ask yourself the following questions for a good evaluation of your data:

  • Did your client receive your TDM and go to your website to research “Service Department”? 
  • Did they go to your website to research “Warranty Work”? 
  • Did the customer research “Extended Warranties”?  Or “Tires”? 
  • Did they call your dealership to inquire about service and were you able to track their call?  In other words, were you able to define what category your customer was calling about for your data collection?

Website Activity

In your website’s activity database, you must be able to ask and answer the following questions to be able to get a good understanding of your TDM:

  • Do you know who is going to your website?
  • Do you know who is navigating around your home, new inventory, specials, service department, schedule appointments, used inventory, etc. pages?
  • Are you tracking, analyzing and reporting this website activity to uncover the potential “low hanging fruit” (i.e. the opportunities for sale and able to turn them into quick sales) lists of customers that have done business with you in the past?

With today’s technology, you’re capable of tracking just about everything!  Take a look at your customer mail list, analyze what they did and plan what they’re potentially going to do next.  From your reports, compile your lists for Potential Sales and Service customers.

The good news is you’re able to keep all the accumulated data in order by using the technology provided by your marketing company.  By doing so, you can just about track anything, including the ability to create a report or list, and frame it the way you want.

In my next blog, we will dive into the Strategy for TDM.

Happy planning…

~ Paul Ryan, Field Account Manager @ DMEautomotive

Bio:

Paul Ryan brings over 25 years of experience in sales, sales management, marketing, and client services. He joined DMEautomotive in February of 2008, as a Regional Territory Manager. With proven success as an inside sales representative selling the FullCircle Solutions’ Bullseye program, he was recognized frequently as Sales Person of the Month and received the highest honor of Sales Person of the Year for 2008. In August of 2009, Paul managed, “Direct-To-Dealer” – Mail Division, responsible for overseeing the sales for the “Direct-To-Dealer” Mail Division.  Currently he is traveling in the Midwest as Field Account Manager.  Paul graduated with a B.B.A, in Business Administration from Iowa State University in 1982.

Are Your Direct Marketing Channels in the Technology Fastlane?

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Are you changing your marketing channels to keep up with the latest technology trends?  Text messaging has become the norm in social behavior and is slowly becoming accepted between businesses and their consumers.  Before you decide that you have to communicate differently because “everyone” is doing so or the technology dictates it, take a step back and assess the following processes in your automotive dealership’s direct marketing plans:

  • More and more, customers are using their cell numbers as their primary contact numbers.  Are you accurately identifying mobile phone numbers in your DMS?  If not, are you capturing the mobile identifier in your data hygiene process?
  • Do you have an opt-in clause on your Sales Paperwork or Repair Orders so that you can communicate with them by text?  Stricter rules are now in place for how we contact consumers.  For mobile text messaging, we need the customer opt-in and twice.  You need to be compliant with regulations.
  • Do message and data rates apply?  Be considerate of your customers.

Now think about what message you communicate via text.  Successful campaigns are more personal, specific and relevant.  Remember that characters on texts are limited, so be concise and include links for special offers, contact info, etc.  Starting with short codes in your mail or email can help in tracking your customers’ adoption to text, giving you more information on their interests for specials, products or information.

Moving with these trends can be a positive, but don’t discount the market channels that have been proven to be effective:  mail, email and calls.  They are oldies but goodies.

For additional information on mobile messaging as it pertains to your automotive direct marketing initiatives, be sure to browse DealerText.com.


Bio
:
Marcie has 15 years of extensive experience, of which 10 are in the automotive industry, with strategic planning, market research, media and events. She has a successful track record for implementing new marketing plans to expand market share and grow revenue. Marcie possesses a forward thinking approach to business with an emphasis on bottom line results. As DMEautomotive’s Product Manager Marcie is responsible for the company’s Direct to Dealer Program, product development and data analysis, client services, and customer retention.

Marcie has 15 years of extensive experience, of which 10 are in the automotive industry, with strategic planning, market research, media and events. She has a successful track record for implementing new marketing plans to expand market share and grow revenue. Marcie possesses a forward thinking approach to business with an emphasis on bottom line results. As DMEautomotive’s Product Manager Marcie is responsible for the company’s Direct to Dealer Program, product development and data analysis, client services, and customer retention.