Archive for May, 2011

Remember, it’s all about “Location, Location, Location”

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Foursquare.  Yelp.  Facebook Places.  Gowalla.  Loopt.  Brightkite.  Some of these you may have heard of…while you may accuse me of making some of them up on the spot.  The truth is that they are geolocation applications (often synonymous with geosocial) that are increasing in popularity and should become a part of your automotive marketing mix to drive traffic to your dealership. (more…)

Automotive Marketing Insights: Dealing with Inventory Concerns

Friday, May 27th, 2011

When the earthquake and subsequent tsunami hit Japan on March 11, 2011, it was a disaster that took its toll not only on the physical landscape and people of the small country, but also drastically affected a number of global industries.  One of the biggest industries affected by the destruction was the automotive industry.  According to Automotive News, the tsunami wiped out over 2,000 Nissan and Infiniti vehicles that were destined for showrooms in both Japan and the United States.  It was also reported that Toyota, who held the top spot as the world’s largest carmaker, would lose its rank (which it has held since 2008) due to the tsunami’s impact on their production.  Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, other carmakers…including American carmakers that merely rely on parts from Japan…are feeling the effects. (more…)

Automotive Marketing Tip: How to Own Your Market

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Tired of coming back from the factory meeting just to hear that you’re not on top in your city and that your local market share is slipping? Tired of wondering where to spend your money and finding it almost impossible to track what automotive marketing efforts actually work? Well, you’re not alone…far from it really. Many operators at car dealerships around the country feel the same way. So what do they do? Typically they react to the news by hiring a new advertising agency, redoing the marketing plan; and/or by firing a general manager or sales manager! (more…)

Keeping Your Automotive Direct Mail Out of the Trash

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

When you retrieve your mail from your mailbox, what keeps you from throwing it in the trash when you walk inside?  If you’re anything like me, depending on my mood of course, a piece of targeted direct mail (TDM) will find its way to the trashcan unless it immediately grabs my attention.

As an automotive direct marketing professional, how can you keep the interest of the consumer so they do not throw your TDM in the trashcan?  I’ll touch on the following concepts that are key to a successful direct marketing campaign as it relates to mail:

  • Form
  • Theme
  • Message
  • Call to Action
  • Urgency


The Automotive BDC: Yesterday and Today

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

Several years ago, BDCs were being built in almost every successful dealership around the country.  The main reason was that operators realized the importance of handling the phone properly.  Whether it is incoming sales or service calls, customer satisfaction or renewals, teams of people were established to “focus” on this daunting task: the phone.

So, what happened?  Why are most of these BDCs now storage rooms?  The answer is simple really: we skipped over the importance of using a true call center manager to handle the operations.  The very reason the centers were built was because the typical automotive professional didn’t have the necessary training nor time to properly handle calls.  Yet we used a sales manager or a salesperson that was deserving of a promotion to handle the management of a very complex activity.  If we would have focused on setting these centers up right the first time, using the proper management, software and personnel, they would probably still exist today. (more…)

Dealer Marketing Tip: The Secret Sauce to Finding Pre-Owned Vehicles

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Let’s face it, pre-owned vehicles are hard to find and it’s even harder to pay the price that you, Mr. Dealer, want to pay.  Pre-owned vehicles are a competitive market because every dealer wants a lot full of vehicles at $10k and under and the prices at auction continue to increase.

The best way to get pre-owned vehicles – and by best I mean the most cost-effective ROI – is to get them from your dealership’s customers though a Vehicle Buy-Back Program.  With a Vehicle Buy-Back Program, your dealership is making a conscious decision not to go to auction, pay all the auction fees and buy vehicles you know nothing about, from people who you have never met.  This should not only be part of your internal decision making process, but also teach your sales staff those exact word tracks and use them when they talk about your store’s approach to buying used vehicles.

Now you may be thinking, “I’m not just here to buy cars…I need to sell them too! And I need an ‘in the market’ customer today!”  I know…I get it.  But how much more ‘in the market’ could a customer be if they are in the process of selling their car to your dealership?!  Let’s be honest; most consumers have a perception that they get the short end of the stick on a trade so it’s pivotal that you make the trade the reason for their visit and your interest in them.  Your staff should start the meet and greet process by talking about how much you want a prospects trade.  (Unless of course it’s being towed to your store.)  Promise them that you’ll give them a better trade than anyone else and that their car is gold to you…and hold up your end of the deal by coming through for them.