The consolidation of the auto industry was in response to free market conditions reacting to a weakening economy accelerated by government intervention that many believe went beyond the rules of law.  The impact on auto dealers and the businesses that served them in their surrounding communities was immediate as they were shuttered by the thousands.  Automotive advertising agencies and technology vendors serving the retail automobile industry were similarly affected, however, the resulting changes are only now coming to light.

Philip Zelinger, the President of Ad Agency Online, L.L.C. — a national network of independent affiliated automotive advertising agencies linked by their online communication / distribution system — recently commented on the changing landscape of the automotive advertising industry and the technology vendors that serve it during an interview on the blog talk radio station WAAOL, All Automotive Advertising News All The Time.  WAAOL is hosted on the automotive advertising resource / networking portal AdAgencyOnline.Net. 

“The consolidation of the auto industry has forced automotive advertising agencies to take on new areas of responsibility that include integrating sales processes that begin on the virtual showrooms being built on the Internet Super Highway with real world brick and mortar facilities.  The internet has sparked new vendor applications and technologies that have forever changed the role of automotive advertising agencies who are now challenged to insure that the message on the street matches the message on the real and virtual showroom floor.  Technology has always determined the media used to deliver a targeted marketing message with human nature shaping the messages and methods applied by automotive advertising agencies tasked with maximizing the R.O.I. for every automotive advertising dollar.  The Internet and the impact that social media is having on the shopping and buying habits of consumers is being reflected in the emerging technologies and applications focused on providing efficiencies and short term R.O.I. analytics.”

“It is no longer enough for automotive advertising agencies to simply drive customers to their auto dealer client’s websites and/or showrooms.  Until and unless their efforts can be sourced to specific vehicle sales and/or repair orders they have not earned their agency fees.  Fortunately, new vendor applications have been developed to handle the warp speeds that customers are travelling on the Internet Super Highway.  These integrated solutions are being consolidated into comprehensive platforms built on best in class applications that  follow customers all the way to the showroom floor and/or the service drive — and beyond with after sales follow up to improve customer satisfaction and retention. Technology vendors that provide specialized applications for the auto industry have been consolidating their products and services to improve selling processes by linking new and pre-owned vehicle sales with fixed operations.  Efficiencies in processing customer contacts through integrated ILM and CRM systems tied to in store desking applications and DMS platforms allow automotive advertising agencies to manage and monitor customer contacts with a verifiable R.O.I..  This kind of R.O.I. analysis was not possible when these sales and service functions were handled by individual vendor solutions that did not communicate efficiently with each other.”

The consolidation in the automotive advertising technology sector has been evidenced by the increased market penetration by extensive product suites such as those offered by a group of individual vendors that comprise Dominion.  Similar platform solutions have been developed by individual vendors who have extended their products and services to include applications that compliment their initial offerings. 

Philip Zelinger recently interviewed Len Critcher from eCarList on The Automotive Advertising Experts blog talk radio show. The eCarList inventory management / marketing application has been complimented by new offerings that were discussed in detail

About eCarList

eCarList provides web-based inventory management, distribution, and marketing services to over 1,000 leading franchise and independent automotive dealerships nationwide.  The company’s comprehensive product lineup includes Inventory Management, Vehicle Pricing Analytics, Award-Winning Custom Websites, and a full-suite of Online Marketing Services including Search & Behavioral Marketing, Managed Chat, Video Mobile Websites and more. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, eCarList is an eBay Motors Preferred Provider.   For more information, visit www.ecarlist.com.

About TrueMarket Mobile

TrueMarket Mobile is the first and only mobile appraisal and inventory management application on the market to deliver both wholesale and retail data including Cars.com, AutoTrader, eBay, BlackBook, NADA, AuctionNet, Carfax, AutoCheck and more.  All data is complimented with intelligent market data including Market Days Supply, Price Variance, Option Filtering and Real-time competitive views.

Features of the app include an intuitive VIN scanner, VIN paste and quick-adds if you’re away from the vehicle, and direct integration with the eCarList desktop software.  Our dealers have the ability to photograph, price, edit and upload vehicles directly from the App to our inventory management software which instantly updates the website and retail sites.

Another respected vendor that recently expanded their core application into more of a platform solution is Higher Gear.  Philip Zelinger interviewed Robert Gruen, the founder of The Higher Gear Group, on WAAOL to discuss their CRM application and the newly expanded products and services being introduced to compliment their initial application.

The Higher Gear Group Team enhanced their platform under their new Overdrive banner which includes showroom, customer relationship and lead management systems.  The new products and services that have been added to their simple to use CRM — Done Right application include their integrated eZDesk system defined by their slogan — Multipayment Desking Made Easy, their eZBDC — Follow Up Made Easy and other products with descriptive names including their MyGarage — Be-back system, Super form — All-in-one lead generation, Bargain Button — Interactive Offer System and feature functions like their One-click Navigation, Mobile Site solution, Social Media Integration, High-indexing Search Technology, Affiliate Tracking, Dealer Care Proactive Site Maintenance and their Automated Credit Application Integration. 

About The Higher Gear Group

The Higher Gear Group, an industry-leading provider of software and services to the automotive industry, today announced the completion of an investment in the company by an affiliate of H.I.G. Capital, a global private investment firm with more than $7.5 billion of equity under management. Founded in 1998 by industry veteran Robert C. Gruen, The Higher Gear Group provides customer relationship management (CRM) software and related services to automotive dealers throughout the United States, Mexico and Canada. The Company’s software tracks the entire lifecycle of retail automotive customers, facilitating the management, retention and conversion of customer leads at dealerships.

Based in Schaumburg, Illinois, The Higher Gear Group was a pioneer in the automotive CRM sector, developing custom software solutions specifically tailored to address the unique process of selling cars, trucks and other motor vehicles at retail dealerships. The Company’s leading software was rapidly adopted throughout North America by dealerships seeking to realize a higher return on their significant investments in sales and marketing. In the decade between 1999 and 2009, the Company grew its customer base at an average annual rate of 60%, outpacing its competition and establishing itself as the leading independent player in the industry. The Higher Gear Group currently serves customers in 47 of 50 states.

These examples of best in class products and services offered by auto industry focused vendors integrated into platform solutions link vehicles sales and fixed operations to improve efficiencies and provide more comprehensive R.O.I. analytics.  Auto dealers and automotive advertising agencies that have survived the consolidation in the retail auto industry have turned to technology to leverage their limited resources.  The future for auto dealers and automotive advertising agencies clinging to old school business practices without embracing the internet, social media and technologies to maximize the efficiencies that they represent is bleak.  Similarly, vendors serving the auto industry must expand their products and services beyond their initial core products to provide complimentary and integrated solutions or they will be swept aside by platform solutions that address their auto dealer clients needs in a more comprehensive manner.

About Philip Zelinger

Philip Zelinger is the President of Ad Agency Online, L.L.C. and host of a nationally respected automotive advertising social networking portal, AdAgencyOnline.Net.  Philip invested 25 years as a General Manager and Dealer Principal followed by his last ten years in the automotive advertising industry representing auto dealers and technology vendors focused on the automotive advertising industry.

His role as a “Dealer Coach” is enhanced by his hosting a nationally recognized auto industry social networking portal and blog talk radio station – WAAOL, All Automotive Advertising News All The Time.  As the author of two books on the auto industry, including “How To Sell A Car – a Career Guide to The Automobile Industry,” he is a recognized authority on market trends and developing technologies with the responsibility of selecting key vendors and applications for his dealer clients as well as forming strategic partnerships for his vendor clients to leverage their shared resources to help them bring their products and services to market.

About AdAgencyOnline.Net and Ad Agency Online, L.L.C.

AdAgencyOnline.Net reviews automotive advertising vendors and new technologies on several blog talk radio shows in addition to the Lunch With Phil Discussing Automotive Advertising.  Other shows include “Auto Industry Insiders” and “Automotive Advertising Experts.”  The shows attract automotive advertising agencies, auto dealers, auto industry vendors and O.E.M. representatives that listen to WAAOL to find vendors, applications and technologies to maximize the R.O.I. for their automotive advertising dollars.

AAOL is a national network of independent affiliated automotive advertising agencies linked by an online communication / distribution system developed by Philip Zelinger.  The proprietary operating system that powers AAOL was designed to reduce fixed and semi-variable expenses for full service automotive advertising agencies.  The developing technologies that enhanced the performance of the independent automotive advertising agencies linked by AAOL has served as the role model for the solutions suggested on AdAgencyOnline.Net and represented by AAOL to their affiliated automotive advertising agencies when serving their auto dealer clients.

Ad Agency Online L.L.C is focused on discovering and representing new automotive advertising vendors not yet recognized by the mainstream automotive advertising industry. Automotive advertising vendors represented by AAOL include; ronsmap.com, DealerMouth, TeleTextSolutions, GetAutoAppraise, Argistics – AutoTransaXion, DealMaker.Com, CityTwist.Com, Bulldog Marketing Technologies, Kihon Media, CarFolks.Com, Ai Dealer, Laser Stream Video, and SiSTeR Technologies – Video CarLot and IntellaCar; to name a few.

For more information on Philip Zelinger, Ad Agency Online, L.L.C., or any of the vendor clients represented by Ad Agency Online contact Philip at 888-796-2228 or email him at pzads@bellsouth.net.  Automotive advertising vendors, automotive advertising agencies and auto dealers that would like to be considered as a “preferred automotive advertising vendor” on AdAgencyOnline.Net and/or to hire/join Ad Agency Online, L.L.C. to represent them can contact Philip Zelinger at http://adagencyonline.net.  To quote Philip Zelinger, “Help is only a click away!  After all, what are friends for!”  ###

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