Posts Tagged “ad agency online”

Most dealers recognize the value of their data base of past and present customers.  Many even invest in automated marketing programs that rely on algorithms to target qualified customers and deliver equity alerts for vehicle exchange programs and properly timed service alerts based on factory recommended maintenance to improve customer retention and loyalty after the sale.

The following potentially missed opportunities to maximize the R.O.I. realized by managing your most valued asset – your customers – includes many that I have overcome and a few that hopefully my friends will add in their comments:

1) Cross promotions between sales and service and service to sales:  Most dealers have a process in place to introduce new customers to a service writer to schedule their first service appointment and anchor future maintenance to preserve their warranty.  (If you don’t, make this a two for one missed opportunity and set up a process to insure a T.O. to service that extends beyond your service hours.)

However, few dealers have a similar structure in place to monitor and manage sales processes in the service lane that remind customers when they qualify to trade-up their vehicle to a new or newer one.  Typically, this is due to a lack of data, resources or staff that can research and notify customers when they have enough equity to qualify to trade-in their vehicle with little or no money down for a new or newer vehicle for similar payments.

As mentioned in my introduction, vendor solutions like Driving Loyalty can automate this discovery and notice to the customer.  However, to take maximum advantage of their marketing platform, they suggest a proven process that includes a dedicated individual in the service lane to assist the customer with their decision to exchange their vehicle vs. paying for the scheduled service that brought them to your dealership.

Driving Loyalty reminds their dealer clients that when quantifying their R.O.I. from this process they should consider not only the front and back end profit from the new or pre-owned vehicle sale but also the value of acquiring a potentially qualified Certified Pre-Owned vehicle and the increased customer loyalty and retention realized by your efforts.

2) Social Media – Marketing – Networking: Many dealers have become frustrated with using social media/marketing to communicate with their customers primarily due, in my opinion, to unrealistic expectations.  Sourcing vehicle sales and service appointments from Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinetrest, Instagram, Linked-In and a number of yet to be discovered consumer centric social networking communities is not be as easy as through conventional and digital media.  However, once again, technology driven vendor solutions can provide a realistic R.O.I. from your social marketing initiatives.

Next generation apps like HELIOS developed by xChange Automotive reside entirely within the Facebook environment and provide relevant/transparent information to a customer without distracting them from their more socially driven conversations.  HELIOS provides everything from contests for cash to integrated processes that host one on one discussions with their “friend in the car business” about a considered vehicle purchase or pending service need that can be shared with their online friends and family in a non-confrontational manner.  More uniquely, the customers never have to leave their comfort zone within their Facebook page and the dealer is able to deliver/receive the information directly through their CRM/DMS and established sales/service processes.

3) Dealer Reputation/Referral Platforms: Soliciting positive feedback and referrals from customers before. during and after the sale is an old school technique that has survived into today’s technology driven marketplace.  Word of mouth advertising, bird dogs and simply asking for a referral is common place, however, third party marketing platforms that profess to be consumer centric and dealer focused have often left consumers out of the formula.

Carfolks.Com is a site that has existed for some time that adds an additional feature/benefit for consumers as well as dealers on several levels.  As expected, they notify a dealer of a poor review to offer them an opportunity to address and resolve it, however, to preserve credibility for consumers they do not allow the dealer to eliminate the bad reviews.  Instead, they insure that the dealer has the last word vs. posting a string of unwarranted attacks with the expectation that the dealer will either resolve the problem or support their position in a positive manner.

More uniquely, they offer sales consultants and service writers a “free” page on their site so customers can post their comments directly with/about the people that they actually did business with. As a result, the dealer can identify where/who the problem/opportunity originated with so they can address the individual and either critique or compliment them.  In addition, the sales consultant or service writer can learn from their replies and hopefully develop a customer base that will allow them to improve their sales techniques and increase their income.  The resulting increase in customer satisfaction/retention is coupled with an increased employee satisfaction/retention which directly benefits all parties; the customer. the employee and the dealer!

I can continue listing other examples of how/why a dealer can/should focus on their past and present customers vs. constantly investing new advertising dollars to attract new ones.  However, now would be a good time to ask you for your thoughts on the subject and suggested examples of how we can all maximize the R.O.I. from our DMS and our collected list of customers.

After all, what are friends and Ad Agency Online for!

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The Auto Industry Insiders Show, hosted by Philip Zelinger the President of Ad Agency Online, LLC, scheduled to air on June 12th. 2014 at 12 Noon EST includes an interview with Kurtis Smith discussing his training programs that teaches & equips managers to intentionally improve employee performance, revenue & the customer experience.

Auto Industry Insiders Interview Kutis Smith

Auto Industry Insiders Interview Kutis Smith

 

K-Method Academy Launches the automotive industry’s first training resource center to equip dealers to impact the customer experience

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Kurtis Smith, info@kmethod.com

Chicago, IL – The K-Method Training Group announces the launch of the K-Method Academy, a robust & comprehensive training solution created especially for dealerships and their professionals. Kurtis Smith, Director of Training & Content Development explains that the goal of the academy is to become a tool and resource for dealerships everywhere to equip their managers with the training content, resources and support to develop millennials, the next generation of dealership professionals.

K-Method’s executives believe that today’s dealership professionals must have access to a more modern and focused training curriculum based on the principle of the continuous improvement movement and centered around strategies to improve the customer experience. They believe that this curriculum should include skills, systems and process based material, available on-demand, to address specific performance issues in real time when the training can be most useful and relevant. Additionally, they believe that this approach lends itself to addressing some of the concerns of today’s consumers regarding the competency and professionalism of many of the dealership employees they encounter.

As more manufacturers implement their version of the continuous improvement program, Mr. Smith believes dealership managers will need access to this type of training methodology to aid in intentionally promoting employee “course correction” and performance improvement.

What makes this approach so unique is that it empowers managers to take control of their workforce training. They are able to choose from a single course, or a pre-built learning plan, or a full blown certification training program without committing to long term contracts or costly training initiative with low ROI.

Mr. Smith states that the K-Method Academy is positioning itself to be the resource that dealerships can depend on to train new hires, have access to learn new skills, systems and processes to continually develop and educate their workforce regardless of the skill level and experience of its personnel. He states that we should think of K-Method as the Kahn Academy for the Automotive Industry.

To learn more, visit http://kmethod.com or to take a tour of the learning center visit http://kmethodacademy.com/sp-free-membership-sales-page1/ .

Contact To learn more about the K-Method Group & the K-Method Academy, please contact Kurtis Smith The K-Method Group, Inc. O (866) 277-7681 ext. 703 F (877) 698-8891 kurtis@kmethod.com

About The K-Method Training Group, Inc

The K-Method Group is a training organization specializing in the development of performance improvement training courses to be used by dealerships as a resource for the continuing education and development of their workforce. Our processes and strategies were born out of the Kaizen philosophy, which literally means; change (kai) – to become good (zen). The company operates its own online training platform known as the K-Method Success Academy, designed to deliver training based on the unique developmental needs of each member on the team.

The K-Method Value Proposition

Every day in Every Dealership, Without Exception, there are employee performance related issues that continually surface that negatively impact the customer experience and rob the dealership of revenue.

Managers are on the frontline and are uniquely positioned to impact the KPI’s affecting profits and the customer experience. They are able to observe the employee’s behavior affecting the KPI’s, and impact performance in real time by seizing them as teachable moments where targeted training courses can be leveraged to improve the employee’s performance leading to skill mastery.

Our training solution is that resource that has been designed to elevate the performance level of dealership professionals by introducing a comprehensive training resource consisting of courses that address core skills, frameworks and strategies that the individual will need to know in order to be effective in their various roles.

About Kurtis Smith

Kurtis Smith is the Director of Training & Content Development for the K-Method Group. With a background as a United States Marine, Author, Sales, Management and consulting professional, Mr. Smith brings with him over two decades of experience and know-how to the table. He is the creator of Professional Standards for Sales Excellence (PSSE) training program, a comprehensive library of training courses designed to elevate the performance of dealership professionals. The program consists of courses that teach the core skills, processes and frameworks that dealership professionals will need to know to develop multiple lead sources, maintain client relationships and other activities that impact revenue and the customer experience. Mr. Smith is also the author of two books. The first, Lessons from the Concrete Garden reads like a white paper, in which he builds a case for redefining the sales process & training methods used to develop dealership personnel in the aftermath of the Internet and its impact on revenue and the customer experience. His second book, The Sales Professional’s Blueprint serves as the action plan, where he takes the reader on a step-by-step personal development journey and teaches, in story format, exactly what they need to know to excel in this new process driven selling model. It goes one step further by inviting the reader, at the end of each chapter, to access the online training courses outlined in the book.

Mr. Smith’s guiding principle when it comes to solving problems or developing solutions for his clients is summed up as follows: “What you cannot define you cannot reproduce, what you cannot reproduce you cannot measure, what you cannot measure you cannot control or manage“.

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The Automotive Advertising Experts show is hosted on Blog Talk Radio and featured on AdAgencyOnline.Net – an auto industry networking resource portal.  Philip Zelinger, the President of Ad Agency Online and host of the show, will interview Michael Wynns, the President of Automotive Resource Partner, (ARP) on Fri., March 28th, 2014, at 12 N. EST.

The pair of auto industry insiders will discuss the unique networking partnership and leveraged resources offered by ARP.  They will also share some insider information regarding the upcoming Automotive Leadership Roundtable & Awards, (ALR), scheduled at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach on April 6th & 7th,  2014.

Michael is an author, entrepreneur and digital marketing expert who has spear-headed the technology platforms used by numerous industry heavy weights – including Vehix.com, Comcast.net and Dominion Dealer Services. He is currently the President of Automotive Resource Partners – a private equity company that develops technology solutions exclusively for the automotive industry. 

The Automotive Leadership Roundtable & Awards™ (ALR) has been described as “the most impactful 24-hours in the automotive industry” and for good reason. This is where top thought leaders come to share the results of their research. This is where top dealers come to share their best practices. And, this is where industry insiders come to announce the game-changing ideas that the rest of the world will find out about long after innovators have put them into practice. However, the most extraordinary aspect of ALR is the opportunity it provides to have one-on-one interactions with the country’s best and brightest automotive minds and discuss real world opportunities with those who are at the very top of their game. 

Michael confirmed that they have an exciting agenda planned. It begins with a high-impact roundtable led by several of the country’s top dealers and leading business minds and continues with a five-star dinner that will celebrate the accomplishments of this year’s top-selling dealers and feature a private performance by multi-Grammy winning artist Jon Secada. Finally, the evening will conclude with a VIP cocktail party that will allow attendees to interact with this year’s presenters and reflect on the day’s events.

Speakers include: Forrest McConnell, NADA – Mark Burnett – Jack Harbaugh – Peter Leto, Google – Kass Dawson, Facebook – Ron Collier – Jim Dunn #1 Lexus –Stewart Esterby/Ken Potter (TrueCar) – Johnathan Bernard Univision – John Malishenko, COO Germain Auto – Richard Bustillo, GM, Rick Case Honda –Brian Benstock, Paragon Honda – Andy Lipset, Pandora – Susan Scarola, DCH Auto –                 Steve Greenfield, AutoTrader – Ben Simon, Wal-mart

ALR combines business with pleasure as evidenced by the following scheduled events:

Sunday, April 6th VIP Cocktail Reception 7:30 PM

Hors d’oevres and cocktails served on the La Cote Terrace overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, creating an intimate gathering while mingling with the best and brightest in the auto industry. 

Monday, April 7th – Daytime; 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM

The Automotive Leadership Roundtable 

Monday, April 7th – Evening; 7:00 PM – After Dinner Party; 10:30 PM

Automotive Leadership Roundtable Awards Dinner on the Fontainebleau Tropez Lawn 

Automotive Leadership Roundtable participants will gather on the gorgeous lawns of the Fontainebleau for a 5-star reception and awards dinner where the #1 dealers in each franchise will be recognized. The prestigious Automotive Leadership Legacy Award was received by David Power, from J.D. Power and Associates in 2012. 

Michael confirmed the exclusive nature of the event.  However, he conceded that if a top ranked dealer wants to attend there will always be room for them.  Auto dealers are invited to contact an ALR VIP Host at 800-894-8377 or use the following links for additional information:

Download Brochure, click here. Watch Video, click here.

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Automotive advertising agencies have adjusted to accommodate consumer preferences that have shifted from shopping at their local auto row in favor of a growing number of online options. 

The shift from conventional radio, T.V. and print media to digital advertising including websites, banner ads, S.E.O./S.E.M strategies and even email vs. direct mail has matured into even more consumer centric social media.  Forward thinking auto dealers are joining other retail businesses that recognize that the shift from the real world to the virtual one online has just begun.

Store closures by large iconic retailers including Staples, Radio Shack, Best Buy, Circuit City, Linens and Things, Borders and Blockbuster are just the tip of the iceberg as consumers shop online for everything from electronics and books to large ticket items like homes, furniture and even automobiles.  Profit challenged auto dealers have demanded more for less from their advertising agencies and retail operations as margins are reduced by today’s educated consumer with internet access to information that auto dealers no longer control.

In response, automotive advertising agencies have started to leverage social media though the use of technology driven applications that monitor and manage their auto dealer’s online reputations.  Auto dealer marketing messages are being crafted to blend into online discussions that now drive the market on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google +.

Solutions like Helios being introduced by xChangeAuto deliver a Facebook hosted information portal that provides relevant and transparent information to an auto dealer’s customers before, during and after their car shopping and buying experience.  As the auto dealer’s online “friends” enter the market they are able to access information directly from the dealer provided Facebook page without having to contact the dealer directly.

These hand raisers are delivered to the dealer through their sales and service tools including their CRM and DMS allowing a seamless transition into established sales processes.  The result is a real time exchange of information that is both consumer friendly and dealer centric; win – win!

Other technology driven solutions are being applied by dealers to accommodate online shoppers that match relationship building messages being delivered through social marketing initiatives.  Data base marketing platforms like Driving Loyalty invite past, present and pending customers to follow auto dealers onto their social marketing sites.

Driving Loyalty blends old school media like direct mail and outbound call centers with current digital marketing methods including emails and personalized websites and next generation social marketing messages.  The proprietary algorithms that power their monthly consumer centric messages deliver relevant information that is unique to each customer.

Equity alerts are delivered only to qualified customers with an offer to exchange their vehicle for a new or newer one for a similar payment with little or no money down.  These out the door quotes include tax, tag, title, related dealer fees and even take into consideration all applicable rebates, interest rates and trade-in values.

Similarly relevant alerts regarding factory recommended service and seasonal specials in parts and service insure that customers are kept up to date on their investment in their vehicle.  At the same time the dealer is assured that their relationship with their customers will exist after the sale in synch with their ongoing social marketing efforts.

Next generation conversion tools will eventually accommodate vehicle sales without customers having to visit the dealership.  However, until these complete transactions on an auto dealer’s website are more widely accepted telephone processes must be updated to preserve these more fragile online customer relationships.

CallRevu is an example of a technology based platform that allows an auto dealer to monitor and manage their in-bound telephone processes to insure that they preserve customer relationships earned through their social marketing initiatives.  The dealership’s telephone processes are first evaluated to insure that all calls are distributed timely and to the correct parties.

Once best practices are established CallRevu delivers real time alerts to key personnel at the dealership advising them of any dropped calls or those that may have been misdirected or otherwise mishandled.  The result is better customer satisfaction, retention and improved profits through delivery of a more consistent customer friendly sales process that converts online friends into real world customers.

Until brick and mortar dealerships are completely irrelevant, and that time may come sooner that many auto dealers might expect, auto dealers must protect relationships that are initiated online as they mature into guests at their real world facility.   IntellaCar is a next generation sales and marketing platform that resides on an iPad that is uniquely qualified to blur the line between the virtual and the real world.

Today’s consumers visit an auto dealership armed with more information than most of the sales consultants that greet them.  IntellaCar empowers sales consultants to compete with these more educated customers by providing them with the same credible third party information that their customers have discovered during their online shopping spree.

Sales consultants are able to access IntellaCar throughout their sales process.  After completing a brief customer profile information is sorted by order of relevancy to fit the customer’s needs.  Vehicle selection, inventory walks, test drives, appraisals and even final negotiations are similarly supported by the IntellaCar platform insuring a consistent customer friendly process.

The result is an easy transition from the online virtual world powered by consumer centric social marketing messaging to an equally customer friendly experience on the showroom floor.  Brick and mortar dealerships aren’t dead yet, and they will always have a place in the sales and service process for customers and dealers alike, which reinforces the value and need for IntellaCar and technology driven sales and marketing platforms like them.

Mobile applications also support online shopping and service experiences that connect real world showrooms with their online counterparts. DealerAppvantage is a dealer branded mobile application that protects and preserves customer satisfaction and retention at the time of delivery.

Customers are able to download DealerAppVantage onto their smart phone to stay in touch with the dealership after their purchase.  Alerts are delivered through the app to remind customers of their factory recommended service at the dealership.  More uniquely, consumer centric content such as local gasoline prices and other information designed to improve their ownership experience is always available.

The hosting auto dealer also benefits from this ongoing connection to their customers when the time comes for them to consider exchanging their vehicle for a new or newer one.  The ability to preserve relationships with customers without trying to time the market with a sales message is yet another example of how auto dealers are preparing to support these online relationships even after they visit their dealerships and take delivery of a vehicle.

Auto dealers are shifting their focus from brick & mortar dealerships to online showrooms powered by social marketing.  However, the transition requires links between proven old world processes and next generation technology driven solutions that prioritize customer relationships over short term sales and profit objectives.

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Forward thinking automotive advertising agencies understand that most changes in the auto industry are driven by technology; however, all of them are powered by human nature.   The evolution from word of mouth referral systems relying on relationship based sales processes to today’s consumer driven social marketing messages can be traced to their  common element; people like to do business with people that they like.

Auto dealers are constantly looking for ways to maximize profits and consumers are equally focused on getting the best possible deal.  The key to satisfying all parties in a free marketplace is to focus on what both sides have in common and it isn’t short term profit or price.

The market has decided that the most efficient technology driven solutions are only effective if they also improve the customer experience.  This has become more evident in today’s internet driven marketplace as social media has empowered consumers to gather the information they need to make a buying or servicing decision without having to rely on their local auto dealer.

Auto industry vendors have focused on providing consumer centric processes to complement social marketing initiatives.   Their common agenda is to prioritize the needs of the customer before those of the dealer with the confidence that they are not mutually exclusive. Read the rest of this entry »

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