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Social marketing may be the next best thing but, like all successful next generation solutions, it is built on the foundation of proven old school wisdoms. Word of mouth advertising pre-dates today’s technology driven social marketing as a proven way to build a business. The fact that people like to do business with people they like and that trust is the foundation for any transaction is a reflection of human nature which is the basis for long term business relationships.
Given that truth, I find it interesting that many auto dealers ignore the low hanging fruit of marketing to their past and present customers in favor of focusing on complete strangers. Relationships already earned in sales and service must be nurtured or they will soon find a new friend in the car business. Fortunately, as these established relationships mature they not only result in superior customer satisfaction and retention but they provide the stories that can drive a successful social marketing program.
The market is a conversation among friends that exists before, during and after their car shopping/buying experience. Auto dealers are tasked with timing their messages to match where customers are within this cycle. Conventional advertising suggests that you continuously speak to the market with your sales or service message and accept that only a small percentage will be interested in hearing it. Social marketing allows a dealer to join in the discussion by delivering content to consumers throughout their ownership experience. The key to a successful social marketing program is to provide content that is relevant to the customer vs. the dealer.
Fortunately, a key advantage of social marketing is that the best content is in the form of stories told by an auto dealer’s past, present and pending customers describing their shared experiences. Of course the stories should be complementary; however, even the bad ones open an opportunity to fix problems vs. their existing in the market without being resolved for both the customer’s and the auto dealer’s benefit.
Technology powers today’s version of word of mouth advertising through social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google +. However, social marketing isn’t limited to these online marketing platforms or applications that auto dealers use to manage their online friends. For example, data base marketing allows an auto dealer to involve their customer base in the discussion on their social networking communities. Who better to provide stories that would interest potential new friends and customers than people you are already doing business with?
The ability to scale data base marketing messages to keep up with the viral nature of social marketing requires technology based solutions that deliver relevant content to customers in a timely manner. One best in class solution that satisfies this demand is Driving Loyalty. In addition to managing an auto dealer’s data base to insure that it is purged of duplicate customer records and that emails and physical addresses are available to support direct marketing campaigns their proprietary software relies on algorithms that determine exactly where a customer is in their ownership cycle. Read the rest of this entry »
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THOUSAND OAKS, CA, APRIL 12, 2011 – IntellaCar, LLC announced today the release of IntellaCar™ 2.0, the next generation of the ground-breaking iPad/iPhone app that has proven to increase dealership sales effectiveness within weeks, revolutionizing the car sales experience for both dealerships and consumers. A mobile sales tool, IntellaCar empowers Sales Consultants with instant “anywhere” access to crucial information. From vehicle specifications to inventory details to competitive comparisons, IntellaCar helps them make the sale. IntellaCar 2.0 adds new features that boost its impact even further, including:
- · Ability to capture customer data and send it directly to dealer CRM
- · Email and printing to easily share content with customers
- · Garage function that saves/shows selected vehicles
- · On-the-spot vehicle data capture for appraisal Read the rest of this entry »
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Posted by: Phil Zelinger in Ai Dealer, auto dealers, auto industry, automotive advertising, Brian Ferris, Bull Dog Marketing Technologies, Bulldog Marketing Technologies, CarFolks.Com, CityTwist, Dealer.Com, DealerRefresh.Com, DealMaker.Com, Detroit Marketing Company, Detroit Trading Company, DrivingSales.Com, EBAy Motors, ecarlist, Gumiyo, Kihon Media, laser stream video, philip zelinger, R. L. Polk & Co., Ralph Paglia, ronsmap, SiSTer Technologies, Uncategorized, vAuto, Video CarLot, tags: adagencyonline.net, Argistics, automotive advertising, automotive advertising agencies, automotive advertising agency, AutoTransaXion, blog talk radio, Bull Dog Marketing, CityTwist, CloudOne, ecarlist, InstaQuote, IntellaCar, izmocars, philip zelinger, ronsmap, SiSTer Technologies, VehSmart, Video CarLot
AdAgenyOnline.Net, a nationally recognized automotive advertising resource / networking portal, reviews cutting edge automotive advertising technologies and vendor solutions on their hosted blog talk radio station — WAAOL, All Automotive Advertising News All The Time. This week’s Lunch With Phil Discussing Automotive Advertising show, moderated by Philip Zelinger, the President of Ad Agency Online, L.L.C., will feature a review of InstaQuote in an interview with Carlos Diaz, the founder of InstaQuote and the C.E.O. of Caryote. The show is scheduled to air live on Wednesday, February 3rd, 2011 between 12 Noon and 12:30 PM EST.
Philip shared his reasons for reviewing InstaQuote as a possible conversion tool for his affiliated automotive advertising agencies and his online audience of automotive advertising decision makers. “To price or not to price on an auto dealer’s website is a question that automotive advertising agencies have already answered with a resounding yes. Customers demand transparency in their online shopping experience and price is a question that must be answered almost before it is asked. Some auto dealers stick to the old school philosophy of posting MSRP with an offer to contact them for their best Internet price. Their intention is to preserve gross profit and incentivize the online shopper to contact them so the dealer can explain why price isn’t as important as their product and excellent service. Unfortunately, today’s educated consumer knows that the best price is only a click away and they can service their vehicle anywhere after their purchase. Although, why would they go to the dealer that wanted to overcharge them for the vehicle in the first place?”
“I am reviewing InstaQuote for an Internet Sales Manager who contacted me to ask if they could provide an efficient way to instantly quote a competitive price to his online shoppers as well as in response to his leads sourced from various third party providers. Frankly, I am not a believer in auto response based systems, however sometimes limited staff and resources force a dealer to choose between an automated response or no response at all. The solution lies in a hybrid of a timely response with a competitive price followed by a personal reply to fill in the holes and establish a relationship with the customer. Customers soon discover that most dealers will “meet or beat” any legitimate price so their objective quickly converts to finding a dealership that they are comfortable with. Price still matters but people and process are more of a consideration for online shoppers who are compiling their short list of dealers to visit.”
“InstaQuote is able to quote 100% of a dealers’ new vehicle Internet leads from their own site, the manufacturers’ site and third party marketing platforms in seconds. They use proprietary multi-point information matching to ensure quotes are generated accurately in a very comprehensive conversion tool on the dealers website using a manufacture-grade configurator that follows business rules defined by the dealer to respond to all inbound inquiries.”
“Perhaps the most unique value offered by InstaQuote is the customer friendly format that the price is delivered in. In addition to providing the price on the vehicle selected by the customer, they also quote several comparable vehicles as well as providing information on the dealer including a convenient Google based map and directions to facilitate a visit. When combined with a comprehensive follow up system integrated into a process powered by a motivated staff and efficient CRM I can see InstaQuote as a key ingredient in the sales process.”
About Carlos Diaz
In early 2001, after the “dot-crash”, Carlos Diaz, the founder of InstaQuote was forced to enter the car business as a means to support his family and like most others who first enter the “business”, the transition was not easy. Mr. Diaz had over 7 years of web development experience having worked for such companies as General Electric and UGO. Carlos was ahead of the curve with in-depth knowledge of the internet and programming. Now armed with car sales experience, he was a perfect fit for the internet department which, at the time, no other salesperson wanted to be part of.
Carlos quickly excelled in achieving his sales goals. However, he still felt the process was too complicated, which was due to his dealership’s refusal to let him answer the number one question presented by all online customers, “What is your best price?”. This was when the idea of a system that could provide price quotes to customers without dealer interaction came to his mind. This was the birth of InstaQuote.
For the next few years Carlos worked for various dealerships. He also continued to evolve InstaQuote from a simple access database to a full featured website designed to help him increase his personal sales goals.
In 2003, while working for a Honda dealership in New Jersey and after achieving numerous awards from both the dealership and Honda, he was taken aside by the VP of Operations and asked what his secret to success was. Nervously he told the VP about InstaQuote, who proceeded to immediately promote Carlos to Internet Sales Manager on one condition, that he allow the dealership to use InstaQuote. A few months later, and after helping increase the dealerships status to number one in the nation, Carlos was promoted to Director of eBusiness Development. Carlos managed six Business Development Centers for 7 franchises, all powered by his InstaQuote system.
• Caryote Technologies, Inc. is a privately held, Phoenix, Arizona based corporation.
• The name Caryote (pronounced car-yote) is derived from the words “Car” and “Coyote” which was inspired by an encounter with a pack of 3 Coyotes on the day the company was formed.
InstaQuote was originally designed and developed in late 2001 as a way to enhance the overall car buying experience. It offers the user the opportunity to use the internet as a means to avoid in-dealer negotiation of a vehicle.
The InstaQuote Philosophy
1. Provide a high-quality, intuitive, and engaging email based quote that offers the perfect balance of information and interactivity to satisfy the customers immediate needs and promote dealer communication.
2. Incorporate the latest web based technologies that enhance the overall customer experience.
3. Introduce industry leading features that promote dealer transparency, such as finance and lease payment options.
4. Provide easy-to-use dealer controls that feature simple instructions and familiar layouts that mimic their existing processes for price setting.
5. Allow for simple integration and implementation into any dealer environment, which complements and enhances existing sales processes.
About Philip Zelinger
Philip Zelinger is the President of Ad Agency Online and founder of AdAgencyOnline.Net. He invested 25 years as a General Manager and Dealer Principal followed by his last ten years in the automotive advertising industry learning from the teams that he built so he can now presume to teach. 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 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. Recent automotive advertising vendors represented by AAOL include; Argistics – AutoTransaXion, SiSTeR Technologies Video CarLot, DealMaker.Com, CityTwist.Com, Bulldog Marketing Technologies, Gumiyo, Kihon Media, CarFolks.Com, Ai Dealer, Laser Stream Video, ronsmap and IntellaCar; to name a few.
Previous guests interviewed on WAAOL include a growing number of automotive advertising experts. Past guests included, Clayton Stanfield from EBay Motors, Mark Dubis from CarFolks.Com, Jared Hamilton from DrivingSales.Com, Dale Pollak from vAuto, Jerry Daniels from Automotive Broadcasting Network, (ABN), Terry Alling from Kihon Media, Brian Ferris and Spencer Sterling from DealMaker.Com, Mike Parsons from Laser Stream Video, Brian Hoecht from Ai Dealer, Ralph Paglia from ADP and host to the auto industry social networking community ADM, Len Critcher from ecarlist.com, Tim Zierden from AAX, Jim Ziegler, consultant to the auto industry, Jeff Kershner, host of DealerRefresh.Com, Jeff Raab from the Detroit Trading Company, (DTX), Mike DeCecco from Dealer.Com, Ken Schwartz from CityTwist, Michael R. Spadafore from R. L. Polk & Co., Kevin Schwartz and Rick Rochon from AdSymetrix, Bruce Cerbone from Argistics, Scott Davis from Bull Dog Marketing Technologies, Matt Watson from VinSolutions, Michael T. Fay from Colliers International Of South Florida and their C.A.R.S. division, Matt Brown and Zack Powell from TheDealerDashBoard.Com, Mark Burack from Liquid Motors, Pat Ryan, Jr. from FirstLook, Al Cantarella from AutoWebsitePlus.com, Michael Roscoe and Cliff banks from Dealer Communications, Steven Munyan from HireTheWinners.Com, Todd Mathews from WideStorm, James Crouse from CloudOne, Brian Story from VehSmart, Mike Martinez from izmocars and most recently Jim Hughes from IntellaCar.
For more information on Philip Zelinger, Ad Agency Online, L.L.C., InstaQuote or any of the preferred automotive advertising vendors previously reviewed on WAAOL contact Philip through AdAgencyOnline.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 firstname.lastname@example.org, call him at 888-796-2228 or visit AdAgencyOnline.Net at http://adagencyonline.net. To quote Philip Zelinger, “Help is only a click away!” ###
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THOUSAND OAKS, CA, JANUARY 31, 2011 – IntellaCar, LLC announced today the nationwide launch of IntellaCar™. IntellaCar is an innovative mobile sales presentation and training tool that revolutionizes the car sales experience for both dealerships and consumers. Toyota Dealers are the first franchise to be offered this game-changing platform.
IntellaCar empowers Sales Consultants with a one-stop source of information using an intuitive interface that is optimized to help them make the sale within their existing sales process. It includes product features/benefits, walkarounds, competitive comparisons, technology demonstrations, third-party reviews and more. The information is prioritized and aggregated using IntellaCar’s proprietary Optimized Information Delivery system, based on customer purchase motivations and summarized for a quick read during the sale. The accurate, unbiased information gives customers a better understanding of the vehicle and a more confident, gratifying purchase experience. For dealerships, the differentiating dealer-specific content, such as inventory and “Why Buy Here,” provides a further competitive edge. IntellaCar’s mobile platform runs on iPhone, iPad and iTouch, enabling it to be used anywhere, in or out of the dealership.
Results from the IntellaCar pilot tests at various Toyota Dealerships were outstanding, and dealers have been extremely pleased with their IntellaCar experience. Mike Shum, General Manager at Sunnyvale Toyota, says, “The three things that IntellaCar has brought to the team are 1) the speed with which they can deliver information to the consumer that is relevant, precise and accurate, 2) its mobility doesn’t limit them to sitting at a sales station and 3) it helps new sales people acclimate to the product knowledge they’re going to need a lot faster.”
IntellaCar was created by a passionate team of automotive marketing specialists with decades of experience in developing OEM and dealership solutions, led by Co-Founders Jim Hughes and Bruce Polkes. Their expertise in simplifying the complex and facilitating the sales flow, so critical in today’s world of information overload, was honed at Hughes Hunter, Inc. an automotive marketing firm. IntellaCar is committed to improving the customer experience of purchasing a new vehicle, while empowering the sales consultant to assist today’s educated consumer. For more information, contact Jim Hughes at (805) 241-5000 or info@IntellaCar.Com; or visit www.IntellaCar.Com. ###
What is IntellaCar?
- IntellaCar is a sales presentation platform that resides on an iPad, iPhone or iTouch – providing the Sales Consultant with instant access to information, such as walk around. features/benefits, technology videos, competitive comparisons, inventory, and more.
- Due to the mobile device, the sales consultant can access this information wherever and whenever he/she needs it during the sale – even without a connection. It enables them to build value in a vehicle and simplify the complexities – all without leaving the customer.
- Relevant information is organized and prioritized based on the customer’s individual stated needs; actually re-sorting the data to maximize relevancy.
When is it used?
- It is used during the actual sale, to share unbiased facts with the customer, or the SC can just look up something.
- The flow is based on best practices, but it is not structured scripts. It’s designed to synchronize with the sales process from the sales consultant’s perspective, yet is flexible as every situation is different.
Why is it valuable to the sales consultant and the customer.
- It empowers the sales consultant to assist today’s educated consumer; enhancing credibility, building trust and engaging the buyer. It enhances values, so there is less focus on price.
- The sales consultant has complete control and access to everything they need to earn the customer’s trust and business … in that order!
- In the end, INTELLACAR delivers a more efficient, effective and engaging sales experience, where the customer can make a confident purchasing decision.
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In today’s consolidating auto industry automotive advertising agencies must maximize the R.O.I. in a quantifiable manner for any investment they make of their time or with their client’s money. Social media, including directed investments in and with Facebook, presents some unique challenges to monetize the services provided by an automotive advertising agency. I recently replied to a question posted on FOCUS, a social networking portal I support composed of professionals sharing best practices, titled — Do Facebook Stores Really Do Anything – How Do You Monetize Facebook?
That question revealed a new area of responsibility for automotive advertising agencies. Agency retainers are no longer supported by production fees associated with conventional radio, TV or print advertisements. Media savings and commissions for placing broadcast media have also taken a back seat to consulting on Internet based investments and enhanced selling processes leveraging the viral nature of social media. In part, providing production and associated Creative and Marketing Services have been supplemented by Consultation Services focused on key vendor selection, directing social media activities and integrating selling processes on websites with those at the dealerships. Easier said than done when attempted through the glass wall of the Internet.
Automotive advertising agencies are constantly challenged to provide a verifiable R.O.I. for their services in a consolidating auto industry. Most agencies take credit for everything from website and floor traffic to conversion rates and increased sales to support their fees. Unfortunately downsized dealers with reduced staff and budgets now rely on detailed R.O.I. analytic tools built into every process and application to track their individual investments; or at least they should!
In response to these new dealer expectations, most vendors integrate a Dealer Portal into their solution that quantifies and qualifies the results of their application independent of the advertising agency’s possibly self serving analysis. Automotive advertising agencies have found that, as with any recommended vendor or advertising investment, their agency retainers and commissions must also be supported by quantifiable results. In a performance based business model with line item accountability the R.O.I. from Facebook and other social media investments in time and money can prove to be hard to quantify.
My actual answer to the post on Focus concerning how to monetize Facebook was, “The key to answering this question is to manage the expectations of the advertiser. If their goal is to make as many friends as possible with the confidence that people like to do business with people that they like — then the answer is an unqualified yes!”
“Social networking sites have unique personalities and rules that govern the conversations that they manage for their online community of friends designed to filter out direct sales messages. The market on Facebook is a conversation that exists before, during and after the shopping / buying decision. Any sales and/or marketing message is best delivered from the inside out as a C2C message between like minded consumers sharing their experiences vs. from the outside in as B2C message delivered by a self serving retailer.”
“As a result, direct sales messaging in Facebook stores will only go as far as the reputation that the retailer has earned by his/her other contributions to the community and of course their track record with previous customers and their willingness to share their experiences online.”
“The R.O.I. from Facebook is realized by collecting a data base of Facebook friends that allow retailers to group their friends by categories. The ability to then deliver relevant messages in a scalable and efficient manner to a qualified and targeted group of potential customers as one friend to another is the way to monetize Facebook.”
“In addition, the R.O.I. should not be limited to considering only short term sales since it is often reflected by increased traffic to the retailers website and/or an enhanced reputation that is only evident over time and reflected in the referrals and customer satisfaction / retention that it develops.”
“Finally, the search engines have weighted references in social media in their algorithms to determine their rankings and page positioning for retailers. As a result, conversations about the retailer on Facebook can be reflected in improved S.E.O. that might not be otherwise achieved. Also, the value of W.O.M.O. — Word Of Mouth Optimization — is less tangible and verifiable, however it has similar value which must be factored into any R.O.I. analytics.”
I have since added specific areas of responsibility concerning the need for the affiliated automotive advertising agencies of Ad Agency Online to help build, manage and monitor the Facebook stores that we are recommending for our auto dealer / vendor clients. As with any website, price and product matter … unfortunately, in that order. It is not enough to simply set up the site and sit back to monitor and manage the results. The more productive Facebook stores are built with the same focus on their online retail displays as they apply to their brick and mortar facilities.
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