Posts Tagged “Social Media”

Cedar Falls, Iowa: August 12th 2014, Driving Loyalty will be introducing their newly announced B2C and B2B Social Marketing Initiative at Autocon 2014 as an enhancement to their Database Marketing Platform. Autocon 2014 will be held at The Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas September 03rd through September 5th 2014.

Autocon 2014 has a unique reputation as a “Dealer Generated Conference.” Scott Davis, the President and Founder of Driving Loyalty, explained why he decided to exhibit at Autocon 2014, “They share our focus on relationship based selling and the power of networking. As a result, it is the perfect place to launch our new B2C Social Marketing Initiative that adds Social Media to our email, Direct Mail, PURL’s and outbound Call Centers to leverage established relationships for our auto dealer clients with their customers. Our B2B Social Marketing Initiative allows us to network with complimentary vendor partners to leverage our resources and improve the R.O.I. for our shared dealer clients from our combined products and services. Autocon 2014 features speaker sessions by many successful auto dealers, including some of our valued dealer clients, and exhibits by several of our B2B vendor partners, such as CallRevu, making our decision to participate in the conference an easy one.”

Auto dealers speaking at Autocon 2014 include Chris Saraceno, Vice President and Partner at Kelly Automotive Group, Bernie Moreno, President of The Collection Auto Group, Brian Benstock, General Manager and Vice President of Paragon Honda and Richard Bustillo, General Manager of Rick Case Honda. According to Scott, “The real world experiences and advice that these speakers provide represent a unique advantage over the typical vendor sessions hosted at competing auto industry conferences. I expect to be able to listen and learn as much as I will presume to teach.”

Auto dealers are attending conferences to gain access to auto industry insiders supporting these events. Next generation sales and service processes being introduced at Autocon 2014 are often powered by technology driven vendor solutions like Driving Loyalty and learning about them is worth the price of admission. Autocon 2014 also includes educational sessions on 15 different categories covering advertising, digital marketing, social media, retention, certified pre-owned and more. All-in-all, over 150 best practices will be shared over the course of the three days.

About Driving Loyalty, LLC.: Driving Loyalty has been operating out of their facilities in Cedar Falls, Iowa since. 2003. They started as a family owned operation but several industry savvy investor partners have joined the company supporting their expansion and shift to the more comprehensive solution they currently provide. Their automated database marketing platform is powered by proprietary software and algorithms that have proven successful for over 200 auto dealers. Driving Loyalty has been selected as “One of The Top Ten Companies To Watch” by AutoSuccess magazine for three years in a row.

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Most discussions about Social Media between automotive advertising agencies and their auto dealer clients center around R.O.I.; or their perceived lack thereof. I accept responsibility for providing proof of my performance. However, I question short term quantitative evaluations that don’t consider the qualitative long term benefits of customer loyalty, satisfaction, retention and residual income derived from a comprehensive marketing plan that includes social media.

A real world example of a vendor that uses conventional and digital media enhanced by an integrated message delivered through social media is Driving Loyalty. Their data base marketing platform relies on a proprietary algorithm that delivers relevant transparent messages on a regular basis. They use emails, direct mail, personalized websites and most recently consulting services that advise their dealer clients to leverage customer generated content on social networks to reinforce the dealer’s online reputation and relationships with their past, present and pending customers.

Relationship based selling is a proven process that has been made more efficient and scalable through the use of social media and the viral nature of social networking. Forward thinking vendors, like Driving Loyalty, embrace the extended reach and frequency provided by customer generated content. They recognize that word of mouth advertising and referrals must originate from like minded customers vs. the dealer with their presumed self serving agenda.

Fortunately, the R.O.I. from social media can be proven when it is properly defined. Increased traffic to websites sourced from social marketing messages, posts by customers on the dealer’s Facebook pages that evidence positive experiences and improve the dealer’s online reputation and even sales and service appointments sourced from social media tracked by analytic tools built into most technology driven sales and service platforms are all verifiable returns on investment.

Next generation social marketing applications, such as Helios being introduced by xChangeAuto, are even providing conversion platforms that reside on Facebook with integrated real time communications to the dealer’s CRM and DMS. This seamless integration between the customer’s social networking habits and the dealer’s sales and service processes provides the first tool with a verifiable R.O.I..

Simply put, social media matters because in today’s internet driven marketplace the customers are in charge. Auto dealers that prioritize their customer’s experience before, during and after their sale or service at their facility will attract and retain more customers. Social media has the unique ability to insert the auto dealer into the conversation that is the market without having to time their message.

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Philip Zelinger, the host of the blog talk radio show - Lunch With Phil Discussing Automotive Advertising - is scheduled to review a new Social Marketing Initiative being introduced by Driving Loyalty in the second quarter of 2014.  The show will air on Monday, March 31st, 2014 at 12 Noon EST.

Driving Loyalty’s data base marketing platform relies on proprietary algorithms to deliver relevant transparent messages to qualified customers in an auto dealer’s data base using emails, direct mail, outbound phone calls and personalized websites for customers.  Alerts advise customers when they qualify to exchange their vehicle for a new or newer one for similar payments with little or no money down as well as service notifications based on recommended factory maintenance.

The Q2 Social Marketing initiative being introduced by Driving Loyalty will provide information on establishing a social marketing platform for dealer clients as well as content curation services.  The objective is to add social media as a communication channel to the existing messages already being delivered to the auto dealer’s customers by Driving Loyalty on a consistent basis.

Driving Loyalty will be providing a book of best practices in the use of Social Media as an electronic file and as a printed manual for their auto dealer clients.  In addition, they will be offering similar social marketing support services for their vendor partners through shared  online resources like Driving Loyalty Social and Social Marketing Solutions – Auto.

Several vendor partners will be benefitting from and supporting the Driving Loyalty Social Marketing initiative including:

CallRevu – a total call management system that establishes best practices in handling in-bound telephone calls at an auto dealership as well as providing real time alerts delivered to dealership personnel advising them of missed opportunities.

IntellaCar - an iPad based sales and marketing platform with a proprietary process that organizes feature/benefit presentations to match the customer’s individual preferences in selecting a new or newer vehicle

DealerAppVantage - a dealer branded mobile application offered to customers at delivery that sends service alerts as well as providing customer centric information to improve the customer’s ownership experience and increase customer retention for the dealer

OfferLogix – a data management platform that integrates with Driving Loyalty and other vendors which provides information needed to compute lease payments including residuals, money factors and relevant rebates, incentives.

Automotive advertising agencies have recognized the value of consumer generated content in Social Media vs. sales messages delivered by auto dealers through conventional radio, TV and print media as well as Internet or even direct digital media such as emails. Driving Loyalty is acting on behalf of their auto dealer clients by advising them to supplement their existing marketing platform with social marketing and networking.  The decision to share their social marketing platform with their vendor partners is an example of how social networking is able to leverage resources and relationships in B2B as well as B2C applications.

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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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