Archives For automotive marketing

ADP Dealer Services Announces Financing Program with GE Capital as CDK Global

Previously, ADP Dealer Services utilized ADP’s Credit Services for all financing. Now, GE Capital will offer their financial stability and strong reputation to CDK’s dealers. Since 2007, GE Capital’s Equipment Finance business has completed $36 billion in lease and loan transactions. Its network includes more than 200,000 customers in over 10 industries.

Banks Report: Lithia Acquires DCH Car Dealership Group

The Banks Report: Lithia Motors Acquires DCH
by Cliff Banks

The Banks Report has learned that Lithia Motors has entered into an agreement to acquire the DCH Automotive Group and is waiting for manufacturer approval.(Update — Lithia subsequently sent a press release saying the deal has been completed).

Lithia executives are scheduled to be in New Jersey Monday meeting with DCH executives. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.

Lithia will pay $340 million in cash and $22.5 million in stock for DCH. This likely will be the biggest dealership acquisition in the U.S. since January 2002 when the Sonic Automotive Group acquired the 16-dealership Massey Automotive for close to $200 million.

This acquisition will bring the industry total for 2014 to 121 buy-sells. This is the second monster deal to be done in the last couple of weeks — the David Wilson Automotive Group acquired Fletcher Jones’ Las Vegas Toyota store for $75 million at the beginning of June.

DCH has 25 dealerships (DCH’s website says 27 stores, but TBR combines Toyota with Scion for its records) selling 32 brands in California, New Jersey and New York. It’s one of the top 10 dealer groups in the country when ranked by new car sales, and generates an estimated $1.8 billion to $2 billion a year in revenue.

Chairman Shau-wai Lam’s father, B.Y. Lam, began what would become DCH Automotive as a trading company in Shanghai in the 1930’s. A few years later, he established Dah Chong Hong Limited in Hong Kong. He opened an American subsidiary, DCH (USA), in New York in 1948 focusing on importing food and textiles and trading in commodities.

The USA division of DCH moved out of the import and trading business in 1977 to focus on selling cars. Unable to obtain a dealership selling one of the domestic brands, DCH was given an open point by Honda in Paramus NJ, the company’s first dealership.

In 1979, Lam, who at the time was DCH’s youngest executive, was sent to California to open DCH’s second store, Gardena Honda. Within four years, it became the top selling Honda store in the country. Lam was named president in 1988.

Following the parent company’s sale in 1992, Lam’s family and the Wing On Group of Hong Kong acquired DCH acquired DCH.

DCH President George Liang will continue running the company reporting to Bryan DeBoer while Lam will be on Lithia’s board.

In 1996, led by Sid DeBoer, Lithia Motors became the first dealer group to go public with five stores selling 19 different brands.

Not including the DCH acquisition, Lithia has acquired eight dealerships this year – including four in Hawaii – and nine stores in 2013 bringing its total to 101 dealerships operating in 12 states. It’s now the eighth largest group in the country having generated more than $4 billion in total revenue in 2013.

DeBoer’s son, Bryan, took over as president and CEO of Lithia in 2012.

He’s transformed the group from being a centralized corporate-run firm to being a group of decentralized entrepenurial stores. The company has had a great run since 2012. Company shares were trading about $22 a share two years ago. Recently it’s traded as high as $80 and is now hovering in the $78 range.

Not including acquisition costs, the purchase should add $0.12 to $0.14 to earnings per share in 2014. Annually, adding DCH should increase EPS anywhere from $0.65 to $0,75.

The DCH acquisition will add more than $2 billion in annual revenue and will be Lithia’s first foray east of the Mississippi. Once the acquisition is completed, more than 20% of Lithia’s revenues will come from the east and DCH’s New Jersey and New York stores.

For the most part, the DCH stores matches Lithia’s acquisition strategy , which is to find exclusive domestic and import franchises in midsized markets and exclusive luxury franchises in larger metropolitan markets. The acquisition provides Lithia a foothold in the Los Angeles and New York markets.

Lithia executives are hosting a conference Tuesday morning at 9:00 am to discuss the acquisition with investors.

DCH’s 25 dealerships selling 32 brands

California Dealerships

  • DCH Acura of Temecula
  • DCH Tustin Acura
  • DCH Audi Oxnard
  • DCH Chrysler Jeep Dodge of Temecula
  • DCH Gardena Honda of Oxnard
  • DCH Honda of Mission Valley
  • DCH Honda of Temecula
  • DCH Kia of Temecula
  • DCH Toyota Scion of Simi Valley
  • DCH Toyota Scion of Torrance
  • DCH Lexus of Oxnard
  • DCH Lexus of Santa Barbara

New Jersey Dealerships

  • DCH Montclair Acura
  • DCH Millburn Audi
  • BMW of Bloomfield
  • BMW of Freehold
  • DCH Academy Honda
  • DCH Kay Honda
  • DCH Paramus Honda
  • DCH Freehold Nissan
  • DCH Brunswick Toyota Scion
  • DCH Freehold Toyota Scion

New York Dealerships

  • DCH Honda of Nanuet
  • DCH Toyota Scion City, Mamaroneck
  • DCH Wappingers Falls Toyota

Source: http://www.TheBanksReport.com

Become a subscriber to The Banks Report and get access to more in-depth analysis on the dealership buy-sell market — including the industry’s most comprehensive list of acquisitions going back to January 2013.

You don’t want to miss The Banks Report 2014 Update on Dealership Buy-Sell Activity — available on Monday June 16th.

Report on 2013 Dealership Acquisitions
The pace of automotive dealership buy/sell activity was moderately brisk in 2013, with 180 dealerships accounting for 260 franchises changing owners in the U.S.

The report, the first of its kind in the industry, provides data and analysis by brand, public and private dealer group acquisition. The report, including a list of all transactions compiled is available in Microsoft Excel to subscribers.

Google and Apple Catch Up To Ford In Auto Industry Influence – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

Google and Apple Join Ford as Key Influencers in the Auto Industry

Ask average consumers or professional marketers who is most influential in the automotive sector and their response would most likely be Scott Monty of Ford or Ralph Paglia from Automotive Marketing Group (AMG).

Alternatively, they may point to popular industry publications such as CAR and DRIVEREdmunds or Auto Trader. Certainly, all are very popular people and media outlets. In fact, a Social Media Today report lists them among the top auto industry influencers on Twitter. However, does social media amplification make one influential? Most social influence scoring platforms use amplification as major metric in identifying influencers but is that enough?

A lot of focus has been directed towards influence marketing this past year by car dealers and other businesses seeking to sway public conversations and advocacy in their favor.

In response, there’s a growing list of social influence platforms and strategies professing to hold the key to identifying and measuring social influence. One of the leaders in this space is Appinions, an opinion-based influence marketing platform that identifies and measures the opinion leaders in various industries that form online conversations around products, brands and businesses.

During the 2013 New York Auto Show, Appinions released a study entitled “Is Tech Swallowing Auto?”, which offers some surprising insights.

The report explores what is shaping influential conversations at the intersection of new vehicle purchasing and technology and identifies the major players in each category. The results confirm what many already know; luxury, safety, design, value and performance are all hot buttons in any discussion around marketing automobiles. What’s surprising is the role that auto technology has played in shaping influence and who is driving that influence.

Apple Catches Up to Ford as Auto Industry Influencer

Apple Computers has made its mark on history as a market disruptor and, thanks to SIRI’s “Eyes Free” mode, it’s continuing that tradition in the auto industry. The report identifies other technology players who are joining the ranks of key influencers. Google, because of Google Maps and the data it collects on driving patterns, has become a major player in generating opinions in this market. As of Dec 2012, Google Maps was the second most popular mobile app, just behind Facebook. Microsoft, thanks to the SYNC technology installed in Ford vehicles, and AT&T with partners GM and OnStar round out the top influencers.

Tech Trumps Performance

Given that these technology companies have become as influential in the auto industry as car manufacturers, it’s no surprise that the topic of auto technology represents the lion’s share of interest in online conversations. Technology represents 35% of the share of influence, followed by performance at 22%, value at 19%, design at 12%, safety at 8% and luxury at 4%.

The Appinions platform and research team identified that fuel economy (44%) and connected cars (32%) were the dominant topics driving opinion and influence with discussions on automotive technologies.

People over Brands

Another interesting insight was how highly GM executives ranked as influencers even though Ford, Toyota, Audi, Google, and Telsa all ranked as more influential brands. Appinions identified that GM’s executives were more outspoken in sharing their opinions publicly, especially on the topic of innovation.
This study highlights the importance of identifying the opinions being shared by people and businesses, and measuring their impact on public conversations. The opinions of these market leaders are generating public dialogue, which creates social proof that impacts the purchase decisions of consumers. Further, the source of those opinions and eventual influence may be generated from unlikely and unexpected sources.

“Clearly, influence has become a powerful currency for brands when properly understood, identified and managed.”
–Sam Fiorella

  • Share your thoughts… Has social influence become a new currency for brands?
  • Are you surprised at Apple and Google’s surge in influencing this market?
  • Or that GM’s executives rank so highly on automotive influence?

Follow Sam Fiorella on Twitter: www.twitter.com/samfiorella

Car Dealers Use Email As Source Of Competitive Advantage – And Dare I Say: ENGAGEMENT

At the risk of “engaging” in the use of a buzzword that is overused and abused (according to JD Rucker) let’s take a look at some insights I have discovered regarding the use of email to prompt Customer Engagement that can drive Competitive Advantage for your Car Dealership…

According to Forrester Research, we are now in the “Age of the Customer.”

Today, advances in technology allow every dealership to tap into their OEM data and information treasuries, and even the cheapest, most IT stringy car dealers can access all the computing resources they need from a variety of cloud based dealership supplier products and Software As A service (SAAS) suppliers. The ability to tap into cloud based technologies is no longer considered an advantage; rather, it’s a way of life. Think about how almost every American car buyer at some point uses Facebook, YouTube, Twitter or any number of User Generated Content (UGC) sites and networks… All cloud based SAAS, despite what anyone wants to say about it. Today, being the customer’s first choice is the only remaining source of competitive advantage, hence the fascination we saw the auto industry have with Google’s “Zero Moment of Truth” concept a couple of years ago… However, the competition is fierce. To win, car dealers must be obsessed with their customers, focused on understanding them and engaging (JD’s favorite word) with them better than anyone else.

What am I talking about when I say “engaging email”?

   

The New Digital Car Buyer

Three major trends have emerged out of the recent (and far too rapid for many car dealers), evolution of car buyer behaviors across email, social, search, and the Web.
1. Buyers are more empowered:
Thanks to information abundance combined with better search and sharing technology, product information is now ubiquitous. The Web provides automotive consumers with instant information gratification. And mobile devices add a wherever/whenever dimension to every aspect of the experience. Consumers can access detailed specs, pricing, and reviews about goods and services 24/7 with a few flicks of their thumbs on their smartphones. Meanwhile, social media encourages consumers to share and compare. Today’s buyers are increasingly self-directed when it comes to making purchasing decisions. They have broad access to resources and proactively gather information across a number of digital channels, often developing brand perceptions before they ever interact directly with a brand. By the time a buyer comes to you, he’s probably already made his purchasing decision, so it’s time to throw out the old model of a persuasive shop girl greeting your customer at the door. Meet today’s buyer. She has the upper hand when it comes to making purchasing decisions. Tech savvy and brand sophisticated, she is wise to the ways of marketing, and she expects a lot. She believes you should inform and even entertain her, but never bore or, worse, irritate her. And she’s fickle — if you don’t keep communications interesting, she’ll opt out faster than a credit mooch when you go to pull a credit bureau… And as for you sales guys, the idea of schmoozing a customer sounds great, and it may even happen occasionally, but you know it’s not feasible for you to spend an inordinate amount of time schmoozing everyone. With today’s modern CRM apps, and the ones just around the corner, if you are in car sales, then the reality is that you manage a portfolio of hundreds or even thousands of customers! (orphan owner reassignments)

2. Car Buyers know how to Opt Out:
The junk mail of yore kept automotive consumers prisoner because they couldn’t “break out.” But today’s car buyers can easily opt out of marketing communications they don’t want. If you’re sending marketing emails using a white-listed email marketing services provider (ConstantContact, ExactTarget, etc.) and tracking your results (and we hope you are!) you probably know that yucky feeling when an email campaign triggers an exceptional percentage of opt-outs – worse yet, spam complaints! But automotive consumers who take the initiative to unsubscribe from your dealership’s emails might only be the tip of the pissed off customer iceberg created by your abuse of having their email addresses. Many more of your customers might be “passively opting out” — simply ignoring any future emails you send. We’re all getting better at tuning out the noise of today’s digital circus, and the result is that most traditional marketing techniques, which are based on “renting attention” from the car buyer as they go about their business, are becoming less and less effective as car buyers get more tech-savvy.
3. Automotive Consumers have Higher Expectations:
Today’s car buyers expect companies to keep seamless track of their purchasing history, communication preferences, and desires. If your system isn’t a well-oiled data machine, you’ll lose brand loyalty fast.
Consumers look for a unified and personalized experience across all of your touchpoints: your website, social media and photo platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), email marketing, etc. They want to find the information they are looking for in the medium that is most convenient for them at the moment. Whether they’re in front of their computers at work or in lines at post offices on their mobile devices, they expect an experience that’s streamlined and consistent — and it must be personal, too. They also expect you to recognize them — this is where it becomes critical to capture and store data over time and across
channels — and then feed them the exact information they want at the moment you interact with them.

It’s an exciting – yet challenging – time to be an automotive digital marketing practitioner. It’s no longer sufficient to simply push static information to car buyers in a mass advertising model, not even in CRM application data mined and segmented batches. In order to achieve a competitive advantage, car dealers must fundamentally shift the ways they engage with customers across multiple online channels throughout the vehicle ownership lifecycle. In order to do this, as an automotive marketing professional, you must learn to engage each and every prospective customer individually and personally… Which is going to require planning, strategy and execution if we want to do this in an efficient and scalable manner.
“Building on the vast increase in consumer power brought on by the digital age, marketing is headed toward being on-demand — not just always ‘on,’ but also always relevant, responsive to the consumer’s desire for marketing that cuts through the noise with pinpoint delivery.”
– Mckinsey, “The Coming Era of ‘On-Demand’ Marketing”
Email Is More Important Today Than Ever Before
In 2009, The Wall Street Journal published an article claiming that email was dead…Ironically, it was the most emailed article of the day!
Just about every day since then, someone has published an article or blog post echoing email’s demise. In
fact, if you Google “email is dead,” you’ll get over 1.5 million results. (To emphasize just how radical a
number that is, comparison searches bring up only 280,000 results for “blogging is dead,” 180,000 for
“social media is dead,” and only 2,500 for “podcasting is dead.” All of these numbers were current at the
time we wrote this in June 2013.) But the reports of the death of email have been greatly exaggerated, and the hysteria around the notion only shows that email is more important than ever. While companies now have the flexibility to communicate via traditional channels, such as direct mail and TV, as well as through newer channels, such as social media, email is still the quickest and most direct way to reach customers with critical information. Why? Because email is the one channel your audience accesses regularly. We – consumers – are addicted to email…
“The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” – Mark Twain
Email Matters More Today Than Ever Before
                   
Contrary to what you may have heard me say, Email is Alive and Well
On any given day, your dealership’s previous, current and future sales and service customers may or may not visit your dealership website, one of your blogs or any of your Facebook pages; but with few exceptions, automotive consumers check their email every day, if not multiple times a day.
Scratch that — how do you make it through all those meetings? It’s more like multiple times an hour! Despite what I have been heard to say at various presentations, meetings and even last week in Miami Beach, despite our illustrious #AutoMarketing experts, gurus, Thought Leaders, conference speakers and dealership suppliers sales reps or auto industry pundit criticism and cynicism, the stats around email are resoundingly positive. For example, there are currently 3.3 billion email accounts in the world.
(Source: Mashable)
What’s more:
  • Of Americans age 12 and over who are active online, 94% cite email as one of their regular activities. (Source: Pew Internet and American Life Project’s Generations 2010 report)
  • Jay Baer, Social Media Speaker, Author and Coach, says that 58% percent of adult Americans check email first thing in the morning. (Source:MarketingSherpa 2013 Email Summit)

Email is very much alive. Plus, it’s still the number one way for marketers to communicate directly with customers. According to new research:

  • Email is the customer preference. In a recent survey, a staggering 77% of consumers reported that they prefer to receive permission-based marketing communications through email – and email was the number one source for all age groups including 15-24! (Source: Waldow Social)
  • Email generates nearly a 200% return on marketing investment compared to other channels. For every dollar spent on email marketing in 2013, there was a $40.56 return. Compare that to other channels, such as search engine marketing, which is the next closest at $22.44. (Source: Direct Marketing Association and Smart Data Collective)
  • Email investment is slated to increase. 64% of companies indicated their organizations’ investment in email marketing was expected to increase in 2014. (Source: MarketingSherpa 2013 Benchmark)
The point is, email is not going anywhere. As an automotive marketer, it’s still your number one tool for reaching car buyers and service customers fast.
If you agree that email marketing is NOT dead, please make my source for this article happy and take a
quick break to tweet: “Email Marketing is NOT dead! #DG2EEM #ADMPC” (Thank you!)

“Where do you tell people to send important calendar items, documents, or discussions about important topics, either for work or home? Our guess is that ‘Facebook’ wasn’t your answer. It was probably email.”

– Jason Falls, Digital Strategist and Co-author of “The Rebel’s Guide to Email Marketing”
Email Marketing Faces Multiple Challenges
Here are the key areas of these new challenges to email use as a marketing tactic:
  • The Economics of Attention: Information abundance and attention scarcity make it harder than ever to get buyer attention
  • Opt-Out, Screen Out, Tune Out: Consumers don’t want to feel they are being marketed to, and will find ways to tune out unwanted communications
  • The Cross-Channel Marketing Revolution: New communication channels mean email can no longer be a standalone channel
  • Imprecise Metrics: Imprecise metrics that don’t show true impact means that email struggles to be strategic Email still matters – perhaps more than ever – but traditional paradigms no longer cut it. It’s time for a reality check regarding the new challenges that email marketers face as digital consumers get more sophisticated.
The Economics of Attention
The rise of the Internet has resulted in a quick transition from information scarcity to information abundance. The world is producing information faster than the human mind can wrap itself around the data. According to a 2011 IDC report titled Extracting Value from Chaos, the amount of global digital information created and shared worldwide grew nine-fold from 2006 to 2011, growing to 2 trillion gigabytes. This number is expected to quadruple by 2015.
Opt-Out, Screen Out, Tune Out
People are inundated with pitches, advertisements, and other interruptions on a daily basis. Consumers are marketed to so often that, as a matter of self-defense, they’ve raised a psychological “anti-marketing shield.” This is particularly the case when it comes to email content. Consumers with a vested interest in achieving “Inbox Zero” have many tools to help them sweep and filter unwanted emails. They create their own definitions of junk mail using custom filters in their email software, and if they don’t like a message, they’ll not only make sure they don’t see it again, but they’ll also tell others about their displeasure. And, let’s face it, most marketing emails pretty much suck. Even if yours don’t, that doesn’t mean they’ll interest your audience. What’s creative and alluring to you might just look or sound like another sales-y, drone-toned e-blast to your end viewer: “Hi, are you ready to buy a car today?” Don’t be that car dealer!
Information Abundance Means Attention Scarcity
Social scientist Herbert Simon first talked about attention economics when he wrote:
“In an information-rich world, the wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes.” What information sent by dealers using email marketing consumes is obvious: the attention span of its recipients. This means it is only getting more difficult for the emails your dealership sends to engage automotive consumers, whether you are seeking their business in the service drive or on the showroom floor…

The Cross-Channel Marketing Revolution
Today’s buyer seeks relevant and personalized content across all digital channels: email, mobile, social,
display advertising, you name it. Omni-channel, customer-focused marketing is no longer nice to have;
it’s a must-have for car dealers seeking a marketing based competitive advantage.
Companies that want to put customers at the center of their marketing strategies must engage them across the board, but this is only possible when marketing teams have a channel strategy that unifies their
products and teams. Traditional email marketing tools were designed for just one channel – email. It started as a single communications channel with no core connection to other marketing channels. Even
today, car dealers using standalone email service providers (ESPs) are stuck with a legacy approach that
doesn’t take into account the reality that today’s car buyer is adept at multi-tasking their car shopping information gathering across channels — engaging with email in one moment, a website the next, and then flitting across to social media. And he does it all while talking on the phone or texting. Traditional ESP solutions can’t adequately address this level of sophisticated multi-channel customer engagement. Nor can ESPs adequately capture all the online and offline behavioral patterns that automotive marketers should, and must track to stay on top of their dealership customer whims. To spearhead the movement toward true cross-channel coordination that incorporates email marketing, a new breed of automotive marketer is quickly rising to the top. These forward-thinking marketers are embracing strategies that leverage email as the best platform to tie together the customer relationship with the dealership and its franchises over time and across all marketing channels

Imprecise Metrics
With traditional ESP solutions, the marketer has to manually sort through multiple reports to track unsubscribes, clicks, opens, bounces, and so on for each email campaign. The insight these reports provide is, unfortunately, not that insightful with regard to customer engagement. When stuck with imprecise and generic metrics, email marketing remains merely a tactical channel, relegated to the sidelines instead of becoming a strategic part of leadership’s revenue plan.
“Automotive Marketing Professionals waste too much time trying to connect the dots using the basic email reports and metrics provided by their dealership ESP’s to the strategic metrics that dealer principals and general managers actually care about, such as leads and sales generated, and gross profit impact.”
–Ralph Paglia, Founder, Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community
Definition: Engaging Email Marketing
Consumers are always on, always connected, and always overwhelmed. If you want to connect with them, you have to work hard to engage them. In order to be truly effective, email marketing must provide some level of value delivered to the automotive consumer in order to become more trusted, more relevant, more conversational, more thought provoking and more strategic.
Think about it: you probably pay the most attention to emails from friends, family, and colleagues, people with whom you have genuine, trusted relationships. Sure, the relationship between a dealership, or even the people who work there, and an automotive consumer is never exactly the same as the relationship between friends and family, but automotive marketers can narrow the gap. Dealerships can enjoy some of the benefits of a trusted relationship by marketing to the car buyer and the service drive customer in a natural, non-marketing-speak way that truly engages him.
The best marketing that a car dealership can engage in (I used “engage” for JD’s benefit) doesn’t feel like marketing at all. If you can genuinely engage your audience through email marketing, you can build direct, trusted relationships across all channels. Do this right, and you’ll be the dealership that cuts
through the noise.
Let me cite an example I witnessed from a friend of mine who is a Volkswagen and Mazda dealer in Albuquerque, New Mexico. While I was participating in a CRM Product Advisory Group meeting last week, Bob Cockerham showed me an image he posted to Facebook which contained a Holiday themed text caption… I was surprised to see it had achieved thousands of likes and hundreds of shares. The image Bob posted outperformed any pure business based image he had ever posted.  Now, let me be very clear on this topic… Obviously dealerships and their marketing professionals need to publish information directly relevant to the products and services they sell, but what Bob Cockerham did with his somewhat spiritual non-business image post was engage thousands of people and create the perception of who he is, as being somebody people can trust!
“Remember that the best campaigns aren’t about you or what you want subscribers to do. They’re about your subscribers and what they want.”
– Matt Blumberg, Chairman and CEO of Return Path
Five Key Attributes of Engaging Email
To engage and succeed, your dealership’s marketing emails must, above all else, be:
  1. Trustworthy
  2. Relevant
  3. Controversial, excuse me… CONVERSATIONAL and Not Campaign-Based
  4. Coordinated Across Channels
  5. Strategic
This article is adapted and inspired by a 156 page eBook I obtained from the fine folks at Marketo… In their eBook, Marketo goes into great detail about the 5 key attributes to engaging email marketing characteristics listed above… ADM Professional Community members are invited to download this treasure trove of email marketing knowledge using the link below. Once you have read about these key attributes of engaging email, Marketo provides information about the technology needed. The eBook also goes into marketing automation and how it can help your dealership graduate from basic email services to real, hit-it-out-of-the-ballpark engagement strategies. Ready to dive into making your dealership’s email marketing a lot more effective? Download the free eBook in PDF file format by right-clicking the link below and selecting something like “Save As”:
Please Note: You must a registered member of the ADM Professional Community and logged in to have file download privileges… If you want the eBook and do not want to become a member of the ADM Professional Community, then take a hike – JUST KIDDING! You can use the source link below to submit your information to Marketo and download a cope of this eBook.

via Car Dealers Use Email As Source Of Competitive Advantage – And Dare I Say: ENGAGEMENT – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

TrueCar Sponsors Ten Full Ride AutoCon 2013 Scholarships – The 2013 AutoConnections Conference and Exposition

AutoCon 2013 Announces a Special Program Sponsored by TrueCar to Award Ten “Full Ride Scholarships” for Dealership Managers to Attend AutoCon 2013*

Automotive Media Partners, LLC is proud to announce the creation of a “Full Ride Scholarship*” program sponsored by TrueCar of Santa Monica, California.  TrueCar’s pioneering sponsorship of this program provides the funds to cover the costs of transportation to and from Las Vegas, lodging at the Aria Resort and full AutoCon conference registration. 

One of the most surprising aspects of TrueCar’s sponsorship is that the company has funded ten (10) AutoCon “Full Ride Scholarships*”.  Ten automotive professionals will receive the educational, networking, inspiration and innovation benefits from attending the 2013 AutoConnections Conference and Exposition at no out of pocket expense for travel, meals during the event or conference fees to themselves or their dealerships. 

  

The TrueCar AutoCon Scholarship Program is further evidence of the remarkable transformation that has taken place at TrueCar since the beginning of 2012. After receiving a remarkable level of criticism within the auto industry during the second half of 2011, TrueCar has evolved and revised their automotive purchasing programs for consumers and affiliated corporations to be far more dealer friendly. 

TrueCar’s objectives supported by these changes have included raising dealer profit margins to levels that provide more room for dealers to cover facility costs and the staffing levels needed to properly service new vehicle buyers sent to them by TrueCar.   


TrueCar understands and recognizes the need for ongoing training and thought leadership within the ranks of the retail automotive industry.  Their management team has decided that one of the best ways to demonstrate this commitment to betterment of the industry is to commit the funds necessary to support independent dealer focused educational events such as AutoCon 2013. 

 

TrueCar executives Bernie Brenner and Mike Timmons approached the founders of the Automotive Digital Marketing and dealerElite professional communities, Ralph Paglia, Chris Saraceno and Mike Myers because these online networks have served as “Ground Zero” for some of the industry’s harshest criticism of TrueCar in the recent past.  Surprising for a company as large as TrueCar is, their management team has reviewed the criticism published by members of the ADM and DealerELITE networks and taken corrective actions, changed their business models and worked with State dealer associations to create vehicle purchase programs that make sense for participating dealers. 

How will the TrueCar AutoCon Scholarships be Awarded?

TrueCar has asked that the AutoConnections Conference Management Team take full control and responsibility for ensuring that the 10 Full Ride Scholarships be awarded based on merit and need.  Criteria will include a wide geographic representation by selecting automotive professionals from every region in North America.  Another consideration will be to award scholarships to professionals who represent a diverse range of vehicle brands and positions within the dealerships they serve.  

Written TrueCar Scholarship Application

The application process will be a simple online application that includes all the expected contact information, a description of the applicant’s role in the dealership where they work and space for them to describe in their own words why they should be awarded a TrueCar AutoCon Scholarship to attend the AutoConnections Conference and Exposition in Las Vegas from September 4th to the 6th

Video TrueCar Scholarship Application

If you are better at explaining your reasons why you should be selected for a scholarship in a verbal manner, the AutoCon 2013 TrueCar scholarship committee will also be pleased to accept your proposal in a video format. Simply explain why you should be selected in a YouTube video that is either uploaded or embedded to eitherAutomotiveDigitalMarketing.com or dealerELITE.net . Please be sure to include the link to that video in your scholarship application where you write out your explanation of why YOU should be selected to receive a “Full Ride Scholarship”.

The AutoCon Scholarship Selection Committee is comprised of Ralph Paglia, Chris Saraceno, Mike Myers, Carrie Hemphill and Brian Pasch.  As applicants are being considered they will be contacted by a committee member and interviewed via phone and email.  Final selections will be made by committee vote and the awardees notified by email and phone.

AutoCon 2013 Scholarship Selection Committe

  • Ralph Paglia
  • Chris Saraceno
  • Mike Myers
  • Carrie Hemphill
  • Brian Pasch 

                                                    

Applications for TrueCar AutoCon Scholarships will be accepted starting Monday July 1, 2013 and award selections will begin Monday August 5, 2013.

 

With 10 TrueCar AutoCon Scholarships being awarded, the odds of being selected are probably better than any other similar program in the auto industry… So, do not hesitate to apply and encourage other automotive professionals to do so!  All of us who are stakeholders in the AutoCon event are thrilled with the investment being made by TrueCar to support what we believe is the best event in the auto industry.  The TrueCar sponsorship of AutoCon 2013 and the Full Ride Scholarship Program is appreciated and respected. 

In the past, TrueCar was a company that received an enormous amount of criticism, much of which has been emotionally charged and at times, crossed the boundaries of decency and professional behavior.  Many other companies faced with similar criticism and public ridicule would have released a barrage of legal actions to defend themselves.  TrueCar has consistently taken the high road and responded to their critics with program changes and by sending their senior executives to major auto industry events and meetings. 

 

The TrueCar sponsorship of AutoCon is further proof that this company is led by professionals who want to be valuable contributors to the overall success of the auto industry.

 

On behalf of the AutoCon team and the 10 auto industry professionals who will receive the benefit of these scholarship awards, a sincere thank you to TrueCar is extended.

Apply for a TrueCar AutoCon Scholarship online at http://AutoCon2013.com

    

*PLEASE NOTE: “Full Ride Scholarship” is the brand name for this category of award and is owned by Automotive Media Partners, LLC.  All “Full Ride Scholarships” associated with an AMP promoted event with include a travel stipend that reimburses the scholarship recipient for airfare expense submitted up to a maximum dollar amount. Recipients will also receive lodging for the nights of the conference itself. Any room charges authorized by the scholarship recipient, or incidental expenses are the responsibility of the scholarship recipient. Also included are the conference fees for registering and attending the event, which will usually include scheduled breakfasts and lunches that all event participants receive. It is important for scholarship recipients to understand that ANY expenses outside of airfare to and from the event, hotel lodging and conference registration fees are NOT INCLUDED in our version of a “Full Ride Scholarship”.  Furthermore, we strongly advise all scholarship recipients to travel with a valid major credit card and two forms of government issued ID. Adequate cash should be brought by scholarship recipients to cover meals outside of those scheduled on the conference agenda, local transportation and miscellaneous expenses… After all, you will be in Las Vegas and “Cash-In-Fist” is strongly advised!

   

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You Have A Lot of Work to Do.. – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

 

You Have A Lot of Work to Do..

Last month, my focus for the article was on “why” today’s automotive professional needs to build a personal brand.  Now that I’ve convinced you that it’s an amazing idea that will help you dominate your marketplace, I’m going to go into more detail on how to develop yourself into the recognizable, reliable name that people can count on.

First thing’s first:  GOALS. What are your goals? What are you looking to accomplish with your brand?  Of course you want to sell a lot of cars – there are a million ways to sell a lot of cars without committing to investing a large chunk of your time and money into a personal brand.  For example, my goal is to be the name in my area (target marketplace) that people think of when they hear words like Hyundai, new car, great customer service, educational, quick and hassle-free, car shopping experience, etc.  They have no choice but to think of me.  I want my brand to be stamped into their brain from an exceptional experience that they personally had with me, or someone they know told them that they had with me.  They could have read about great experiences with me on the internet, or social media platforms.  I want my name – my brand to be everywhere that those key topics are discussed.  You with me so far?

Next.  AUDIENCE.  Figure out who and where your audience is.  This is also called your target market place. (our geeky internet terminology)  Where do the people live that you are selling yourself as a brand to?  What are they looking or shopping for?  Who are these people?  What is their age range?  Are they male or female? All of these answers should be readily available to you with little effort.  This should be pretty self explanatory.  If you know your product and know what you are selling then obviously you know who you are selling to.  We’re in the car business people.. our manufacturers spend ridiculous amounts of money and consult experts in this field figuring out the majority of our target marketplace FOR US.  Tap into these resources.   This one is kind of a no-brainer.  In order to sell your brand to the right kind of people you need to know your brand and yourself.

Which brings me to number three.  KNOW WHO YOU ARE. What makes you unique?  What do you bring to the table (or can you bring) that is going to set you apart from the rest of the sales associates in your area?  Lyndon B. Johnson once said “What convinces is conviction.”  You have to believe in yourself, your goals, and most importantly – your product.  You can’t be the milkman delivering pizzas.  BE REAL.  If you’re not driving what you’re selling, I’m not sure who you’re trying to fool.  Wake up.  If you don’t personally want to own what you’re selling buddy  you’re in the wrong business and you definitely can’t be the expert.  If you can ‘t close yourself on a payment that you supposedly can’t afford, how do you ever expect to convince your customers to do the same thing?  If you truly believed inside of you that your product was the best overall value YOU AND YOUR ENTIRE FAMILY WOULD HAVE ONE IN YOUR GARAGE!  Why are people going to come to you, across town, instead of someone who is right across the street?  You need to know exactly what you are offering.  Sit down and make a list!  What can you consistently deliver over and over again that will set the bar just a little bit higher; however – most importantly- is GENUINE and REAL.

Once you set your goals – know who you are selling to and what you truly are selling – you need to BUILD YOUR PERSONAL VISUAL IDENTITY.  Some of you may refer to this as a logo.  As I mentioned before, logos are not necessarily imperative; however, they are strongly recommended.  What is the first thing that you see in your head when I say “Apple?”  THE LOGO.  If you can successfully and consistently complete the previous steps, then you need a visual aid to add to the value of your consistent and genuine brand name.  Like I said before, KNOW WHO YOU ARE.  What is a symbol of who you are?  It can be simple.  It can be complex.  All that matters is that it represents you and your commitment to being the brand that you have made for yourself.  For example:  Look at my stunningly handsome headshot above.  I wear glasses.  I make them look good.  I have several different shades, shapes, brands, and styles of geeky, thick-framed glasses that are as much a part of me as the service that I offer to my customers.  When anyone sees the logo on my cards, mailers, pens, brochures, websites, stickers, magnets, etc., they always make a comment about how amusingly it reflects who I truly am.  Nobody knows the real you better than you…well, or at least they shouldn’t.  Anyway, the point is:  Spend some time thinking or consulting with others (who know you very well and their opinion is valued) before you decide on a logo – should you decide to embrace this part of your own brand.

Ok, I know this all sounds like  A LOT of work.  Not gonna lie to you – it is.  Keep chasing pavement on that lot if that’s your choice.  If all of this sounds overwhelming, you haven’t seen anything yet.  I’m just getting started!!  We haven’t even touched on how you market this brand that is essentially, basically and most importantly, YOU.

 

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Ten Sexiest Women in Social Media – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

Fuchsia McInerney’s Roster of the Top 10 Sexiest Women in Social Media

Shown below is Cyan Banister

CEO and Entrepreneur, Fuchsia McInerney, names the top ten women in social media who are pioneering the industry and making a name for themselves.

Sexy and technology aren’t always two words you hear together. In fact women and technology aren’t two words you hear together that often, unless it’s highlighting the overwhelming lack of the former within the latter. That said, these ten women represent high-powered entrepreneurs, executive, artists and techies who are defying statistics, pioneering the industry and making a name for themselves. 

From ecommerce to marketing to blogging, spanning from corporate to indie, our top ten have taken the high-tech industry by storm, and quite frankly, they look good doing it!

As an update, I would like to point out that each of the women whose bio’s and images appear below, selected the images for publication and wrote the information paragraph about themselves. As each of them have requested that images or descriptions be updated, we have been pleased and eager to do so…

“Exploitation?” I think not…

Savvy marketing professionals who know the value of “Personal Branding? I think so.

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Cyan Banister

1. Cyan Banister, Entrepreneur & Artist: Cyan was born into a family of artists and grew up around paint, photography and music. From these beginnings, she developed a life-long appreciation for the arts that eventually inspired the Zivity platform, an ad-free social network for models, photographers, and video artists. This platform she created is a new way for artists to profitably connect directly with their fans in the rapidly changing digital media landscape.Cyan has held many leadership roles throughout her career, from leading technical operations teams in an enterprise software company to helping women master technology as CTO of a nonprofit organization. She is also an angel investor and has invested in Facebook, EQAL, Mimoco, OtherInbox, Thumbtack, Tagged, Hot Potato, Powerset, Topsy and others. Cyan is also an event and portrait photographer and enjoys jugglers and magicians.

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Heather Meeker

2. Heather Meeker: Heather brings over 13 years of experience working in communications, marketing and sales for technology companies. She started her career working in public relations for EarthLink and held similar positions at start-ups including Stamps.com and Homestore.com. After Sept 11, Meeker transitioned into an entirely new career in pharmaceutical sales at Pfizer, selling blockbuster drugs including Zithromax, Lipitor and Viagra. Despite success, Meeker decided her passion was communications and took a role as PR Manager for Yahoo Search Marketing followed by Manager of Burson Marsteller’s Consumer Technology Practice. Today, she holds the position of Director of Marketing and Corporate Communications for geo-location start-up Pelago – makers of Whrrl. In addition, she volunteers as an Advisor for the LA Chapter of Girls in Tech.


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Melissa Salas

3. Melissa Salas: Melissa is the Marketing Director at Buy.com. That’s right. The Director. Of Marketing. At Buy.com. Talk about a power player. She has also been the host of BuyTV for four years. She is the recipient of the 2008 Affiliate Summit Pinnacle Award Winner for Affiliate Manager of the Year. She joined Buy.com in 2000 & manages various online marketing campaigns as well as their Affiliate Program. Born & raised in Southern California, she attended Long Beach State University & graduated with a BA in Communications & minored in Interpersonal Communication & Business Organization. She lives in Orange County & her hobbies include traveling, kickboxing, dance, going to live shows, concerts, the beach, Angels, Lakers, Chargers and of course USC FOOTBALL games! Check out Melissa on Twitter: @

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Jolie O’Dell

4. Jolie O’Dell, Social Media & Tech Reporter: Jolie O’Dell is a journalist and startup veteran with a decade of experience in writing and editing the news. Formerly a writer and community manager for ReadWriteWeb and a freelance writer for tech blogs and various print publications, Jolie now writes on social media and technology for Mashable. She graduated from Shenandoah University with a B.A. in Media Studies in 2004; as a student journalist, she won state and national awards, helped teach and manage a team of reporters, and made it out alive with high honors.

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Veronica Belmont

5. Veronica Belmont: Veronica is a technology and gaming-centric video host based out of San Francisco. Currently her projects include Qore (a monthly interactive magazine about the PS3 for Sony) and Tekzilla (a weekly tech help and how-to show on Revision3.com). She has also written for Slate, DoubleX, MaximumPC and PC Gamer. Veronica initially made her mark as a producer and on-air talent for CNET Networks (now CBS Interactive). She worked on such shows as Buzz Out Loud, MP3 Insider, Crave, and Prizefight. In 2007 she left CNET to host the eclectic video show Mahalo Daily, which was named one of the top new podcasts in 2008 on iTunes. An avid gamer and social-networking junkie (with over 1 million Twitter followers), Veronica often speaks about her interests at conferences and panels. She has also been the emcee at events for companies such as gdgt, Boxee, MacHeist and RiffTrax. In her spare time, she co-hosts the science fiction and fantasy podcast The Sword and Laser with Tom Merritt. She lives with one technology writer and two cats (and too many gadgets). Veronica graduated from Emerson College, B.A. in Audio/Radio, focus in New Media studies.

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Deirdre Breakenridge

6. Deirdre Breakenridge: Deirdre is President, Executive Director of Communications at Mango! Marketing. Deirdre is the author of four Financial Times books. Her most recent book, “Putting the Public Back in Public Relations,” co-authored by Brian Solis and published in March 2009, is available in major bookstores and online. She has also authored: “PR 2.0, New Media, New Tools, New Audiences,” “The New PR Toolkit” and “Cyberbranding: Brand Building in the Digital Economy.” Deirdre is an adjunct professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, New Jersey where she teaches courses on Public Relations and Interactive Marketing for the Global Business Management program. Deirdre speaks nationally and internationally on the topics of PR and social media communications.She was named Woman of the Year in 2009 by the National Association of Professional Executive Women (NAPEW). Deirdre is a contributing editor of TechConnect, PRSA’s technology newsletter. She blogs about PR 2.0 strategies and is the co-founder of #PRStudChat, a dynamic Twitter discussion scheduled monthly for PR students, educators and PR pros.

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Jenn Allen

7. Jenn Allen: Jenn’s a search technology geek, artist and musician. She is the CEO and founder of Rtist.com, a free, real-time, no-commission online marketplace and social meeting place for artists, art lovers and everyone else who enjoys immersion in a positive, humanistic art experience. Artists and art lovers are free to buy, sell, make conversation, chat, critique, ask questions, make recommendations, discuss art and artists, list shows/events, identify favorite artists, art buyers and art enthusiasts; and search for art by artist, rating, price, keyword and tags such as medium, color and texture. Rtist.com – basically a utopia for artists. When you think of sexy what comes to mind? How about someone who is rocking the web right now with a site that is only 8 weeks old? How about someone who is confident and self motivated? Jenn Allen is an entrepreneur and not just any entrepreneur either. She is the Sexiest Female Entrepreneur of 2010 according to getyourbizsavvy.com (if you don’t already know).

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Joanna Lord

8. Joanna Lord: Joanna is the VP of Growth Marketing at SEOmoz, a SEO and social media software company out of Seattle. She is East Coast born, but did a five year stint in LA tech, before settling into the Seattle startup scene. Joanna is a well known customer acquisition expert and well versed in Internet marketing, PPC, SEO, social media and traditional media. She is a regular fixture at industry conferences, speaking all over the world. She “sleeps rarely and caffeinates often.” It also appears that Joanna has been known to sing a song or two on karaoke, but if asked, she will deny it ever happened.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Joanna Lord’s photos and bio were updated at her request on 2/27/2013… We appreciate any opportunity to update this article.

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Leah Culver

9. Leah Culver: Leah Culver was a co-founder and the lead developer of the social network and micro-blogging website Pownce, which was acquired by blog juggernaut Six Apart in November 2008. While creating the Pownce API she co-authored both the OAuth and OEmbed open API specifications and now maintains the popular Python OAuth library. Leah promotes open source, APIs, and the Django web framework on her blog at leahculver.com. In her free time she likes to play around with new technology and try new restaurants near her home in San Francisco.We recommend checking out her official blog.

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Amy McInerney

10: Amy McInerney: Amy is the co-founder and C.E.O. of Social Focus Marketing, Inc., an Internet marketing company specializing in social media and search engine marketing. After spending two years at the helm of the marketing department at Pearse Street Consulting, Inc., a social networking software development company, Amy spearheaded Social Focus as a sister company (literally, her sister-in-law is the C.E.O. of Pearse Street) and since then, has been launching her clients’ online campaigns to the top of Google searches and driving traffic through innovative social media marketing strategies. In her rare down-time, Amy enjoys wine, concerts and spending time with her niece and nephews.