Archives For automotive

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.

Don’t Let Your Video Become a Flash In the Pan – Automotive Digital Marketing

Brian Cox

Brian Cox

Don’t Let Your Video Become a Flash In the Pan

 

There’s no doubt that video marketing, in general, has become increasingly important in today’s world. Google has the search market cornered which is why, as marketers, it is important to pay close attention to the changes they make. However, did you know it’s even more important to pay attention to the second largest search engine in the world? You might think that I’m referring to Bing but, in fact, the second largest search engine is YouTube. Thus the importance of video for SEO.

Dealerships have increasingly embraced video in various degrees for years – from simple stitched videos to professionally created live walk-arounds. There’s no doubt that consumers love video. In fact Google’s recent automotive study indicates that over 80 percent of car shoppers will watch a vehicle video and then take immediate action.

The challenges that face car dealerships when it comes to creating videos are the same as they have always been – time and money. There are many solutions that exist for car dealerships in video marketing. I’m fairly certain that you would agree that ANY video is better than no video. And you may even believe that all video is equal. Well, with this blog, I hope to help dispel those erroneous thoughts.

Let’s start with the fact that live video is the most effective (which it is). I don’t think any dealer would deny that, in a perfect world, they would have video walk-arounds for every one of their vehicles. The infrastructure and format of your video is just as, if not more important than the quality of it. Some providers use flash-based video which allows them to offer video services to their dealer clients at a lower price point… and, on the surface, there is no visible difference between a flash video and a real video. In reality, however, there are huge differences.

Flash videos are self-contained videos that require a player (like Adobe Flash Player) or a compatible web browser with a plugin. It wasn’t too long ago that flash video was the de facto standard. Technology, however, has changed. Consumers are increasingly accessing the Internet and websites using mobile devices. Guess what’s not compatible with those? You got it, flash video. In fact, in mid-July of this year, Google itself announced that it would start issuing warnings to people attempting to access websites containing flash with the statement “Uses flash. May not work on your device.” Chances are really good that a consumer coming across a website or video that receives this message will probably not continue, but rather seek their answers elsewhere.

Your website will certainly not benefit from video if your audience is not viewing it. In fact, flash video isn’t supported by any Apple device, nor Android versions 4.1 or higher, according to Google. These devices account for a HUGE share of the mobile market. Flash video is also not compatible with some third party inventory sites, and it also has problems with syndication to social networks and other touch points that consumers are on.

Real video, on the other hand, offers a few very important distinctions as web developers gravitate towards such things as HTML5 with mobile capabilities and syndication. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, “Nearly half of the U.S. population has a mobile phone with Internet access, and one out of five page views on the web happen on a mobile device – a number that is growing every month.” Needless to say, if you are using flash, you are already costing yourself 20 percent of potential traffic.

As a dealer, how do you know what kind of video you have? The answer is if your videos are syndicated across the web, viewable on a mobile device or tablet and the search engines can see them, you are doing the right thing and have real video. If not, you most likely have flash.

One of the largest advantages to real video is semantic search.
Search engines don’t have the capability of indexing flash video. Real video, properly tagged and built using a semantic structure, can be indexed. Not only can they be crawled by search engines, but the search engines will read each video as an individual web page. This increases your page rankings.  Last, but certainly not least, real video has the ability to be syndicated everywhere. All of those touch points that consumers use when vehicle shopping can display your video and increase the reach and impact of your video marketing. Of course more exposure brings more traffic viewing your inventory. And the more traffic your inventory receives, the more leads, conversions and sales you’ll see.

The bottom line is that flash video is a bad solution for video marketers. Flash video may be cheaper than real video, but what are you losing in the end? Just because it’s a shiny object and looks pretty, doesn’t mean that you should be using it. Real video offers businesses the ability to have a bigger footprint with their video marketing. It increases the effective of any marketing and the likelihood that a consumer will want to AND have the ability to watch it. This is the whole exposure aspect of real video plus real syndication. It equals more traffic, which equals more leads. The few dollars you may save by going the flash video route will pale in comparison to the profit you’ll lose from customers who never see your video or visit your dealership.

Cut the SPAM and Serve Up More Content – Automotive Digital Marketing

Cut the SPAM and Serve Up More Content

What do consumers want from mobile marketers?

According to a new study by Hipcricket, it’s obvious that prospective customers want a lot less spam and a lot more ham.

The Hipcricket study, examining consumer attitudes and perceptions about mobile marketing, indicated that 66 percent of consumers say they have received a text message or mobile alert from a brand. However, consumers complain that the majority of brands miss their target with messages people find not useful, irrelevant, or insufficiently personalized.

How do marketers miss the mark? Here are some consumer responses from the survey:

  • 52 percent said the message felt “intrusive or spammy.”
  • 46 percent said the message wasn’t relevant to their interests.
  • 33 percent said the message didn’t offer any value.
  • 41 percent said they would share more information with brands if offered relevant offers or coupons

Doug Stovall, chief operating office at Hipcricket, concludes that the research indicates “consumers are actively engaging brands via mobile marketing, but brands must deliver relevant and personalized campaigns.”

Forty one percent of survey participants indicated they would share more information with companies via mobile in exchange for relevant coupons or offers. Location data (20 percent) and demographic data (19 percent) were the most common forms of data people were willing to share.

“This data, properly analyzed, can unlock a treasure trove of information that drives more personalized, relevant mobile marketing,” said Stovall

Bottom line: consumers are willing to view marketer appeals. But they want more ham (offers, incentives, relevance) and less spam (random, incentive-less ads).

To learn more, check out the infographic below.

mobile 2

mobile 3

 

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

Lifting Service Revenue With Showroom Demos – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

Recently passing my hometown fire station, a new billboard caught my attention. “Car Seat Demos” illuminated the dark sky.

My childhood fire station is reaching out to the community to educate drivers about car seats, and dealerships can too!

Winter is an especially critical time for hosting safety demos. Maintenance needs to change as driving conditions and temperatures worsen – and demos give fixed operations staff opportunities to engage with buyers in your area. While these buyers may not need a new car today, if they attend a helpful “how to” session in your showroom, you begin to build brand recognition for upcoming automotive purchases and expand your reach to attract repeat business.

 

In addition to contacting your nearest fire station to run a car seat installation class, here are two other time sensitive ideas to capitalize on during winter months.

 

 

  • The U.S. Department of Transportation recommends that car owners check their tire pressure once per month. Have your service manager instruct on how to gauge tire pressure and make sure gauges are available to purchase from your service counter. You can increase the reach of your demo by filming it and uploading to your store’s YouTube channel and website.

 

  • The nights are getting longer, and according to Weather.com, traffic deaths are three times more likely at night. The site also argues that depth perception and color recognition are impaired in the dark.  Your service team can compile a PowerPoint deck to present regarding night driving tips.

 

During my driver’s education course, my instructor emphasized the importance of functioning taillights and head lights, looking to the fog line of the road when an oncoming car is blasting its high beams, keeping a safe following distance, and signaling with plenty of yardage to spare. Other prudent night driving recommendations can be found via AAA and Department of Motor Vehicles. Consider personalizing your presentation by including local gas stations where drivers can go to seek help if needed.

 

Earlier this year, one of the dealerships that I work with in Ohio placed a link to tips for driving in the fall and at night. My Business Development Coordinator has stated that buyers are viewing and have appreciated the information. Take this idea and make it even more powerful by inviting buyers into your store for a formal demo, and then post the content in your digital channels (e.g. website, social media, e-blasts).

 

As stated in our eBook, Multichannel Marketing: Coordinating Existing Media for Maximum Con…, “Aberdeen’s “July 2012 Customer Experience Management: Using the Power of Analytics to Optimize Customer Delight” research, businesses who engaged in multichannel marketing saw growth in key performance improvements across the board, such as: a 6.8% increase in customer retention, a 5.1% increase in customer lifetime value, and a 4.0% increase in customer satisfaction.”

Not only will running a service demo this season get new buyers into your store, but you’ll show them the value of your desire to educate while boosting your service bottom line. Schedule an event today!

Featured Webinar

Featured Webinar

How can you turn MultiChannel Marketing into car sales? Auburn Volkswagen’s General Manager & Principal Matthew Welch will reveal 5 best practices for incorporating MultiChannel Marketing into your dealership’s strategy.

 

Watch on Demand

 

 

About the Author

Marissa Dogeagle Smith, Cobalt Account Advocate Marissa Dogeagle Smith is an Account Advocate at Cobalt, working primarily with Hyundai and General Motors stores. Marissa and her teammates provide and implement ongoing website optimization strategies that help dealerships distinguish themselves and drive qualified showroom traffic. Marissa is extremely passionate about the value of using website data to formulate and employ powerful strategies. Like many Toyota owners, Marissa learned to drive in a Camry and now owns a Corolla. Marissa holds a Business Administration degree and Marketing Management Certificate from the University of Washington. Feel free to reach out to Marissa directly at msmith@cobalt.com.

ADM Members invited to the 3rd Annual Digital Marketing Strategies Conference (DMSC) – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

Brian Pasch says he is so pleased to have been asked by First Class Educators to put together a series of VIP wine events for the 3rd Annual Digital Marketing Strategies Conference (DMSC).  Brian has been collecting California wine for over 30 years and has developed very strong relationships with some of the finest winemakers in the valley.
Brian also states that he is using his connections to create a series of very special, small wine and food tasting events that are associated with DMSC.  He will also be helping FCE plan the wine bus tours that attendees can participate in on Sunday afternoon and Tuesday afternoon.
The conference officially starts on Sunday March 16th with an evening cocktail reception with very special winemaker friends.  If you want to review the official conference schedule, view the event PDF:  2014 DMSC Agenda
One of the BIG changes this year is that the conference will be more intimate; only three workshops sessions will be running concurrently.  Only the very best workshops will be selected and only the best speakers will be facilitating these workshops.

 

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