At the September 2017 Digital Dealer Conference, a dealer panel was clear: vendors need to step up their game. Dealers are done with relentless call tactics and inept talk tracks. Recently, a Florida dealer told me, “vendors seem to stalk me daily and I avoid 20 phone calls a day from somebody with the ‘better solution’ trying to ‘just take 15 minutes of my time.’ If I took every call, I wouldn’t get anything done for my business.”
On average a single rooftop may have between 80-100 vendors to serve that one location. And there are many vendors to choose from. In the website hosting space alone, there are over 500 providers. In Finance & Insurance there are more than 1400 vendors. So how does a product or service break through? Most dealers either visit a conference, attend a Dealer 20 group or ask their buddies in the biz. As a vendor it can be difficult to get a dealer to meet, especially if you have an untried program or a new technology.
Reps get additional pressure from their own companies, too! Most vendor salespeople have dealer visit requirements set by their company’s management team. Sales is a numbers game, right? If I pound the phone, email every day, visit often, surely a sale will occur! Most dealers do not like being treated this way, however. I never liked this game either, because relationships were important to me and the first rule in developing a client relationship is don’t be annoying. On the other hand, some rep’s commission plans might be created to drive these behaviors. Some providers pay their sales people on new business only (no residuals or upsell payouts) which is why, once a dealer buys, the rep is rarely seen again.
Here’s my advice to vendors if you want to get a dealer interested, and stay interested, in your product or service.
- Secure an appointment. I know this can be hard. The key is to find out how your dealer makes their appointments (if they do at all). Perhaps there is an admin or another manager who can help. Search out the friendly voice. And once you get the appointment, don’t get mad if the dealer can’t make the assigned time! A dealer’s day is busy and filled with unexpected events (a car falls off the lift, an employee is fired, an auditor shows up, a customer gets sick in the showroom). But please stop the cold calling or dropping in. It’s rarely convenient and even rarer resulting in a sale.
- When you get a dealer on the phone immediately identify yourself and ask if it’s a good time to chat. He may not have recognized your number or thought you were a customer which is why he picked up your call, but it’s a courtesy of getting to the point right away that will be remembered.
- Voicemail and Email. Yes, a rep can check off a Salesforce box that you communicated this way but most dealers will tell you that both their voicemail and email are too full to be paid attention to. Using these tools are best when either requested or permitted by the dealer. I find text is a good way to communicate as long as it’s not abused. Again, ask for permission.
- It’s wise to purchase the upgrade on LinkedIn and use it to connect with dealers. It’s permission-based and if you keep your profile updated it allows the dealer to see that you are a professional. Speaking of being a professional, get a subscription to any, and all, automotive industry publications.
- THE most important way to connect with a dealer. Having a reference from another dealer is a positive way to introduce your credentials. It takes a little work, but it’s effective. Make sure the referral is someone your prospect knows and respects.
- The take-away is dead and causes disruption. Telling a dealer that their competition across the street has bought your product or pointing out the dealer looks bad on the internet might seem an effective way to get an appointment or a conversation-starter, but in my experience, it irritates rather than inspires. It might be better to start with a question around service satisfaction but make sure your service programs have a good reputation and be ready to prove it. If they are a current customer, request time by suggesting you want to go over their bill or to make a service call. Avoid trying to sell anything if this type of meeting occurs.
- When your phone rings and it’s a dealer, take the call rather than letting it go to voicemail. Only exception is when you are with another dealer. Then call back as soon as you can. My dealers were so grateful and appreciative when I picked up their call. They need answers right away. If you enjoy problem solving this is a great way to distinguish yourself from others.
- The Big Presentation Day! Over prepare, practice, and be early. Know the influencers and key personnel who the dealer trusts to help them make good decisions. Focus on exactly how your product has helped solved real-life problems that affect your dealer. Don’t waste your dealer’s time prattling on about something they are not interested in. So, if you haven’t done your homework on what’s important to the dealer, you’ve blown it. Second chances don’t occur often and if they do, a lot of time has passed or new management is in place.
- Product knowledge is tricky. If you are a new rep there is a good chance your dealer will know more than you do! Find out what they like and don’t like. See if you can bring a product manager along with you. If you are a well-versed rep provide user-group experiences.
- Follow-up is permission-based as well. Badgering your dealer with “are you ready?” every week is not a good method. If the dealer gets quiet and/or unresponsive, they are either vetting other vendors, have bought from someone else or they are not ready to move forward. Give them the space they need. My methodology included asking the dealer how he wanted me to handle follow-up at the end of a meeting or presentation.
- Mondays & end of the month. The day after the weekend is usually a busy day for a store. They are finishing up their weekend sales and it’s usually not a good time. End of the month is sacrosanct. Most dealer’s business occurs during this time and it’s a momentum that shouldn’t be interrupted. Vendors should achieve their targets earlier in the month when dealers have more time to listen.
- After the sale. Depending on how your organization is setup, I think it’s important to see if the dealer is happy (or unhappy) with their decision. Dealers have many choices and with the advent of 30-day outs, they can make changes quickly. I was rarely turned down for an appointment to discuss results.
Selling to dealers can be a rewarding career. You learn skill sets that can help you in all areas of your life (patience, tolerance, ingenuity, etc.). I have worked for some great companies and even better managers. My best bosses and I would talk for hours on strategies that were going to help our customers. We never failed to be successful when we thought about our customers first and what was important to them.
Molly Curry owns a company called vendorDBauto, a searchable database of vendors that serve the car dealer. For a limited time, vendors can get free advertising programs. Dealers never pay a fee. She can be reached at molly.curry@vendorDBauto.com, on Twitter @vendorDBauto and LinkedIn.
DEALS, DISCOUNTS, GIVEAWAYS FOR DEALERS AT DD23
It’s Vegas, baby! Digital Dealer 23 opens on Monday and dealers, once again, attend this conference to learn, share and bring home ideas they can implement to make their businesses profitable. Dealers who participate in conferences are determined to be successful despite SAAR and natural disasters. Good news is you have an army of vendors ready to help and support your sales efforts. Product innovation and commitment to service are the tools dealers need so check out the following deals, discounts, insights and promotional offers your DD23 exhibitors have for you. As they say in Vegas: Good Luck! Feeling really lucky? Click here.
MOBAUTO No clickbait promises of a fancy Apple Watch or an Amazon Echo for watching our presentation. We let our product do the talking. Exclusive mobile leads by text. Booth #532. 323-577-2886
COFFEE GROWLER/CARD HOLDERS/LANYARDS PLUS NEW PRODUCT RELEASE ANNOUNCEMENT UpdatePromise – Automated status updates and mobile payments to improve consumer experiences and service lifecycles, UpdatePromise will announce new product release (TBD). Pick up a free growler & business card holder while at the booth. Booth #1023. 951-471-7235
PHANTOM 3 DRONE GIVEAWAY CarChat24 – Stop by the booth and talk to them about their 24/7 Live Concierge Chat and Facebook & Texting platforms. Booth #827. 800-510-7567 @CarChat24
IPAD GIVEAWAY Fastlane – Stop by the booth and drop in your business card for an iPad giveaway. While there, learn more about theirin-store and online checkout product for new, used, lease sales. Booth #424. firstname.lastname@example.org
MUST SEE PANEL DISCUSSION A DealerRefresh Panel – “Freshen Up” discussing attribution, eCommerce and managing vendors. Panelist info here. Monday, September 18th, 2:35 p.m. Keynote Hall. Sign up for RefreshFridays, a weekly 30-minute live video podcast here.
ENTER TO WIN OUR URBAN SURVIVAL KIT INCLUDING A HIGH SIERRA BACKPACK, DRONE, GO PRO, IPAD, AND A $100 AMAZON GIFT CARD! AutoLoop – Take CRM to the next level with XRM. Visit Booth #301 for details. 877-850-2010
FREE MONTH! IntellaCar – Overcoming obstacles is the key to sales growth. Stop by Booth #908 at Digital Dealer 23 and tell us about your biggest sales challenge. Dealers will receive one free month of service when they sign up. Booth #908. 805-241-5000
FIDGET SPINNERS CDK Global – Make your kids happy! Stop by the booth, get a quick product demo of your choice and receive your free Fidget Spinner. Booth #121. 847-397-1700
EXCLUSIVE EVENT PRICING (SAVE $200 OFF YOUR OWN CUSTOM APP) PLUS DAILY PRIZE RAFFLES AND FLEXFIT CAPS FOR NEW SIGN-UPS! CardTapp – To see a live app, get the promo code, and enter to win free bottles of booze: Text DEALER TO 31996. More information here. Booth #721. 888-660-1880
$50 CASH FOR A SIT-DOWN DEMO CF Search Marketing – Sign up for a 30-minute consultation and receive $50 plus a competitive website analysis along with a Dealer Ad Spy Intel Report. Register here. Booth #421. 888-604-3770
WINE LOVER’S GIFT BOX FOR SIGNUP; BUSINESS CARD RAFFLE FOR AMAZON ECHO; FREE POPSOCKET GIVEAWAY; FREE 60-DAY VIN VIEW OPTIMIZER TOOL ($400 VALUE) LotLinx – Giveaways galore at the LotLinx booth. Booth #613. 800-625-5469
HARLEY-DAVIDSON CHARITY AUCTION WITH 100% OF PROCEEDS GOING TO MAKE-A-WISH FOUNDATION TradeRev – The auction, co-sponsored by ADESA, is Tuesday, September 19th at 4:30 p.m. in the Keynote Hall. TradeRev is a live appraisal auction mobile app. Booth #503. 844-881-8738
LIMITED TRADESHOW PRICING AND PODIUM SWAG Podium – Visit them at Booth #735 to see how their mobile-based tool can help your dealership improve communication with your customers, while driving feedback to popular online review sites like Google. You can also see a quick overview here. Also, be sure to catch their presentation on Wednesday, September 20th at 9:30 a.m. in the Bordeaux Room to learn how to use data to identify what your customers want. Booth #735. 833-276-3486
WIN AN APPLE WATCH CarGurus – Stop by the booth and participate in a CarGurus’ Dashboard Demo to receive one entry into the grand prize raffle for an Apple Watch. Booth #633. 855-265-7985
WANT GIVEAWAYS? ATTEND FLOWFOUND BREAKOUT FlowFound – Wednesday, September 20th at 10:30 a.m. in Keynote Hall. Visit booth to learn more about their virtual reality test drives and digital solutions. Booth #940. 404-620-3025
HOT PRODUCT & HEADACHE CURE 1Micro – Use your mobile device to control your vehicle keys and locate your inventory’s parked location. Created by a dealer for a dealer. 2017 DD22 Tech Tank Winner for Most Innovative Technology. Booth #701. 612-968-5174
WANT A CHANCE TO WIN $500 CASH? 700Credit – Stop by Booth #825 to learn about industry-leading credit, compliance, prescreen and consumer pre-qualification products and services. 866-273-3848
BLUE MAN & CIRQUE DU SOLEIL TICKETS + PARTY INVITATION Catalogs.com – Dynalog’s Digital Dealer 23 Reception, Monday, September 18 at 8 p.m. Charlemagne Suite #3198P Top of Paris Hotel. Complimentary beer, wine & dessert bar. RSVP at entrance of Keynote Hall. Booth #837. 954-908-7122
FREE MONTH OF TEXT-BASED BDC SERVICE Hammer – Stop by the Hammer booth for a demo of their NEW text-based BDC service. They want to take your lead gen to the next level. Booth #436. 844-393-0008
DJI DRONE RAFFLE – NOT ONE, BUT TWO CallRevu – Two drawings. One Monday, the other Tuesday. Stop by Booth #711 and enter to win! One entry per attendee, must be present to win. Tweet us @CallRevu, find us on Facebook or visit www.fixthephones.com
VOTE FOR BEST NEW TECH Cognosos – Sandeep Vohra, CEO, will introduce a new wireless real-time tracking service at the Tech Tank competition. Monday, September 18, 2017, 3:30 p.m., Keynote Hall. Info@cognosos.com
$25 PARIS CASINO CHIP FOR SOFTWARE DEMO Tru Images – Reduce costs, time and effort with your new car photography with Tru Images automated cloning. Stop by Booth #820 for a very quick demo on how you can get your library going! Grab a free TI t-shirt too! 800-936-2109
NEW TO GUBAGOO? GET THE FIRST MONTH FREE Gubagoo – Visit Booth #505 and see a live demo of their omni-channel communication platform. Exciting new features include Outbound Texting, Video Calls, instant Credit Pre-Qualification and Parts Directory. Take your customer experience to the next level. Book your demo today at email@example.com
FREE YETI COLSTERS Adtaxi – First 25 dealers who set an appointment for a custom omnichannel proposal specific to their dealership will receive a FREE Yeti Colster. Download Adtaxi’s recent white paper here for an overview of what omnichannel can do for your dealership. Booth #723. Send appointment requests to firstname.lastname@example.org.
FREE OPPORTUNITY ANALYSIS AUTOFLYTE – Get last night’s sales data and insights on your competition for today’s marketing decisions. An Urban Science Premier Partner, AUTOFLYTE provides a free opportunity analysis so dealers can make appropriate digital communications decisions. Free trial info here. Booth #1037. 615-544-1410
FREE PHONE CHARGE WITH ACTIVENGAGE Visit one of their TWO charging stations located in the lobby and Exhibit Hall to keep your devices charged throughout the conference. Visit the ActivEngage website here for more details about their products and services. 800-441-7779
SPECIAL OFFERS ONLY AVAILABLE DURING DD23 SHOW! UnityWorks Media – Special #1: No Management Fee on first month of your 90-day pre-roll campaign. Special #2: One-month free trial on all new VIN Virtual Test Drive. Booth #321. 800-293-2056
$500 IN FREE SOCIAL JOB POSTS Digital Air Strike – Redeem this offer and learn about their FREE Text Review Mobile Messenger App at the DAS table next to Registration. Click here for more details. 888-713-8958
FREE SOFTWARE WITH SHOW SIGNUP XSeller8 – Guest Concepts’ First Pencil desking software for free when you sign up for their tablet based sales system. Booth #1015 next to Keynote entry hall. 909-565-2195
SEE A DEMO, GET A YETI Stop by the Conversica Booth #207 and see their AI Sales Assistant in action engaging internet leads, and you’ll walk away with a cool Yeti tumbler to fill at the closest bar! Or visit conversica.com or email email@example.com
$500 TOWARDS FACEBOOK ADS, WIN AN APPLE WATCH AND FREE DIGITAL AUDITS PureCars helps thousands of dealers like yours dominate digital advertising and bring more online shoppers to the showroom and service lane. What’re you waiting for? Visit PureCars at Booth #531 to claim your limited-availability deal and enter the Apple Watch raffle! 877-860-7873
TROUBLE FINDING YOU CARS ON YOUR LOT? CP Handheld – Empower your team with an accurate map of your inventory. VINpoint shows you where each vehicle is, allowing your back office to easily reconcile the inventory. Expect higher sales, improved monthly accounting accuracy, and increased CSI. Stop by Booth #530 for a demo! 812-759-6900
PRODUCT GIVEAWAY RAFFLE & APPLE WATCH WITH SHOW SIGN UP Digital Media Nation is giving away 6-month Reputation Sensei programs to two dealerships. There are two ways to enter the raffle: drop by Booth #422 or enter online at http://qoo.ly/hrvwh. Free Apple Watch with new Reputation Marketing account activation. Reputation Sensei is a marketing solution that helps you take control of your company’s online reputation while marketing the customer experience. Offer valid with 12-month contract. One watch per location. No cash value. Not valid with any other offer. Booth #422. 770-263-7455
SPINCAR LOTTO SCRATCH-OFFS SpinCar – Stop by the booth for a demo of the latest vehicle photography software programs and check out their custom intelligent retargeting solution while there, too! Try your luck with a show special lotto scratch-off. You might win a product setup discount, some swag or a free drink at their in-booth bar! Booth #715. 646-692-3535
©Molly Curry has worked in the vendor industry for nearly forty years and has launched vendorDBauto, a searchable database of vendors for car dealers. Dealers can subscribe for free as well as enter a contest to win a pair of Beats Headphones. Enter here. You can reach her at molly.curry@vendorDBauto.com, Twitter or LinkedIn. The top 4 listings of this article are Paid Sponsored Listings.
On CDK Global’s earning call earlier this month, Lee J. Brunz, E.V.P. of CDK Global made an interesting comment when asked about this year’s new car sales projections. He said the drop in SAAR over the last six months was less than 1% on the retail side and that the mix of vehicles being sold – SUVs, crossovers, and light trucks – are resulting in higher margins. The CEO, Brian MacDonald, said a slowdown was coming, but there didn’t seem to be a sense of panic among the dealers.
Encouraging words for an industry that had its sharpest drop in July. Add to the situation there is no lack of disruptors, inventors and opportunists that find the automotive retail industry ripe for some kind of market share pickings. Here are a few (listed alphabetically).
Amazon – Yes, the retail killer. They launched Amazon Vehicles a year ago as a research site and I’m guessing Cars.com, Edmunds, CarGurus and Autotrader are watching closely. But new cars may not be where the action is right now (in the U.S. anyway). It’s parts. Looks like Amazon is going after the DIY crowd and Discount Auto Parts-type retailers, but what would stop them from going after your counter sales which according to the NADA 2016 Data is worth $3B. Catch up here and here.
AutoGravity – Over 250,000 downloads of their consumer app, 1000 dealer sign-ups and an investment into the company from VW. Part of the FINTECH world this app allows consumers to get financing in a snap.
Blinker – Another financing app. Blinker is the bank. Targeting the used-car, private party market, they are in Colorado and Texas for now. Heavy tech makes it easy for consumers to use. Blinker ownership has a deep, auto retail background.
CarMD – For about $90 this gadget plugs into a vehicle’s computer system to diagnose problems. More for the DIY and enthusiasts, it’s one more thing your customer might be using. CarMD does not work with local dealers to provide mechanics.
CarSaver – A Sean Wolfington scion and in alliance with Walmart. TrueCar-type service for dealers (pay a fee when the car sells) with a brick & mortar twist. AutoNation and Ally are involved. TrueCar still has a Sam’s Club partnership. Costco shouldn’t have all the fun. Additional info here and here.
Carvana – They get a lot of attention because they build monolithic used-car vending-machines in major cities. Not as huge as the one in Singapore (owned by Autobahn Motors), but just as dramatic. On their website they state that a shopper doesn’t have to go to a dealership anymore. As reported by Automotive News TV First Shift (Aug 15, 2017), Carvana had a $38.9M loss in Q2 with a 142% rise in revenue (of $209 million) as compared to same period last year.
Drive Motors and Roadster – Digital retailing solutions plugged in to dealer’s websites. Let’s face it, shoppers want an Apple/Amazon experience when buying a car no matter the complexity of the transaction. Check with your OEM for approval to add to manufacturer’s websites. Roadster’s program is for new cars only. These programs work with, rather than against, the dealer.
Drivin – An online B2B auction that was recently purchased by KAR (parent company of Adesa) that they had been partnered with. They have a tech and analytics platform that would provide better decisions for the dealer.
Fair – A micro-ownership concept. Financing is involved. They have some big hitters on team (Scott Painter, creator of TrueCar, for one). Here’s the app description: Why lease or get a loan when you can drive Fair? Only Fair lets you shop, get approved and pay for a car, all on your phone, with the freedom to walk away at any time. Warranty, maintenance and roadside assistance included – that’s Fair! More here.
Overstock Cars – A new classified site of four million vehicles from the Overstock.com folks with financing and warranty products for sale. Email them: firstname.lastname@example.org to add your inventory. Overstock’s corporate headquarters: 801-947-3100. If your inventory is already on the site check the pricing. I saw a lot of cars at $0.
Tred – Another fintech, used-car, peer-to-peer product out of Seattle. Their pitch to the consumer audience: get more for you used car because dealers have to pay for overhead and salespeople and will pass those costs on to you. Just purchased by Ally. Only available in the Washington or Oregon area if you are a seller. Now that Ally is involved expect a nation-wide rollout. More here (paywall).
Oh, and though this isn’t an auto retailer disruptor, per se, it is an interesting and new advertising idea: Rideplay. Reach people who ride in Ubers/Lyfts. Revelers having fun on a Saturday night might not be a completely captured target, but there might be a dealer out there who would give it a shot: https://www.rideplay.tv/advertisers.
Afterall, a few dragons in the arsenal might not be a bad idea.
Molly Curry has been in the automotive retail industry since the 1970’s. She has launched vendorDBauto, a searchable database of vendors for the car dealer. Search by vendor name or by category. For more info: molly.curry@vendorDBauto.com or 954-729-3184. Follow on Twitter @vendorDBauto or LinkedIn. Read more of her postings on the blog: http://blog.vendordbauto.com
When the rowdy frat boys of Animal House fell upon hard times they needed something to take their minds off a bad situation. Road trip!
With J.D. Power reporting June SAAR to be the weakest first half since 2014, dealers need to rethink their second half. Get some fresh ideas, implement new concepts, network like mad, and work closer with your vendors.
Here’s a list of events and conferences to consider (in order of upcoming dates) or you can visit www.vendorDBauto.com and search CONFERENCE.
Rally, my dealer friends! Remember it wasn’t over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor.
Women in Automotive – Sunday, July 9 – Tuesday, July 11, 2017 at Omni Orlando Resort at Champions Gate. Jack Simmons will be the emcee along with Eliana Raggio from DealerOn. Between these two you won’t need a second cup of coffee! Agenda, speakers and workshops look well-developed and offer a large variety of topics. Prices are $595 for the full 3 days or $295 for any one day. Contact: 407-412-9988
Internet Sales 20 Group – Monday, July 10 – Wednesday, July 12, 2017 at Hyatt at the Bellevue in Philadelphia, PA. There’s a King of the Ring cash prize of $1000 that sounds fun, a Trending Now Tedx-style workshop and on Tuesday night, a hypnotist! $1045 conference fee. The conference is brought to you by Dealer Synergy. Contact: 856-546-2440
VinSolutions VinWorx User Summit – This annual event is Tuesday, July 11 – Wednesday, July 12, 2017 with optional days to meet with your Performance Manager at the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center in Kansas City, Missouri. Speakers include Mark O’Neil, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, Cox Automotive; Mike Burgiss, V.P. Digital Retailing at Cox Automotive; Jim Roche, Sr. VP of Marketing, xTime; Tim Mueller, Google Automotive Retail Strategist; Brian and Glenn Pasch; Joe Webb; Bobbie Herron. There is no charge for this event but you have to have a VIN ID #. Contact: email@example.com
Driving Sales Canadian Dealer Forum – Monday, July 17 – Tuesday, July 18, 2017 at Hyatt Regency, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Open Remarks begins Monday at 4pm. Tuesday is a full day of workshops. Ted Graham, head of Open Innovation at General Motors and author of, The Uber of Everything, keynotes. There is a range of registration prices, but a regular Dealer Executive is $499. Contact: 866-943-8371
TrueCar Dealer Summit Conference – Wednesday, July 19, 2017 at Wrigley Field, Chicago. Headed up by Brian Pasch, Ed French and Chip Perry this half-day event promotes best practices and optimized sales practices. There’s a tour of the stadium, prize giveaways including a chance to win two tickets to the Cubs vs. Cardinals game. Register by Friday, July 14th. This summit will also be available in Washington D.C. in September and Dallas, TX in November. Specific dates and locations TBD. There is no cost to attend. Contact: 800-200-2000
DealerOn Event Series: Digital Strategy Summit (Chicago) – Wednesday, August 2, 2017, 8:30 AM – 6:00 PM CDT at Topgolf Wood Dale. Four presentations before you take off to the links: Kevin Lao, Google Expert; Greg Gifford, SEO Expert; Shaun Raines, PPC Expert; Michael DeVito, Website Wizard; Free food, free bar, free balls. Tickets are $99 with an early bird of $49 if you reserve before July 14. Contact: 877-543-4200
Industry Summit – “Invest In Yourself” brought to you by F&I and Showroom and Auto Dealer Today (Bobit Business Media). Monday, September 11 – Thursday, September 14, 2017 at the Marriott Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center, Grapevine, Texas (north of Dallas). There’s a Think Tank, a Shark Tank and F&I Dealer 20 group plus get the latest training on compliancy. Early bird rate for Dealer Pass is $895 until August 11, 2017 (goes to $995 after that). Contact: 727-947-4027
Digital Dealer 23 Conference & Expo – Monday, September 18 – Wednesday, September 20, 2017 at the Paris Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, NV. The Granddaddy of Digital Conferences. Early Bird: $695 (Ends 8/4). Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Automotive News Marketing 360 – Tuesday, September 19, 2017 at Gotham Hall, New York, NY. Cadillac, Nissan and other brand marketing managers slated to speak. $325. Contact: email@example.com or 313-446-0479
North American Commercial Vehicles Show – Monday, September 25 – Thursday, September 28, 2017 at Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, GA. If you are into big trucks (and who isn’t?) this massive inaugural international show boasts hundreds of exhibitors. Sponsored by the American Trucking Association. $99 to attend but if you know a vendor they may be able to get you in. Book your hotel through EventSphere to get show rates and event information. Hosted by Newcom Business Media. Contact: 416-510-5231
DrivingSales Executive Summit DSES 2017 – Sunday, October 22 – Tuesday, October 24, 2017 at the Bellagio, Las Vegas. Known as the progressive dealers’ conference this event has a Best Idea Contest that’s worth the price of admission. Early bird dealer pricing of $799 until July 31. Other pricing levels are available. Contact: 866-943-8371
2017 J.D. Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable (AMR) – Tuesday, October 24 – Wednesday, October 25, 2017 at the Bellagio, Las Vegas. The headliner is Seth Dallaire, Vice President, Global Advertising Sales & Marketing, Amazon Media Group; other speakers include: Harry Hynekamp, GM, Customer Experience, Mercedes-Benz USA; Mark LaNeve, Vice President, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Services, Ford. Dealer Rate is $995 and requires a code. For $149 you can add a Surrender Night Club wrist band and there is an early morning workout session call POWERBurn available to the first 100 registrants. Contact: Susan.Karsyan@jdpa.com
Auto Finance Summit – Wednesday, October 25 – Friday, October 27, 2017 at Wynn Las Vegas. This is the 17th annual. Past participants list looks impressive. See here. Conference is managed by Royal Media Group which publishes Auto Finance News. Contact: 212-564-8972 Option 4
Automotive News Leading Women Conference – Thursday, November 2, 2017 at The Henry, Dearborn MI. Over 500 women attended last year’s event (lots of manufacturing companies participate). $295 is the early bird price until July 16. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 313-446-6041
Automotive Analytics & Attribution Summit – Wednesday, November 8 – Thursday, November 9, 2017 at Boca Resort and Club. This PCG Companies conference asks the age-old question, “what worked”? Branded as “first of its kind” the event is dedicated to online marketing analytics and attribution for the automotive industry. Much needed. Dealer early bird is $695 until August 31. Contact: 888-798-1195
Rockstar Auto Conference – Monday, November 13 – Tuesday, November 14, 2017 at The D Hotel, Las Vegas, NV. For $399 which includes your hotel and conference you also receive breakfast and lunch both days plus a party. You can even spread out the payment over 4 months. Deadline for this deal is July 15. Two executives of BDA Spanish are the conference founders. Contact: 269-775-0002
Used Car Week – This 5-day event is Monday, November 13 – Friday, November 17 at the Waldorf Astoria La Quinta Resort, La Quinta, CA. A conference that encompasses Pre-Owned Con, Auto Fin Con, Repo Con and the NAAA Convention. The agenda looks loaded with options including workshops, panels, receptions and parties. Scott Kelly, NASA astronaut is featured as the keynote. Costs are not listed on their site but you can complete their “keep me up to date” form on their home page. Produced by the Cherokee Media Group which publishes many magazines including Auto Remarketing. Contact: 800-608-7500
2017 Fixed Ops Magazine Conference & Expo – Monday, November 13 – Wednesday, November 15, 2017 at South Point Las Vegas. $395 early bird plus there are group discounts. Contact: 714-307-6020 or Ashley@FixedOpsMag.com
ACLA AutoConference LA hosted by J.D. Power and NADA – Tuesday, November 28, 2017 at InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a network reception following. Welcome and opening remarks from Bob Smith, Executive Director, Greater LA Dealer Association; Mark Scarpelli, Chairman, NADA; Lex Kerssemakers, President/CEO, Volvo Car of North America; Tom Doll, President & CEO, Subaru of America. Single ticket is $395. Table of eight: $3500. Contact: email@example.com
©Molly Curry has worked in the automotive vendor industry for over thirty years and launched www.vendorDBauto.com, a searchable vendor database for automotive retailers. You can reach her at molly.curry@vendorDBauto.com, Twitter or LinkedIn.
By Molly Curry, vendorDBauto
In 1979, I purchased a top-loading VCR for $700. You cannot purchase a top-loading VCR today, but on Amazon a GPX D200B Progressive Scan 2-Channel DVD Player with Remote Control goes for $24. The point, as many have made, is that technology gets more effective (now we stream our shows) and less expensive (demand is greater).
How you reach your target audience is getting better, too.
Internet advertising is the number one expenditure for car dealers (tv is second) according to the NADA. Marketers know that the internet has significant influence on a car shopper. Once a shopper keystrokes anything, anywhere about a car or truck, marketers capture the intention and begin the influence process.
Now, targeting photos is the next new ad thing. It makes sense. Millions of photos are posted to social sharing sites daily (Facebook: 350 million; Instagram: 52 million; Twitter: 30 million). That’s a lot of opportunity. Marrying social media photos (and soon, videos) to advertising has been invented by a company called Cluep (pronounced “kloop”). They have created an image recognition software with an AI interface that matches consumer behavior, likes, interests, lifestyle, feelings (this is new) and location to create a display ad on mobile apps and sites. Users with privacy settings enabled cannot be targeted.
On their website, they have logos from major automotive brands like GM, Jeep, Mercedes-Benz, and Toyota and there is an automotive testimonial. Cluep shows results from a regional ad campaign with impressive click through and conversion rates. See more here.
If I were a dealer, I would have a meeting with the marketing team to boost social media strategies around photo sharing and engagement. The goal? Your store brand, inventory and service programs must resonate with social media users. Getting them participating and involved early and consistently ensures future success. I would talk to my OEM about this type of advertising and if your brand is any of the brands listed above, ask for a review of the campaigns. I would also bring it up at the next Tier 2 meeting. And I would certainly investigate when this type of advertising would be available at the local level. Like that old top-loading VCR it will be out with the old and in with the new.
“VICE News Tonight.” HBO. June 8, 2017. Television.
by Molly Curry, vendorDBauto
Best Takeaways from Google’s Keynote
In all the years I sold digital marketing to dealers it was amazing to watch monthly budgets grow from a meager $500 to $20,000 a month to, in one case (for one roof top), nearly $100,000. So, it was with interest I watched Google’s keynote for The Google Ads, Analytics and DoubleClick Announcements yesterday (Tuesday, May 23rd, 9 a.m. PT) in San Francisco. Here’s the livestream which takes about an hour: https://adwords.googleblog.com/2017/05/GoogleMarketingNext-LiveStream.html. Here’s the Twitter hashtag: #GoogleMarketingNext.
There are some key things dealers need to get onboard with now to take advantage of Google’s advertising launches that will happen this year. If you don’t want to read any further do four things today: 1) make sure your Google business listing is correct, 2) pay attention to your YouTube channel or get busy making one, 3) sign up for the AMP beta here, and, 4) make a note to buy In-Market Search ads as soon as they become available.
ATTRIBUTION TOOLS – Google stat: 30% of people use 5 or more devices. Rather nobly Google is giving up last click attribution (nobly, because last click is usually a Google paid search ad; but then again, competitively, Google might want to take last click away from Facebook). Most marketers know last click is kind of fake and doesn’t explain consumer behavior or what works along the way. This tool is in beta and will roll out free or charge for small to medium sized businesses. There is a lot of math with attribution that Google has been working on for the last two years. They use machine learning to weight the value of your activity across all devices, they have partnerships with credit card companies capturing 70% of all credit card transactions in the U.S. and they read Gmail data. Google is set to make the data more sophisticated and deliver it faster.
AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) – Google stats: 91% of smart phone users purchase or plan to purchase after seeing a relevant ad and 87% of smart phone owners turn to search fist in a moment of need. The problem Google wants to solve is load time on a smartphone. Another Google stat: What AMP will do is load your display ads in content at the same speed as the content of the site. I did a search for WordStream on my smartphone. See the small lightning bolt icon with AMP? That indicates an AMP page. See below for screen shot. Google has over 2 billion pages loading in the beta each delivering in less than 1 second. SIGN UP FOR BETA HERE: http://bit.ly/2qd0rwQ and learn more about the project here: https://www.ampproject.org/
VOICE SEARCH – Google stat: 20% of searches are voice (which means 80% are not, but this number will grow). Imagine a car shopper saying “Okay Google. Where is the closest Honda dealership?” In response Google Home states YOUR dealership name and directions to YOUR store. If so, then it’s because you purchased an ad to be delivered in that response in YOUR area. Start thinking about questions car shoppers will ask around where, who, when and how and you will be ready for Voice Search. Make sure your business address and content is accurate in Google My Business. Pay attention to your local inventory and price point ads, too.
IN-MARKET AUDIENCE SEARCH – Google stat: Consumers who click on a paid search are 25% more likely to make a purchase while at the store and spend 10% more on average. Granted this may be for a GAP store and not necessarily for an automotive retailer, but with new attribution capabilities this will be a product you will want to use. Don’t delay. As soon as it becomes available (and typically I would 6-8 months from now) buy it. In-market audience has been available for display, but now it will open up to paid search. This is different from what you have now which could reach a shopper who is just beginning their car purchase research to someone who wants to find Saturday specials. More precisely, it will lead to a ready-to-buy purchaser. Perhaps experiencing deep competition from Facebook, Google will now leverage its trillions of data points and offer this service. Get ready for pricier bids, perhaps, but totally worth it. Be the early bird on this new ad program.
YOUTUBE – Google stat: Over 50% of internet users look for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store. Get busy with a YouTube channel. Add great content. Add extensions are coming for YouTube ads and most importantly, Google’s retargeting network expands to YouTube. So now consumers don’t necessarily have to visit your site to be cookied for a retargeting ad.
Reference articles for further study:
©Molly Curry has worked in the vendor industry for over thirty years and currently provides vendor management, consultancy, and research. You can reach her at molly.curry@vendorDBauto.com, Twitter or LinkedIn. She was not compensated for this article. vendorDBauto.com, a vendor database for the automotive retailer, will be launching in 2017.