01 Jul

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Time, Vision, Commitment, & Skills

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Come August (2013) this blog will have reached the 7-year mark. Let me tell you, it has been through a lot. But as of late BlogPro has been rather quiet, keeping to itself. Maybe that will change soon?

The video below is from the old “sign up” page I just took down. I am doing some renovations to the site and no longer have need for the video, but I did not want to simply discard it. For now this post can be its new home.

I made the video back in 2007 in anticipation of a growing demand for blogging by car dealers. The message: That blogging takes time, vision, commitment, and technical skill. Reality is, most of the automotive professionals that took to blogging and WordPress were marketers, NOT dealers.

Anyhow, enjoy the video. It’s still relevant.

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CARBUCKSps – You can subscribe to BlogPro via email with Feedburner in the side bar. You can also join me on the Facebook Group CARBUCKS…A Coffee House for Car Guys and Car Gals where I visit almost daily for fun and always interesting conversation.

 

 

19 Feb

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How to Suck at Social Media in Your Dealership

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How to Suck at Social MediaLast month I began working with SOCIALDEALER. We have been busy putting together marketing initiatives with its talented team of designers, marketers, and innovators. I wanted to share some of what we have going on and, as always, I will plan to keep you abreast with my progress here on BlogPro.

The first campaign we ran was to promote a help guide we created for dealers to get started with Google+. The response was very good and it was a real indicator of the interest level and demand out there for Social. [Download your free guide here]

Finally, after all these years I think we can truly say that Social has arrived in Automotive. At JDPAIRT 2011 it was evident that Social was in the glue per say, at the OEM level at least, but not so much at the dealer level.

That is changing though in 2013.

In preparation of this, I and the crew at SD are in the process of rolling out a bigger, long-term campaign that uses a Prezi called “How to Suck at Social Media.” The idea was sparked brilliantly by Marketing Coordinator Zach Betz who really shows off his Prezi skills in this piece.

The reason we went with this approach is because there is so much stuff out there from so many different sources the latest tips, tricks, and best practices. We wanted something fresh and bold that could stand out. Something fun and useful at the same time. Hopefully we accomplished this.

Don’t expect us to stop here though. As stated in a previous post 2013 is going to be a big year for me personally as I kick things up a notch with Google+ Hangout and On Air. Over the next few weeks you will see us rolling out some aggressive marketing efforts around Google+ and specifically using Hangout and On Air.

Stay tuned and enjoy the Prezi. Let me know what you think by posting your comments below. Be sure to subscribe to BlogPro Automotive to receive email alerts each time something new gets posted here. I’m relatively quiet so no need to fear getting bombarded with my puke.

About SOCIALDEALER

SOCIALDEALER is the auto industry’s first platform designed exquisitely for dealers to manage their Social Media efforts and now also the first to integrate Reputation and Social onto the same platform. I joined forces with SD not so much because of what they have going on, but where SD is headed with its technology solutions. President Phil Penton, whom I have known and worked with now for about a decade, leads the way with SD’s solutions and is doing a bang-up job getting major groups, OEM’s, and Tier agencies on board with the platform.

02 Jan

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Spreading the Automotive Cheese on Social: A Reputation Management Roundtable

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In my end-of-year review post I stated that I plan to be part of several different Hangout shows and programs, one if not two of which that would be for automotive audiences. Well the first of these is called Social Cheese and it launches Thursday January 24.

Social Cheese is not specific to automotive, but being that I am co-host and producer you can count on it having an automotive twist. My hope is that Social Cheese can be a refreshing resource for automotive professionals and my expectation is that it will eventually perpetuate the need for a similar program that is specific to automotive.

There are many people in automotive that have more to talk about than just automotive. I have been reaching out to these folks about being part of our shows. This is not to say we can’t or won’t talk automotive, but it’s our knowledge and expertise in online reputation management more than anything.

Digital marketers can learn a lot from our corner of the auto business. We have unique circles, schools of thought, freedoms, and expectations that few have. Auto dealers are willing to try new things and they have advertising budgets that few small businesses have. These things are what help make automotive digital marketing professionals unique in the now competitive world of online reputation management.

Exploring this thinking is the type of stuff I plan to do on Social Cheese. My vision for those of you reading this post is that you can work with me to help carve out your voice with Social Cheese to be shared with people in and beyond automotive. Come on our program to share your thoughts, ideas, best practices, concerns, etc.

Follow Social Cheese on Google+

A Google+ Page has been created for Social Cheese which you will want to follow to keep up with our activities as they pertain to the show. The page is essentially our website for right now. Be sure to follow Social Cheese on G+ so we can keep you in the loop with our efforts and also to simply express your interest in our show.

A Google+ Community Page has also been created for community members, contributors, and sponsor to interact with one another, make suggestions, and offer feedback about the show. Be sure to join the Social Cheese G+ Community if you are interested in getting involved as a guest or contributor or sponsor.

Over the next few weeks I will be working diligently to prepare for our first show which again airs live on Thursday January 24 at 9 PM EDT. You can RSVP for the show here. I will be reaching out to many of you about filling certain segments with us, spreading the cheesy word, and of course about sponsorship opportunities.

Please wish me luck. I hope to see you on the Social Cheese.

24 Dec

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A Look Back. A Look Up. A Look Ahead for BlogPro Automotive

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Christmas Eve morning. Just sat down with a cup of tea to reflect on what 2012 has meant for BlogPro. Also want to give thanks and set the tone for 2013. This is an exercise inspired by a fellow blogger that I tried for the first time on my AutoConversion blog.

A Look Back.

The past year was interesting for BlogPro. In October 2011 I had accepted a position with HookLogic as Director of Automotive Business Development alongside President David Metter and VP of Sales Jeff Kersh. BlogPro was an important tool for me that I was able to utilize during my time there, which lasted only a year, using it to write several pieces pertaining to Lead2Show.

While working for Hook I learned much about “big data” and “showrooming” and “incentivizing” auto shoppers while getting a closer look at how certain things in automotive are shaping up. This insight will certainly add to what we do with BlogPro in 2013 and the years to come. More on that later.

A Look Up.

If there is one thing I am thankful for, it is Nancy Simmons and the regulars at Carbucks. Over the past couple of years Nancy has fostered a community of “car guys” and “car gals” through the Facebook Group Carbucks. While there are more than 1,300 members in the group, what’s important for me are the hundreds that regularly interact.

The engagement activity that goes on in Carbucks is friendly and genuine, humorous, entertaining, insightful, useful, fresh, and carefree. As a professional working in the automotive space I find Carbucks to be the place I most frequent and interact in.

I am also thankful for my time at HookLogic because it gave me much insight about myself and others in regards to leadership and mentoring and managing upward vs downward.

A Look Ahead.

One of the most interesting developments for me in 2012 was my use of Google Hangout. This easy-to-use high tech tool makes it possible to conduct broadcast-style shows and programs across the Web for all to see. After experimenting with Hangouts for more than a year now, I am excited for what 2013 brings on this front.

Throughout 2013 I plan to be part of several different Hangout shows and programs, one if not two of which will be for automotive audiences. Look for blog posts from me come January with more information about these On Air events we plan to run. Probably good to follow AutoConversion on G+ too.

A Wrap.

In short, I could not be more excited for what lies ahead for BlogPro Automotive and everybody that is getting involved with us. This blog has kept a quiet profile on the automotive front but the way things are developing I think we could be in position to do some of the more innovative stuff again out there.

Happy Holidays everyone. Thanks for being part of the journey.

26 Nov

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Personalizing the Customer Experience with Walkaround Videos

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walkaround-videos

Imagine you are on the phone with a potential customer interested in one of your vehicles but she won’t be able to come by the dealership to look at it for another few days or so. You don’t want to risk losing the customer and you are confident that if she sees the vehicle she won’t want to look at more vehicles at other dealerships.

Or maybe you work in the service department and you would like a better way of showing people the work that needs to be performed on their vehicle. You know that if you can give people a visual of the problem they will be more inclined to have the work performed.

With Walkaround Videos you can do these things plus just about anything else you can imagine where a custom personalized video would impress the customer and make him or her want to do business with you and your dealership.

The idea behind Authntk’s cloud-based video solution is to give you the ability to easily make custom personalized video postcards for customers and potential customers and not have to worry about things like uploading and downloading and email or mass communications do not suffice.

With Walkaround Videos you can record videos on the fly using your desktop computer, your laptop, a tablet device, even using your smartphone. You can also upload prerecorded videos.

You can create multiple campaigns and assign users and videos to them. Each video is sent with its own Personal URL that displays your picture, contact info, social links, and the custom video.

Here are some examples of Walkaround Videos being used by other dealers:

An Authntk Interview

Earlier this week I had a chance to sit down with Authntk Founder & CEO Len Ostroff. We talked a lot about the advantages of using a tool like this as opposed to YouTube which has some similar features as Walkaround Videos but not entirely.

During the interview Len also cites a couple terrific success stories that demonstrate the impact Walkaround Videos can have at your dealership.

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If you like what you see and are interested in a demo then visit my video postcard by clicking the link below. Simply complete the demo request form after watching the video. This way Len and I can keep track of those that inquire as a result of this interview and blog post.

>> Click Here to Request a Free Demo <<

19 Oct

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Dataium Releases New Automotive Attribution Reporting Suite

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New suite offers unprecedented visibility into the path to purchase of auto buyers, including unbroken channel attribution and keyword usage.

Dataium announced recently the release of its new suite of automotive channel attribution reports. The new suite offers the most comprehensive and definitive attribution reporting resource available to date. Taking advantage of Dataium’s Cloud Intelligence® platform, which collects behavior on over 20 million auto shoppers each month, the new channel attribution reporting delivers critical insights into digital media usage and online behavior of consumers during their path to purchase.

The reporting suite includes:

Path to Purchase Report: A complete timeline of consumer media, channel, and keyword usage on over 200 million consumers collected during the past two years. The report provides full visibility into where, when, and how consumers make their vehicle purchase decision. The reporting integrates client’s sales records to align consumer online and offline behavior with their respective purchases by make, model, and market.

Channel Attribution Report: The report offers online media profiles and comparatives of thousands of digital media outlets, and highlights those that deliver the best conversion and the greater penetration of the auto-buying audience by specific make, model, stage, or market. For example: CNN.com users submit leads to local dealerships at a rate four times greater than Facebook users.

Advertising Effectiveness Dashboard: The dashboard provides full analysis of automotive direct traffic channels and the effectiveness for delivering the right auto shoppers to your site. The dashboard allows you to compare your digital advertising channels to top performing channels within your market. Additionally, the dashboard allows you to find the top lead generating search keywords by search engine.

Audience Profiler: The profiler measures and maximizes your digital audience by providing full visibility into the competitive cross shopping of your online traffic, unbroken keyword usage, content consumption, in addition to the direct and indirect traffic (unbroken attribution) sources.

Campaign Profiler: The dashboard presents details on how online and offline marketing campaigns, including email, direct mail, broadcast and live events, are informing and changing auto shopper behavior. The report also provides details on the competitive cross shopping of these targeted consumers and identifies the targets that are closest to a purchase decision by brand, model, market, and more.

“As the industry’s definitive online consumer data source, collecting from over 10,000 automotive websites, the level of research and reporting we can provide on the consumer’s path to purchase is truly unprecedented,” stated Eric Brown, Dataium CEO. He added, “We are truly excited to bring to the media, advertising, and auto industry segments this critical insight which has been missing from the single largest advertising category.”

Dataium’s automotive attribution reporting suite has been developed with the partnership of leading auto manufacturers, marketers, and dealership groups in order to create an extremely useful, relevant, and compelling reporting tool. Each report includes contextual KPIs that provides context to performance metrics relative to local, national, and brand performance benchmarks.

To learn more about the channel attribution reporting suite, visit the Dataium website.

17 Oct

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Vegas 2012 Fall Automotive Conferences Gear Up

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We are less than one week away from Fall conference season in Las Vegas. From Sunday October 21 through Friday October 26, DrivingSales, Digital Dealer, and JD Power will be running their annual Vegas conferences.

For some, hitting one or more of these conferences will be a first-time experience. For others it is a regular thing. Some in the industry believe it or not, are unaware of the events all together. If that’s you then it’s a good thing you are reading this because you really should know about these industry staples.

DrivingSales Executive Summit
The big ticket this year for the 4th Annual DrivingSales Executive Summit at the Bellagio is probably keynote speaker Billy Beane, GM of MLB Baseball team the Oakland Athletics. Billy Beane is one of the most progressive and talented baseball executives in the game today. Put simply, he is an operational genius, and his message will resonate with the progressive dealers at DSES because they are always the first in our industry to embrace the innovative strategies that move our industry forward.

DSES: Innovation Cup
Also at DSES is the Innovation Cup for which this year my employer HookLogic is a finalist. The DrivingSales Innovation Cup is an annual dealer-based contest that aims to uncover the auto industry’s “Most Innovative Solution”. Any solution provider can apply, but only six are chosen to to compete head-to-head and live onstage with a brief presentation. HookLogic Automotive President David Metter will be presenting and if you have ever seen his presentation skills you know you can count on a strong performance. Good luck David and congrats to HookLogic for becoming a finalist.

DSES: Secrets of Email
In addition to HookLogic’s chance at winning, our VP of Sales Jeff Kershner will also be presenting at DSES. Kershner’s gig with Malinda Terreri of 1to1 News is called Secrets of the Inbox: The New Evolution of Email.

Email marketing continues to be the number one online marketing channel for all departments of your dealership. Its bigger than paid search, it’s bigger than social media and bigger than SEO. But it is changing. There are new rules for getting into the inbox AND getting your prospects and customers engaged. Does your email marketing deliver?

As promised from these two speakers, you are going to walk away from our session with the newest hands-on tools and techniques that you can take back to the dealership and execute.

Digital Dealer 13
When the Digital Dealer Conference first got started back in 2006-2007, the Internet was still very new territory for auto dealers. The conference was meant to be an educational conference and expo dedicated to Internet and technology solutions for franchised dealers and managers and it has pretty much become the leading conference of its kind, although there is some strong competition now nipping on its heels, including DSES, and some vocal adversaries.

DD13: Taking an app store approach to vendor selection
This year at DD13 HookLogic is leading an interesting session called Learning from the Best Practices of Apple where HookLogic Automotive President David Metter will be facilitating a workshop using the analogy of the iPhone and the app store as a cool way to describe HookLogic’s API/partnership approach with several of HookLogic’s API partners.

This particular session is guaranteed to be one of the more exciting workshops of the entire event happening in Session #226 at 2:30 on Wednesday October 24 in Grand Ballroom E. Guest appearance at this workshop include Jason Ezell (Dataium), Andrew Price (Contact At Once), Len Ostroff (Authntk), Amir Rezvani (DealerOn), Jeremy Anspach (PureCars), and Brad Korner (Polk).

What action items will attendees take back to their dealerships from this session?

  1. Develop a strategy to leverage their existing technology providers and deliver a great executable to sell and service more customers.
  2. Allow Internet managers and dealers to spend their time and energy on selling cars
  3. Lower a dealer’s cost per sale and raise market share

DD13: The Impact of Incentivizing HOT Leads…A Case Study
Also at DD13 there will be me presenting a recent case study that I helped do with Polk and HookLogic. In this case study we evaluated the impact of incentivizing hot and warm leads compared with not incentivizing these leads. The results are in and the benefit for incentivizing the right leads is clear, so if you’d like to see how and why then be sure to hit my Session #325 at High Noon on Thursday October 25 in the Jamaica Room. Considering this is the very last session of the conference, I may really need some bodies there. Who goes to the last workshop anyway?

J.D. Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable
Finally there is one of the industry’s most significant marketing events, the 3-day Automotive Marketing Roundtable by J.D. Power & Associates. This is probably the most elite events in my opinion where auto industry experts and thought leaders from around the globe share their insights and proven techniques through engaging multimedia presentations and moderated panel discussions. Last year over 1200 industry professionals came together to learn how to leverage the marketing potential of the internet and increase sales.

HookLogic is sponsoring a breakfast on Tuesday morning so I will be there in the early part of that day, but other than that I will probably be tied up at DD13. For more information about this event visit the Automotive Marketing Roundtable page on J.D. Power’s website.