Yes, you’re being left behind

When I read Alex Snyder’s article titled “Are You Being Left Behind?” it confirmed that data PCG has been collecting on dealership investments in digital marketing education should be shared here first.

We polled dealers about their investments in Digital Marketing education and some of the responses tie right into what Alex said in his post.  So before I add my commentary, here are a few questions and answers from the PCG Digital Marketing survey.

Keep in mind that the responses are skewed towards enlightened dealers.  Since the survey was promoted on Twitter, Facebook, and social media channels; only the most connected dealers most likely responded.  This should give you even more of a case for Alex’s point about investing in the next generation of dealership leaders.

Staffing and Budgeting

1.  Do you have an employee tasked with managing your digital marketing and social media?

  • Full Time – 58.3%
  • Part Time – 22.3%
  • No – 19.4%

AutoRevenue Releases Reputation Management Solution For Car Dealers

AutoRevenue Reputation Management Solution

Lee, Mass., January 26, 2011 – @utoRevenue, the industry leader in retention marketing for auto dealers nationwide and a division of Dominion Dealer Solutions, today announced its plans to release an all-new dealership reputation management suite of services for auto dealers at NADA 2011.

The 360-degree reputation management solution provides dealers with an innovative approach to tracking, managing, and influencing their online reputation. Going beyond the traditional solicitation techniques employed by most in the industry, customers engage at key points in the retention cycle, when positive experiences are most likely to be captured and negative experiences can be quickly addressed.

“From the beginning, we ventured outside the box and took a different approach to reputation management,” noted Michael Sos, product manager at AutoRevenue. “Unlike so many who focus on SEO content creation or simply creating a place to collect reviews, this reputation management solution is about connecting with customers at the right time in the lifecycle and influencing the response”.

Brice Englert, general manager at AutoRevenue added, “The new online environment is providing a small number of customers with unprecedented access to share their experience with a large population of potential customers. It is imperative that car dealerships embrace a proactive approach to not only tracking but influencing what is being shared about their stores online.”

This is the latest communication channel to be added to AutoRevenue’s extensive arsenal of managed marketing services. It further increases the quantifiable results generated by sending the right message to the right customer through the right channel at the right time.

About @utoRevenue

@utoRevenue (www.autorevenue.com), a division of Dominion Enterprises, is based in Lee, MA. As a first-mover in permission-based email marketing solutions for retail auto dealerships, @utoRevenue has evolved to offer a complete line of marketing services including email, email collection, online appointment scheduling, direct mail, retention and reputation management, voice messaging, and e-newsletters.

About Dominion Dealer Solutions

Dominion Dealer Solutions helps car dealers attract, retain, and service customers for life. Dominion Dealer Solutions products include: lead generation through IFMG; customer relationship management tools through AVV, Autobase, and @utoRevenue; websites through Dealerskins and XIGroup; and specialized data aggregation, management, and reporting services through Dealer Specialties, Cross-Sell, The DataCube, and DataOne Software. These businesses serve more than 60 percent of auto dealers nationwide. Learn more at http://www.DominionDealerSolutions.com. Dominion Dealer Solutions is a division of Dominion Enterprises, a leading marketing services company serving the automotive, enthusiast and commercial vehicle, real estate, apartment rental, and employment industries.

Are you being left behind? #NADA2011

With the 2011 NADA convention around the corner it dawned on me that a lot of Dealerships are leaving their future at the dealership this year.

This might get a little cryptic but stick with me here.

  • Do you have an inventory stocking & merchandising manager?
  • Do you have someone in charge of all your newspaper ads, radio spots, or TV reach?
  • Do you have someone who solely looks at CRM and the processes it promotes?
  • Do you have an in-house trainer?

I’m asking if you have one individual for each of these rolls?  Chances are, you don’t.  And the truth is, you probably don’t need to.  You don’t need to because many of these items are things your traditional management, GM’s or Executives are fairly well versed in (maybe I’m reaching with this statement).

So, why do you have an Internet manager?  A BDC?  An eCommerce Director?  I bet you have, at least, someone who is solely dedicated to your online presence.

Let’s turn the clock back to roughly 1995 when the “consumerNet” got started.  In 1995 your Internet person was probably still in grade school.  16 years later that person has a ton of Internet experience.  She or he grew up with the consumerNet.  Your current GM’s and Executive Staff grew up with the newspaper, books, TV, and radio as their information hotspots and are experts in those mediums.  Tomorrow these won’t be the people in charge of the dealership; the “Internet kid” will be.  Tomorrow there shouldn’t be a need for an Internet Manager or eCommerce Director because they will be the GM’s and Executive Staff who know the modern digital mediums, like your current management team knows the “traditional” ones.

The sales and service staff of tomorrow will be adept at using email, text messaging, and social media’ing.  Just as you trust your current sales and service staff with your phones (well….maybe you shouldn’t trust them with your phones), the younger generation will be able to handle your Internet Leads…..if Internet Leads are still around tomorrow.

I’ll get to the point. NADA has become a trade show mostly focused on digital.  The dealership attendance is mostly made-up of decision makers with only a handful bringing their Internet person.  Yes, many of those decision makers are making fantastic strides to understand digital better; however, I have to ask some of you why you’re leaving your future management back at the dealership?  Why?  To save a buck?

P.S.  I know my regular audience is not who I am speaking to right now.  If you are being left behind this year, take this argument to your boss.

5 Reasons to Forget About Your SEO

There I said it. Forget about long-tail, short-tail, META tags, “page one domination”, link-building, URL strings, SEO training seminars and SEO wiz-bang nonsense. Forget it. At least for the moment.

Unless you have a website in development or are switching providers where an SEO strategy is vital during the implementation of your new website, your #1 priority should be to have a PPC (Pay Per Click) marketing plan and budget in place for 2011.

Obviously SEO is a massively important strategy – one that should be implemented carefully and with the right data and people in place to do so. But this industry has become borderline infatuated with SEO without giving PPC the attention it deserves. I have dealers consistently making suggestions about their Page Titles or META data (impressive), but then go on to ask me if that will help them show up in the “pink box” at the top of Google. No, those are “Ads”. You have to pay for those.

Below are 5 top-level reasons and stats to get your brain on the right track about Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – the umbrella of SEO and PPC.

Dealerskins and XIGroup Come Together

Dealerskins and XIGroup

Nashville,TN, January 24, 2011 – Dealerskins, Inc., the premier provider of websites for automotive dealers nationwide and a division of Dominion Dealer Solutions, today announced its sister company, XIGroup, will unite under the Dealerskins brand to provide the most comprehensive website solutions for auto dealers.

The merger of the two Dominion website businesses is part of an overall company strategy to provide a complete website, CRM and Inventory solution to reduce the time and frustration often experienced when using multiple technology products. Robert Berndt, president of Dominion Dealer Solutions, stated, “We recognize the need to simplify the technology options available to auto dealers. By integrating two premier website providers and leveraging best in breed products and services, we create a powerful solution for existing and future clients that is difficult to match in the automotive industry.”

Carfax Release iPhone Mobile Application

image of carfax iphone app

CarFax iPhone App

CarFax launched their new iPhone app today. Who doesnt like a new app for their iphone? Here’s one that could help at the dealership…CarFax iPhone App – so get off of Angry Birds and run a CarFax from your iPhone!

So where’s the Driod and BlackBerry App??

I’ve includes the full Press Release after the jump..

Do You Know Your Dealerships BBB Score?

Do You Know Your BBB Score?

If you don’t… you and your shoppers will very soon.

image of better business bureau

You remember the BBB (Better Business Bureau) don’t you?  Yea, it’s the auto dealers nemesis from days of old and it has been totally off Google’s radar…forever.

Those days are about to end.  How do I know? Let’s take a walk, let me show you around and you tell me what you think after.

While looking into FaceBook best practices in the DealerRefresh forums, I came on to Terrance Gordon’s post of John Eagle European’s excellent FB work. I Google’d John Eagle European and GAK! to too my surprise, there it is! BBB at POSITION 7, just below the fold!

Next was to Google: John Eagle European reviews. GULP!  Position #1!

WOW!  I scurried around to other dealer SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) that I was familiar with and found little evidence similar to John Eagle’s SERPs.  What do we have here?  Is this a new day for the BBB, or, is this just noise?

I say it’s a new day for the Better Business Bureau.