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Digital Summit at Mountain View Happenings #DSMV13


Google.  It’s still hard to grasp after being home for a few days that we were, in fact, on Google’s campus, learning from the very people who shape how Google in the automotive industry works for you.

We were fortunate enough to learn and network with people at the heart of Google for automotive – and, since we fully believe that sharing means caring, here is what went down.

Todd Rowe (Google) spoke about the search, trends (which favor our industry) and what we can learn from the people searching for our cars.

  • 20 percent of online searches are for a specific brand. That’s a lot higher than other industries. Search generates $154 billion in offline sales in the automotive industry.
  • Smartphones are the number ONE screen you need to focus on. To be found you need a multi device strategy
  • 44 percent of buyers will look up your phone number on their smartphone, ok that’s a lot – BUT over 90% will visit that same day.

What would happen if they couldn’t find your number?

Mitch Joel (Twist Image, Digital Marketing Professional) gave us a quote that I won’t soon forget. Mobile devices are the remote controls of our lives.  Joel energetically, as well, in a practical way gave us roughly five new rules to digital marketing.

  • You must own the direct relationship to the consumer. Personalization is paramount.
  • Utility or death – Be useful or provide something useful for your consumer.
  • The only screen that matters is the one that’s in front of the consumer.

Joel left us with thinking about being more active with media rather than passive.  Can a buyer find you from where they are on their one screen – be in blogs, Twitter or Instagram?

Dan Moore (VIN Solutions) spoke about website and consumer paths to websites.

Most shoppers are visiting Monday through Thursday – are your specials updated?

Duncan Scarry (Haystak) took the stage to tell us all we needed a little bit more common sense in our approach to digital marketing.  He’s right. Scarry’s presentation brought some great questions from the crowd:

  • Q – What content is critical? A – The content on your website should be integrated across all platforms.
  • Q – Should I be spending more on SEO or SEM? A – Don’t spend less on either.

Jordan Hyatt (Google and former Internet Manager) and his YouTube presentation sparked the majority of the room to stop and think – and, to drive home the fact that so many dealers don’t take advantage of the importance of a YouTube presence.

  • The magic of YouTube is in the stats. 183 million automotive consumers watch video in the buying process (9 out of 10 vehicle shoppers). One in 4 views are from a mobile device.
  • Forget Generation X, Alpha or whatever – this is Generation C – The Connectors and they share moments that matter to them. They spend more time watching videos than TV.
  • YouTube’s magic is about to go up a notch with True View for ads. If you’ve been passive about getting into video ads – you’re time is up. Get on board.

Neil Hoyne (Google) hit up everyone’s favorite – Analytics.  Also, he talked about everyone’s other favorite – Conversion.

  • Consumers have four stages: Dormant, Aware, Consider, Convert
  • The majority of us only focus on the last stage, conversion

It’s not new information to tell you that today’s shoppers research more than any other – research is not conversion, so be sure you’re there when they are aware your dealership has the specific model they’re considering buying.

Lindsey Schultz (Google) peaked the interest of the room with her presentation on enhanced campaigns and the data behind them.

  • Reach the right person at the right time with the right message
  • 47 percent of auto inquires come through mobile devices

At DealerRefresh we’re not big fans of the phrase “big data”.  However, that’s what Schultz was preaching and we were listening. No matter how you slice it, Google’s ability to determine which ads to show a consumer based on time and location of search is beyond awesome. It’s that big data that determines which ad should be shown, one about 0% APR or $15 oil changes.

Grant Cardone (the man himself) flat out gave us all a reality check – even if we thought we didn’t need one.  In a technology-focused event, Cardone had us checking our ability to focus on people.  He advised us that if we focus on people, our employees, our customers, our future customers, the technology will solve itself.  And, don’t forget – you always have time.

Monica Morse (Google) had the big job of speaking to our group about Google +.  Between reviews and multiple location confusion this can’t be the easiest presentation with an audience of automotive pros.  With that being said, Morse did come to the rescue and helped many dealers in the room.

  • Claim your Google + URL, upgrade your page and start engaging with the 390 million users.
  • Use Hangouts!
  • Merge your YouTube and Google +
  • 1 in 3 buyers consult online reviews

If you’re skeptical about using a Hangout at the dealership (understandable) members of the audience admitted to successfully using it for sales – and, check out this Toyota Prius Hangout.

Jonathan Rosen (Kenshoo), was all about the assist. How will you assist the consumer via your marketing? Rosen stressed that one part of your marketing assists the path to conversion.  For example, email blasts assist and integrate with other marketing efforts to facilitate the conversion.

Q&A Dealer Panel:

Moderator: Christine Merritt Head of Business Development and Partnerships Channel Sales North America


Kevin Frye Jeff Wyler Group
Gordon Howard Hoover Toyota
Gabriel Montano Groove Auto Group
Jim Bell Don Ayres Honda

Hoover Toyota says they’ve fully embraced digital marketing and the proof is in Gordon’s “silly” YouTube videos, over 600 of them.

Jim Bell says he keeps his team educated and thirsty for knowledge through his own educations and training with his 20 group.

Gabriel Montano is a data guy and uses it to his advantage to track metrics that are specific to shoppers’ buying habits on his websites.

Kevin Frye advised the audience to focus on mobile devices, but to go a step further and check everyone’s phone skills.  With so many people click to calling on their mobile devices the dealership employee answering that call better be good.

As if all of this wasn’t enough, we were trusted with seeing even more, learning even more – but, we took a Google vow of silence to not share “coming soon” programs, technology and just great goodies for our industry.


How will you use this information for your dealership? Which part first?

Do you have a successful multi device marketing strategy – I want to hear about it!

Will you use time as an excuse?

Check out all the great photos on Facebook!

Founder of DealerRefresh - 20+ Years of dealership Sales, Management, Training, Marketing and Leadership.
  • M
    Mike Haeg
  • August 14, 2013
Another great write up, thanks for sharing Jeff.  
In particular, it's nice to see that in the middle of a such a tech / data savvy meeting of the minds, Grant's talk focused on taking a step back and remembering to pay attention to people.  
Seems like Kevin's point about the phone is up that alley too.  The incredible work (and money!) invested to drive phone calls goes out the door if the call isn't handled properly.
  • G
  • August 14, 2013
soooooo jealous... thanks for the write up!
  • A
  • August 24, 2013
Great information about dealership. It will help us in any type of dealing.