Dealership Marketing

Have you been blitzed by team ATC yet?

Atcblitz

Have you experienced the AutoTrader.com BLITZ?

Every once in a while you meet a salesperson who was obviously flexing his/her muscles to a coworker before trying to sell you something.  If things go awry, they have a tendency to say things that don’t usually make the sale, but probably push someone further away.

Well, I’m not going to get into what happened to my boss and me last Thursday, but would rather hear your Autotrader blitz stories.

Don’t know what the Autotrader.com blitz is?

Autotrader.com brings sales reps from different  areas into various markets to see if a change of face can get a dealer to sign-up for more stuff….or just sign-up.  I have heard it is called the Autotrader Blitz, but I’ve never actually heard an ATC rep say that.

Soooooo – have you been approached by an AutoTrader.com sales rep who usually doesn’t work your market area? If you have, how did it go?

P.S.  I promise to share my story later.

F
Two plus months ago I cancelled Autotrader and was blitzed by two other reps, one was the rep we used to have then they brought is the big gun, nice looking female from OKC, they went as far as cross checking my solds for 6 months to what they had, They were not to successful in convincing me I made a bad decision. I have to say I miss Autotrader and the telephone calls they generated, but I have to stick to my decision and I will tell you why, first I believe they are way over priced, I mean my god 2,300. They were the highest paid in my budget, I went back a year and found the ROI was not there for our department. Now what really bothers me about Autotrader and Cars.com for that matter. Pull up a vehicle on Autotrader, now count how many links there are taking consumers away from your ad, up to 14 links. All Paid for by other companys to advertise on the page I paid for to advertise my vehicle.
Sorry had to explain why I didnt sign back up. But yes they have tried over and over, The rep from OKC has been here three times. When they drop the price or pay us to advertise our vehicles so others can advertise on our pages I will reconsider signing back up. Maybe since we pay Autotrader more than any other advertiser etc they will just advertise our vehicles and take all of those links down?
E
Frank - so funny...

The ATC blitz just happened in our NY market.

They sent in the classic M/F team; he was sharp, did all the talking and was very fast about everything. Nice guy, knew his stuff - just not anything about our account.

His side-kick was very nice, very knowledgeable and very pleasing on the eyes.

I'm not sure if they even spoke with our local rep about our account, our business model and our activity. Their pitch started out showing products we already use...


B
the over and under on this thread is 100 posts.....any takers?

J
  • J
  • June 21, 2008
'Tis the season...Philly reps are currently working the Hampton Roads, VA area, Hampton Roads reps are working the Richmond area, etc. They do it a few times a year because by getting fresh faces in front of the dealers and offering reduced rate trial periods they have pretty good success w/ the blitzes. Besides that, I've found the blitz atmosphere is less than professional. Reps tend to have the "I'm on vacation" and "I'll never see this dealer again" mentality, which isn't what I would want representing my company if I were Autotrader.com. Even when I worked inside sales and there were blitzes, we'd be trying to set appointments for the blitz team and it transformed the business environment into a carnival. What dealers want to hear a bunch of hooting and hollering in the background when talking to a rep about an appointment? It's all about the blitzes at Autotrader.com, which is why they pull some salespeople out of a sales role for two weeks and turn them into appointment setters, forcing them to take a big hit on their own commissions for $30/appt set.

Sure, blitzes generate some business, usually dealers that had previously cancelled, but you have to wonder if it tarnishes their image in some way.
J
  • J
  • June 21, 2008
Brian, that's easy money...count me in for the over!
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    Brian
  • June 21, 2008
The "wonderful" autotrader blitz team was through my area just a few months ago and I had a blast with them. These guys were not easy on the eyes what so ever.

Here is what went down. The automotive group that I worked for was handled by a larger account guy out of the Chicago area to my knowledge. These boys came in unannounced and started just doing there pitch with me. I let them have there fun and I had my fun later on. After wasting my time with pitches and "BS" pricing I made them come back to me two or three times a day while they were in town and at near closing time of the store. So long story short I had these guys back and forth and never left with a contract signed. Finally got better pricing through our large account rep than the wonderful blitz team was offering.

If you are not happy with the whole blitz team thing have some fun with them. I did and it was great.
M
Strangely enough, the Blitz guys were the only employees from Autotrader that I'd seen in 2 years who had a clue about their product and had some kind of personality.

As far as the Blitz tarnishing AT's image... I felt much better about that than I do about the company's latest tactic of simply cutting your contracts short and demanding new, group-wide contracts at a higher expense. Oh, and it seems every time they turn over administrative personnel in Atlanta, there's magically another unpaid bill for dealers to pay. At my last dealership, there were three occasions where I was told we owed on past invoices from years back... each time this went down, it was a different administrative rep making the call.

Autotrader's done. Their execs have one foot out the door, no doubt about it.
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    Jon Groenig
  • June 22, 2008
I got to deal with the blitz team about six months ago,I was promised a 30 day out if I wasn't impressed with the product, so at the end of 30 days when the results didn't justify the additional $1,000 I called to cancel, to my surprise I found out it was a 90 contract even though it said 30 when it was signed. Fortunately for me the rep had written everything on the back of her card the first time she came through, so I contacted one of the higher ups I had met at the 2nd AAISP conference and got it handled when I emailed them a scan of the card.

The outside reps don't care because they will never see you again and they don't have to deal with the fall out. I found out I wasn't the only dealer in my zone that had been lied to, the only reason I got out was because of a connection at Autotrader, everyone else had to ride out the 90 days.

Do yourself a favor and only sign a contract with your local rep, at least you know where to find them.

100 posts is too low, think 200
P
Well they have made the precursor call in an attempt to gain permission to come see me "sometime" next week. The worst week to try and get any car guys attention, unless they want to buy a car. I'll report back after they drop in.

Ill put the over under on their current business model existing - 18 months!!
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    Al Brandis
  • June 22, 2008
In our market a couple months ago they were offering their "New Car Partnership" listing product for three months FREE w/no further obligation. Signing deals on speculation for them seems crazy to me, sales must be down alot for them. We've experienced some real funky billing irregularities also w/autotrader, pay attention to your billing w/them, trying to get it straightened out drove my accts payable person insane. In the end we owed them nothing, they just had our billing history completely screwed up.
S
If you thought AutoTrader was paying attention to the last thread on here involving them, they're going to be monitoring this one real close. AutoTrader has been using the "Sales Blitz" model both on the "National Blitz Team" level and the "Regional Sales Blitz Team" levels for years to help them satisfy revenue goals. It's worked really well for them in the past but the fallout after the blitz teams leave town is felt by the sales staff in the area they sold in for months, crazy promises, bad non existant deals written & submitted, etc. There are some good deals to be had during these blitzes but be careful in who is selling you because as others have mentioned, once they leave town it's basically you against them.
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    Lao Shi
  • June 23, 2008

It is too bad as this tool has great potential however the management is bent on sucking out the profits and making big promotion rather than making a progressive tool and listen to the client feedback which would give them the direction they need to make it better.

How long was I after them about simple things like the "Pop-ups" and all they wanted to do is deny there was an issue for a long time, they kept sayingpop-ups? We do not use pop ups, this is a good indication of their coporate style, deny everything and spin the works..''

The same with their "Buggy" dealer management tool, this could have been streamlined and made more efficient.

At some point their business model will run out of room as their pricing will no longer sustain the expense and increases they are passing on to the clients. The upper level management I am sure have their exit strategy and 'Golden Parachutes' in place.

New ecommerce options are developing so quickly that many of the solutions presently offered in the market place will just go away.

One of the issues ATC faces is the increase in labor and marketing expense. At some point top management will start to disappear with their hard earned rewards and middle level management will start laying off staff and the ad and promotion budgets will be cut back and the company will have difficult choices to make. Couple this with clients moving to other solutions Auto Trader will bite the dust.

The other option is to move the whole operation and management to India. This will allow them to make a huge increase in profit, as 70% reduction in overhead will reduce their costs. I think this maybe one of the few options left to them.

Plus the curry is great in India.

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    Chris
  • June 23, 2008
I'd be happy to advertise more with AT, as long as when MY PAGE LOADS, I get a cut of the click through revenue from the irritating number of ads shared on the same page.

On second thought, no thanks - I am getting more action from cars.com

Chris
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    Andrew Wright
  • June 24, 2008
Brian - I'll take the over.

This company amazes me. They have tried the Blitz approach with me as well and they tried the free new car listings, etc. Bottom line- I dropped them approximately 3 years ago and my used car business is up! They are not a very friendly crew to work with and they don't really seem to care based on the things I am reading here today. They have tried to get my business back several times over the past couple of years but their pricing structure continues to be outrageous. They know it. They don't have any justification for it and they don't care.

This is going to be a fun thread to watch develop!

Glad to see I'm not the only one.
A
Brian - I think I'll take the under. I have a feeling people are sick of talking about Autotrader - it may be played out.

I won't be upset if I lose this bet though.....their sales reps really need to leave me alone - they tick me off every time they come around.
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    Clyde
  • June 24, 2008
Autotrader is spinning "exposure, exposure, exposure". We decided to cut them to a minimum product last year and concentrate on driving traffic to our website. We've married a PPC campaign and have a great company doing organic SEO for us and it has been working out fantastic. The money we saved from not stepping up to the premium listings w/autotrader per month we've put into PPC & organic SEO and have managed to step up our closing ratios from our website inventory on used vehicles tremendously. Autotrader does have some value don't get me wrong, just that their rates vs ROI are insane near us at least. Our Autotrader rep has also informed us that they've experienced alot of indepedent dealerships closing & going out of biz near us in the past 6 months. I know that many independent dealerships are not on w/autotrader or have dropped off w/them in the past year, anyone else noticing this near them?
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    Gerald
  • June 24, 2008
It went pretty well for us. We were paying around $3000/mo for our listings (I have forgotten what level they call it) and ended up signing up for another $1000/mo, but they were making us "featured" for each of our new car makes (4 in total). While we ended up paying them more, we gained quite a bit more exposure with the featured listings, which was going to increase our sales dramatically with all the exposure.

Unfortunately, we did not enjoy much of an increase in new car inquiries, so we recently cancelled our agreement to go back to our previous agreement. Seems new car buyers are not needing to go to Autotrader to find new vehicles. They are already going to manufacturers websites and the dealers!

Too bad, so sad, bye bye.

So, yeah, we got talked out of another $4-5000 for the same results we were already getting. How could that not be a good thing?

Don't they realize how small this market is? They are a 600 pound gorilla, but their tactics are always the same.

Personally, it is getting old.
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    TTT
  • June 25, 2008
Blitzes are just another way to juice dealers out of more revenue without adding value. How is it valuable to a dealer to have new reps come to their market they are not even familiar with for a week and then leave and provide no follow up consulting?

How is it valuable to allow the blitz teams give discounts, free products, and tweak contracts that the local rep is not allowed to do?

But guess who gets the aftermath... hmmm the dealer and the local consultant maybe?

RE: Gerald:
You hit the nail on the head ATC is known and was built on a place to search out USED cars hence AutoTrader magazine agreement from the beginning. Why do I need a site like AutoTrader.com to show me NEW cars that all have the same MSRP, look the same, all are close to the same mileage point ect... Thats what the manufacture sites are for. They were pushing this new car thing first a couple years ago by selling New car partnerships priced at the same as USED car programs (that didn't work obviously) since there was no value or "new car shoppers" on the site. They launched new car specials which bombed because it takes 45 minutes to set them up per car. Now they are giving it away for FREE until August when your new bill starts coming for it ...

They have obviously maxed out on getting car dealers to pay them "newspaper" money from the used cars and keep trying to grow revs by changing strategy and becoming a "new car search site??

I think it is best used on used. And if there is heavy competition for your make in your market then yeah maybe a Premium or Partner solution is best, if not just as long as your cars are listed the consumers that want your car at your price and mileage will find it on the site. ATC helped with this with having such great search parameters that narrows the cars down very well.

If this company was public I would be shorting the stock about now. Especially in this economy I'm sure with it being the highest budgeted item for internet advertising it is being looked at hard and with so many alternatives...

I'll take the over.
J
ATC behaves like OPEC.

Increase prices without regard to the consumers whining until it sees "demand destruction". THEN, it'll mend its ways.

Joe
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    Carlo
  • June 25, 2008
"They have obviously maxed out on getting car dealers to pay them "newspaper" money from the used cars and keep trying to grow revs by changing strategy and becoming a "new car search site??"

Bingo!

Except their "new car" search audience is only about a tenth of what their used car audience is. The manuf's have pulled the plug on the majority of the co-op funded programs with autotrader, be they used or new programs and dumped alot of funds into search engine display advertising, so I'm really curious to see what transpires with autotrader in the next 12 months. I think they've finally run out of room.
A
I saw the whole dog and pony show a few weeks ago on the new car listings. We already pay them about $8,000 a month between all of our stores, and now they wanted an additional $2,300 per store to list our new inventory. We have a free feed on the new car sites already. I love the word tracks that they use though, very cliche. " I don't know if my boss will let me do this, but I'll deal with that later." "You will be one of the first dealerships in the area to get on board with this, so all the traffic will come your way!" etc.
I am also shopping for a inventory solution and they have a company called CarSpot that I looked into. He came with the ATC blitz reps and must of been new, because he didn't know much about the product. When I asked for a few different things regarding the pricing, it took three weeks and three different people to get me an answer. I ended up contacting my local rep (which is the best part of AutoTrader she's great) and she got back to me with the info the next day. I think that many dealerships are no longer waiting for them to come by with open checkbooks!
E
I will take the under...this one played out in the last thread in Nov...

AutoTrader does cost more and we look at the measurement of cost per sale generated by our third party lead providers.

Of course the tracking is where everyone differs...ATC would like us to credit them for xx.x% of the pre-owned walk in traffic that 'must' have been generated by the large number of shoppers who printed our maps/directions. We actually recently created an exit survey for F&I to get a better picture of where our advertising is more effective in driving sales.

Currently, we track every incoming call, incoming email lead etc. and trace back to the source to match up sales...which currently puts our cost per sale at about $400 for the first 5 months of this year. Our CEO would prefer a $300 cost per sale, and we have heard differing opinions of anywhere from $400 to $600 per sale - Opinions?? - email me at [email protected]

We are a Premium Listings dealer in a large metro area market, so perhaps that explains part of the difference...perhaps it is our process that makes the difference...we always factor in process when evaluating a lead provider to make it more equitable - you have to look inside and accept some of the responsibility for poor performance.

Bottom line is that they do cost more and they are heavy handed but we can justify the expense so we continue to use them. I did recently cut back the $900 per month we were spending for 10 additional Spotlights as I cannot detect an appreciable difference in leads with or without them. Several of our other locations just reduced their contracts to Featured Plus at a savings ofabout $3K per rooftop so I am waiting to see if they can improve their cost per sale before jumping ship on the Premium Listings.
J
Ed,
Do you use a post-sale survey to gather marketing data?

Joe
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    Amy
  • June 25, 2008
You guys should take advantage of the blitz team. they are in your market for one week and since they dont have a relationship with you ...like your local rep (hopefully)...the thing they can offer you is incentive to sign today=good deal.

There is a reason we are so expensive. we are worth it. i have dealers in my market paying us well over 20K a month. why? because they see the value & recognize that although we do provide "leads" we also provide the best bang for their buck in reaching in market buyers.

think about it. why would anyone even go to autotrader.com if they arent looking for a car? there are no sports scores, no news, no pictures of beautiful women. the only thing we- autotrader.com- can offer you is that 100% of your dollars go towards advertising to the people who are in the market to buy a car. where is the waste?
Now think about what your store does in direct mail, billboards, tv, radio....where is the waste there?


today the name of the game is minimize your losses.

instead of being upset-like we are trying to take advantage of you - you should consider that we are on the same team. afterall- we are both here to move metal.

...take a look at the amount of people who see your inventory (exposure), respond to your ads (vehicle details-virtual walk arounds), get a map to the store (how many times do you get a map online & NOT show up?), go directly to your site, print out information.....dont discount it. yesterdays showroom traffic is todays internet traffic. you are selling yourself and your dealer short if you do not consider all that we bring to the table.
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    Chris
  • June 25, 2008
I think if you had several dealers in one area all call to cancel their contracts the same day, in many different locales simultaneously the guys at the top might pay attention and drop their rates? I sort of feel there's a monopoly and I'd like to see more players get into it.

Unfortunately COX Communications is the real culprit and I am sure some anti-trust laws could be challenged in relation to AT and COX's agenda to own every current in the stream.

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    Phil Crecenzo
  • June 25, 2008
"There is a reason we are so expensive. we are worth it..."

4 or 5 years ago, sure I'm with you on that, I'm sure others will agree. In 2008 (now) there are many alternatives out there that can generate almost the same local audience wide exposure to our used and especially new inventories.

If our ROI kept up with the percentages of rate increase from autotrader this would be a moot point but as countless of us have said in the past, it hasn't.

We had a "blitz" visit a couple months ago as another mentioned it was a little refreshing to have a visit from a rep that actually knew the product, our local rep seems clueless to the automotive market.
A
Amy,

Is that grape or fruit punch? You enjoy drinking that Kool-Aid, but please don't offer me any. I can't stand that stuff.

Phil is right. There are many, many, many alternatives to AutoTrader right now. It isn't about a captive audience on ATC, which is a farce of a thought anyway, it is about measuring ROI right now. Are your dealers who are spending over $20,000 a month making over $100,000 in profit with ATC that same month? Or are they turning maybe $5,000 to $10,000 in profit once the bill is paid? With all the forms and places of advertising online, you have to provide a much larger ROI if you're going to charge a much larger price.
K
We are in a performance based industry - if we don't perform and sell cars, we don't have jobs. Guess what? That applies to our vendors as well. If your product does not perform - why should we keep you? When the cost of AutoTrader is 3 times more than other vendors that provide the same if not more page views, email leads, phone calls, and sales, how do you justify your cost? When we measure the ROI of all vendors, and AutoTrader is not nearly as good as many of our other partners, and comes at a significantly higher cost, why should we keep them? Bottom line for me is that while AutoTrader has some exposure in the market, they are pricing themselves out of the market against their competition. We are not getting added value that is justified by the cost. In the end - it is business - ALL of us must perform!
B
I would encourage you to open the June copy of Digital dealer or paste the link below
Mr. Gillrie has a relevant article on overpaying for technology
http://www.digitaldealer-magazine.com/index.asp?article=1967
has more to do with DMS prices but I found this compelling piece of info....
"your intuition tells you that a dollar saved has exactly the same effect on the bottom line as earning an extra dollar of gross profit. Your intuition, in this case, would be very wrong. As you can see in the chart below, the reality is that it takes a lot more than a dollar of gross to pay for a dollar of computer expense. It turns out that a dollar saved actually has the same effect as earning $7.74 in gross profit."

hmmmm?


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    Phil Crecenzo
  • June 26, 2008
Brian, I believe Mr. Gillrie's statement is regarding "hardware & systems" versus autotrader.com which is strictly "advertising".

Our philosophy is that all sources of advertising are measured and tracked as accurately as we possibly can (really, we do try and track everything) and they stand or fall on the merits of the ROI generated from them. Last month we had 2 leads from autotrader.com and neither of them bought yet we sold about 22 from our website alone.

Back to the blitz issue with autotrader, our dealership realizes the discounts of these "sales blitzes" dog & pony shows they roll into town every year with but I gotta say that even w/the offers they had, we weren't about to spend any additional funds because the ROI from them has dropped so significantly in the past couple of years.
D
Brian,

Is my computer busted or what- I don't see "the table."

Where is he getting that number ($7.74) from?

"It turns out that a dollar saved actually has the same effect as earning $7.74 in gross profit.

The below calculations are based on NADA-published 2006 U.S. dealer averages (as published in Auto Executive Magazine, March 2007. The table to the right summarizes the actual effort required to pay for excessive DMS charges:"

B
I could only find the table in the print zine no luck online,
looks like the table is a breakdown of units and monthly overpayment over a five year period. Maybe you could email Paul if you don't have the print version.
E
I'll share some basic info...

In the last 30 days:

CarsDirect.com sent us 1500+ visitors...
AutoTrader.com sent us 600+ visitors...
Our blog sent us 400+ visitors...

If you're not familiar w/CarsDirect - they're cheap.

AutoTrader isn't...

Our blog is free...

[the C.R.'s for the 1st two are nearly the same; blog is obviously lower]

Where would you spend your time & money...?
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    Amy
  • June 26, 2008
Alex- I drink the truth...if you want to pass- that is your call. No doubt there are alternatives....alternatives to traditional media. I think all dealers should be as agressive as their understanding & budget takes them. My dealers are not stupid...they pay more every opportunity they can because it works..Seriously- why do people spend 30 minutes average per search to find a car? its because they need a car and we are the most comprehensive site with the most amount in market car buyers....and we are FREE unlike the alternative of hopping in the truck for a drive across town on a saturday...or wherever.

yesterdays showroom traffic is todays internet traffic- it should be studied..every single number should be taken into consideration.



Phil- How to you accurately measure billboards? the amount you spend in radio? tv? local promos? the problem is that because internet is so trackable we are held to a standard that is incredibly high... but when you measure all advertising...directly in comparison to REACHING BUYERS there is no better alternative better than the INTERNET. There is no bigger selection on the internet than autotrader.com.
Look at the amount of times your inventroy came up in the searches...then look at how many people responded to your ads. that is where the ROI measurement should start with the exposure.


Eric- here is a pretty basic question to go along with your facts about what is cheap.

of all of the "vendors" you want to compare autotrader.com to....which one can say to you they are spending 70 plus million to drive traffic?

answer: NONE

We do SEO, SEM, , Blogs, Nada, edmunds, msn, univision, trade publications, monday night football, final 4, have 7 major league baseball team promotions...1.2 billion tv impressions this year...etc. all to drive traffic to us which in turn is designed to drive traffic to you.

so if you are buying something because its cheap...then its probably not as good. that has been my experience with cheap...always.


One more thing...

one of my dealers uses tracking id's on his ads on the site...so that he is able to determine where the customer goes directly after leaving autotrader.com and goes to his site.

since august of 2006...70% of the time when there is a click through to him from atc...they do 3 things:
1. request a quote
2. vehicle locator
3. contact the store

you think those clicks 600 clicks to your site dont mean a thing? perhaps they do..

I sound like a jerk sometimes in written communication...and am not out to offend anyone. so please dont take it personal. I am in the battlefield all day long with yall and sometimes i feel like people get caught up in the quantity of the leads instead of the quality.

Right now is critical and we can all make a huge difference...but yall have to relax and trust that people care about your success as much as you do.


eitherway- i really enjoy this blog and welcome the opportunity to be honest with yall.

bring it





P
The real deal Amy is the use of platforms similar to AT et al is that the dealer is paying for the right to provide content to your site and you monetize it other ways.

The only brand a dealer is building by using your service is yours, not theirs. It is a loser for your advertisers long term.

Of those 600 clicks that you speak of from that banner how many did they miss due to the onsite leaks and did those banner clicks come when a consumer was visiting another dealers inventory item?

With so many other ways to get eyes on inventory why contribute to the AT brand and not your own?
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    Jon Groenig
  • June 27, 2008
I was approached by a vendor today with a strange offer. He offered to let me post all of my used car inventory on his site for free, in return I get a link back to my website, a call tracking number, and he only wants to charge $19 for valid email leads that have been scrubbed. It sounds like such a foreign concept, I only pay for actual email leads and any phone calls or links into my site are free.

It would be great to see Autotrader or Cars.com adopt this type of pricing structure, but of course they won't since it would make way too much sense for the dealer to have a cost per lead of $19 versus the $80 cost per lead I pay now. I guess someone has to pay for their nice convention booths and plasma screens.
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    TTT
  • June 27, 2008
RE: Amy

I find it funny that Amy says "Alex- I drink the truth...if you want to pass- that is your call. No doubt there are alternatives....alternatives to traditional media."

This is the typical first counterpoint of every ATC rep, they bring up Traditional media as if every dealer is still spending the same amount they were 5, 10 yrs ago. They are not, look at the stock market lately? Newspapers are losing market share, revs, and laying off people. The other thing that amazes me about this statement is ATC is one division of Cox Enterprises that consists of Cox Media (TV), Cox Radio, and the Atlanta Constitutional newspaper which is how it was started. So dealers coming from the internal horses mouth itself you should stop doing all that?

Amy also says "trade publications, monday night football, final 4, have 7 major league baseball team promotions...1.2 billion tv impressions this" So I guess its ok for ATC to invest in Print and TV, and their Christian Slater Radio ads but not dealers?

The first 3 she mentions that ATC uses "We do SEO, SEM, , Blogs,"

Where is ATC blogs that help dealers by the way? Just curious... Never heard of that eventhough I know ATC spends a ton on SEM, meanwhile if a dealer does it themselves, it takes people right to their site vs. ATC site with all their competition.

RE: AMY
"of all of the "vendors" you want to compare autotrader.com to....which one can say to you they are spending 70 plus million to drive traffic?"

Cars.com internet ad budget this year per someone from Cars.com was 200 million this year. 3x ATC, and guess what they aren't wasting it on trying to recreate the company into a "New car comparable search site"

Another Amy point:
"the problem is that because internet is so trackable we are held to a standard that is incredibly high... but when you measure all advertising...directly in comparison to REACHING BUYERS there is no better alternative better than the INTERNET. There is no bigger selection on the internet than autotrader.com."

So being accountable is a problem for ATC? Or is the problem they now have no excuse on a low ROI that they can't hide from?

And why can't you track a billboard, TV, or Radio ad? Last time I heard you can use the same phone call tracking vendor ATC uses Whos Calling or Call Source and put it on a billboard, in a TV or Radio ad?

RE: Amy:
"I sound like a jerk sometimes in written communication...and am not out to offend anyone. so please dont take it personal. I am in the battlefield all day long with yall and sometimes i feel like people get caught up in the quantity of the leads instead of the quality."

Amy you don't sound like a jerk, you sound burned out and like you just came out of an quarterly sales meeting where they teach you "Exposure", "compare vs. traditional media instead vs. other internet ad solutions", and that you are dealing with a lot of cancellations on the "battlefield".

RE: Amy
"Right now is critical and we can all make a huge difference...but yall have to relax and trust that people care about your success as much as you do."

So in critical times do you think ATC cared when they raised rates on every dealer nationwide 4 months ago?

BTW if that "yall" accent wasn't to cover your tracks so ATC mgt thinks your in their Southern Region and you are really somewhere in NY or some other area - keep it up I think ATC can use some more people like yourself with Southern hospitality that CARE, and CONSULT dealers. I think your energy is good, but your "jerk sometimes in written communication" is evident.. But love your feedback so ...

"Bring it"
A
  • A
    Amy
  • June 27, 2008
Paul- you are incorrect. atc has built strong brand...but people (13 MILLION a MO) come to find a car...your car....and spend the most of their time on the search results page...where your inventory, logo, map & phone number are. If they are in market car shoppers, looking for what you sell...how is this not good long term?

Jon- your "strange offer"...not a new concept...where were you 10 years ago?

we are not a lead provider. period. Consider all the numbers or ask your rep to take away the consumers ability to get a map to your store. if its not important take it away. otherwise- it has value.

ACCOUNTABILITY.


TTT- you dont know me. I have had 0 dealers cancel in 6 months and maintain less than 2% for the year. year over year. I am afraid you have mistaken my passion for something else. I love my job & more importantly the relationships i have with dealers.


Cars.com is spening 200 million this year? who is cutting that check- are you sure it isnt bundled in with all their other media companies advertising they own to make it SOUND big? Are you sure they aren't keeping their costs fixed so that can control your perception and re-capture that "other" money that you used to spend in their newspapers, tv stations?

inspect what you expect.



P
  • P
    Phil Crecenzo
  • June 27, 2008
Amy, the cost per closed deal sourced from autotrader has gone up considerably in the past three years, tripled on average in fact. Dealers are finding other sources of wide exposure for their dealerships and inventory that source more closed deals for less than 25% of the costs associated with autotrader(SEO, SEM, PPC campaigns that work!).

Traffic, exposure, etc. that's great, but what about the bottm line costs associated with the closed deals sourced from autotrader? We measure and the math just doesn't add up anymore.

BTW, we use no newspaper, billboard, direct mail, television because they are not effective, the in market car audience is online, we know that, but the ratio of cost per closed deal with you has become severly lopsided in the past couple years. It's not all about "cheap" it's about effetiveness and real results with affordable costs per closed sourced deals, other companies & strategies have surfaced that smart dealerships are utilizing, remember it's 2008 now, not 2003.
A
I'm so sick of hearing about traditional media spends being compared to online media spends. TTT is right, if you look at what is being spent on traditional media, it is a fraction of what it was a few short years ago. We're spending millions less per year in traditional media than we were 5 years ago. I'm not going to get into exact figures, but I can say that in the last five years we've gone from spending 6 figures on online media per year to over 7 figures.....might that be where a good chunk of that traditional ad budget went?

Also in the last 5 years we've gone from spending on the high side of 5 figures to ATC per year, down to $0 per year. Guess what? We're still in business! I recall one of my ATC reps saying we're going to go out of business if we're not on ATC. Maybe it is because our local Toyota ad agency subsidizes the basic listing package for ATC that is keeping us going. Out of our 11 franchises, we're still around because we have Toyota on ATC. Yeah, that must be it. I'd hate to see what happens if our ad group ever decides to go with Cars.com......I might have to get rid of my new car, kill my vacations, and sell the house!

Sorry, I'm being silly, but I had to stoop down to the typical argument I get into with people from ATC because they just can't comprehend that we can survive without them.....actually, survive isn't the right word - "thrive" is much better.

Amy - you mentioned "ACCOUNTABILITY" - will you please explain how ATC is accountable for reporting, support (mainly in Atlanta), keeping feeds shut off when asked, and taking responsibility for inventory removal.
H
  • H
    Henry
  • June 27, 2008
Autotrader will be on the ropes this year. They are in the midst of their worst quarterly performance in the companies 10 year existance, actual negative numbers for the first time ever. Whomever the genius was that thought up the one date renewal pull through with a rate increase to boot is the one that launched the Titanic. There isn't enough time to blitz the entire nation and stop the leaking on this one I'm afraid. "Iceberg, straight ahead!"
P
---------Paul- you are incorrect. atc has built strong brand...but people (13 MILLION a MO) come to find a car...your car....and spend the most of their time on the search results page...where your inventory, logo, map & phone number are. If they are in market car shoppers, looking for what you sell...how is this not good long term?--- Amy.

I suggest you reread my comment. ATC is using dealers inventory to build their brand not the dealers.

Long term it hurts the dealers not helps them. I suggest you get a copy of my report. Click on my name it is there waiting for you!!

Paul Rushing
J
Ok, I know I am a vendor for TK, but I had been an Internet Manager / BDC Director before hand and I had to put a little bit of my sense in here, since reading Amy's comments & I hope YALL enjoy it!

I used AT in the past but only on my used inventory, yeah it was nice to track calls, emails and whatever. I then had a new rep come in to the dealership trying to get me to put the New Inventory on Auto Trader. I had asked her "Why?" She stood their like a "Deer in the head lights look" uhhhhhh for better exposure. Lady you got to sell me! After her babbling along about the greatness of the new car exposure, I asked " What is the price?"

There again " Deer in the headlights".. I still have never received any pricing...

Yes the Blitz crew came along for I like to call them the "Rat Circus / Dog & Pony Show or better yet Circus Vendors".

I always enjoyed getting them worked up and brushing them off the lot, because I so did not need that. I agree with Alex "they tick me off too"

Amy, Just a note to say " If you brag about how much your vendors spend, I think you mean by spending too much time looking up the skirt!"

I agree with TTT, you seemed to be way overly burnt out. If you are taking your job to personal (for which it seems to be) you may want to consider a differnet career.

SEO, SEM and Blogs???? Just let me know when you find it, because I am having a heck of a time trying to find it.

AT is a good investment if you use it right, but after the prices being jacked up to cover the Superbowl and all the Glitter, I would never consider using them again.




B
  • B
  • June 27, 2008
Come on 100 posts!
J
  • J
    JL
  • June 27, 2008
Paul,

I don't mean for this to be personal and I hope it isn't taken that way. I'm only seeking full disclosure and the fact that nearly every post regarding ATC or Cars.com generates the same response from you has finally prompted me to ask.

I've read your paper, I've read your blog, I've read your posts on this and a few other notable automotive sites, but this confounds me.

As much as you beat the leakage and monetization of user generated content drum, I was truly surprised to see that Carl Gregory Hyundai is employing the services of one of the "anti-dealer" organizations that you are so quick to publicly defame, yet I've never seen you mention that. The greatest evidence against your report is that you yourself, the author, who encourages other dealers to "stand up to them and cancel" don't seem to be able to run a successful department without the addition of a "classified vendor" to your lead mix.

ATC's blitz team has been chastised for saying one thing and doing another in this thread and Amy who is obviously either new to ATC or new to this blog took the bait and got bashed on the head a bit for toting the company line, but turnabout is fair play.

I think your paper, "How the Major Classified Auto Vendors Hurt Your Online Success," would be much more credible if you would explain why you berate third parties on this blog and encourage other dealers to drop them but seem to benefit from the contacts and exposure by using them in your own dealership, unless of course you aren't benefiting from them which leads to a few more questions.

On another note, where is Lightnup? I would have expected to see a few posts by now.
P
JL as I have said before you do not use your real name or industry affiliation's so your prodding does not really justify my attention but I will give it to you anyway.

In the future if you desire a response from me come clean with who you are. Do not hide behind initials My phone number is readily available make yours available too. Be transparent online if you want credibility.

The only high end classified vendor I use right now it cars.com and the only reason they are still in the mix is due to circumstances out of my control. However at the price point which I advertise there it is almost justifiable.

When our current contract ends I will not be there if my input is recognized. At the end of the day it is not my decision.

I can be a voice in the industry, I cannot control what others do with their money.

However, my voice is crystal and I do not hide behind unrecognizable an unknown moniker,

Any further prodding by you will be ignored until you give:

---your real name
---industry affiliation
---your phone number

Until you do enjoy your <b>cool aid</b>!!

Paul Rushing
912-266-1629
ISM Carl Gregory Chrysler Dodge Hyundai
5400 Altama Avenue
Brunswick, GA 31525
http://ismintraining.com





J
I totally agree with Paul. Let yourself be known to take credit for your post.

JL from what is seems on defending AT as you do, are you part of the AT Blitz team?

Let me know how the cool aid taste!

1 cup of bull
1 cup of smoke
or yeah don't forget the hidden daggers
Add the desired amount of Sugar to sweeten it up
Mix & drink!

Any other suggestions on how the cool aid is made?
J
Amy & JL,

Is that how it is made? Just going off of your post I kind of strummed it up for you!
P
---I totally agree with Paul. Let yourself be known to take credit for your post.----

Thanks Jennifer!!

You have to remember the playing field that we are operating in.

Long gone are the days of hiding behind "handles", especially if you want your voice to carry any weight. John Reese did a very good post about it at <a href="http://www.income.com/blog/2008/05/05/anonymous-marketing-is-dead/" rel="nofollow">Income.com</a>


J
  • J
    JL
  • June 28, 2008
Paul- It's the internet business, 100% of your customers are anonymous before they raise a hand. I'm not sure why you are so defensive. Hopefully your autoresponder doesn’t demand phone, email, ssn and birthdate prior to a reply regarding your inquiry ;)

The reason that my prodding continues to justify your response is irrespective of my name and company affiliation. The beauty of my anonymity is that you can focus on what's being said rather than who is saying it. Truth of it is that nothing I have ever posted here has any affiliation to the company I work for.

There was a post a few months back about image control online. It was a great read Jennifer, you really ought to check it out. I hope you weren't counting on any referrals from the hundreds of ATC reps that visit with your prospective clients. Hmm...What do you suppose happens the next time that an ATC rep who reads this blog happens to be sitting across the desk from a GM when their TKCarsites homepage is experiencing difficulty?

Paul, when I'm wearing the company logo you can be the customer who is always right and I'll do my best to agree with you whenever possible and give you warm fuzzies about me and the company, but I think this site is meant to uncover obstacles and share observations and opinions. If revealing my company affiliation hinders my ability to express an opinion openly than I am in effect doing a disservice to you by supplying you with that information, wouldn't you agree?

I prefer my credibility to be determined by my observations. Case in point, you responded to my query because the facts were clear and undeniable so you offered a response to explain a glaring contradiction on your part that is damaging to your overall position. You are questioning my credibility and why again does it matter who I work for?

Who am I?

Joe L. "Vendor"- empowered by anonymity, I face no irrational repercussions and I can sharpen your saw rather than kiss your ass. It may not feel as good, but this is a better deal for you.

I have more to say about the paper you wrote and I’m feverishly working on an anonymous rebuttal, but we can take that offline. I'm certain this banter is of little interest to most readers. If any of you are interested in a counterpoint send me an email, I know you’ll love the address. [email protected]

J
JL;

I may have failed to mention to you but as many GM's are gearing their money from 3rd party resourcs as Shall I say AT? and putting it toward a quality site that actually produces quality leads.

Again, it must have been the right ingrediants I placed in my prior comment for the Cool-Aid.

So no I don't feel I need any AT referrals, because they will be shaking in their little shoes because the GM would soon realize, why am I paying AT that $XXXX.XX when I can pay the same for quality leads & a Custom Website? Who is out? let me guess AT!

You may still be behind the 8 ball there JL, might I remind you, TK Carsites has been voted #1 for the past 4 years!

This may be the learning curve for you and many of the AT Reps out there. But as the AT Blitz team can throw out the discounts that the local rep cannot even budge on? That tells me AT needs to start putting more money into training and start investing into someone to do the Blogs, SEO & SEM! (Just a suggestion for you to pass on).






A
Jennifer,

Do you ever leave that desk of yours? Lady, you need to take a deep breath and go outside and enjoy the summer... Just so that you and Paul know, most of the ISM's that are in the trenches on a day to day basis are aware of the way things should be (whether that is possible or not). The point is that any ISM that has not been under a rock lately realizes that their own website is where the money is. My dealerships are currently with AutoTrader, and will continue to do so until the time that I can get some great leads coming off of my new and improved TK site!!! I am sure that most ISM's are frustrated as I am not just at AutoTrader, but mostly at the GM's and Owner's who allowed them to get to this point, if you really think about it. Ha! Have a great weekend Jennifer.
J
Amanda

You Rock! It is very rare I leave my office. I just was at the lake all day! and loved everybit of it!

;)

Take Care Amanda !!
E
Amy -

You fired off a response w/out even reading (or understanding my post.)

You said: "of all of the "vendors" you want to compare autotrader.com to....which one can say to you they are spending 70 plus million to drive traffic?

answer: NONE

AT is getting hosed with that 70MM. If that's all the traffic they can deliver us. They need to stop spending so much on traditional media (just as they tell their dealers to do) and spend it on adapting to the new school mentality of the web.

With their budget, the SEO and SMO engagements should be kicking every other industry player around like a bully in the sandbox. New platforms (IE: CarTango.com and EasyAutoSales.com) are popping up everyday - they'll start kicking up some sand...

Kill the TV spending and invest in a platform that creates more user content, powerful interactions and expands the dealer presence. Not a "page-view" mentality that simply caters to the largest advertisers.

I can't even tell you the last time, if ever, I saw a CarsDirect.com advertisement. Fine with me - they still provide us the most traffic, the higher C.R. and our account rep is always looking for new value offers for us to test or review.

Free stuff is always cool.

For those of you not linking your name to your post. That's like taping your note to a rock and throwing it through Jeff's window.

It may add excitement to the thread - but it doesn't add credibility. Post your content, link your name and stick around for the conversation:)
A
  • A
    AMY
  • June 29, 2008
I am not new to autotrader.com...i am somewhat new to reading this blog....i thought it was a professional forum...but finding out that many of you are frustrated internet managers with sharp tongues, bad attitudes and limited perspectives.

So- this is my last communication and i will go on with my wonderful life- helping dealers to be even more successful. YALL have fun singing the blues together.

before i go...a few suggestions:

I wonder how many of you actually take the time to provide quality listings - unique comments, staged photos, have your dealership photos online? apparently you have plenty of time to be a part of the problem...try the solution it has a WAY better return.

Henry- you have no idea what atc financials look like. you shouldn't pretend you know anything about the inside of the company. we are private.


Jennifer- i dont brag about how much my dealers spend...I brag about THEIR success....

not sure what your comment meant about "spending too much time looking up the skirt"...it isnt very professional and a great misuse of this forum to go there. try to be professional instead of tacky...you have just lost all credibility with your remarks.

JL-whoever you are....keep giving them the truth...good luck getting them to see it.

i am out.


J
So if raising our rates, subjecting us to patronizing "blitzes", insulting us on this thread, and telling us how to sell cars in a rather snobish fashion wasn't enough: Amy offers the ultimate snub : "Talk to the hand!"

Her PR department will be thrilled.

I actually used to do seminars for AT years ago, their "Breakfast of Champions" (Mainly because they sent me to Cancun for doing it) but I can tell you the reps I knew then were very different. Times change I guess.
J
So if raising our rates, subjecting us to patronizing "blitzes", insulting us on this thread, and telling us how to sell cars in a rather snobish fashion wasn't enough: Amy offers the ultimate snub : "Talk to the hand!"

Her PR department will be thrilled.

I actually used to do seminars for AT years ago, their "Breakfast of Champions" (Mainly because they sent me to Cancun for doing it) but I can tell you the reps I knew then were very different. Times change I guess.
J
  • J
    Jon Groenig
  • June 30, 2008
Amy,

If you still happen to be reading, I am more than happy to share my issues about Autotrader with you.

First you made a comment about internet vendors being held to a higher standard for results, that may be true, but Autotrader is not the only vendor I hold accountable for cost per lead, cost per sale, and ROI, every vendor I use is held accountable. The problem with Autotrader is that month after month they have the highest cost per lead, highest cost per sale, and the lowest ROI of all the vendors I use.

Secondly the main subject of this post, the blitz teams. I have always had a great relationship with my local reps and have always been able to take them at their word,I had the impression that this kind of integrity ran through the company, that was before I met the blitz team.

I had the misfortune of dealing with Katie, a blitz team rep from outside my market, I'm sure you know her, she is one the the reps with her picture on the big Autotrader display booth. I made the mistake of extending to her the same trust I have with the local reps. When she came through our market the owner of the store was on vacation in Mexico, we signed a contract with a thirty day out that was contingent on his approval the next week, she assured us the she would hold it until she heard from us, when I called the next week to give he the go ahead, I found out she didn't hold the contract like she said she would and had already turned it in.

At the end of the thirty days I reviewed the results, traffic and click throughs along with the standards I mentioned before. The results did not justify the amount I was spending so I called to cancel. When I called I found out that I was in a 90 day contract, not the 30 day she had written on the contract, and I was not the only dealer to experience this in my zone.

From the minute Katie set foot in my store, everything out of her mouth was a lie, she even tried to tell me my call volume would increase four time more than what I was currently getting, which I new was BS to begin with.

My local reps have been warned that if I see another member of the blitz team in my store they can count on an immediate cancellation.

Amy, if you are still with us, I would love here your thoughts on this.
A
  • A
    Amy
  • June 30, 2008
Jay- you are sadly mistaken. I have spent many hours inside stores, rolled up my sleeves and gotten dirty. I might be blunt but i am not a snob. we never had seminars entitled "breakfast of champions"...and when did we supposedly send you to Cancun. You are telling a lie which now destroys your credibility. Care to give us some more details about your "seminars"?


Jon- I welcome the opportunity to share my thoughts. thank you for being the first constructive encounter....

my first comment on this blog was suggesting that yall take advantage of the blitz team because they can offer deals that the local reps cannot. The blog took on a form of its own after that.

I know exactly who you are talking about. It is very unfortunate the experiece you had and i empathize with you. What happened was wrong. that stinks.
That is not how true professionals should conduct themselves and it looks like she made a bad decision.
You mentioned that you had a good relationship with your local reps. I am hopeful that they were able to offer you a reasonable/fair solution?

about the roi, cost per...etc. No matter how good you are it is impossible to track everything that we bring to the store. impossible. unless you are looking at the walk arounds (vehicle details pages) maps, links to your site....fact that virtually everyone on the site is a buyer...there is advertising value outside of what can be tracked to your department.

Question: if 200 people go online and get a map somewhere...after they have spent 65 minutes researching what they want to buy....you think ANY of those showed up and bought a car that you didnt know about?

I think more internet managers should stand up and claim that credit as well....








B
I for one do not question the fact that atc has a place in our marketing mix but sometimes I wonder at what price. The majority of dealers would be happier with a more competitive rate and a level playing field. Internet budgets are constantly scrutinized and paying for placement kinda goes against the spirit of the internet. I think that is why atc and pricing is always such a hot topic. atc is not the only vendor that angles with process and price but they get big monthly checks from most of the dealerships that employ us. I think we would like to see more help from corporate...we know its not the reps we see on a monthly basis. My rep delivered swag to me for a mountain bike race that we sponsored (on a Saturday)
my point is atc has some good guys but the suits running the show need to chill out with sales pitch......just sayin
T
  • T
    TTT
  • June 30, 2008
Jay - There was "breakfast of champions" seminars. Cars.com, AutoTrader.com, Dealix and others have done them so YOUR credibility is intact and it is Amy's credibility I question. Since she didn't know about these seminars I'm guessing she is one of the new rookies that are there that didn't go through comp plan cuts and hence her approach to insulting essentially her customer. ATC lost a great man to retirement a few years back that knew how to treat employees well and gave them opportunity to make over 200k a year there. Now they have under 100k a year rooks like Amy that weren't there to even know about the "Breakfast of Champions" which is an industry standard.

RE: Jon - Amy will continue to be on here. Don't let her "LIES"
"So- this is my last communication and i will go on with my wonderful life- helping dealers to be even more successful. YALL have fun singing the blues together." fool you. I'm sure if Jeff was clocking IP address length of time she would be in the top ten with 8 other ATC employees.

RE: Amy:
"my first comment on this blog was suggesting that yall take advantage of the blitz team because they can offer deals that the local reps cannot. The blog took on a form of its own after that."

you say take advantage of a "Blitz" team that cuts deals that the local rep that services the account on weekly/monthly basis can't provide ? How is that a deal? Short term maybe but we all know at the first chance a dealer gets they cancel their "Blitz" deals. They have NO relationship with the dealer and are gone until next year IF they go back to that city. No Service, and obviously no regard for customers wishes per Jon's experience that you "empathize" with.

RE: Amy
"about the roi, cost per...etc. No matter how good you are it is impossible to track everything that we bring to the store. impossible. unless you are looking at the walk arounds (vehicle details pages) maps, links to your site....fact that virtually everyone on the site is a buyer...there is advertising value outside of what can be tracked to your department.

Question: if 200 people go online and get a map somewhere...after they have spent 65 minutes researching what they want to buy....you think ANY of those showed up and bought a car that you didnt know about?"

If a dealer measures, ATC, Cars.com on the same basis which they both have "maps", "links to their site", "VDPs", and on most cases Cars.com is 25-50% less of an investment with all things being equal and considering all the map links, walk ins, ITS STILL a better ROI for a Cars.com dealer user. You said your not a "lead provider" so I'm comparing you to your closest and best competitor. Cars.com has better ROI, better service, and reps that don't insult their customers. Pretend your the ISM, where would you spend the money?

http://www.google.com/trends?q=cars.com%2C+autotrader.com

I'm going to parlay my over 100 posts bet, with the over 5 on at least 5 more posts from Amy, she just can't get enough. Her "wonderful" life isn't fulfilled until ALL dealers nationwide take credit for walk ins since phone calls, emails, and secure credit apps don't create a good ROI..
L
  • L
    Lightnup
  • July 1, 2008
Jennifer observed: "AT is a good investment if you use it right, but after the prices being jacked up to cover the Superbowl and all the Glitter, I would never consider using them again."

Um...Jennifer...It was cars.com that ran those Superbowl ads, not Autotrader.com. You know, the ads that portrayed car dealers as unethical crooks requiring threats from witch doctors and voodoo fire dancers before they treat customers fairly? Cars.com did those, not ATC. Just thought I'd clear that up.


E
Amy -

You're looking for a constructive encounter yet you call someone a liar?

Your own netiquette leaves much to be desired...

Eric

R
  • R
  • July 1, 2008
Wow Lightnup, that was textbook diversion. You know we are actually loaning out the witch doctor to our dealers to help them with ATC's blitz teams. Any takers?

The creative was discussed in another thread, right? Some liked it some didn't, that's the nature of a Superbowl ad. If the execution was Good, Bad, Right, Wrong, has already been debated here. End of the day we wanted to drive more buyers to the site and help our dealers sell more cars, and we are getting out of the box to do it. Doing the same old thing year after year seems to dry up the product and the value, right Lightnup? Thought that might be worth mentioning.
J
Amy,

I have no doubt you would have any knowledge of this, but around 2000-2001 I was the National eCommerce Director for Sonic Automotive and you did have seminars entitled "Breakfast of Champions" The regional Manager was a good friend of mine, Sally Kees, who now works for a major dealerhip marketing company. Matthew Belk (Former Hendrick eComm Director) and I were the speakers at the Charlotte, NC seminar.

And Sally did send me to Cancun, I can post the pictures if you like. I happen to still have Chip's (that's your CEO in case you didn't know) email address, I am will be forwarding him a link to this thread so he can verify with you.

I suggest you check your facts before you insult someone's integrity in public. Our local managers will be receiving a copy of this thread, as well. I'm sure they'll be interested in finding out who is damaging their relationship with one of their best clients...
J
Everyone on here has heard of the Cobalt/Dealix Breakfast of Champions right? Where do you think I got (borrowed) the idea for the name (the seminars themselves are much better than the ones we did back in 2000)?

http://www.dealix.com/corporate/shownews.aspx?pressID=452

I was also the Director of Training for Cobalt...

Amy, my post was directed at you and your combative posts with YOUR CUSTOMERS. There are good Autotrader reps out there, you are just not one of them.
J
Lighten Up -

I must have had a blonde moment but as I recall seeing auto trader commercials maybe from the year prior, so my bad. I think I can use you as a personal assitant! :)

Thanks for your correction, it is and will be appreciated.

Amy, You came back! I knew you would have, just to see what responses came back after your " I am out" statement.

And funny thing you still responded again. Strange....

"""Amy, my post was directed at you and your combative posts with YOUR CUSTOMERS. There are good Autotrader reps out there, you are just not one of them."""

Thanks to Jay for pointing that out. It takes a lot of nerve to brag how much your dealers are spending with you. If I was the GM and caught wind of you saying and bragging about how much I am spending on Auto Trader, GIRL I WOULD BE CALLING YOU DIRECTLY. CANCEL CANCEL & did I forget to say CANCEL.

That would be pretty funny seeing you roll up your sleeves and getting dirty, were you in the Service Bay and not the showroom?

Check the ads in your local paper there may be an opening at that dealership you claim to get bank on in the service department!

Amy, You may need to get back to basics and start realizing bragging about dealers money that is spent with you is a TISK TISK.... Just a note to pass on to you so you can pin it on your shirt!

PS - I am still waiting on info from you on the SEO SEM oh yeah and BLOGS too...



J
Ryan - Witch Doctor ?? Funny....


E
  • E
    EK
  • July 1, 2008
Where is the "Come on Boy and Girls, let's play nice" comment from Jeff?

Jeff you on vacation or something?
A
  • A
    Amy
  • July 1, 2008
Jay- i was wrong. you in fact have done training seminars with autotrader.com. I even spoke with a guy you know from Sonic years ago. I should not have called you a liar or questioned your integrity. I apologize.

The hardest lessons in life to learn are which bridges to cross and which brudges to burn...i am human and i am still learning.

Jennifer- their are no words for your TOTAL lack of class...

Because you want me to leave this site so badly...i think i will stick around.

Until then- I should probably chill out a little before i get into trouble. thanks Jay
J
Apology accepted.

Good luck Amy.

J
J
Amy -

I never wanted you to leave this site in the first place! I have no clue where you got that idea from, I am glad you are back and getting into action!

We all work in a world of hard core competitors as you know. But here at Dealerrefresh it is good that all of us get togethor and actually speak our minds. You came off pretty hard in the beginning, do you remember???

Lack of Class, lol, thats silly. Each one of us here are in a Class of their own, and for sure it's not lacking ;)

Again, I am glad you are back! Don't give up so easily!

AT needs to revamp some of their reps and let the local reps give those discounts etc that the Blitz team does. Many dealer have a rep they have a lot of trust in but does Auto Trader trust their reps to provide them with the discounts etc?




A
Am I going to lose the "under" bet? Here's another post toward my loss :)
E
Amy - here's an easy leasson:

Don't burn any bridges & don't just cross them; build them first.

Eric





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  • J
    Jon Groenig
  • July 1, 2008
Alex,

You saw what happened last time, did you really think a post on Autotrader would come in under 100? :) I don't think there is another vendor any of us use that would get this much attention on a post.

Now if we could only go viral and give them the Husker BMW treatment, maybe then they would cut us a break on pricing. Do I have any volunteers for the Chip Perry talking head?????
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  • L
    Lightnup
  • July 1, 2008
Alex: "Am I going to lose the "under" bet? Here's another post toward my loss :)"

I've been trying to help you win Alex by staying (mostly) out of the fray, but who started this one in the first place? :-)

And just for the record, it would make my day if ATC discontinued blitzes immediately if not sooner. IMHO, the long-term damage done (to image, credibility and local relationships) more than offsets the short-term revenue generated. Note that I am not disparaging the value of the solutions. It's just that I, like many others, am not a fan of this particular sales tactic.
J
  • J
    Jeff Kershner
  • July 2, 2008
What number am I?

EK, I'm not on vacation though I sure wish I were. This post as all Alex.

The job has me busy and the last I looked at this post it was floating around 40 comments. I do apologize for not catching up sooner.

It seems as if things are simmering down a little now. I'm glad to see that.

As for the Blitz, you know...I sort of always enjoyed the blitz team. I never really wanted to beat up my actual Reps too bad (until Derek came along). I would wait to unleash my fury on the Blitz team AND I got EVERYTHING in WRITING on the CONTRACT.

I'll admit, I worked some good deals when the Blitz came to town, BUT too had to fax over copies of my contract to corporate several times in the weeks to follow. More then once, I had to fight to get what I signed up for. So, I can only imagine the mess that the local reps had/have to deal with after the AutoTrader Blitz teams go back into their holes.

Amy, I hope you are fine and stick around. We have some very passionate people here.
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  • L
    Lightnup
  • July 2, 2008
Jeff Kershner wrote: ".....I would wait to unleash my furry on the Blitz team....."

Jeff, I've been calling on dealers for longer than I care to remember. Thank God I have never had one unleash his furry on me. I've had to withstand a dealer's fury on a number of occasions, but the first time one unleashes his furry on me, I'm switching careers!

Sorry, I just couldn't resist.
R
  • R
  • July 2, 2008
The morning coffee just left my nose. Thanks for not resisting Lightnup, that post needs to go straight to the DR hall of fame for hilarity.
B
  • B
    Bobby Harris
  • July 2, 2008
Just had a visit yesterday from my AT Rep and a guy from a different area. The new guy didn't say a word, and the existing guy just said "I'm not leaving" about 5 times.

Kinda funny that I came here & read this thread today :)
J
  • J
    Jeff Kershner
  • July 2, 2008
Lightenup, you are one of the lucky ones to have not felt the furry. Furry is actually much different then fury. SFNM.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=S21BeoHNZPs

Ha, that's what I get for commenting 12:04 in the am. Deserved!
J
Fact: Auto Dealers nationwide are under financial duress not seen in decades.
Fact: ATC's ROI is not what it was.
Fact: ATC continues to raise rates.
Fact: Many of my "untouchables" will be getting the axe in 2009.

ATC rates are high enough for me to seriously experiment with "life after ATC". God help 'em if I find another venue to pick up the slack (ahem... will there even be any slack??).

Joe

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    Brian
  • July 3, 2008
I recently spoke with an autotrader rep I've known for a couple years who informed me they are seeing unprecedented levels of cancellation and or downsell. Seems to be the perfect storm situation for them in that the car market is the worst in decades and autotrader gouged another set of price increases at the same time. We cancelled them last year for much of the same reasoning mentioned here, the ROI was really lacking compared to what it used to be so we cancelled. Glad we did because we've been killing it with SEO & SEM for about the same ad spend we had with autotrader, maybe that's the "slack" afterall, bigger search engine audiences.


S
Well...

I'm looking forward to UFC 86 tomorrow night when Rampage Jackson fights Forest Griffin for the light heavy weight title. If for some reason the fight is lacking I will be content after reading this octagon like beat down of AutoTrader.

Big thanks to all y'all!

Shaun
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  • S
    Steven Isakson
  • July 16, 2008
Hello everyone, first time post and a new reader. I too was approached by Autotrader. We were about to cancel our subscription when too corporate reps from the west coast showed up. They did present an excellent offer which we took because we priced locked for three years and can cancel at any time. In the first three weeks, we have had more contacts by going to a premium partner than we have had all year long. I would advise everyone to give this a try if they can get a deal like this.
Steven Isakson
Isakson Chrysler Dodge
Northwest Indiana
A
  • A
  • July 23, 2008
And the last comment says it all......from a dealer that no doubt knows what's going on in his dealership. Too many times I've called on ISMs that have "no clue" how to maximize whatever they have from whatever vendor. Amy was right earlier. Why would a consumer, very interested in YOUR car, reading about it click on one of the "leaks"? Not because ATC or Cars.com put it there. Because THEY DIDN'T LIKE YOUR CAR! Whaaah! Let's blame our vendor (no matter who it is) for our failure to put great photos, comments, a call to action!, competitive pricing, etc, and let our car outshine the others! Yes, when a dealer buys a newspaper full page ad, he dominates the page, but there are still LEAKS when the customer turns the page and sees another dealer's full page ad. Guess what? The customer DIDN'T LIKE YOUR CARS! It's not the newspaper's fault they have more than one page of car ads to look at. The real trouble that internet advertising has caused--laziness on the part of ISMs (some) that think, "duh, if we list our inventory on all these cool, popular sites, we just have to sit back and answer emails and phone calls." Hey, why don't you NOT wash and recondition your used cars, LEAVE the plastic shipping protectors on the new cars, turn all your lights OFF, take DOWN your signs, banners, flags, balloons, blow up waving men, painted windshields, spinners, flags (oh I already said that). And park your cars in an open field somewhere to see who looks at your cars? A word to all you struggling ISMs out there---use your brick and mortar marketing creativity on your virtual showroom and maybe leaks wouldn't matter! Next time your on Amazon or some other retail site, if you click off the product to a "leak" site, ask yourself one question, "why did I click off that product and not buy it, call them, send them an email?" It's the product you're selling online--not the channel that gets the customers there that matters. The dealers (and Mr. Isakson is probably one of them) that maximize every tool they have will win online. They don't have to spend the most money, but use to the fullest all the tools! Just trying to get everyone to look at another perspective.
A
Alan,

You're right. It isn't just a "drop a check, then sit back and wait for the customer" system - it is all about marketing. Of course, the easiest thing for a vendor to say is "it is your inventory" and that vendor would be right. However, don't you think every dealer in the nation tries to carry the "right" inventory? It isn't that simple. Dealers pay vendors to help move the "wrong" inventory because dealership lots simply are not enough exposure to show people our Hyundai store might have that BMW you were looking for.

In response to a vendor who says "it is your inventory" my response is, well....it is your inventory of customers. This is where AutoTrader.com becomes problematic for a dealer group like the one I work for. ATC is somewhat plagued by magazine distribution that was around long before ATC. Because you share the same name with the magazine, you're associated with a distribution cycle that appeals to an audience who wants a cheaper car in my area. Just like the dealer-facing Autotrader reps who sell us things, there are also outlet-facing distribution reps who try to get the magazine placed on news stands. Everyone has quotas and for the distribution reps it is easier to find placement in some of the lower-quality news stands-yielding establishments (7-11, Food Lion, KMart, etc) than it is to put them in say a Target or somewhere someone with a higher income would shop. Brand association goes a long way, and it is the same as having a site/magazine full of buy-here-pay-here lots vs. a site/magazine full of new car franchised dealers. It was brilliant for ATC to carry the same name as the magazine initially (instant name recognition), but the issues of that association are showing today.

That is the problem with Autotrader on the grand level. Selling tactics, what this thread is about, is just a smaller sub-set of their other problems.
A
  • A
    Alan
  • July 24, 2008
Alex, you said: Dealers pay vendors to help move the "wrong" inventory......

That's a tall task for vendors to live up to. Holding the vendor to the same standards you place on other outlets to move the "wrong" inventory is just "wrong". You then challange the demographics of broad-reach, online classified sites as lower-quality. ATC has approx. 14 million uniques and Cars.com has about 10 million uniques a month. Are they all lower-quality? No, they are looking at all price ranges, all types of vehicles. There are many Lexus, Infiniti, BMW, Mercedes (Jeff?) dealers that do quite well on these sites with $30K+ used units. It goes back to how the dealer is utilizing the sites to their advantage. Being agressive with marketing their inventory whether its "right" or "wrong". My point was--as dealers: take responsibility in running your business and put your best effort forward in your marketing on any of the sites you use (or traditional media for that matter). It will pay off.
S
Alex and Alan both bring up great points of havingthe right inventory for the internet. We are the type of store that if we decide to buy a used vehicle or keep a trade in we stay with it till it sells. On this, we, at times, have inventory that is very old. Three of the 5 most searched and inquired vehicles that we now have our the vehicles that we have had in our inventory for over 300 days. They have been great flip vehicles for us so that have paid off, however they must now leave. Autotrader's premium listings have really helped in moving these vehicles. I know many out there, and believe me I was one, has had enough of their we are better than everything else opinions of themselves, however I am seeing some great results. I guess what I am trying to say is try many different products to find out what works best for your store and more importantly you.

A
Steven,

You're absolutely right. It is about what works and what doesn't, and that is a very personal equation. We've been at it since the mid-90's and have done all sorts of experimentation. There was a time when ATC was something that did work, but that is not the case today. Cars.com works very well for us. ATC does a fantastic job of ticking us off - the inspiration for all the ATC threads on Dealer Refresh I've started.

Alan,

Yes, you are there to sell the cars that don't "automatically" sell just because we have them in stock. Your job is to present those vehicles to a broader audience, and that is all there is to it.
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  • A
    Alec Murray
  • August 8, 2008
"Searches for used cars were down across all of AutoTrader.com, with significant double-digit dips despite strong overall site traffic"

http://www.marketwatch.com/m/Story/%7BEF2EF5D9-E507-4A3E-97B1-D37F2AC6B12B%7D

I guess Chip Perry neglects to inform the blitz sales people this little factoid before they ran thru our area this Spring. I've never seen a company with a faster revolving door of sales reps than with Autotrader.com, we cancelled last year and we must've had 5 sales reps w/them in 4 years.
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  • C
    Cars.com Believer
  • August 16, 2008
Amy wrote:
of all of the "vendors" you want to compare autotrader.com to....which one can say to you they are spending 70 plus million to drive traffic?

Cars.com is spending $200 Million Dollars on their 2008 ad campaign to drive traffic to their dealers. They are also providing comparable value to the dealers at 1/3 of AT's monthly cost.

DON'T get me wrong I never bash AT because at the end of the day even at their higher prices they are still providing a great deal of value to their dealers. However based on Amy's comment I felt compelled to set the record straight. According to the latest ad sheets they have delivered to me they are advertising on the following:

Comedy Central, Discovery, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNnews, ESPNU, FOX sports, TBS, TNT, USA

3 commercials on each FOX MLB game
Major spots in NASCAR races including sponsorship
Major college football game sponsorships
Major NFL football sponsorships
CONFIRMED spots in the upcoming Super Bowl (the BIGGEST stage in advertising)

$200 MILLION Spent to drive traffic to their dealers in 2008 and they are still providing tons of value for 1/3 of the cost.





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  • L
    Lightnup
  • August 17, 2008
"$200 million in 2008." Yawn. So what...ATC spent $100 million in just the past 3 months.

The "bounce" from cars.com Superbowl commercials (the commercials that insult their clients' ethics and integrity by implying that it takes witch doctors and voodoo dancers to get fair treatment from a car dealer) was over almost before it began.
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    Cars 3.0
  • August 17, 2008
Cox most recently cancelled the construction of a 28 story new headquarters building to house autotrader and as recently as last week announced they are putting 29 newspapers on the block for sale in addition to Valpak. They are circiling the wagons to divest of revenue draining sectors of their business, they should really think twice about pissing off anymore dealers with autotrader rates if they're seriously looking to maintain or grow their $15 billion in overall revenue the next couple years.
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  • C
    Cars.com Believer
  • August 17, 2008
Amy wrote:
of all of the "vendors" you want to compare autotrader.com to....which one can say to you they are spending 70 plus million to drive traffic?


Lightnup wrote:
ATC spent $100 million in just the past 3 months.


Contradiction n. The act of contradicting. The state of being contradicted. A denial. Inconsistency; discrepancy.

The above possibly could be considered a contradiction...


I'm curious if there are any dealers that would like to comment on the results the 100 million spent in the last 3 months have generated...


Cars.com avg monthly visitors were 300,000 in 2007
Cars.com avg monthly visitors are over 800,000 in 2008

That's what the 200 million in advertising has generated. (in case you were wondering)

R
  • R
  • August 17, 2008
@ Lightnup

You "cleared up" the superbowl ad issue for us on July 1st. Scroll up a bit and you'll find my reply, I guess you missed it.

Nothing new from you on this? I'm really kinda disappointed. I hate to call you out, especially after you nailed Jeff on exposing "his furry" to vendors, that was classic, but let me ask you, if the bounce on the ads was shortlived, how long are you planning on spinning the creative to look like something it wasn't?
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  • L
    Lightnup
  • August 18, 2008
@Ryan
Sorry you're disappointed. I'll try to do better next time.
Your ads are still running and they still convey the "Mr. Dealer, you're not trustworthy" message, so why would I change my opinion of them? You're insulting your own clients.

@cars 3.0
Deciding not to proceed on a major capital project in a lousy economy and selling off newspapers both seem like pretty astute moves, wouldn't you agree? Perhaps good management is how they got to $15 Billion in the first place?

@cars believer
$70+ and $100 are not contradictions. The + means "plus" or "more than" and $100 is more than $70. Nice try though.

Since you're into quoting numbers, perhaps you noticed that compete.com shows ATC up 22% in unique visitors this year while cars.com is up 4.1%.

I haven't posted since early July and was content to let this thread die, but since cars believer felt compelled to "set the record straight," so did I.
R
  • R
  • August 18, 2008
I had one GM out of 30 that was not happy about the creative, I've never seen an effective campaign that everybody likes. That said, he hasn't complained at all about the uptick in contacts and sales off the site. As far as insulting the client base goes, I think we can gather quite a bit of info on that just by looking at the number of posts this topic has received relative to the one discussing our ad creative. The "clients" seem to be much more insulted by your sales tactics.

I'm going to throw in for the other rebuttals too. Compete is a great tool, but you've misapplied it. You've got out the 8lb sledge to put the boat in the glass bottle...

Until ATC deals with the spiders and bots that necessitate the "small text" in admanager, it's hard to definitively say what kind of traffic or uniques you are driving. I think the better stat from compete to look at is velocity over the last 45 days. Look at page visits monthly too...Yikes! not a good trend.

http://siteanalytics.compete.com/autotrader.com+cars.com/?metric=uv

The other thing that you already know is that partnership sites play a giant role in this kind of measurement. Add yahoo to the mix and the total searches picture changes pretty quickly.

Not making a sales pitch here, but it's way more than what you've presented.
B
  • B
  • August 18, 2008
While I do agree with alot of the comments regarding vendors in this thread I do have to give kudos to cars.com for the ads.

As a dealer, you can continue to try to hide from the reputation you have or take advantage of it. Cars.com does a great job in these spots embracing the idea of customers expecting to fight for the perceived deal then brushing that idea aside with humor.

I know of 2 dealers in our DMA that are at less than 30% of units sold as same time last year. They spend most every day trying to hide from their reputation.

While some of us if not most might initially feel slighted by the stereotyping, seeing it as a whole provides better insight.

After all, the customer is already thinking this way. Why not let it work for you.
C
  • C
    Cars.com Believer
  • August 18, 2008
Lightnup,

Thank you for your thoughtful comments. It’s nice to be a part of a well authored forum debate. I will let the advertising dollars spent topic die after this post.

I’m certain that you will agree that the readers of this forum are intelligent enough to understand if an AT rep is bragging about spending 70+ million in one year that it seems almost inconceivable that they have spent 100 million in the last 3 months alone. If I were bragging, I would probably brag about the later if it were true.

I also believe that 99.9% of the readers realize that if she meant 100 million she would NOT have said 70+ and let the readers assume the other 30 million (nice try)

Knowing several members of this forum I assure you (after Amy’s post) it would take posting a snapshot of the 2008 AT ad campaign to get anyone to believe they spent the alleged 100 million in the last 3 months (please don’t use Photoshop)

Once again thank you for participating in this debate I always enjoy entering a battle of wits against an unarmed opponent.

A
Just broke 100 posts on this one. I guess I lost the bet.
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  • W
    Wade Whitley
  • November 2, 2008
ATC.com blitz is a joke. The sales guys are sent into the market to do hard sales and are never seen again.. This is a lot of promises with absolutely no follow up. Amongst talking to my dealer 20 groups, there has never been and positive feedback from ATC.com. They also try to sale the highest package which is a waste due to the saturation level and also how their leads and searches are terribly down.. This is obviously not the place to be anymore..
On the otherhand, I have had tremendous growth and positive feedback with my Cars.com sales rep. These are true quality leads and not only that, I can honestly say that Cars.com is a true advertising solution with the rest of my advertising mix.
M
WOW - I have read maybe 50 or more posts during this topic. Alex sure laid the ground work for an interesting debate. I cant believe that AT.com is allowing this AMY to be their spokesperson in this public forum....... $2,300 is a lot of money to list 100% of my used inventory, but AT.com says "it's worth it". I actually like my sales reps and their manager. I used to head up the Mid-Atlantic region for Auto Extra.com I did blitz with my teams because AutoTrader.com was doing it. Sounded like a good idea, then after meeting all of the personalities at these dealerships I realized that if the programs did'nt work out that their job and budget is on the line. So now I am on the other side of the desk. I am the BDC/Internet Manager with a budget. "where do I spend my $" I know that AT.com does'nt like being compared to cars.com but honestly perception is reality. I can list my pre-owned inventory for $500. I also read all of these stats that consumers are viewing 3 or more websites before making a buying decision. It's a tough choice to stoke that signature for something so expensive. Our used cars are typically meant for (buy here pay here). I am struggling between listing my inventory or buying financing leads. The BLITZ team has'nt made it here yet and honestly I would'nt want to work with any other reps, because the ones who have come to see me know our story and our direction. I don't feel like explaining it over and over again. Plus add the other 10 advertisers who call on me a day. I certainly understand everyone's frustration.

I may go back to AT.com one day, but it seems like times have changed and SEO campaigns send more customers to my sites and my page views are up. So I am in my "testing lab" So far so good......

I hope everyone has a good NOVEMBER!!!

Alex, do you anticipate this thread reaching 150?
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  • S
    sellmorecars
  • November 17, 2008
I think what is most important is helping dealers really take a hard look at their budgets and spend it wisely. Partner dealers on Autotrader.com also get paid placement on Google. I have sat with dealers and Googled their name and we are higher on the page. Just and FYI. I don't think any 1 source is going to be your answer. With ATC and Cars.com you have pretty much covered online (I like to think it is like Bud Light and Miller Light). There are a lot of successful dealers with and without ATC. I think what needs to happen more is a partnership. Unfortunately online vendors have to dig a little deeper into a dealership's inventory to prove if it works. Not like traditional media that spray and prays. Anything targeted whether it be print or online is a good source. You just need a blended mix with the traditional more expensive outlets. At the end of the day, if you don't buy cars people want to drive, advertising isn't going to matter. There are a lot of great reps. The difference is, do they have genuine concern for your business. TO be honest, in some areas where there has been consistent great reps with lwo turnover don't have a cancellation problem. I think the arrogance is a lot less than what it used to be. You still would spend a lot more in traditional media to get the reach you do with online. I am proud to say that none of the dealers on here that are unhappy are in my market. At least not any decision makers. Good luck with your business this year for it will turn around.
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    Tony Weaver
  • November 17, 2008
We have never been blitzed by AT!
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  • J
    Jamie
  • November 19, 2008
Maybe you need a remedial math class "Believer".

"Cars.com avg monthly visitors were 300,000 in 2007
Cars.com avg monthly visitors are over 800,000 in 2008"

Correct me if I'm wrong...didn't Cars.com advertise and promote to their dealers last year that they had 9 million Uniques/month?

FYI...ATC is averaging over 15 Million unique visitors per month in 2008.

Perhaps Cars.com needs to invest that $200 million dollars more wisely!

With all that being said, I also believe that dealers should be on both sites. Let's just report accurate information.
T
I am never coming back to this post!
That cracked me up Tony :) - I don't blame you.
R
We sent a certified letter stating that we were breaking off the relationship between us and AutoTrader. Within a week a lovely young lady from down south made a visit to see why we were ending a long relationship. We stated that we were not getting a return on our investment and we were going in a new direction as with our internet dept. She asked if she can come up with statistics that show the value and come back in one week for a formal meeting. We agreed. Meeting day arrived and she shows up with another sales rep and begins her pitch with no substance at all. They then start to try and upsell us to a more expensive pkg that they believe will increase our sales. Again showing no value! We asked them to come up with a discounted proposal and they agreed. We all made another meeting date that worked for everyone. As we were walking out of the conference room, one sales rep threw at us that they have a new luxury box at the new Yankee Stadium as if that was going to change our minds. Long story short, they never showed to the meeting and sent meaningless emails. We are no longer with AutoTrader.
S
It seems like they try to act as if the dealerships need them more then ever. I know more ex-Autotrader reps that switched to cars.com and are happier. They are as bad to the dealer as they are to their employees. Autotrader needs to step up their game because with so many resources out there, we do not need them at all. We can pay less and get more with other companies. EBay and craigslist do great for dealers.
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  • S
    sellmorecars
  • December 24, 2008
Stan your experiences are not every dealers. If you are this upset about how Autotrader.com is treating you why haven't you asked to speak to a manager? Oh...PS, we have reps that came to us crom Cars.com that have said the exact same thing. As an employee I have never been treated wrong. I always think the one's who are treated "bad" are probably not good at their job anyway and are on some kind of warning. Are you an owner?
O
  • O
  • December 26, 2008
The skinny on blitzes...

Top 10 list of things you need to know:

1- They pick the best ACs in the country. Never local to you.
2- They juice them up on that famous ATC Kool Aid
3- They throw cash at them (some make $3,000 to $4000 a day, I'm talking $100 bills)
4- They can discount products up to 80%, makes you wonder how inflated that price is !!!
5- Once they sell you , you will never see them again
6- Your local sales rep gets nothing for the transaction (His service will be bad)
7- They sell you a product you don't need or that doesn't work for you.
8- They receive a list of dealers to target, they know nothing about your store or your needs.
9- This is advertising's equivalent of a flea market or a wholesale auction.
10- They hand you spotlights like candy, some dealers get 100 or more per purchase !!!
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  • D
    Darth V
  • December 27, 2008
I've heard they've finally done away with the national blitz teams. I guess they realized it was actually costing them more in the long run with the cancellation rates after 3 mos than the temporary revenue fix they were using them for. If they had any common sense they would just allow the local reps to discount the products the way the blitz teams have in the past and actually see better retention, but I wouldn't hold my breath on any common sense decisions like this coming from ATC.
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  • S
    sellmorecars
  • December 28, 2008
Darth FYI we do discount in local markets. They only "blitz" the big cities and no they aren't doing it anymore simply because the company is at its maturing point. There is more common sense out there than you think. Ob1 3-4k a day isn't accurate. It's more like 1k-2k a week and that's toward the the top producer.
O
  • O
  • January 3, 2009
SellmoreCars, the problem with ATC is that the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing!!!

Sure, not all ACs make big bucks during the blitzes but a lot of them do.

Some DMs and RSMs, hell even RMs brag about their "pet AC's" making the $5,000 a week or the $8,000 cash blitz commission.

Dealers, don't feel bad about these ATC reps, most of them make more money than you !!!

CANCEL CANCEL CANCEL
S
  • S
    sellmorecars
  • January 3, 2009
Obi 1 I would know better than you what goes on, I work there. I love how some dealers think they know so much. It's so comical. Oh and what is an RM? So what if ATC reps "make more"? So do your TV reps, Newspaper Reps, radio reps even Cars.com gets paid the same way. So do you CANCEL CANCEL CANCEL all of those? Just because you aren't making any money must be because you aren't good in sales.
A
  • A
    ATC85%GrossMargin
  • January 3, 2009
Sellmore needs to talk with some of the unfortunate AC's sent out on some hurried regional blitz's where they were lucky to scrap up $500 in a week, hell, they submitted more in expenses than they made in a week. "Picks" what a cash poor joke, the company earned thousands and the regional blitz AC gets thrown a nickel. National blitz team members were being thrown $5,000 just to show up. Regional blitz's were more like a sentence than an opportunity. In this economy they better start "Prayer Blitz's" in order to stave off cancellations and cut backs.
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  • S
    sellmorecars
  • January 4, 2009
It really doesn't matter being the fact that there are no more blitzes anyway. My point is that there are a lot of dealers on this blog (mostly no one with any kind of authority so it really doesn't matter)who really blame us for a great product. Their problem is they get paid off emails which is not what we are about and never have been. If you really look at what we provide, you can't argue the fact that we (as in online in general) are way cheaper than traditional media, but since IM's don't understand the big picture when it comes to traditional advertising the only thing they can speak to is online. You can't pay the same cost for the targeted reach that ATC and Cars.com has. Newspaper for a 1 day ad full color is 7k on their busiest ad day which is typically Saturday. Radio during drive time for a 15 sec spot is $800. TV broadcast late news is $1500 but hold on, you got bonused during the political year lucky you with a spot between 2 negative ad campaigns.....awesome. NONE of this is targeted but thanks for showing us your pretty face on TV. It still didn't make want to buy a car. Between us and Cars.com we are the used car sites for the following:
KBB
Edmunds
NADA Guides
Yahoo Autos
MSN Autos
Univision (for the hispanic folks)
Askpatty (for the female folks)

I think that is enough (that's not all of them) so please do me the favor and hold the Newspaper, TV and Radio reps (oh I forgot those reps only deal with dealer principles not IM's) just as accountable. Cars.com and ATC are targeted advertising for car shoppers. It's valuable. Thankfully our dealers know that in my area because we educate them the right way (we aren't getting cancellations outside of store closings). We have open door policies with every OWNER of our groups and we go above and beyond to be a partner for their business. They DO NOT hold us accountable for their sales because we don't sell cars for anyone, we provide a targeted audience and that is all we do. If I depended on some sales guy's closing ratio I would be out of a job (80/20 rule). If a dealer told me I had to depend on their sales staff to close a deal, then we don't sign them up. If you want to do something different in 2009 realize people don't "shop" online, they "research" online. If you ask the right questions and know where we and Cars.com feed to you would fully understand what we are about. These conversations are much easier for us with OWNERS which is why we make the difference. If you think our company is losing money ask your traditional media reps how they are right now.
O
  • O
    OFH
  • January 5, 2009
sellmorecars,

This is your boss, git back to werk dammit.

Your sales are in the toilet and it's all your fault. How many times do I have to tell you about this DealerReefer blog stuff? These Reefer's are to be considered a hostile group and all you do is preach to them out of our sales manual.

Sellmorecars, you can't make any money sitting on your a** typing. Git out there and make us some sales.

And remember...
When your dealers whine, refer to your AT sales manual that I wrote back in 01 and don't deviate from it. I'd also appreciate it of you'd not put my awesome word-tracks on this no good communist Reefer blog. These are my powerful marketing tracks and we don't want those evil bastards at Cars.com getting a hold of these custom ideas of mine.

Oh, BTW, you don't have to tell me, I know the word-tracks are out dated. Yea, I know 99% of newspapers are worse off financially than our car dealers already are. Yes, I heard that even the NY Times is about to file for bankruptcy. We just need a new spin to make our nit-wit dealers see the light.

I need help creating a spin, but I can't find it. I’ve read where studies show Newspaper ad rates are so over priced that they need to mark down ad rates 80% to make them viable. WE DONT WANT THAT TO HAPPEN. You see, we base our AT pricing model and establish our AT value on newsprints bloated rate card. I just don’t what to do! Newsprint is a FAILED BUSINESS MODEL that we use as a corner stone to justify our value.

I need a new spin on this, write me if you get one...

Your favorite myopic manager,
OFH
(Old, Fat and Happy)
B
  • B
    Bubble Breaker
  • January 19, 2009
Cars.com Believer wrote: That’s what the 200 million in advertising has generated.

Why are there disclaimers that go with this claim? It is because cars.com is including the ad dollars that their partners are spending also. WHO DOES THAT?? That is as cheesy at the newspapers coming up with a 'readership' # instead of circulation. Tsk tsk tsk. Just tell the truth cars.com. You have a good product. Leave it at that.

sellmorecars: AutoTrader.com does not provide the Yahoo listings. Cars.com took over that a while back. Autotrader.com gained msn autos and KBB around that same time. A move that proved to be more than wise.
S
  • S
    sellmorecars
  • January 19, 2009
Bubble Braker if you read my post you would have notice I said "between us and cars.com".....ps we have Edmunds new (in certain markets) as well as used. They are both beneficial.
R
  • R
  • January 19, 2009
Bubblebreaker,

Love your name by the way. I don't think that we are trying to fool anyone, I'm sorry that you feel that way. One of the great things about cars.com is the amount of partnerships that we have. I can't find the exact quote at the moment, but even the illustrious Mr. Kershner pointed that strength out in a post a few months ago. We can't be everything to everybody, but we can get our dealer partner's inventory in front of a huge cross section by forming partnerships and exclusively supplying their classified content. It is a great product.

Quick clarification though, the $200 million spend is citing Cars.com specific branding. Sure it may be on the back of one of the Tribune or Belo properties, but it goes to building the cars.com brand. It really is no different than Chevrolet calculating a cumulative spend for tier 1 and 2 spend and local dealer marketing. The Chevrolet brand is being elevated. Hope that helps you feel better about those numbers.
M
Oh, how true, I used to be a staunch supporter of ATC, in fact, I made it an employment requirement for my store to advertise with them before I signed on, not only are they way overpriced, but to cap the photo's at 9 for a "Featured Plus" package, is totally ridiculous, and quite frankly, I love comparing their competition for the same type ad package with unlimited photo's and many other difference's that don't add up, and yes, I have experienced their "Blitz" 3 times over the last 18 months. Love my rep, but business is business, and they are pricing themselves out of my market, too bad!!
D
to Brian in ETown


Get me down for 10 dimes on the over (lol)


Think you&#039;ve been blitzed before?


Now they picked up VAuto and have another product too pitch- they will burn down your phone lines bro!
J
  • J
    JR
  • September 20, 2010
Mike,


That&#039;s funny...ATC hasn&#039;t performed ANY blitzes in the past 18 months. The blitzes were eliminated almost 2 years ago!
J