The Best of NADA 2014

The 2014 National Automobile Dealers Association Convention is in the history books. Fortunately my new comfortable shoes held up through all the walking (note to self: next year bring a pedometer!) and after several cancelled flights and too many hours in airports, we’re back under the comforting clouds of the Pacific Northwest.

The weather may have been unseasonably cold in New Orleans, but it there were a lot of hot news to find on the convention floor. There were new ideas and new technologies; there were new dealers and new vendors; but most of all there was a gathering of auto industry experts all working towards the same goal: connecting consumers to help them find the vehicles they need.

The convention floor was hopping this year. Vendors new and old were showing off their latest technologies and wooing dealers into their booths. The Dealer Marketing Magazine team split up and hit the floor to investigate as many of the booths as possible so we could bring you the best of NADA 2014! With over 560 booths on the convention floor, it was a lot of walking, but we’ve assembled a list of what we think are the hottest new technologies and ideas from the show. If your favorite technology didn’t make the list, there’s still time to submit it the 2014 Technology Leadership Awards, just visit www.TechnologyLeadershipAwards.com and submit your nomination.

Our focus with our magazine and our website, www.DealerMarketing.com, is to show dealerships how they can better marketing their dealerships and service departments to sell more vehicles, so we focused on technologies that will help dealerships do just that.

Dealership for Life is the leading provider and administrator of customer retention programs in the United States. They specialize in branding dealers as unique in their market place. This includes a variety of programs for the dealer to choose from, including lifetime guarantees, reward cards prepaid maintenance programs for both the F&I department and the service drive, email marketing, phone apps and a personalized websites for customers to check their points and service history. They also feature a graphics program that manages the look and feel of the program across all departments. Combine this with a monthly in house training program and no one keeps your customer from defecting better.

Jack Garrity

Dealership for Life

www.DealerMarketing.com/DealershipForLife

AutoAlert

One of the biggest trends at the convention was “big data;” actually it is one of the hottest trends in almost every industry right now. The information already available in your dealership is an invaluable resource to help you grow your sales and find consumers that are ready to buy, if you know what to look for.

With technology from AutoAlert, dealers are able to sort through that data and anticipate consumer needs and leverage your information to find new customers. Their tools will help you identify when a customer can lower their payments and purchase or lease a new vehicle, identify client’s that are reaching the end of their lease terms, find client’s who are in danger of going over the mileage limit on their lease, and discover customers who’s warranties are about to expire. All of these are golden opportunities for sales, because you are solving a problem for the customer, not just selling them a vehicle.

To learn more about AutoAlert, visit www.AutoAlert.com.

AVA the Automated Virtual Assistant

We all know that we are supposed to follow a lead until they buy or die, but in the real world that’s often not what happens. Salespeople tend to chase the newest and hottest leads and forget about the ones that called a few days ago, it’s just human nature. AVA, however, is different; she is an artificial intelligence program that contacts all of your leads and sticks with them until they schedule a phone call with one of your sales team.

No matter what point the customer is in, in their purchase lifecycle, AVA will contact them with appropriate messages to get them on the phone and in the dealership—she really does follow until they buy or die. The technology used is unbelievable, Turing would be proud! To learn more or request a demo, visit www.DealerMarketing.com/AVA.

Contact At Once!

The way that people communicate is changing. Sure, we still call mom sometimes, but more often we just text, email, or send her a message with online chat. It’s the same in the automotive world, but many dealerships still push their customers to call or come into the dealership. In our real-time, instant gratification world of the twenty-first century customers expect more.

Today’s car shoppers want to be able to click a button and have their questions answered, they don’t want to wade through a press one to talk to a sales person. Online chat bridges this gap. Contact At Once!’s chat tool allows you to communicate with customers the way they want. All they have to do is click “chat now” on your website, in your banner ad, or on your classified listing and they’ll be put in touch with your dealership instantly—just the way they want.

autoWALL—Owner Loyalty & Reputation Rating Dominator—is a patent-pending Interactive Customer Community that:

  • Boosts visitors, leads, repair orders, and vehicle sales
  • Proactively “controls” reputation management
  • Is optimized for search (SEO)
  • Is responsive (adapts seamlessly to PC & mobile)
  • Uses “Zend with PHP” technology
  • Offers Top Tier customer service

The best of social community, private-messaging, reputation management, dealer website, and customer relationship management tools, it delivers results: repair orders, sales, and leads all up 30%, & unique visitors up 82%.

autoWALL®. Dominate online reputation, owner loyalty, & drive results like nothing else.

www.DealerMarketing.com/autoWALL

To learn more about online chat and why you need it at your dealership, visit www.ContactAtOnce.com.

Car-Bio

Dealerships used to be the go-to resource for consumers looking to find out about vehicles. Whether it was new or used, customers had to go to the dealership. Then that all changed, because internet. And we all know what happened next: armed with a wealth of information on any vehicle that may interest them at their fingertips, consumers do their research and shopping online and don’t come to the dealership until they’re ready for a test drive.

As a dealer, this can be very frustrating, but you can’t put the genie back in the bottle. With used vehicles this can be especially difficult, because no two used cars are the same. So, if you can’t be the trusted resource on the brand you sell, be the trusted resource about the actual vehicles you’re selling.

Car-Bio helps you do just that. Their sales tool creates a custom bound book and digital guide to each specific vehicle you sell, including a full color cover page with a summary of the actual vehicle and dealership contact info, CPO insert, thorough trade review, owner reviews, CarFax™ or AutoCheck™ history reports, specific information about your dealership, and an introduction to your service department with coupons. With these books, you can become a resource for your customers again. After all, they may be able to find out about the 2006 Honda Civic online, but they can’t find out what the previous owner of the 2006 Honda Civic on your lot thought of her car or what you found out in the trade review; this is information only you can give them.

To find out more about Car-Bio, visit www.Car-Bio.net.

Car-Mercial

I don’t need to mention how video is taking over the internet, it’s already happened. Google (and the other search engines) rank video higher than other content. Google doesn’t care about video, they rank it higher, because that is what users want to see and it’s their business to find what their users are looking for. When it comes to vehicle shopping, it’s no different; consumers want video. They would much rather watch a test-drive or walk-around video of the vehicle they’re interested in than scroll through a ream of online photos and read a block of text.

That consumers love online video is hardly a secret and dealerships around the country are catching on. So, if you want your videos to dominate page one on the search engines, you need a partner that has a deep understanding of search criteria and how to consistently optimize your content and their platform. Car-Mercial is the kind of video experts you need. Their technology even goes beyond video search engine optimization and includes the largest online display advertising network and a social tool to help you retain the customers that find your dealership.

To learn more about Car-Merical, visit www.Car-Mercial.com.

DealerSocket

The CRM system is the backbone of any dealership and after receiving multiple awards at NADA 2014, including the Driving Sales Dealer Satisfaction Award for “Highest Rated Sales CRM of 2013” and the Driving Sales “Top Rated ILM of 2013” as well as the “2014 Automotive Website Award for CRM Superstar”, you know that DealerSocket is one of the best.

Not satisfied with just being a great CRM program, however, DealerSocket also introduced several new products to help dealers take their CRM and data to the next level, including a mobile service application, Facebook and Twitter integration and General Motors’ Dealer Customer Data Exchange, which allows dealers access to select information from the manufacturer directly within CRM. Just ask any of the dealers who sat in their green chair at the show.

To learn more about DealerSocket, visit www.DealerSocket.com.

TrueCar helps Dealers sell more cars profitably. TrueCar Certified Dealers have sold over 1,000,000 new and used vehicles to users of TrueCar-powered auto sites including USAA, Consumer Reports, AAA and TrueCar.com. TrueCar helps its more than 7000 Dealer partners nationwide significantly reduce their selling, marketing and inventory expenses with above average close rates and fees 50% lower than industry average. TrueCar also provides pricing tools to help Dealers understand their competitiveness relative to the market and make informed pricing and margin decisions based on actual market data.

To learn more visit TrueCar.com/Dealer, email info@truecar.com, or call 866-480-1313.

Digital Air Strike

I have a confession to make, when it comes to social media, I’m way behind the times. I’ll bet a lot of the car dealers out there are in the same boat. They know that they need to be on social media and that it can be an effective sales tool, but they are not sure how to take advantage of these amazing tools. Fortunately for people like us, Digital Air Strike can manage your social media and guide you with training and support to turn your dealership into a “social dealership”.

Digital Air Strike can help you with everything from creation of pages on the 50+ top social media sites (I had no idea there were so many!) to planning, training, reputation management, and even help with your employee social media policy. Of course, anyone can create a social media page, but if you want it to bring sales to your dealership, you need experts like Digital Air Strike.

To learn more about Digital Air Strike, visit www.DigitalAirStrike.com.

DME automotive

The digital world is going mobile and apps are a big part of that transition. For both dealers and consumers, the world of mobile apps opens up many opportunities. From dealership branded apps that provide service coupons and appointment reminders to mobile wallets, apps benefit both the consumer and the dealer. The problem is, unless you’re ready to spend the next six months learning to program apps or higher an expensive developer to help you, it’s difficult to create the kinds of apps that customers will actually download and use.

DME automotive, however, has done the leg work for you. Their dedication to consumer research drives their technology solutions has allowed them to create tools that can be used at your dealership to connect with consumers using the right message, at the right time, and on the right channel—almost like reading the customers’ minds.

To learn more about DME automotive, visit www.DMEAutomotive.com.

PCG Digital Marketing

PCG is an automotive marketing and consulting firm that specializes in digital strategy, staff training and lead management. Unlike the cookie-cutter solutions that dominate the industry, PCG brings a custom approach to each new client relationship to ensure your results are as unique as your brand.

All-new for 2014 is their use of Conductor Searchlight™ reporting, the most advanced SEO reporting available for the automotive industry. Recent changes in Google have prevented digital marketers from being able to report on key metrics due to (not provided). Conductor Searchlight™ allows PCG to continue to measure the success of the SEO campaigns.

Another invaluable tool from PCG is ROI-BOT ™, which is the first and only vendor neutral platform that gives you insights into all of your marketing activities. ROI-BOT ™ consolidates all of your vendor reports into one easy to use executive dashboard. It triggers alerts when Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) fall above/below your goals for any vendor partner. This tool allows dealer principles to get an overview of their entire marketing strategy and results in less than a minute.

To learn more, visit www.PCGDigitalMarketing.com.

J.D. Power

In our industry, information is key to finding new customers and with over 10,000 franchise points participating in their program, J.D. Power’s Power Information Network (PIN) can supply your dealership with the insights it needs to succeed.

Their PowerDealer tool provides details on NEW, USED and F&I performance (pricing, ROI, turn rates, penetration, mapping, and more) that compares your dealership to the market. The best part though, is it’s free! Participating dealer pay nothing to participate and get access to PowerDealer’s standard suite of reports.

To learn more, visit www.PinPowerDealer.com and use the demo ID and password: “pindemo”.

eBay Motors

When consumers want to make a purchase online one of the first stops is eBay. Whether it’s a new coffee maker or a new car eBay is the place to go to find what you’re looking for online. As the number one site in automotive minutes and in automotive page views, eBay Motors enables dealers to reach eBay Marketplaces’ 128 million users worldwide. In Q3 2013 there were 13.7 million unique visitors to eBay Motors (ComScore Q3 2013). eBay Motors also empowers dealers to reach customers in the way they want to shop, including via online and mobile.

To learn more about eBay Motors, visit www.eBay.com/motors.



JumpDrive

Many dealerships provide their service customers with loaner cars as a way to build goodwill with customers. For the most part this works out great: customers don’t have to go without a car and the dealership builds loyalty. There is a hidden cost for dealerships however. The gas gauges are not accurate enough to measure exactly how much fuel is in the tank. This leads many dealerships to round down to the nearest eighth of a tank. For a consumer driving down the road, this isn’t an issue. They just fill up when the tank is low. For dealership loaner fleets, however, it means lost fuel with every returned vehicle as much as $8 – $16 per trip. It may sound small, but even with a fleet of 25 vehicles that adds up to $1500 per month.

With JumpDrive, you just plug their device into the OBD port of the car and it measures fuel consumption to 0.05 of a gallon and wirelessly reports the information to your system through their “JumpDrive Bridge” when the vehicle pulls onto your lot. It’s that easy.

To learn more about JumpDrive, visit www.JumpDrive.com.

Other Great Solutions

I’m sure some of you are reading this and wondering why we didn’t mention some other solutions. If that’s you, let us know on www.DealerMarketing.com/forum or send me an email at michaelb@DealerMarketing.com, I’d love to hear from you!

Michael Bowen

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