With sales trending up over the last few months, dealers were scouring the convention floor for the latest technologies and partners to help them continue their sales growth. This year, as in past years, themes emerged. This year’s overriding themes were Mobile and Apps.
With the use of smart phones and tablets growing for both consumers and in the dealership, it’s obvious why mobile and apps are a fantastic opportunity for dealers to connect with consumers and build relationships, but you need more than that to grow your dealership. Fortunately the convention floor was brimming with booths and vendors looking to help your dealership succeed.
There was a lot to see at NADA 2012; too much to list here, but there were a few vendors that I thought stuck out as I walked the convention floor.
AVA, the Automated Virtual Assistant
One of the most impressive technologies I saw at NADA this year was AVA, the Automated Virtual Assistant, a new kind of artificial intelligence. In a perfect world, every salesperson would pursue every lead, until they buy or die, but unfortunately, in the real world, that rarely happens. All too often, email inquiries from customers are forgotten or mishandled. That’s where artificial intelligence comes in.
AVA, through advanced artificial intelligence, is able to interpret and correctly respond to customer emails until the customer has set an appointment for a phone call or declined—independent of the salesperson. All the salesperson has to do is make the phone call once AVA has notified them that the appointment has been set. It’s that easy and incredibly effective.
With AVA dealers have a customer service representative that is on the job 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And she can not only respond to your new leads, but she can even mine your past leads for potential sales.
If you want to learn more or see how it works, visit www.dealermarketing.com/AVA.
cDemo, Mobile Inspector (Mi)
cDemo is another company that is solving real world problems for dealers: properly merchandizing their vehicles for online listings. To create a proper online listing, every vehicle should have at least 20 photos, video, a list of vehicle specs and condition, and a detailed description, all of which takes time, tools, and training.
cDemo has streamlined online merchandising into an easy to use process with their app called Mobile Inspector (Mi) as the data collection point. Dealers no longer need to have a camera to take photos or to transfer data from paper to device after they’ve taken it down in the lot. With Mi, they only have to deal with one device.
Mi provides the user with simple, on-screen, step-by-step instructions that show users how to properly merchandise the vehicle, with little training. This results in consistent, effective listings for all your vehicles, regardless of who merchandised the vehicle.
If you would like to learn more about cDemo and Mobile Inspector (Mi) visit www.cDemo.com.
Dealer eProcess has been racking up the auto dealership website awards recently. Their wins include:
· Highest Award—AWA Search Marketing Category
· Technology Award—AWA Fixed Ops Revenue, Virtual Service Consultant
· Most Leads Per Inventory Page Views—Dataium
· Most Leads Per Vehicle Details Page Views (VDP’s)—Dataium
Add to those the five awards they won from Drivingsales.com on February third and you have one of the most highly regarded online marketing companies in the auto industry. Simply put, if you want a great online presence, Dealer eProcess can help.
Dealer eProcess has many tools that you can use, including custom websites, mobile websites, live chat, online repair scheduling, facebook management, and much more. If you want to see an example of one of their sites or see what other tools they have, visit www.dealereprocess.com.
PCG Digital Marketing
The Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT), is a concept that has been gaining traction in the auto industry. The idea was first introduced to me at the PCG Pit Stop in Seattle, Washington. Since then, I’ve been hearing more and more about it and with good reason. The internet has changed how people shop for cars and the ZMOT can determine whether that customer turns into a sale or if they click away.
PCG Digital Marketing is one of the top digital marketing firms in the US and Canada. Their services and training are unmatched. If you want to not only be found online, but actually turn browsers into sales, PCG Digital Marketing can help. Whether it’s through their training or directly through their full service internet marketing agency, PCG Digital Marketing is the company to talk to. For information on digital marketing services, visit, www.pcgdigitalmarketing.com and for information on education and training, visit www.automotivebootcamp.com.
AutoAlert has an impressive tool for lead generation, with an ingenious way of finding those leads. Previous dealership customers are a dealership’s best source of new sales. They’re less expensive to market to, they’re already comfortable with your dealership, and they have higher profit margins. The difficulty comes in knowing how and when to contact them about a new car. AutoAlert’s software fills that gap.
With their solutions, you’re able to know: which clients can trade in their vehicle for a similar monthly payment, which clients are eligible for factory incentives, which clients will be in your service department, which client’s should be in for service, and a whole host of other qualifying factors that can help you identify exactly the customers you need to contact.
I met Boyd Warner, president and CEO of AutoAlert for the first time at the convention this year. His message for dealers: “It’s our attitude that we need to help these great dealers sell more cars every week and every month, or they need to boot us out of there.”
If you want to learn more about AutoAlert, visit www.AutoAlert.com.
Marketing has become much more complicated over the last decade, increasing the need for accurate data and a scientific approach. DMEautomotive has seen that need and responded with data based approaches. DMEautomotive focuses on four main conversion points: bringing in new customers, bringing new service customers, turning service customers in to repeat customers, and selling to existing customers when they’re ready to buy a new car.
DMEautomotive has even created a dealership branded app, called Driver Connect, for iPhone, iPad, and Android, which allows you to market directly to your customers’ smartphone and tablets, and allows your customers to browse your inventory, immediately schedule service, manage loyalty points, and use cool and useful ownership tools.
If you want to learn more about DMEautomotive or read one of their informative white papers, visit www.dmeautomotive.com.
Dealers United was one of the most innovative and powerful things I saw at NADA this year. Their simple, yet powerful idea is to allow smaller dealerships to work together to increase their purchasing power, so they can compete with the economies of scale of the large dealership groups that are taking over an increasing portion of the auto dealership industry across the country.
How it works is simple. Dealer members identify a specific service they desire and then Dealers United goes to work for them. Then each month Dealers United will research a specific product (CRM, SEO, SEM, websites, DMS, etc) and negotiate the best deal leveraging the buying power of all its members.
If your dealership is being edged out by large dealership groups who are using their buying power to take over your market share, you need to get in touch with Dealers United. Visit their website at www.dealersunited.com.
Digital Air Strike
Digital Air Strike is one of the fastest growing social media and reputation management companies in the automotive industry for a reason. If you need a dedicated team to manage your social media marketing, Digital Air Strike may have what you need. Their solution includes a dedicated team to work directly with your dealership to secure and manage pages, reviews, and conversations to improve engagement, clicks, leads and sales.
Their solution has over 50 social media sites and they can protect and enhance a dealerships reputation by responding to reviews and engaging customers and prospects on forums, blogs, review sites, and other social media. Not only that, but they have the industry’s most successful program to help dealers grow their reputation with new, positive reviews. Visit www.digitalairstrike.com learn more about them.
SocialDealer was founded in 2008 by automotive industry professionals that were looking for a new way to market to customers. Their goal is to create innovative solutions for dealers to help them connect with their customers through social media.
What they’ve come up with is a system that connects dealers with their customers where they already are: facebook, twitter, YouTube, etc. Through their tools not only are you able to connect with customers online, but their campaign management and analytics tools allow you to see how your campaign is progressing and change it accordingly.
They have the kind of tools a dealership needs to run a successful 21st century social media campaign. Please visit www.socialdealer.com to learn more.
There were so many more booths I wanted to squeeze in here, but I need to leave room for our other writers. If you have any comments or want to hear more about my thoughts on NADA 2012, email me at [email protected] and of course visit www.dealermarketing.com for the latest tips and how-tos on auto dealership marketing.0