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Interview with Experian & Amy Hughes: Customer Acquisition after a Pandemic

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The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated preexisting digital retail trends in the auto industry, and focusing on creating a clear digital retailing & customer acquisition strategy is essential for success.  Gone are the days of every car buyer walking through your dealership's lot. Today, car buyers are making decisions faster and spending less time shopping around. A surge in online tools has helped auto dealerships access key data pertaining to the customer buyer journey, giving dealerships the edge to influence a potential car buyer before they make their final decision.  The Dealer Marketing Magazine team met with Amy Hughes, Sr. Director of Dealer Intelligence at Experian, to chat about how auto dealerships can prepare for success and how to leverage data for marketing success.  After the turbulent 2020 the automotive industry has endured, the industry remains fragile. As the pandemic's effects start to dwindle and recovery is in progress, how can auto dealers ensure they're prepared for 2021, no matter what comes? Within the last 12 years, the automotive industry has weathered two major downturns — first the Great Recession, then COVID-19. While the industry has remained resilient in both cases, we know dealers are looking for ways to continue to navigate the current recovery and better prepare for the future. The answer is data. Staying close to data can help dealers stay on top of rapidly changing trends and respond accordingly.  With more time and data, there is more opportunity for optimization and to outperform any human. With so many kinds of data available these days, what types of data can dealers use to anticipate changes in the dealer market better?  Many auto dealers look at vehicle registration trends, but we've found that those trends can be even more informative when you layer in economic data. This can help dealers identify patterns and be agile in their planning. To that end, we recently introduced Experian Automotive Market Insights, which is a free dashboard that features numerous data points designed to help dealers be more strategic in their decision making as the industry continues to move toward recovery.  For example, a rise in unemployment typically precedes a drop in registrations by one month, as seen in the March – April 2020 time frame. If dealers begin to see a rise in unemployment, they can take steps to mitigate or minimize that dip, through things like incentive packages, special offers, etc. You can also look at indicators such as consumer sentiment, gas prices, interest rates, and more.  Experian Automotive Insights Dashboard That is very useful from a strategic perspective. How should dealerships leverage data when it comes to implementing tactics?  Dealers should start by looking for new opportunities around their store. Usually, this means going beyond the data within a dealership's CRM database, which can open the door to new customer acquisition opportunities. For example, the new Experian Automotive Market Insights dashboard highlights how many consumers are coming into positive equity or coming off lease at the state level, which can help auto dealers and OEMs understand how much opportunity is within their state.  Besides data being a key component to new customer acquisition opportunities, what are other ways that data can help improve marketing efforts?  At the end of the day, it's vital to know who your customer is, and what their priorities are. Layering in additional data points beyond the high-level economic trends can help dealers achieve this. For instance, on a national level, a recent Experian study found that millennials and Gen Z are the only age groups seeing growth in vehicle registrations. Millennials and Gen Z consumers comprised 32.83% of new vehicle registrations in 2020. Equipped with that knowledge, dealers can then take a closer look at what and how these groups like to buy and let that inform marketing strategies. For instance, Gen Z is more likely to finance a vehicle than millennials. Dealers can then tailor messages to each group accordingly, which are more likely to resonate that typical mass-mailings.  While the examples I just gave are at the national level, we always suggest that dealers look at local versions of these metrics, so they can see the nuances in their surrounding area and plan accordingly.  If a dealership is interested in learning more about how to apply data to their own marketing strategies, what do you suggest?  Data is a powerful tool that will continue to drive the auto industry toward recovery, and we want to help dealers as much as we can. In addition to the data readily available on the Experian Automotive Market Insights dashboard, dealers can also request custom insights. These insights will help dealers understand how data can be applied on their local level to better uncover opportunities near their dealership. For more information, visit  Experian Automotive Market Insights . 
An Automotive Service Center Marketing Secret Using Google Reviews

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Some forecasts project new vehicle sales in 2020 to be down 20% or more this year due to the COVID Pandemic . So while doing everything you can to maximize vehicle sales is critical, is there an opportunity to increase the revenue in your service center to offset some of this? I see more digital marketing solutions (and agencies) with specific strategies to market your service center. However, one strategy that is often overlooked is how service reviews can fit into that marketing strategy. This strategy is not just a means to promote how great your service department is, but rather a tool to drive more web traffic and leads to your Service center. It really hit home when you conduct a Google search for auto-related services – oil change, brakes, tires, etc. you will notice that franchise auto dealers are not the usual suspects to display.  It is the Jiffy Lube and Pep Boys of the world that are on the top of the search results. Some of this is a function of how you built your website and SEO .  Focus on the Content If you want more traffic to your Service Center pages, step one is to invest more in the content on your website promoting those services. Also, skip scanning in your coupons if you still go that route as those images will never index well on Google.  Develop a Focused Google Listing The extra step to consider to aid in driving traffic to this web content is to create a separate Google listing just for the Service Center. Many have seen this happening already. Either a dealership in your market has proactively created multiple GMB (Google My Business) listings for their different business units, or Google has done it for them.  One issue to note is that the appearance of an additional listing does not always appear obvious, and searching "Dealer Name Service Center" is not guaranteed to display the listing. The best way to check is to go to Google Maps, search for your location, and zoom way in. The multiple listings will then display, and you should claim the listing if you haven't already.  An example here is it is common when searching for a FCA dealer to see a second GMB location for "Mopar Express Lane" that is unclaimed, and you should claim and change the name to include your dealership. There are several advantages to having two separate listings for your dealership (assuming Sales and Service, but you could also have listings for Parts or Collision/Body Shop). Make It Easy to Do Business As with any digital marketing, one key to success is to make it easy for customers to do business with you. Separate listings can aid here, assuming you make them easy to find. Common goals of going to a Google page for a business is to find an address, phone number, hours, or have a look at what past customers have to say. Most dealerships have different hours and phone numbers for Sales and Service, and by providing separate listings, the customer gets the best information right from the start.  Consumers interested in auto repairs will also be most interested in other customers' repair experiences with you. Someone's experience in purchasing a new vehicle is much less relevant if they want an oil change, tires, or brakes. A separate listing for your Service Center makes all of this easier for your customers. What and How Much Is Said Matters When it comes to SEO on Google and even running PPC (Paid Per Click) ads on Google, the reviews for a business have a significant impact. Google has said that review count and review scores are factored into local search ranking; therefore the more reviews and positive ratings, the better your dealership's local ranking will be.  In a study on 2018 Local Ranking Factors: Reviews accounted for 15.44% of how Google ranks a local business. Keep in mind that Google is not focusing solely on review count, so the best practice is to set goals for 1) Average Rating, 2) Review Quantity and 3) Recency of Reviews. Number three means you can't sit back and relax once you hit a specific milestone.  Reviews have a similar impact on your PPC (Paid Per Click) campaigns. Your rating on Google impacts your quality score too, which affects the cost per click you pay on Adwords. There have been multiple studies showing that higher review scores get better click-through rates on ads. The result is that better reviews will save you on ad spend. If you have a review invite process in place, adjust so that reviews written by sales-related customers push to the main GMB (Google My Business) page and service-related customer reviews are directed to the Service GMB page. Check Your Stats As a final thought before driving all service customers to a new GMB page, make sure your main GMB listing has a robust and competitive rating and review count. Service customers provide volume for review invites that might be needed to improve the primary listing. The big takeaway here is that if you want to make growing Service revenue a priority in 2020, then giving that department its own GMB page and actively generating reviews for that page will increase your web traffic at a lower cost. With a web site built to convert Service leads this will be a key to accomplish that goal. 
Automotive Marketers More Likely to Integrate Online and Offline Promotions Compared to Other Retail Sectors

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New York, NY — September 22, 2018 — Two-thirds of automotive marketers are highly familiar with using location data to measure the lift of store visitations, and more than half are highly familiar with using footfall trends to understand their visits versus those of competitors, according to a new whitepaper “Navigating Location Intelligence: Critical Impacts for Automotive Marketers.” The findings, examining the state of location data in the automotive industry, are part of a larger study commissioned by location intelligence leader Cuebiq and conducted by information technology research and advisory firm 451 Research. The report is based on primary research survey data through the lens of the “on the ground” experience and opinions of respondents who are responsible for marketing or CRM efforts in the automotive, retail, quick-service restaurants and banking industries. When assessing potential use cases for location data, automotive marketers are most likely to leverage it to plan social media ad campaigns (76%) and measure the impact of marketing on visits to dealerships (71%). 68% are looking to utilize location data to tailor promotions to driving patterns, plan digital ad campaigns, and gain competitive intelligence based on dealership visitation. In fact, 84% expect the role of competitive intelligence in their marketing strategies to increase over the next two years. “Aggregated trends derived from anonymous location data help unify the customer journey in the digital and physical worlds, so automotive companies can increase engagement, boost revenue, and gain a leg up on competitors. Furthermore, auto marketers can incorporate real-world insights into their messaging in order to better reach and resonate with the right potential buyer,” says Antonio Tomarchio, CEO of Cuebiq. “For purchases that are as personal, expensive and long-term as a car, the ability to identify strategies that impact brand loyalty is essential.” While automotive and traditional retail both face the hurdle of getting customers to travel to a physical location to make a sale, prospective car buyers tend to do a bit more cross-shopping for cars than they do for other goods. As one of the most expensive and complex purchases the average consumer will make, getting a customer onto the dealer lot is of paramount importance for a sale. Moreover, losing a sale to another dealer has lifelong customer-value ramifications. There are key differences for automotive marketers from their peers in other verticals: They are most sensitive to the moves their competitors are making out of all sectors surveyed — 58% cited ‘pressure from competitors’ as a driver, 12 percentage points higher than their counterparts. 61% of automotive marketers are much more likely to cite the need ‘to integrate online and offline promotions’, compared to 44% of the respondents overall. They are also significantly more likely to be sending promotions when customers enter a geofence (52% automotive, compared to 29% in other retail segments). Automotive marketers are self-reportedly more “mature” when it comes to creating marketing campaigns that connect online and offline behavior (42%) and prioritized it more than other verticals surveyed. Cuebiq commissioned the report with 451 Research to better understand the needs of marketers from various sectors as it relates to location-based data. Cuebiq’s proprietary methodology enables anonymous collection of location data and analysis of aggregated offline trends, helping marketers with brick and mortar sites better understand the offline consumer journey, analyze location performance, and measure marketing activation effectiveness. Cuebiq is also GDPR compliant, providing partner apps with a turnkey solution to protect users’ information, as well as systems for improved consent and opt-out management, including a proprietary app that provides users with an additional way to exercise their privacy rights. A copy of the white paper can be downloaded here . About Cuebiq Cuebiq is a leading location intelligence and consumer insights company leveraging the largest database of accurate and precise location data in the U.S. Its data intelligence platform analyzes anonymous location patterns to allow businesses to glean actionable insights and better understand the offline consumer journey. Cuebiq’s SaaS platform provides clients offline location analytics, real-time campaign optimization and footfall attribution, as well as geo-behavioral audiences for cross-platform ad targeting. Cuebiq is headquartered in New York with offices in San Francisco, Chicago, Italy, and China. Cuebiq has also been a leader in utilizing data and insights in the service of a variety of causes. Through its “Data for Good” initiative, the company shares its location insights with researchers at top universities and nonprofit organizations to drive innovation for causes such as improving quality of life in underserved communities, natural disaster response, and smart city development. To learn more about Cuebiq, please visit www.cuebiq.com Media Contact Evelyn Swiderski, Vice President, Daddi Brand Communications,  646-370-4750 (o) ,  917-533-2396 (m) ,  ESwiderski@daddibrand.com ,  www.daddibrand.com
Client Command Announces Issuance of U.S. Patent for Marketing Technology Platform

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Cumming, GA — September 19, 2018 — Client Command, an automotive marketing technology company focused on engaging Active Shoppers™, today announced that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued U.S. Patent 10,078,844 covering its marketing technology platform. Client Command’s proprietary technology matches online car shopping activity with offline identity data and where applicable and permissible, triggers relevant messages based on that data. The current industry standard of automotive marketing technology is hyper-focused on leveraging a dealer’s existing database to forecast and predict buying behavior for marketing purposes. In today’s online world, shopping activity takes place anonymously, limiting a dealer’s ability to know who exactly is shopping and how intensely. Most innovation within the industry helps dealerships more efficiently and effectively market to previous customers. Dealers face a significant void when it comes to engaging shoppers outside their database. The patent covers Client Command’s technology and its ability to connect dealers to Active Shoppers who have no prior relationship to that dealership. With this patent, Client Command is positioned as the only entity able to leverage online shopping data to engage both previous customers in a dealer’s database and individuals with whom they hold no first-party data relationship. “In the automotive industry, the first-party data relationship is weak” says Greg Geodakyan, Chief Product Officer. “In eCommerce, banking, hospitality, and other industries, consumers build relationships with brands on a continual basis. Consumers set up accounts, log inconsistently and are shopping or seeking a brand’s service on a weekly, monthly, or even yearly basis. Automotive is different — purchases happen every four to five years, consumers are considering ALL options, regardless of where they have received service in the past. Dealers need an innovative approach.” The recently issued patent not only covers the ability to match actual shoppers to online shopping behavior, but also the platform’s ability to send marketing messages, where applicable, to those matches. This advance in technology provides intelligence and automation that helps dealers be more efficient and effective with their marketing and expand their reach to Active Shoppers in their entire market, not just their database. “In a rapidly-changing and ultra-competitive market for a shrinking number of car buyers, dealerships must stay ahead of the curve in how they engage shoppers and evolve their experience,” says Geodakyan. “With the issuance of this patent, Client Command continues to push the industry forward in technology and innovation to help dealers compete in today’s market.” About Client Command Client Command is the automotive industry leader for knowing and engaging the Active Shopper. The company’s patented AI-powered technology delivers the most precise audience identification, matching real-time online shopping behavior with Active Shopper identity. Client Command’s ability to know more about consumers fuels personalized marketing solutions with a proven track record of increasing a dealership’s ability to conquest new and retain existing customers. For more information, visit clientcommand.com . Media Contact Jennifer Scholle, Director of Communications, 678-831-8146, jennifers@clientcommand.com
Affinitiv Completes Acquisition to Create a Full-Service Automotive Marketing Platform

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Chicago — September 17, 2018 — Affinitiv announced today the strategic acquisition of Caldwell & Kerr Enterprises . Affinitiv, an industry-leading provider of customized, omni-channel owner retention programs and innovative service lane software solutions, will combine with Caldwell & Kerr Enterprises, experts in digital and new media (audio/video) marketing, to provide the automotive industry with comprehensive solutions for each stage of the customer life cycle. “This is an exciting opportunity. We realized the value we could add to our clients after a successful joint project earlier this year. Given the increasing demand for digital marketing and new media creative solutions, it is no surprise they’ve grown significantly over the past few years. This acquisition truly makes us the marketing authority for all marketing spend within a dealership,” commented Affinitiv COO, Adam Meier. Affinitiv offers automotive OEM, dealer groups and individual dealerships a complete view of customers: from market entry to point-of-sale, their first service appointment to major maintenance needs and beyond. Caldwell & Kerr Enterprises partner, Paul Caldwell stated, “I've always known that our company had the potential to lead the automotive marketing industry, and I could see we needed the right partner to get us there. Affinitiv makes this a certainty with their breadth of client relationships and complementary solutions.” Ensuring a true end-to-end marketing option for dealerships nationwide, the combined company will pair consultative planning with its unique digital, data and omni-channel marketing capabilities. This data-driven and consultative approach ensure that the most effective, accurately targeted omni-channel strategies are implemented, with an acute focus on specific client objectives. “Our new amplified capabilities will help our clients extend their digital reach, better connect with new and existing customers, plus enjoy stronger campaign results than ever before,” said Scot Eisenfelder, CEO of Affinitiv. “We’re thrilled to have yet another way to enhance our client’s marketing initiatives.” Caldwell & Kerr Enterprises is also pleased to provide its employees with more growth and development opportunities through Affinitiv. Tom Kerr, Caldwell & Kerr Enterprises partner commented, “Joining a service marketing powerhouse like Affinitiv will open many doors for our team members and we are excited to share these opportunities with our talented, dedicated, hard-working staff.” About Affinitiv Affinitiv is a leading marketing technology company serving automotive manufacturers (OEMs), dealership groups, and individual dealers. Affinitiv’s Connectiv1 Platform is designed to provide a 360° view of customer, vehicle, dealership and marketing campaign effectiveness all in one place. It makes it easy for auto dealerships to leverage data and target customers with the right message at the right time on the right communication channel. Affinitiv enables dealerships to produce, manage, measure and optimize omni-channel communications to drive brand loyalty and increase revenue. Affinitiv’s digital and analytic capabilities support a consistent customer experience through the entire ownership life cycle. Affinitiv was formed in 2016 and is headquartered in Chicago, IL. About Caldwell & Kerr Enterprises, an Affinitiv Company Caldwell & Kerr Enterprises is the automotive retail industry's leading provider of traditional and digital marketing. The company was launched in 2017 to unify the power and resources of CK Advertising, Ember Social and DyGen Digital. Today, Caldwell & Kerr Enterprises is one of the nation’s largest full-service automotive retail marketing companies. Current dealership clients represent the vast majority of vehicle manufacturers, including some of the largest publicly traded dealer groups and numerous Automotive News Top 125 Dealer Groups. In 2018, the agency formed a strategic partnership with Affinitiv to become the automotive industry’s one-stop-shop for comprehensive marketing throughout the customer life cycle. Media Contact Holly Forsberg, Carter West PR,  www.carterwestpr.com , 602-680-8960
Curaytor Announces Platform Expansion to Modernize Small Business Digital Marketing and Replace Customer Relationship Management Systems

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Orlando — September 10, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Curaytor , a full-service digital marketing company that helps small businesses grow, today announces the expansion of its platform with new technology and tools: Convert and CAB (Create, Advertise, Blast). Small business owners no longer need to rely on outdated customer relationship management systems (CRMs) or other third-party tools, Curaytor will generate and convert leads through successful Facebook ads and effective marketing emails.Together, Brain (announced earlier this year), Convert, and CAB comprise Curaytor’s seamless platform to make digital marketing and sales easier for small businesses with limited resources. Individually, each tool serves a unique purpose in assisting businesses with generating leads, closing sales and increasing profit. Brain Turns small business owners into instant digital marketing experts with a a searchable and sortable (by results) database with more than 130,000 successful Facebook ads and 27,000 emails. Brain creates a unique community of shared digital marketing content that allows each client to see every email and Facebook ad run by every Curaytor client. This means clients can search Facebook ads by keywords, budget and results to learn from top performing ads in order to create targeted content that will maximize leads and generate sales. Convert Connects to a user’s existing CRM to focus on the leads that are most likely to convert to sales in an engaging, easy-to-use platform, eliminating the need for salespeople to access unwieldy CRM systems. Convert shows who’s reading particular content and how engaged they are in real time, ranking each lead on a points system based on each interaction with the brand. It also allows salespeople to open each lead’s information card within the Convert platform to easily access information such as the source of the lead, number of days in the database, and more. Salespeople are able to follow leads and receive alerts about everything they do within the company’s website, making following up with leads a simple, engaging process. CAB (Create, Advertise, Blast) Allows marketers to quickly and seamlessly create Facebook ads and marketing emails straight from the content already published on their company’s websites. With CAB, marketers can go straight to a page within the website, type in Curaytor’s unique URL and the Facebook ad page will instantly appear with built-in suggestions to best amplify each particular message – i.e. targeting, budget, duration and ad copy. Once the ad is created, it will automatically create the email blast, writing the copy and allowing users to choose lists that are already in the system to distribute.“CRM systems have been around for more than 20 years, and it just isn’t enough to convert leads anymore. We saw a need for a conversion manager, rather than a customer relationship manager, which is the genesis for Convert,” said Chris Smith, CEO and Co-Founder of Curaytor. “We also understand that small business owners without a dedicated marketing team need a way to create Facebook ads and marketing emails quickly, and we’re confident they’ll find the process to be painless with CAB – especially since all the content being pulled from Brain has proven success and high engagement rates. Using the technology and tools behind Curaytor, small business owners can grow their businesses faster as they generate and create more leads through our simplified digital marketing platform.”Curaytor is a uniquely exclusive marketing platform, offering a limited number of licenses available per area with 96 percent of its sold-out markets never becoming available again. To learn more about Curaytor, visit www.curaytor.com . About Curaytor Curaytor, a full-service digital marketing company helps clients become successful with an online system that delivers content creation, custom websites, and lead generation. With offices in both Orlando and Boston, Curaytor helps over 800 companies grow their digital footprint. Curaytor takes the guesswork out of digital marketing with its team of millennials and free coaching sessions which help to create content that drives leads. With 95% of customers rating Curaytor a 10 out of 10, Curaytor promises to deliver help, not hype. Media Contact Janie Elderdice, Uproar PR for Curaytor, 321-236-0102, jelderdice@uproarpr.com