October 3, 2019
The 3 Primary Marketing Options
Your marketing message gets the most traction when it’s delivered to places where consumers are already spending their time. In recent years, social media has increasingly become that venue, and the biggest player on that field is, and has been for some time, Facebook.
Not only is Facebook a proven method to connect with in-market vehicle shoppers, it’s also a great place to reconnect with and convert unsold leads.
In this three-part blog series, we’ll be covering:
- The 3 Primary Marketing Options
- What’s New and What’s Changed
- Making the Most of Your Ad Campaigns
First, is your refresher course on what’s available for marketing.
Facebook offers different methods of reaching users, but in general, your options include:
Your Dealership’s Facebook Page
This is the most basic of the options available but still shouldn’t be ignored. By posting on your dealership’s business page, you’ll potentially reach people who have liked and followed your page.
The effectiveness of this option has plummeted in recent years, however. Due to changes in the algorithm Facebook uses to share posts — a new priority to show posts from friends and family, rather than businesses — the estimated organic reach has dropped to between 2% and 6.5%.
Still, people researching your dealership will see your posts once they are on your page, so having a continually updated page — and not one that was started a few years ago and never posted to again — will work in your favor.
While organic reach has dropped for businesses, those willing to pay for exposure have many more options. Facebook offers a variety of tools for marketers to use, both to aim ads at the correct audience (by location area, generation, financial, life interests and other criteria) and to meet various objectives (brand awareness, lead generation, engagement, video views and more).
The company launched Marketplace in 2007 to compete with Craigslist, offering advertising for job openings, houses for sale and other items. Marketplace was closed down between 2014 and 2016, and then reopened with a new focus on buying and selling locally, competing with eBay and NextDoor.
Used car listings soon became a major part of this renewed focus and, in 2017, the company partnered with Cars.com and other third-party marketplaces to list used automobile inventory.
Which of these options are you utilizing?
Stay tuned for part 2, where we’ll discuss What’s New and What’s Changed.
Learn more about Outsell Social.
Speakers to address how to personalize the customer experience and increase engagement
Outsell announced today that it is presenting with customers on a panel at Digital Dealer 27 on the topic “4 Tips to Conquest & Retain More Customers with Personalized, Cross-Channel Marketing,” taking place August 20, 2019 at 10:00 am. The panel will feature speakers Charles Paul, Marketing Director at Scharmach Automotive Group, Chris Mathis, Internet Director at Jackie Cooper Imports and Valerie Vallancourt, Vice President of Marketing at Outsell, who will discuss how dealers can provide personalized experiences across multiple channels.
The customer journey today often includes a variety of devices and channels – and no two customer journeys are the same. Consumers that shop both online and in the dealership have a 30% higher lifetime value than those who shop using only one avenue when searching for a vehicle. Additionally, companies that employ a cross-channel customer engagement strategy retain on average 89% of their customers. It’s imperative for dealers to provide personalized experiences across channels, especially in a slower market. During this panel, attendees will walk away with a better understanding of how to improve customer engagement with new cross channel marketing methods.
Key takeaways that the panelists will share:
- Understand what customer experience means to consumers today and how to personalize the customer experience at scale.
- Learn how to create an omnichannel approach to meet consumers wherever they are in their lifecycle.
- Learn how to orchestrate an end-to-end experience to increase overall customer engagement.
Charles Paul, Marketing Director at Scharmach Automotive Group, Chris Mathis, Internet Director at Jackie Cooper Imports and Valerie Vallancourt, Vice President of Marketing at Outsell
Mandalay Bay J, Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas
Tuesday, August 20 from 10:00-10:50 am
Outsell will also be at booth #841 showcasing the newest enhancements to the Outsell platform. Click here for more details and to sign up for a demo.
To register for Digital Dealer 27 and learn more about the agenda, please visit, https://www.digitaldealer.com/conference/education/agenda/
Dealers are tightening belts but continue to invest in Outsell
Outsell announced today that it hit its revenue plan for the first half of 2019, despite a weakened auto industry environment.
In the first half of 2019, U.S. auto makers posted six straight months of decline in new car sales after a historic bull run. That has naturally affected dealers’ spending in areas such as technology. Outsell however still managed to complete two strong quarters, with revenue on plan and bookings at 99 percent of plan.
Outsell makes dealers’ lives easier with AI-driven, automated marketing communications across channels. Outsell sends personalized communications on dealers’ behalf through various channels specific to each consumer’s lifecycle stage. Each communication is tailored to individual preferences, including specific inventory matching their needs. Outsell also helps dealers identify which consumers are in market (or back in market as it relates to previous customers).
“In a weaker sales environment, dealers need Outsell more than ever,” said Mike Wethington, founder and CEO of Outsell. “Outsell helps them be more efficient and effective with marketing dollars and has built-in reporting to show dealers how much return they are getting on every dollar spent.”
Just after the close of Q2, Outsell announced several enhancements to its core platform intended to help dealers improve the accuracy and efficacy of marketing campaigns, including:
- A Mileage Estimator that allows dealers to better predict what consumers might need so they can provide timely automotive service and vehicle offers and provide a better customer experience.
- Single Sign On (SSO) for security and a better user experience.
- A lapsed servicer preset filter to help dealers quickly identify consumer and vehicle information (including number of visits and VINs) and then easily download a quick call list that staff can use to drive visits to their service departments.
Predictive analytics help dealers tailor dynamic content to consumers
Outsell announced today that it has added a new Mileage Estimator predictive model to the Outsell platform. The Mileage Estimator allows dealers to better predict what consumers might need so they can provide timely automotive service and vehicle offers and provide a better customer experience.
Vehicle mileage is an important data point for helping dealers pinpoint where consumers are in their automotive lifecycle. Most dealerships however either don’t have access to the data for vehicles they don’t service, don’t regularly collect mileage when they do service it, or may not have the expertise to analyze the data they have. That leaves a data gap – one that’s now filled by Outsell’s new Mileage Estimator model, which establishes mileage patterns for every make and model and combines them with unique data it has for each consumer to more accurately calculate current mileage for a vehicle identification number (VIN).
“Enhancing our models and implementing the Mileage Estimator has had a major impact on the platform,” said Litded Davis, Vice President of Product and Program Management at Outsell. “We’re able to fill in missing information for dealers and consumers to better predict their service and vehicle needs. This helps the dealer drives sales zeroing in on the right consumer, which results in higher engagement for a happier and more loyal customer.”
Davis said that before adding Outsell’s Mileage Estimator, most dealers see between 60-70 percent of their database records unassigned to a consumer lifecycle stage. After adding Mileage Estimator, that typically drops to 30-35 percent, meaning hundreds or thousands of additional consumers are now eligible for communications across channels relevant to their individual lifecycle stage, personalized for them.
Other new Outsell enhancements include Single Sign On (SSO) for security and a better user experience, and a lapsed servicer preset filter to help dealers quickly identify consumer and vehicle information (including number of visits and VINs) and then easily download a quick call list that staff can use to drive visits to their service departments.
Speakers to share advice on turning data insights into actionable sales
Outsell announced today that it is co-hosting a webinar with DrivingSales titled, “4 Tips to Influence Buyer Behavior,” taking place June 6, 2019 at 2:00 pm ET. Moderated by DrivingSales, the event will feature speakers Gray Scott, Marketing Director for Muller Honda and Muller Honda of Gurnee, and Jon Petron, Vice President of Advanced Services at Outsell, who will discuss intent to purchase versus consumer intelligence and how to turn those insights into actionable sales.
Attendees will learn how to pursue in-market car shoppers effectively. What truly motivates car shoppers to their next purchase? How should your BDC/Sales teams follow up when shoppers are in market and throughout the rest of their purchase lifecycle to stay top of mind? Webinar attendees will learn the difference between consumer intelligence vs intent to purchase, what motivates auto shoppers to buy, how to pursue in-market shoppers effectively, customer lifecycle management after purchase, and best practices for influencing future buyer behavior.
- Drive more leads down the sales funnel with consumer intelligence
- Use buyer detection to engage in-market shoppers before competitors
- Pursue in-market shoppers with timely, personalized communications
- Refine customer lifecycle management after purchase
Gray Scott, Marketing Director for Muller Honda and Muller Honda of Gurnee, and Jon Petron, Vice President of Advanced Services at Outsell
“4 Tips to Influence Buyer Behavior”
June 6, 2019 at 2:00 pm ET
Register for this event at: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/5014280296530654220
January 31, 2019
Today’s AI for Tomorrow’s Customers
Data is the fuel your dealership’s marketing machine uses to run. How well that machine runs, however, depends on how you process that fuel.
In a recent article previewing the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), iProspect’s Jeremy Hull noted that one of the technologies marketers should pay close attention to is artificial intelligence (AI), specifically its growing role in the field of predictive assistance and analytics. While this technology looks to be a factor in all areas of marketing, it’s especially crucial in automotive sales — and dealers who ignore it do so at their own peril.
Here are four facts about AI and predictive analytics that can offer insight into this new philosophy on modern marketing.
Fact No. 1: AI Isn’t Coming — It’s Already Here
Because of the role it often plays in popular science fiction, the term “artificial intelligence” may sound like tomorrow’s technology. The truth is that it’s already playing a part in the way the modern consumer shops and the way forward-thinking companies are presenting themselves to those customers.
AI is the tool that predictive analytics is built around, and it is a game-changing technology. Where traditional analytics look to the past, predictive analytics examines the data consumers generate — through their browsing history, purchases, behaviors and other information — and calculates what they’ll do in the future. What will they do next? What do they want? Will they defect to your competition? What messages can your dealership send to keep them happy and loyal to your dealership?
It takes massive amounts of data and calculation to build a view into the future — far beyond the capacity of a human staff. By using the AI-powered technology that currently exists, however, your dealership can look into the future to better serve your customers.
Fact No. 2: AI is Better for You, and Better for The Customer
Contrary to some prevailing “wisdom,” people don’t automatically object to marketing. What they do object to is having their valuable time wasted and being bothered by obnoxious ads battling for their attention. The difference between “Junk mail/spam” and “good to know” communication is relevance. Getting a blanket “we’ll buy your car” offer when you’ve just purchased a vehicle? Spam. Getting a coupon for an oil change when the “change oil” indicator on your dashboard just sprang to life? Good to know.
In his article, Hull points to the beauty brand Shiseido and its use of AI and predictive assistance to benefit both the company and the consumer. Shiseido uses an app to help people find the right makeup for their skin type through the seasons of the year. In doing this, the company gets valuable information about those individual consumers which allows them to tailor relevant marketing messages directly to them and predict their future needs.
Because of the nature of the business, dealerships know a great deal about their customers. Through the use of predictive analytics, dealers can keep the customer engaged through the lifecycle of the vehicle, from sale through service, based on the actual needs of their vehicle, and then back to sale again.
Fact No. 3: Customers Expect It
Far from being “future tech,” customers have come to rely on the use of AI-generated selections. Even more, they are increasingly demanding it.
Amazon might be the most visible supplier of the “you may also like” suggestions based on the consumer’s shopping behavior, but other companies — such as Google, Netflix, Apple, American Express and more — have become experts in predicting what the customer wants or needs and then providing them with curated choices that will resonate best.
Looking for a vehicle can be an overwhelming experience for consumers, with the vast array of makes, models, trim packages and financing options available to them. When your dealership brings AI into the mix, your marketing and sales presentation can help them narrow down the field until they feel comfortable making an educated decision from a hand-picked selection of options.
The vehicle buying process is seen by most as an antagonistic process; many shoppers would rather go to the dentist than walk into a dealership. With the proper approach, however, the dealership can be seen as the customer’s partner in the process. Anticipating their needs in the first step in reimagining the sales process.
Fact No. 4: The Time is Now
Artificial intelligence is here, and it’s only going to become a bigger factor in marketing from this point forward. The advantages in using this technology, both from the perspective of the dealership and the consumer, are clear. Dealers who hope this is just a passing fad or a “flavor of the month” technology will put themselves at an ever-increasing disadvantage. Customer behaviors are constantly evolving and the expectation of relevant communication — especially when it comes to a major purchase like an automobile — is only going to grow.
Marketers from all industries are looking at predictive assistance and analytics to grow their businesses and keep their customers satisfied. With the AI-powered tools available to them, dealerships are in a prime position to take full advantage of this technology.
Contact Outsell today to learn more about our unique AI marketing capabilities.
Direct mail integration, Conquest enhancements, and inventory in social ads make Outsell 5.2 a standout marketing solution
From the NADA Show 2019, Outsell, which offers the only AI-driven marketing automation platform for the automotive industry, announced a major update to its flagship platform. Outsell 5.2 includes new features that make it not only the best solution for managing and optimizing cross-channel marketing campaigns, but also greatly enhance auto marketers’ ability to create and share engaging content especially in social media channels.
“Dealers struggle to measure ROI on marketing investments,” said Mike Wethington, Founder and CEO of Outsell. “In a competitive environment – and most dealers agree the economy has become more challenging over the past year – Outsell is an essential tool for helping auto marketers optimize results and the effectiveness of each marketing dollar.”
Specific enhancements in Outsell 5.2 include:
- The ability to create and execute on-demand campaigns for specific audiences
- Private offers that dynamically include personalized test-drive, sales and service incentives in email campaigns
- Direct mail integration, for true integration between online and offline campaigns
- Inclusion of new channels – display ads and direct mail on existing Conquest product – to drive increased reach and conversion
- New social ads features including Facebook Marketplace tools and the ability to promote specific inventory in social ads
- New content management capabilities that really separate Outsell from the pack – including new templates, brand compliance tools and the ability to measure/optimize content performance.
To learn more about Outsell 5.2 or to book a demo during the NADA Show 2019, visit booth #6258W or contact email@example.com.
Outsell will also convene a gathering of its Customer Advisory Board during the NADA Show 2019, bringing together auto dealer marketing leaders to discuss 2019 trends, long-term objectives, and how Outsell can improve its value to dealers.
“Outsell’s CAB meetings are the most valuable meetings we have all year long,” said Wethington. “We get to hear directly from customers about their objectives and challenges. The learnings from these events have a big impact on Outsell’s roadmap every year.”
Also at the NADA Show 2019, Outsell will broadcast a Facebook Live session with well-known auto dealer consultant and author, Brian Pasch, CEO of PCG Companies, to talk about how marketing automation is key to digital retailing.
2019 shaping up to be another strong year for Outsell, as auto dealers look to definitively measure return on marketing investments
From the NADA Show 2019, Outsell, which offers the only AI-driven marketing automation platform for the automotive industry, announced strong 2018 financial results, with direct revenue up 45 percent over 2017, and direct bookings up 28 percent.
“AI-based marketing solutions are in high demand as dealers seek to individualize their customer communications to enhance the overall customer experience,” said Mike Wethington, Founder and CEO of Outsell. “Outsell was the first to bring AI to auto marketers, and we are well established as the technology leader in the space.”
Outsell also offers the best platform for definitively measuring the impact of every marketing dollar invested, said Wethington.
Highlights from the year include:
- Launching Outsell 5.0, enhanced with even more artificial intelligence capabilities, providing automotive dealers with unprecedented insight into buying behavior and the ability to take targeted content to the next level, with automated, multi-channel campaigns that are individualized to each person’s exact preferences.
- Launching Outsell 5.1, an upgrade that makes Outsell the first to auto-generate individualized customer incentives proven to drive store visits and sales.
- Winning 10 awards for its products and its work with customers and partners, including the2018 WebAward Automobile Standard of Excellence Award, a Gold Stevie® Award and a Gold 2018 Summit Creative Awards.
“In 2018, we made major improvements to the Outsell platform, laying the groundwork for all kinds of enhancements in 2019,” continued Wethington. “Today at NADA, we announced Outsell 5.2, with new features that make it not only the best solution for managing and optimizing cross-channel marketing campaigns, but also greatly enhance auto marketers’ ability to create and share engaging content especially in social media channels. We are also working on some exciting enhancements around what we call private incentive offers that will help dealers provide the right incentives to motivate each individual customer without over-incentivizing – critical in an industry where dealers often spent 4-5 times as much on incentives as they do on advertising.”
First data study focused on marketing ROI for auto dealerships finds that many dealers invest to the point of diminishing returns
Outsell announced today that along with partners RXA and Vistadash it has completed the first data study focused completely on Marketing Return on Investment (ROMI) for U.S. auto dealerships.
Conducted in September and October 2018, the study spanned 300 dealerships, and looked at data on 420,000 customers, 3.5M customer interactions, and $72M in media spend. Outsell, RXA and Vistadash sought to measure whether auto dealers were allocating marketing spend across channels for optimal return. The study’s key finding: Half of dealers surveyed were overspending on at least one marketing channel – meaning they had invested to or past the point of diminishing returns.
Dealers struggle with measuring ROMI, and especially to attribute specific campaigns to a sale when there are always multiple touches. Outsell, RXA and Vistadash developed a methodology that enables them to calculate ROMI using the dealer’s Google Analytics and DMS data plus their self-reported media spend. This multi-touch attribution model optimizes gross profit by not wasting any money, not leaving any opportunities on the table, and finding the sweet spot for each place a dealer puts its money. 300 dealers provided these details for study analysis.
In addition to finding that half of dealers were overspending, the study found:
- Dealership size has an impact on ROMI, with smaller dealers seeing solid returns from paid media and referrals whereas larger dealers have the scale to see better performance from display and email.
- When it comes to conquest marketing, dealers need to go big or go home – if you can’t do it at scale, you shouldn’t do it at all as you’ll never achieve positive ROMI.
- About half of dealers are underspending on social media marketing.
- One out of every three dealers is overspending on Search-Engine Marketing (SEM). Most of that overspend is in branded search – paying for clicks for your dealership name. While this tactic works well for smaller dealers, it’s unnecessary for large stores who are already well known and get good results from organic search.
- While dealers have often believed they need to spend more on marketing in a large market, the study found that market size does not impact ROMI.
- Often, dealers could optimize their investments simply by shifting budget around – they don’t necessarily need to invest more.
“As John Wanamaker famously said, ‘Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half,’” said Mike Wethington, Founder and CEO of Outsell. “We set out to try to measure that, to set benchmarks for the industry and eventually to help any dealer calculate their own marketing ROI. The methodology we developed for this study could be applied at the dealer level to help them better understand how they can shift their marketing budget around for better returns.”
“Multi-touch attribution is a problem that’s been vexing auto marketers since the introduction of the Model T,” said Brian Pasch, founder of PCG Companies and a well-known advisor to auto dealers. “Outsell, RXA and Vistadash have cracked the code with this methodology – this data provides valuable insights that every auto marketer should take a look at.”
James Kurtenbach, Marketing Director at Schomp Automotive, was one of four representatives to the Dealer Advisory Board for the Outsell research project. Kurtenbach had the opportunity to dive into the data for one of the company’s dealerships, Schomp BMW. “This data is gold for an auto marketer,” said Kurtenbach. “We were able to see where our marketing dollars are going the furthest, and where we need to reconsider investments. By re-allocating a portion of our existing spend – and not even adding any spend – we were able to generate a 17 percent increase in gross profit.”
To learn more about the study, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
RXA is a cloud-based software company that offers machine learning and artificial intelligence applications to help you make smarter, faster decisions. Learn more at https://rxa.io/.
Vistadash is the automotive industry’s premier marketing intelligence tool, giving automotive dealers the ability to consolidate and simplify reporting, as well as measure the quality of their online and offline marketing campaigns based on engagement. Its clear, user-friendly interface displays all the latest data trends at a glance, allowing users to quickly and easily analyze information and encourage smarter marketing decisions. For more information, please visit www.vistadash.com.
Learn more about Outsell at NADA 2019.
December 12, 2018
Putting It All Together
Automotive sales and marketing vendors, like technology providers in any other business or consumer field, are always demonstrating newer and faster tools. “Breakthroughs” are forever being announced and the “latest and greatest” is constantly threatening to disrupt the marketplace.
For dealers and GMs trying to keep up with all these changes while still focusing on their primary job — selling vehicles — this can be exhausting. Worse, it can be so overwhelming that they might not be keeping up with what technology can truly help them make a difference for their business.
Focusing on the right tools your staff needs and training them on using this technology to their fullest is an effective way to help your dealership compete and succeed in an increasingly complicated marketplace.
Defining Your Goals
One of the first, most fundamental things leaders in a dealership must determine is what they actually want to achieve. “A dealership must know what it wants to be,” said Jill Howard, director of client services for A2Z Sync, which delivers single-login solutions for everything needed in the automotive sales process. “Do they want to be more transparent? Do they need a digitized sales process? A more fluid menu process? Are they wanting to become a best-price dealer? A one-price dealer? Do they want to have one person lead the customer through the sales process? A lot of dealers don’t know where to start, but they know they want something.”
Another basic need is to determine if the tools they have in the store are effective or could be made more effective. “Transparency is critical, especially in the marketing world,” said Valerie Vallancourt, vice president of marketing for Outsell. “Vendors,” Vallancourt said, “should always be held accountable for results. If you can’t prove it’s working, it’s probably not an effective strategy. If you’re going to be spending money, you have to see a clear result at the end. You have to see that there has been engagement because of that vendor’s efforts.”
Today’s consumers demand both transparency and a quick sales process. Making sure your dealership can accomplish both of these tasks is critical for long-term relationships with your customers. Short cuts and stop-gap measures are not the recipe for success.
“Taking a short-term approach to customer service might make the month for your sales goals, but it can also mean losing that customer for life,” Vallancourt said. “Ask about best practices when evaluating vendors. Gain some additional knowledge. Think about things differently. Don’t be afraid to change with the times.”
The Human Element
While technology can be a fantastic tool, it’s only as good as the people who are operating it. Proper training not only makes the process run smoother for your team but also serves the customer better. And, the better your staff is at using the tools available to them, the more effective your technology spend will be.
One of the challenges dealers, GM and managers often run into, however, is staff members who are stuck in their ways and hesitant to try new tools and methods to boost sales. With the right approach, this is a challenge that can be overcome, Howard said. “I always want to seek to understand where this resistance is coming from. Is it just because it’s different and different is scary? Or, are there some questions they need answered that will help them be better and more successful at their job?”
Seeing results of well-functioning technology is the best way to “sell” the new methods in the sales process. “As people start to use it and they see their paychecks increase and that the new way is easy, they start to feel good about it,” Howard said. “The resistance goes away pretty quickly.”
Again, though, dealerships should select vendors who are willing to stand behind their products to make sure the dealership’s employees are using an effective tool. “As a vendor, you’ve got to prove it,” Vallancourt said. “It’s got to work for the dealership. In marketing, when you engage a specific customer and that person comes in to buy, it’s really hard to argue that.”
To make the most of the technology, uniform adoption is critical. “It’s important that everyone gets on the same process,” Howard said. “It increases both employee and client retention. It’s good for customers because they get the best sales process possible, but it’s also good for dealership employees, because it helps create a career path for people within the store.”
Innovation and anything new may seem scary, but times have already changed and no dealership can afford to be left behind. Some tips to remember from our series:
- Dealerships and consumers need to be on the same side
- Prepare for likely customer questions and how to answer them
- New technology and tools exist to make innovation easier
- Automation is imperative for giving consumers they experience they expect
- Evaluate current staff, vendors, and training practices to take your next step
The future is about putting the customer first, which we’ll discuss more on our webinar tomorrow at 2pm EST with James Kurtenbach, Marketing Director at Schomp Automotive Group, and Jill Howard, Director of Client Services at A2Z Sync – “Success Through Innovation: Tips for Your Dealership.”