August 28th, 2011
As we approach the last quarter of 2011 it is a great time to stop and ask car dealers if their advertising strategy is yielding the best results for the money they invest. We’ve been told to review our personal investment portfolios each quarter but do we carefully inspect the returns from our automotive marketing investments each quarter?
In order to help dealers get a handle on the ROI of their marketing investments, we need to organize our investment channels. Take a minute to determine how your monthly marketing budget is allocated between digital and traditional investments.
Create a spreadsheet that breaks out your current monthly budget into individual columns for all your marketing channels.
The traditional marketing columns should include radio, print, cable TV, direct mail, telemarketing, billboards, license plate tags, and newspaper. The digital marketing columns should include website costs, third party leads, Cars.com, Autotrader.com, Google Adwords, Text Marketing, Social Media, Automotive SEO, CRM, Chat, and Reputation Management.
Dealers, if you would like our Excel spreadsheet that we use to outline automotive advertising investments, send me an email and I’ll forward it to you. You can reach me at email@example.com
At the St. Louis PCG Pit Stop, Jim Flint, eCommerce Director at the John Eagle Group in Texas, shared some very interesting statistics about their franchise store growth and profits. His research related each store’s success to their digital marketing and traditional media investments.
Jim has been tracking the changes in spending allocations for the past few years for all their stores. I was very impressed with his passion to get to the optimal balance for each store. He also reminded dealers to review their strategies on a regular basis because nothing is STATIC in this business!
As Jim spoke to the gathered automotive professionals at the Pit Stop Conference, he reminded me that a few years back while speaking at another Automotive Conference I told dealers that 30% of their budget should be allocated toward digital.
He also correctly recalled that last year I encouraged dealers to move their digital spending to 40-50% of their overall budget.
Jim took it to another level during his presentation in St Louis. Jim suggested that a dealer’s digital advertising budget should be in the 60-70% range, depending on market and brand factors.
As I travel around the country speaking at 20 Groups and conferences, I would say that a majority of dealers allocate less than 50% of their monthly budgets to digital marketing. If I had to guess at the national average, it would be about 30-35%. These numbers get me excited because there is so much opportunity for growth.
Just recently a member of a 20 Group conference I attended shared that 70% of his budget was radio and cable TV. This of course is just the opposite of what Jim and I are recommending. The challenge is to show dealers why a higher digital marketing investment is the right way to go. Few industry consultants have made that clear to dealers. Of course I’m on a mission to change that through education; live and remotely via blogs, video, and Podcasts.
In order to build confidence with dealers to change their historical allocation models to increase digital spending, we must remind ourselves that most people do not embrace change. There are other barriers in place for dealers that include long standing relationships with ad agencies and marketing partners. Dealer principals have also admitted that they don’t ask too many “digital” questions because they don’t understand digital marketing and do not want to look stupid.
If your dealership is not actively using Adwords, Retargeting, Chat, Text Marketing, or engaged in Social Media, as these are just a few examples, you need to review your automotive advertising strategy.
To help dealers candidly review their current advertising budgets and strategy, PCG Digital Marketing offers a Digital Marketing Assessment Program to help dealers find new opportunities in their market via digital marketing. We take the time to complete a detailed spreadsheet of current advertising investments and then show a path for testing new ideas that can carefully reallocate expenses without causes a riot within the dealership.
When dealers are given the proper education on technology, strategy, and costs they will always do what is best for the business. Their entrepreneurial instincts take over and the shift to a higher allocation of digital investments will come easily. The key is documenting the Return on Investment (ROI).
Nothing pleases me more than when a dealer has the “light bulb” experience when I complete a digital marketing workshop. I can see it in their eyes and on their face that they finally get a new concept that can make a big change in their business.
If you are looking for great workshops on digital marketing, join other automotive professionals February 1-3rd in Las Vegas for the 2012 Digital Marketing Strategies Conference (DMSC) which is just prior to the 2012 NADA Convention. Come out for both conferences and return with winning strategies that you can implement for greater profits and success.
If you would like to schedule a Digital Marketing Assessment for your dealership, give us at call at 732.450.8200 and ask for Carrie Hemphill.
Carrie will schedule an assessment call with me to get the ball rolling at your dealership The sooner you understand the opportunities that are in your market, the faster your profits will accelerate.
Let’s get to the answers together.
Brian Pasch, CEO
PCG Digital Marketing
Text PCGedu to 75674 get information on our upcoming conferences
July 7th, 2011
PCG Digital Marketing is pleased to announce that noted digital marketing specialist, Ralph Paglia, has joined the roster of expert speakers that will discuss the latest trends in automotive marketing strategies at the multi-city Pit Stop tours this summer. Paglia will be speaking at the Huntington Beach Pit Stop marketing conference for car dealers July 16th and 17th.
Paglia’s hands-on workshop, entitled “Digital Guerilla Marketing Strategies and Tactics”, will show dealers how to take advantage of emerging Internet marketing tools for guerilla marketers and how to recognize when their competitors are using these same tactics against them. According to Paglia, “no dealer should try these techniques without knowing the risks and returns”.
The PCG Pit Stop tour will be making its way to major US and Canadian cities this summer. The automotive marketing conference pit stops are open to any dealership employee but were created with Dealer Principals/GM, General Sales Managers/ISM, and Fixed Operations Managers in mind. Some of the additional workshop topics to be covered include customer communication, selling with social media strategies, fixed operations marketing, CRM processes, Google AdWords, mobile marketing and more.
Along with Ralph Paglia, PCG and the Pit Stop team welcome leading expert speakers including AJ LeBlanc, Paul Potratz, David Page, Keith Shetterly, Scott Falcone and more.
The Huntington Beach PCG Pit Stop will take place on July 16th and 17th at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach.
June 1st, 2011
PCG Digital Marketing, an automotive digital marketing agency, welcomes Gene Langan Volkswagen in Glastonbury to its ever-growing family of automotive dealerships. Gene Langan Volkswagen has contracted PCG for its online marketing initiatives, including implementing Search Engine Optimization strategies and automotive social media management.
As part of their new partnership together, Gene Langan Volkswagen in Glastonbury will receive the most advanced automotive digital marketing strategies developed by PCG. Their online visibility will be developed by PCG through their proven on-site and off-site SEO strategies and content development.
By partnering with PCG, Gene Langan Volkswagen has taken the opportunity to join PCG’s exclusive Automotive Advertising Network (AAN). The AAN combines PCG Digital Marketing’s proven strategies in Search Engine Optimization, content development, social media and blogging to provide dealers with an industry-leading solution for lead generation and direct sales.
Additional PCG services will include blog and press release writing, link building, video uploads, customer review posting, Google SEO compliance and maintaining Google Maps and Analytics.
Gene Langan Volkswagen’s new Internet Marketing campaign will increase the frequency with which their vehicles appear in local and regional search results and generate additional traffic and leads.
May 26th, 2011
PCG Digital Marketing, an integrated digital marketing firm specializing in automotive marketing strategies, announces tour dates for their regional automotive advertising and marketing conferences; The PCG Pit Stop tour.
The automotive industry’s top marketing experts and trainers will be making stops in major US and Canadian cities in 2011 to help dealers fine tune their digital marketing and advertising strategies. Speakers include Paul Potratz, Keith Shetterly, Christy Roman, Joe Webb, AJ LeBlanc, and the PCG digital marketing trainers, which include Brian Pasch, Glenn Pasch, and Christine Rochelle.
The dates and locations of the PCG Pit Stop tours are as follows:
The PCG Pit Stop tour is modeled after PCG’s widely popular Automotive Marketing Boot Camp. The Boot Camp is an annual three day event that brings together leading marketing experts to provide hands on tactical training for Internet Marketing, digital advertising, social media, lead management, CRM systems, automotive SEO and more.
The PCG Pit Stop tour will provide similar hands-on training in a condensed format during the Pit Stop conference. Most programs will be one and half days to reduce time out of the dealership for key staff members.
The Pit Stop tours provide marketing tune-ups on social media, lead management, Google maps, microsites, mobile websites, CRM processes, Google Adwords, automotive SEO, fixed operations and integrated advertising concepts.
Advanced registration is required for all Pit Stop tours. Auto dealer professionals who would like to register can visit http://www.pcgpitstop.com
For more information, please contact Carrie Hemphill at 732-450-8200 ext 2 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
February 28th, 2011
When was the last time you tested the impact on conversion with different website designs?
Car dealers see hundreds or thousands of consumers come through their doors each month depending on location.
I challenge dealer principals and dealership equity holders to step back and ask how they are leveraging those connections. I challenge dealers to get involved in their online automotive advertising strategies.
There are many new ideas being presented at 20 Groups, Automotive Conferences, Boot Camps, and on blogs on how to better connect with consumers. Is it SEM, SEO, Social Media, Banner Advertising, Re-Marketing, or something new?
There is a scarcity of documented automotive white-papers on grass roots consumer surveys. When was the last time you read a dealer generated white paper that asked consumers to share their motivations, processes, or influences in the car buying process.
Yes, the largest companies in our industry have case studies, but what about the dealers on the front lines of automotive sales and service? I would love to read local survey data from a dealership group that sees 2,000 customers a month in their sales and service channels.
Are you willing to share feedback from your store?
Industry experts, thought leaders, and peers are great motivators for change. Outside influences challenge dealers to consider looking at their businesses in a new way.
But why have dealers not asked their own customers for advice?
Dealers are asking consultants whether they should engage in Facebook. Did you ask you customers if they are regular Facebook users? Regular Twitter users? Foursquare?
I just wanted to remind dealers that their local customer behavior is unique in many ways. By conducting regular in-store surveys over the next 30-60 days, you will get some data that can be monetized. You just have to define a process and start collecting data.
Here are some simple questions that you can ask your customers when they are in the store. Of course, you don’t have to ask them all of the questions at one time or visit:
If Yes, How could we improve our website?
Don’t rely solely on out of town experts like me!
It’s your business so activate your local consumers to refine your marketing strategy.
Consider creating Point-Of-Sale (POS) materials to activate your customers to engage with your dealership online. Do you have any “Join Us on” Facebook, Twitter, or FourSquare desk cards, window stickers, or banners in the dealership?
Let’s get back to engaging our customers and collecting local marketing data that can be used to prioritize your digital marketing strategy.