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Dealer Vendor Product and Marketing POV


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Dealer Vendor Product and Marketing POV

  1. 1. Company X Marketing & Products POV / Recommendations Presented by Kent Mihlbauer Roster Marketing, LLC. Current situation Company X is in a battleground market with high stakes and growing competition from software companies, marketing companies, credit/loan companies, & big data companies all pushing for a bigger piece of the dealership marketing pie. Company X focus is using the dealer data base for predictive analysis to drive dealership sales. Communication is through direct mail & email with individualized messaging. All communication is linear in mindset - looking for a direct action - a call, a store visit, email for an appointment, all based on the presented content to the consumer. Consumer drivers that are decreasing Company X effectiveness & dealer retention Digital communication - Today’s buyers live a digital lifestyle and have a high preference for communicating with text, IM, App. “pings”, email, with a priority towards mobile access. (64% of all US adults own a smart phone) - Company X current DM format provides only store visit & phone call to make an appointment options - Company X email format provides email and inventory shopping links The vast majority of customers won’t fill out online information as they don’t want to be “hounded” by dealership salespeople. Consumers desire to not communicate directly with the dealers until they fully research and understand their options. The pervasive angst of “getting taken advantage of” created the massive online research move which strips away the threat of being pressured & taken advantage of. Consumers are now pushing to move the deal negotiations online through the Internet department / BDC to eliminate the stresses of in-store negotiations. Once they are ready to communicate with the dealer providing multiple contact options will increase contact follow through by the consumer. Roster Marketing, LLC - Kent Mihlbauer - - 714-747-3850
  2. 2. Self serve research Today’s consumers research EVERYTHING and companies need to make it very simple for consumers to take the next step into research once interest has been triggered. Consumers have a “on my time, at my convenience” mindset with research and often push research to “down time” periods - mobile breaks, relaxing at home, etc. to do the research. A vast majority of consumers do all their research online before ever contacting a dealer. The average buyer accesses 24 different websites for information and will do 84 inventory & price searches before entering a dealership conversation (digital or in store) - Company X products do not provide this connection for the consumers to easily access further information from the dealers (preferably individualized details of the offer) - Company X products do not sync with todays buyer journey and only provide the most consumer undesirable “next step” actions - direct contact with the dealer via phone, email, or store visit. Circle of activation Today’s busy consumers are inundated with over 5,000 marketing messages a day. The current trigger activation (DM & Email) has limited ability to “break through” immediately as we live in the world of 7+ frequency required to get the consumers attention & develop an understanding of the benefits of the offer presented. However, consumers are still “activated” by the art of the story. Helping dealers build the story of upgrading during the 4-6 months prior to the purchase time frame can be extremely beneficial to sales. (vehicles sales for dealers as well as more marketing revenue for Company X). This also allows the consumer to jump in and out and back in as the interest builds with the messaging. Consumers HAVE control over the buying process The digital world has changed the balance of power in the auto sales industry. Shoppers now research on average 24 different website resources. Shoppers check inventory & pricing (on different websites) around 84 times before entering a dealership. Decision making is primarily done on the web before visiting a dealer (average buyer visits just 1.4 dealerships) In today’s digital world a consumer can easily sit at home/office and manage 2-10+ dealerships in getting competitive bids for a vehicle. With text, email, IM, & phone calls they have the ability to be a massive manpower drain for the competing dealerships. The faster Company X aligns it’s products and processes to help the dealers with this fact, the better partner Company X becomes to the dealers. Competitive insights Many competitors have already moved into Mobile communication abilities. Competitive company A provides a fully integrated app product that dealers use as a retention tool by uploading their data and driving service appointments, mobile communications, inventory shopping, etc. Competitive Company B is already seeing 50+% of website visitors from mobile access points. Data mining & matching soft pull credit info is a key driver to providing customized offers & opportunities by competitors. Several OEM’s are looking at using this type of tool with their data to drive loyalty opportunities with current owners. Competitive Company C has been selling a payment shopping service for several years (really poorly positioned in the market) but now major companies are seeing the value of payment shopping as new companies have secured the license & ability to perform similar credit services. Roster Marketing, LLC - Kent Mihlbauer - - 714-747-3850
  3. 3. DM & email campaign ability (individually customized) is a given in the competitive set. Whether in house or through a partnership, customized DM & Email is a pretty standard practice today. The good news is that DM usage is down so there is less competition in the mail box. Also, response rates have held steady at 3.7% for CRM lists, and 1% for conquest lists. Competitive “Unique Selling Propositions” (USP) Competitive Company D - USP- We don't market to customers, we engage with customers how they like & with relevant information Competitive Company E - USP - We have a better big data algorithm Competitive Company F - USP - Our superior technology allows your store to better manage todays digital customers Competitive Company G - USP - We use consumer credit integration to make mining better. Company X - USP - We drive customer retention & sales through our superior data mining system that tells you when & what to say to keep your customers yours! There are a lot of different competitive actions going on in the industry and Company X is feeling pressure to follow many of them. Unfortunately, like in any competitive race, following means you won’t win the race. Company X core competency - XXXXXXXXXXXXX - needs to be the center point of analysis for all proposed actions. If adding a tool or asset does not directly improve this core competency, it may be a distraction to shoring up Company X leadership position in the CRM customer retention. Recommendations The consumer is the Master of the dealer and thus by default is also the master to Company X services. A key element for Company X is identifying when a consumer is a buyer While timing is very important, communication has become an equal partner to timing. The “how” you reach and communicate with the consumer can either benefit the timing or make the timing irrelevant. Example - If Company X has the knowledge & the timing is right, but hires a plane to deliver the message by skywriting it, neither the knowledge nor timing matters much because the message has a very minimal chance to make it to the customer. While this example is far fetched it helps drive the understanding that Company X must focus on communicating with the consumers by their preferred avenues. Communication for consumers (Creative) - focus on owners perspective, excitement, and benefit to individual consumer - Use technology highlights to build excitement/reasoning - not just price/payment!! Price can be a hook but it is not a consumer benefit!! - Current factory incentives make this a deal available now (ask for other vehicles they are interested in knowing deals on) Roster Marketing, LLC - Kent Mihlbauer - - 714-747-3850
  4. 4. - incorporate research avenues - landing pages (mobile capable) provide the story as well as the data for consumers to review - warranty, fuel economy, technology vs. older model, safety features, current APR, how OEM incentives affect payments, credit analysis (self serve), - Additional contact avenues - text, IM access, landing pages + the phone & email that are already on the creative. (My assumption is that the current DM is activating research that Company X is NOT getting credit for due to the lack of tracking/directing to research based assets) 7+ frequency - how do you get there effectively? Build the story & drive awareness of the benefits of upgrading. - Develop a 4-6 month marketing plan that informs consumers of the possibility of an upgrade and all the benefits in getting a new vehicle. - 3-5 DM pieces - start with informing them of the upcoming opportunity, provide continued benefits & research avenues to start a conversation (ask about other vehicles & options they would be interested in), announce “time has arrived” for your upgrade opportunity. - 3-5 Emails with same information, look, & feel, sequenced to correlate with DM. A large auto & home insurer that was contacting their clients 1 month before their insurance was due, increased the contact time frame and quantity of messages leading up to the customer due date and received a 48% increase in quotes from clients. This can and should be done for all Company X dealer clients. POP - Will be a very effective reminder &/or contact point adding needed frequency. IP home address intercept display ads can add additional contact and link to research & shopping - I recommend an active study and testing of this opportunity to analyze the effective increase in CRM upgrades. Customer engagement through buying journey & retention journey - Mobile app - done properly a mobile app will be a great value to a dealerships engagement with potential customers & active customers. The future of both CRM retention & purchase journey is within the mobile arena. Company X is behind the curve on this technology platform and a major focus needs to be put on getting Company x into the mobile world quickly. An app will provide a dealership experience (outside the dealership) that will have many advantages for Company X & the dealer clients as the mobile “customer experience” becomes the true differentiator in the CRM & purchase process. An Company X white labeled app will help with today’s desired communication styles, plus add more messaging opportunities, increasing CRM engagement in all operations (sales, service, warranty, upgrades, etc), and allow faster dealer to client (lead) response speeds. - BDC - Functioning as an engagement resource for the consumer, a BDC can be a big benefit to the Company X suite of products. I would position it as a “Customer Relationship Center” that is focused at driving CRM upgrades. Whether it makes economic sense for Company X will need to be discussed in detail. Their is good value in helping dealers manage engagement opportunities and increasing their “customer experience” to drive retention sales. Finding a cost effective & manageable solution for Company X is the key to whether it should be rolled out. Roster Marketing, LLC - Kent Mihlbauer - - 714-747-3850
  5. 5. The below phases take into account Company X current situation and a stepped process to providing a customer accessible buying journey for today’s (& tomorrow’s) automotive consumers for their dealer partners. Phase 1 - simple improvements Creative update Develop a 4-6 month marketing plan that informs consumers of the possibility of an upgrade and all the benefits in getting a new vehicle. - 3-5 DM pieces - start with informing them of the upcoming opportunity, provide continued benefits & research avenues, announce “time has arrived” for your upgrade opportunity. - 3-5 Emails with same information, look, & feel, sequenced to correlate with DM. - Rework creative messaging to provide better reasoning to update vehicle (you have to get the consumer to like the new car more than the current vehicle to even start the conversation of upgrading - As noted above, just saying a similar price point is not singular motivator for a new vehicle - Stating consumer focus benefits like - warranty, fuel economy, technology vs. old model, safety features, current APR, how OEM incentives affect payments, credit analysis (self serve), etc. helps sell the idea of upgrading your vehicle. (testing benefits (combo of benefits) to find the best response rate increases) - Unique offer idea - Build & order your new update vehicle - could be part of the 4-6 month plan to get the customer to put an order in and preempt conquest efforts by other OEM/ dealers. - Coordinate Email & DM with same look, feel, & message to be consistent in the messaging. Note that 7+ frequency is with same message, mixing messages will require adding additional frequency (time & money) to drive consumer mindset. - The plan above assumes same messaging in lock step to build up the “upgrade” opportunity - POP in the service lane - Simply stated this is a fantastic way to help the dealers drive frequency & mindset with the consumers. The messaging needs to be consistent & plant the seed of an upgrade with service line customers. Ideally I would recommend a 1 sheeter the RO writer can give to any qualifying client, waiting room poster/info stands, etc. We can discuss thoughts on what Company X has the best chance of getting dealers to use consistently. (NOTE, any POP has to have links for further research - information, reasoning, etc. vs. just shopping inventory) Phase 2 - becoming better - Develop alternative avenues for consumer to research options. Work with the dealers to create a research/info portal that consumers can gather information, understand the benefits of new car technology, fuel economy improvements, safety improvements, factory warranty advantages, and how the whole process of upgrading works, etc. Once the portal is in place, all marketing (email, DM, POP) must promote going to it for additional info. Tracking this portal activity will help Company X prove out additional benefits of your overall program, allowing you to take credit for driving more sales. - Ideally this is part of Phase 1, but there will be a information development timeframe as well as a sell in period to the dealers that makes it a longer term roll out. Roster Marketing, LLC - Kent Mihlbauer - - 714-747-3850
  6. 6. - Activate Social Media links in emails - FB, Yelp, DealerRater, Twitter, Google+ - allows consumers to do more research & to feel “connected” to a community around their dealership & vehicle brand. Putting the icons & links on DM (if space allows) would have the same “mindset benefit” even if they can’t simply click through. - Investigate & test integration with IP address banner add blocking to increase frequency and add response lift to DM & Email activity. - Look at simple mobile integration, Example: Opt in text to get a link to learn more about upgrading - sends them to mobile research portal. Customizing the portal would be nice but not vital (yet). - Mobile app - research avenues for partners, development, acquisition to find fastest & best way to enhance Company X products via mobile. - The app will become a full time engagement tool that can add to additional interest / shopping data for additional Email & DM opportunities for Company X and increase upgrade sales opportunities. Phase 3 - taking a leadership position (setting a future brand / business stake in the ground to drive these goals & execution is key) - Fully integrated consumer communication platform within directed core competency - BDC integration - focus on IM, text, & phone appointment setting for consumer engagement opportunities. Linked to email, DM, Mobile App, research portal, etc. The BDC will need to be both sales & retention support oriented to provide a key CRM engagement element for Company X & the dealers. - Investigate P-url integration & test. - Integrate Soft Pull payment shopping on dealer website or through research links. Personalized payment shopping will be the standard shopping method in a few years and taking a leadership roll in helping the dealers manage this shift will pay big dividends in retention & new dealership sales. Company X Corp marketing recommendations Company x has three marketing fronts. 1. Retention 2. New dealer lead & sales activation. 3. Marketing of DM, Email & other monthly service marketing opportunities to the dealers Retention Retention is more than just showing monthly data point results. It’s solidifying the partnership of working together to evolve in the consumer empowered era to improve sales and profitability. I recommend establishing a nurture program that perpetually slow drips the added benefits of working with Company x to all the dealer clients - owners & sr. managers (even a separate drip for mid level & jr. employees as they will be the managers of tomorrow) Program could include.. - informing them with business insights - industry changes, how it’s effecting the sale process, - training new ways to use Company X products to adapt to or counter the consumer changes - Best practice info - videos, white papers, etc Roster Marketing, LLC - Kent Mihlbauer - - 714-747-3850
  7. 7. - Social media - LinkedIn, twitter, FB, etc. (industry info, NOT just Company X info) Your clients need to know Company X is working to make them better at selling vehicles in todays marketplace. Being a market “expert” company will provide trust & increase the relationship while increasing the CRM business. Nurturing the clients this way will also allow Company X to manage clients “information” sources to have a bias toward Company X products - both current and future. This information needs to be communicated through - the website - monthly newsletters - Email campaigns - social media outlets - industry forums - PR - executive interviews & press releases New Dealer Sales B2B buyers are consumers too, they need a story to take them through their buying journey. Just like today’s automotive consumers, they do online research (a lot) before becoming a lead opportunity. Most B2B research also happens during down time, mobile breaks, after work hours, lunch, etc. Dealership managers/owners are understaffed and pulled in 100’s of directions every day by staff & customers. They have very limited time during their day for anything but managing daily activities. Company X website is not focused on how today’s B2B customers shop and become leads. Most will never fill out an online lead form on Company X website as they also fear a sales rep hounding them and interrupting their work day. I recommend updating the Company X website to allow for ample research with detailed info that follow a modern B2B sales journey. The Company X website needs to be both the front door into Company X as well as the full mansion for the potential customer to explore & learn in. The current flyers don’t provide much of a pathway in the buyer journey. Providing an array of landing page recommendations for “additional” info or research is highly recommended. The flyers should be looked at as a key to the front door, formulating a simple & informative message of why they should get more information. Recommendation Update or refresh Company X website to correlate with todays digital buyer journey. - add research content - include social media outlets within Company X site - not bounced out of site Use other media to drive research on Company X website as the main entry for the buying journey - Flyers - Email - Ads - magazine - Events & event sales material should include plenty of ways to get more information / research post event Roster Marketing, LLC - Kent Mihlbauer - - 714-747-3850
  8. 8. - Individualized landing pages & phone #’s to track event effectiveness Much of the “nurturing” information can also be used in the new dealer lead / sales marketing. Monthly Service Email & DM marketing I recommend developing 3 & 6 month game plans to sell the dealers on using Company X (Product A) to do more drip marketing to increase the usage of DM & Email services. As noted above, consumers need to be reached 7+ times with the “upgrade” message to break through the excessive daily marketing messages they are pounded with. The drip messages need to “educate” the consumers on all the benefits and drive excitement about upgrading to a new vehicle. Then the “offer” messages can drive the WOW moment with higher interest & sales than the current repeated offer only messages. This hinges on Company X working as an engagement partner and not just a CRM lead provider. The Company X (Product B) marketing needs - Flyers (research directed to website) - Email (website links for research) - White papers & industry insights to educate the dealers why this is needed - Can also be used in social media Overall Summary Company X has best in class software. The consumer shifts that are effecting the buying process has caught Company X a little flat footed in a highly competitive marketplace. Company X is in a solid position to make small & moderate changes into it’s current services & marketing materials that will benefit sales & retention. A long term focus on consumer automotive buying journey trends and how they effect the sales process & lead/engagement products Company X offers will keep the future bright. The consumer has disrupted the industry and the general rule of thinking as Company X moves forward should be: “What worked yesterday won’t work today and what works today won’t work tomorrow” Roster Marketing, LLC - Kent Mihlbauer - - 714-747-3850