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I am looking to hear your thoughts about brining dealerships and their inventory onto mobile phones.

1) “Hype or a necessity?” - Do you think dealerships should adopt a mobile marketing strategy and showcase their inventory on mobile phones? If so why?

2) Given the capabilities of a mobile phone (GPS, messaging, etc), how do you see mobile phone serving buyers and sellers?

3) If you were looking to adopt a mobile marketing solution, what would be your decision factors (cost, time, ROI, # leads etc.)?

4) What lessons have you learned from having a web site and how do you see these lessons apply to a mobile web site?


Thanks,

Shuki

Tags: gps, marketing, mobile, sms, startegy

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Doug brings up a point worth repeating. A common "thread" amongst many of the comments regarding the "evolution" to mobile devices supported by Gumiyko has been to keep it simple! The same is finally being realized in internet web designs so there must be value in that principal. I looked back at some of the original "shells" and custom sites from as little as two years ago and I chuckle at the complexity and over abundance of text etc. They were more like newspaper ads online than a selling process tweaked to convert lookers to buyers. At the time, it was done to "maximize word content." to build SEO and it was chosen over easy reference and minimum "clicks" required by a customer to get information. The proven formula - cut to the product, service or information as quickly as possible with less "Flash and Fireworks" to distract the customer from getting their requested information ASAP. Gumiyko delivers the requested info through the maze of a poorly designed site and cuts to the decision part of the process with a simple push of a button to say yes by calling the dealership from your cell phone. Pictures are pretty but product, price and payments sell cars and Gumiyko delivers that message simpler and faster. Nuf saud!.
Just and FYI - Shuki and Rich filled in a lot of the holes and answered questions referenced by questions in Shuki's forum during their appearance on WAAC blog talk radio today. If you want to hear it, and learn more about Gumiyo, go to www.autoadcreative.com - click on the blog talk radio show that references them and or click on the Gumiyo link. I learned something and I plan to listen to Shuki and Rich and learn a lot more on their mobile channel. They have a grand slam here!
Thought this was sort of relevant to the topic. http://www.skyfire.com/
Shuki,

I'm a serial high-tech entrepreneur. My latest foray is into SMS-based mobile phone marketing, so in learning more about the subject during product development and deployment, I’ve formed some opinions on its suitability for various things. First, I personally don’t see a huge benefit for dealers to put their inventory on a mobile phone. (Right now, WAP [cell phone web browsing] is such that it’s still a “toy” for the real early adopters in my opinion). Just because you can or because it’s “cool” doesn’t necessarily mean you should.

Think about the car buyer for a moment. He’s either an active buyer (I’ve got to get a new car very soon) or a latent buyer (I’ve thought about a new car, but something has got to grab my attention to spur me to action). Your mobile site would pay off under the following circumstances: Mr. Buyer sees or hears a dealer’s ad in a public place – radio, TV in a bar, newspaper in a waiting room, etc. – and has to be so motivated by your ad that he pulls out his mobile phone right then and visits your web site to look at tiny little pictures on his phone rather than waiting until he gets home. In your experience, have you ever run a radio ad that spurred someone to pull over to the side of the road to call your dealership on the spot? (In all seriousness, if you’re seeing that kind of response, a lot of readers here want to know more about it.)

What you might also get is the bored guy – the one sitting in a waiting room and fiddling around with the web browser on his phone looking for some entertainment for a few minutes, but other than that, if I’m a serious technology-driven car buyer, I’m going to the web with a fast Internet connection and a nice fat monitor. I want to SEE it.

That’s my sense at the moment on your question #1. For question #3, the answer is always ROI. Cost and time are simply two components of the value formula, and I can always put a return factor on the other side of the equation to make almost any cost or time value “worth it.” I’m not qualified to address your question #4.

That leaves question #2. At this time, I do see opportunities for dealer mobile marketing campaigns. First, as an alternative response method for your out-of-home ad media. Face it, when people see or hear your ad at home, you should always give them a web site to visit. They’re home – it’s easy. I read somewhere the other day where X% of people surf the Internet during commercials (where X was some surprisingly large number that I can’t recall and I’m too lazy to look up at the moment). Out of home, though, people are on the go. Mr. Latent Buyer above might think “hmm, that’s a good price” or “I never considered that option” but he’s on-the-go, so he’s not going to pick up his mobile phone and “deal” (in the bad connotation of the word) with a dealer’s sales droid on the way to work or during lunch or wherever he is. He’s got 30 seconds before he’s on to the next thing. If he’s tech driven, he’s going to wait until he gets home, and you’re going to hope he remembers your ad spot by then. If he’s not tech-driven, he’d not use WAP on his phone to visit your site anyway.

So, how do you help this on-the-go guy remember you? I think SMS is one possible answer right now. We operate a digital out-of-home advertising network, and we’ve learned some interesting things about consumer response which has incidentally triggered our foray into SMS. One thing we’ve relearned is that the faster and more convenient we make the response mechanism, the better it works. And by that, I mean even faster than having them call a phone number – that’s not “easy” in the consumer’s mind.

Consider the following simple campaign idea and think about how an on-the-go consumer (not at home) might respond. “This weekend, visit Tesla Motors on Mercury Blvd for our blow-out inventory sale. Text TESLA to 32757 for a list of the hottest specials!” If that CTA instructed the listener to call, they’re not likely to do it because it takes too long. If that CTA instructed the listener to visit a URL, you have to hope they remember it when they get home or to the office (or do you really believe they’re going to stop everything, move that latent need to the top of the stack, ignore their surroundings, and visit your dealership’s WAP site right then?). If that CTA instructed them to visit your dealership “in the next few days” how many chances are there for disconnect between now and then? But, if in 15 seconds, they can send a text message to you for more info, you now get several bites at the apple. First, you send them a text on their phone in response immediately “Roadsters starting at $XX,XXX, financing starting at 2%. Visit teslamotors.com” or whatever. Now the consumer is carrying an offer from you on their phone, along with a reminder (your URL) of where to get more information when the time suits them (e.g. when they have the fast Internet connection and fat monitor). And, closer to the event, you now have permission to contact them again “Don’t forget our sales event tomorrow. A few minutes will save you thousands.” If they’re truly a buyer or latent buyer, they are not going to drop off your list right yet, so you might get one more bite during the weekend “Have you made it yet? Bank just dropped rates to 0%, plus factory incentives! Don’t miss it!”

There are a variety of ideas similar to what I illustrate, and I think those types of campaigns are more appropriate right now given the current state of the mobile phone market. And if you know the right people, the ROI will be just right. (hint)

Travis
Travis,
Thank you for taking the time to reply so elaborately and making this discussion more interesting!

1) According to comScore, 19% of the web unique users are browsing on mobile phones and growing. With the iPhone selling over $1M units, the mobile user base is a growing market that should not be ignored. Much like a dealership needs a web presence (website, advertising etc), today’s trends dictate the necessity of a mobile presence (mobile website and connectivity tools). Our solution is a unique end-to-end platform with solutions to create your mobile presence, advertise it, reach users and connect with buyers – all in one.

2) I completely agree about the ROI point. Mobile solutions today must be introduced at a low entry, no-brainier, rate. A rate that will make the “I” (investment) in ROI as small as possible. This is the reason why we choose to introduce our product at an amazingly low rate with unlimited leads and unlimited listings.

3) SMS messages, two points here:

a. In our solution, SMS alerts/ messages are a feature and not the product. I agree with you that SMS message are a great way to engage the user, but my opinion is that they have to be part of a FLOW. The reason for that is that SMS is a limited technology, and you wish to use it to deliver the header of the information, then only to send the user to a mobile page (formatted for the user’s phone) and walk them through a flow.

b. In the past 6 months, carriers have started inspecting the flow and content of SMS messages. When we built our solution, we used only the top tier messaging platform (mQube by VeriSign) and ensured that we are completely provisioned by all US carriers. Many point solutions out there rely on shared short codes or 2nd tier vendors. Aggressive carriers (mainly AT&T and Verizon) lately started to block and go after these 2nd tier SMS vendors.

Looking forward to meeting you at NADA

Shuki
Hi Travis,

I respect your references, and appreciate the variety of platforms and mobile applications available both today and tommorow, but I respectfully disagree based on a simple old school wisdom - less is more, multiple and repeated impressions over a variety of cahnnels develops retention of message faster than just reach of audience on any single media and timing is critical. The instant ability to post and update a dealer's inventory on Gumiyo, along with changing messages for fixed operations and other website based information in response to a direct customer inquiry, for $150 a month is an easy ROI formula that can be done without a calculator. The future of laptops is already written and the cell phone, or its future cousins, will certainly become the norm, as evidenced by the kids at the mall and even in the classrooms that are text messging over the already dated email. Today's true opportunities are those that will survive into tommorrow's standards and Gumiyo, while ahead of the curve as planned, still is tapping into a 50,000,000 a month text audience that has already adopted the platform on their mobile channel. The basic rule to lead follow or get out of the way will apply to today's PC as they make room for the cell phone of tommorow - you can bet on it!
I was very intriqued by the comments on this particular subject. I have read every comment and found alot of good useful information. I brought this up to my Internet Director, who is probably one of the best in the country, and we've started to look into this. Since Dealerships in Oklahoma can't sell cars on Sundays, we get alot of people who will "look and kick tires" on this day and before or after hours. I'm assuming that If we had a "Go Code" system, our customers would be able to secure the information they were looking for while on the lot and in turn we would be able to secure their information to follow-up with. Currently when I can't get a customer on his cell phone - he may not answer it or let it go to voice mail, but most everyone will read their text message. It appears our Dealership has a lot of research to do for a mobile web site. But hey - Lead or Follow - Just get out the way!
Thank you for your comment Rob! Communicating with a customer via SMS is a great way to approach a lead.
Ping me if you would like to get your GO CODE and I will have someone set you up
Rob, there are probably a lot of ways that mobile marketing can help dealers sell more cars, but I cannot imagine too many that sound more useful and functional than your idea about using them on the lot on Sundays when the dealership is closed. When I worked for Red McCombs Ford and Toyota in San Antonio, TX we had these "Silent Salesman" boxes mounted on light poles throughout the lot for customers to write notes with questions about cars... The Go Code concept, if marked on signage throughout the lot with clear and simple directions would be the modern and more effective equivalent of the Silent Salesman!
As always, Ralph sites examples which trump opinions any day! The better news is that new examples will certainly follow as dealers learn to use this new mobile channel in ways not thought of yet. No worries, I am working on them already! If you have any ideas to contribute, feel free!
I think there are two conversations here. One is a web design issue about making your websites and inventory easily accessible from a phone or PDA and collecting leads from those viewers. The other is about using mobile devices as an active communication device by sending and receiving mobile messages(which many consumers prefer over a phone call).
Both of these are vital. They are interconnected of course, but they're different.
absolutely Ted,

from a mobile supplier standpoint and I am sure from Shuki's standpoint we will be able to share many of the synergies, value and benefits that exist between both of our products.

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