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Most ADM members already "get it" when it comes to the advantage of organically grown leads developed through a well integrated SEO plan tied to conventional media driving traffic to your virtual showroom as well as your real one. If not, just reply with your question and challenges to that statement and I will either refer you to the dozens of previous forums on ADM that support that truth or I will reply with the facts and experiences that have matured the shared opinion that I relied on in making it.

Even a well designed and budgeted SEM plan presents a "conflict" with your own SEO efforts. It places you in competition with yourself for Internet shoppers that are already seeing your organic position in the top left corner,(hopefully), of the search engine screen which has been proven to be more "ergonomically correct" since it is the first section of the page that customers see - literally!

The purpose of this forum is to remind us all that no comprehensive automotive advertising plan should put all of your eggs in one basket! Even conventional radio, TV - and yes PRINT and Direct Mail - have an earned position in the budget. Our current recommendation to our auto dealer clients and affiliated agencies of AdAgencyOnline.Net is a split of 60% Conventional Media to 40% Internet and internal processes.

The point, after investing in self generated leads earned by their individual SEO and conventional media, a dealer should market themselves with a monitored position on high profile third party websites that gather inventory to leverage their own SEO plan supported by their own marketing plan using conventional media to drive traffic to their site over yours.

An individual dealer can't compete on an even playing field with these GIANTS who use the leverage of inventory sourced directly from the OEM's and willing dealers who may not have as comprehensive an SEO and extensive an advertising budget as you do! If you can't beat them - JOIN THEM!

I live to leverage and one example of this communal marketing effort is being applied by one of the newest players in this field - www.EveryCarListed.Com. They already have over 19,200 dealer inventories online - two million plus vehicles and growing - with 7,000 more dealers waiting to post. The OEM's contributing inventory to the site include GM, who started the "gold rush" by posting their CPOV vehicles, followed by Chrysler and Ford with all of their dealer's inventories painlessly collected and posted by their established RSS feeds including DealerSpecialties, HomeNet and the like.

Cars sell cars! That old school real world wisdom survives in the virtual world and the established Yellow Page "real world" sales staff and infra-structure of the printed Yellow Pages is now being directed to focus traffic onto their virtual showroom - EveryCarListed.Com. More importantly - they are FREE - so how is that for an insured R.O.I.!

Of course added value is offered on enhanced postings and marketing packages - like the original Yellow Pages business model that offered free listings with upgrades in the form of display ads and color - but the momentum of the FREE listings has an already earned SEO that can't be beat!

Other forward thinking inventory based third party websites - like DealMaker.Com - have an even more futuristic approach to attracting FREE inventory with the anticipated draw for online consumers that should earn them a position in your future marketing plans. Their "market driven" transparent pricing policy built on a multi-variant software application that can compare vehicles on a granular level to allow open market "negotiations" between EVERY dealer and EVERY online customer in a real tme online selling process is guaranteed to attract OEM's and customers when they hit the US market.

Now, for the final reference in this forum - third party lead providers. Similar logic to the third party websites has earned them a place at the table but in a more dated form. Sure, we helped them develop a market based on our ignorance and inability to do it ourselves, BUT - they have a strong presence that can't be ignored - YET!

Limit your thrid party leads to a manageable daily flow that can be assimilated into your internal processes without impacting your effectiveness in handling your own self generated leads and your ability to respond timely. Monitor your R.O.I. daily and make certain that they perform as expected. If not - say goodbye - and try another one! At least for the time being they should be included in your budget but frankly, since there is no dealer based branding or long term value in their message they should be the first to go!

Feel free to disagree but rest assured that I have always "borrowed" the best ideas that I have ever had and I have borrowed the above from the best in the business - fellow members of ADM, friends and customers earned over 25 plus years as a General manager and Dealer Principal, vendor clients with market based analytics to prove the real and projected R.O.I. of all of the above and my own experience for almost ten years in managing a national network of affiliated automotive advertising agencies representing auto dealers in all markets and with all types of budgets.

That said - I could be wrong so please share your opinions with me and the rest of ADM so I can "borrow" your opinion in tomorrow's forum.

After all, what are friends for!

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Thats a great idea. You are way ahead of me!
The 3rd party lead generator model is fundamentally flawed. The interests of the parties are not properly aligned.

Inventory exposure has to be the long term winner. It should also be the most natural adoption for dealers. Its only the media format that changes from print to Internet.

Its also much cheaper. I believe that dealer websites should list all their own inventory plus pipeline inventory, including estimated delivery dates. They could also do with better configurators with smart delivery date estimators for "build-to-order" inquiries. They could also use smart electronic deal-makers for people who know what they want.

They should also list their inventory on as many free 3rd party websites as possible. The more exposure the better. EveryCarListed looks interesting. They are on the right track. I can't see any new cars though?
Thanks for your insights Brian - you are obviously someone who "gets it!"

My philosophy that a "rising tide floats all boats" suggests that the more inventory based "one stop" third party webites sites that are developed on the WWW the faster the consumer will learn to rely on them as a source for information in selecting a vehicle and a dealer to do business with. The trick is that you have to be in it - to win it!

The Internet is a moving target - and I think that the online consumer looking for transparency from a "one stop site" has just moved the bulls eye!

The site that draws the most traffic is guaranteed to be one of the two or three virtual dealers that earn a position on the short list to sell and deliver the vehicle in the real world. The leverage being extended by third party inventory based websites like EveryCarListed.Com that have entered the game have the biggest stick in both the real and the virtual world and the dealer that "doubles down" by posting their vehicles with them has a shot at earning two of the three avaialble slots!

The momentum that ECL has already developed with over two million vehicles posted - and counting - coupled with their For Sale By Owner draw - and yes, they are adding New Vehicles as well - supported by their established "real world" marketing team directed by the Yellow Pages infrastructure insures that their SEO will trump an individual dealer's SEO (nothing personal to the ISM's out there) and now is the time to play nice and join them becasue every other dealer will; or in fact - already has!

FREE is a heck of a conversation starter and the OEM support suggests that the upgraded packages that support their leveraged ongoing conventional advertising to attract consumers to their site through TV, Print and Billboards will trump any individual dealer's advertising budget; (again, nothing personal).

As far as conversion tools - they also have SiSTer Technologies Video Car Lot converting pictures to videos with integrated CarFax reports included in one of their packages and Gumiyo is part of the plan to deliver the message to an online - or on the road - car shopper on his cell phone or PDA!

Of course the dealer's site should still come first since it establishes a much stronger identity and opportunity to "brand" his dealership as well as to control the customer in service and parts - BUT, an Internet shopper is going to visit a few other sites after the dealer's anyway so all you are doing by joining ECL - or your site DealMaker.Com - is covering or insuring your bet!
Once again, Philip has a point. Since registration on our site will always be free for basic listings, and we make it easy to upload your inventory to our site, why not? EveryCarListed.com is set up to be the rising tide for dealerships and we hope you jump on board!
Thanks Meg,

I just started a different slant of the comparison between ECL - and other 3rd party inventory based websites as an automotive advertising investment - and 3rd pary lead providers. I included the show with Dale Boone and Darrell Campbell from EveryCarListed.Com as a good resource for the "inside story" at EveryCarListed.Com on AdAgencyOnline.Net or our blog talk rado show "Automotive Advertising Experts" and I suggest that you listen to it or refer potential auto dealers to it. The message was clearly defined and well ocumented by thie rapid success in the online automotive advertising world!
As always Philip you have hit the nail on the head. SEM can conflict with your SEO so it is wise to keep an eye on the baby in the bath water. I think the key takeaway is that digital and traditional marketing need to go hand in hand. There was a great study done last year by iProspect that illustrated how important radio, television and print advertising is in driving online search. Prospects hear a radio ad or view a tv ad and only remember a protion of your URL. They use search engines to fill in the blanks. Check your website reports-if you are pulling in large numbers on portions of your name your traditional campaigns are working.

AutoTrader.com and Cars.com have spent tremendous amounts of money on traditional advertising to build their brand. When you do a search for a new car dealer and a particular city you see countless numbers of third party lead sites jockeying for position. To your point-SEO alone is not helping them either. Inventory alone is not a guarantee either, almost every inventory management company offers free uploads of your inventory. They don't do any real outside marketing however.

Both of the companies you have listed look interesting. All that marketing AutoTrader does costs the dealer big bucks and the perilous position of many newspapers has hurt the solid base that Cars.com once enjoyed for revenue (at least here in Philly).
Gang,

The industry issue with third party leads/providers, is that they all act the same. Dealers prety much pay the same for good leads and bad leads.
That is changing! If dealers want, they now are able to buy leads at the
price they are willing to pay for leads in their marketplace, based upon their
Propensity to buy, or their lead score! You can check out the Premier Lead Exchange created by Detroit trading. www.detroittradingexchange.com

Detroit Trading is not a lead generation company, simply an exchange to bring sellers and buyers together. This exchange is what the market needs to assist retailers in getting the right number and quality of leads they prefer!
Hi Bob,

Like I said, no one should put all of their eggs in any one basket and it sounds like you just surfaced a communal lead source that distributes the sources across the board for buyers and sellers of leads! Please contact me at your conveneience at 561-962-2738 as I would be interested in learning more about this channel to purchase - and possibly sell - leads back into the exchange. Very interesting!
Anyone interested can also talk to Jeffrey Raab from DTX and a member of ADM
Great thread guys. Couple of points regarding the Exchange (and 3rd party lead providers).

1. No sales pitch, just see the video at http://www.premierleadexchange.com to understand what we're doing to change the 3rd party lead marketplace. Call me if you want to learn more.
2. An Exchange benefits buyers AND sellers. We DO NOT buy or sell leads. Our Exchange (www.dtx.name) is an open marketplace for the trade of leads between buyers and sellers.
3. 3rd party internet leads have value, though not all leads are created equal. We now have insight into which leads have the highest probability of closing. The Premier Lead Exchange is the first entity to bring this level of transparency and predictive intelligence to the marketplace BEFORE you purchase a lead.

I just returned from the TARGUS Online Lead Quality Summit where there was a lot of discussion around Transparency, Dynamic Pricing, and Lead Scoring in the automotive space. I'm excited to be a driving force for change in the industry.

If anyone has questions, or wants to chat about any of these ideas, please contact me at jr@detroittrading.com or via cell 248.506.0091.
Hi Jeffery,

Yes, we need to talk! I don't want to presume on your schedule to discuss shared opportunites but - since it is obvious that there are some- please contact me at your convenience at 561-962-2738. I will adjust my schedule and priorites to fit yours.

After all, what are friends for!
I will get to you asap - by end of day today or first thing in the morning.

Jeff

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