icle in the ADM Blog section titled "Are You Buying What They Are Selling..." that was focused on the use of sales strategies and tactics by dealership suppliers that leverage sexual attractiveness to sell products and services to dealers and dealership managers...
Which, if you ask anyone who has been in the car business for longer than ten years, will tell you is a very common occurrence. This of course raises all manner of issues and problems to be solved, especially around who is authorized to spend a dealership's money on products, services and determine which suppliers are used.
Illustration by Jerry Mosemak, USA TODAY
However, what about car dealerships and automotive dealer groups using the "Sex Sells" reality of marketing, advertising and sales within their strategies and tactics?
As an opening stimulus to this discussion, re-posted further down in this forum discussion are excerpts from what was written as comments by Ralph Paglia, Tim Martell and Chris Hanson in their responses to:
Are You Buying What They Are Selling...
Micah's blog article about the use of sexual attraction in the marketing and selling of products and services to car dealers and dealership managers. The article was published in the ADM Automotive Marketing Professional Community and titled "Are You Buying What They Are Selling... Sex Sells and Car Dealers" With the last five words added by the editor (Ralph Paglia).
This is followed by the reposting of the comments written by ADM Members and automotive professionals Tim Martell and Chris Hanson in response to Micah Birkholz's ADM article:
Sex Sells Blog Post Comment written by Ralph Paglia
Micah - Thank you for such an interesting and provocative subject... A subject which we all know is very real and ever present in American society. In fact, a topic that is more relevant in American society than in many others. For example, in Europe such a subject would elicit a few yawns and perhaps an inquisitive "what's your point?".
Timothy - Viva Free Enterprise! Your response is focused on the primary business operations objectives of "What works?"... And, in fact, in America we have a long history of regulating morality by building our sense of what is objectionable or not into our laws and government regulations. Not that I necessary agree with legislated morality, but many Americans COULD argue that if a business practice is accepted by the targeted customer base and is not in violation of any state or federal laws, than it should be considered based on its efficacy or ability to generate a return on investment to the shareholders of the business.Chris - I really, really appreciate your insightful comment and will go out on a limb to say that I agree with the part you propose about businesses making a choice! Because I think you are right, there are many ways to approach marketing and sales strategy. And there are many tactical implementations that can include components of "Sex Sells" to a wide variety of degree and overtness. Whereas, most people would agree that there is nothing wrong with hiring attractive sales professionals, the answers would likely be far different to the question of hiring women or men who exchange sexual favors for sales contracts when deemed necessary. The bottom line, as Chris points out, is that there are hundreds of books, strategies and methodologies available to base your sales strategy and tactics upon... The choice and matrix of components selected by a business leader is what determines the subtle nuances of that particular business's "Brand" and reputation among the customers it serves.Lastly, to all who read this remarkably thought provoking article... I have been in the business of selling SOMETHING all my life and have over 40 years of sales experience to base certain observations upon. And, one of those observations that I will argue to no end is simply a fact, is this:
IT IS EASIER TO SELL SOMETHING TO PEOPLE WHO FIND YOU PHYSICALLY ATTRACTIVE THAN IT IS TO PEOPLE WHO FIND YOU PHYSICALLY UNDESIRABLE.On a personal and direct basis, I know that when I was taking ups at the age of 24 and at a time when my body was physically fit, overly muscular and golden tanned from days off spent body surfing in the Pacific... When I would greet customers, especially single divorced women shopping for a new or used car, there was a connection initiated by their physical attraction to my appearance that allowed me to develop a rapport much more quickly than would have happened if I had not been so attractive. 25 years later, I know as a middle aged over weight and less attractive man, that I cannot rely on some of the flirtatious and flattering "I find you attractive" subtleties and nuances to sell cars, ideas, consulting or anything else. Now, I find I am more dependent upon communicating my experience, knowledge, expertise, training and education to be persuasive in a sales situation.If you think about it... Doesn't this show how wonderful life can be? When we are "young and dumb" the biology inherent in the DNA of what makes us human, vibrant and alive serves to assist our survival and be successful because of persuasiveness assisted by physical and yes, sexual, attractiveness... Then, as we acquire greater skills, experience, knowledge and dare I say "wisdom" while growing older and losing some of that youthful and more overtly sexual attractiveness, we gradually become more successful based on our knowledge and skills acquired.Yes sex and sexual attractiveness are very powerful forces in sales and marketing... Yes, businesses can choose to use that as a strategy or simply a tactical enhancement. Some businesses are very successful with their strategy of completely eliminating any type of sexually based means of attracting customers and users. Most notoriously, the Apple Corporation's policies towards the iPhone, iPod and iPad Apps approved for sale in the iTunes Store. Any time an App remotely appears to use sexual attractiveness or even the mildest forms of what only the most prudish Amish folk would describe as "Pornography" then the App is "delisted" and barred from sale and use... There have been many complaints about Apple's heavy handed approach, but it does reflect a certain strategic direction which implies that Apple will not condone or support the use of their platform as a sex based sales and marketing medium.Alternately, the very platform I am posting this message on, as well as all so called "Social Media", is based on technology which was developed with funds originating from the online sale of pornography. It is of note and relevant to this topic that "Social Networks" are the first category of online web site activity to ever surpass the popularity of online Pornography. This in turn is a graphic illustration of "Sex Sells".Yes, it is what it is... And, each of us was born with the capacity sometimes called "Self Determination" that grants us the capacity to decide just how much we want to incorporate sexually based images, messaging and video in our sales or purchasing decision making processes... Whether or not there is "self determination" available in our reaction to physically attractive sales professionals on a face to face basis is actually a topic that is debated within my wife's subject area as a professor of "Women and Gender Studies" at Arizona State University (ASU). Which brings it all back around to something that Timothy Martell alluded to...When sending sales professionals into dealerships on a mission to get in front of dealers and general managers... Will more physically attractive people have greater success? The evidence is widely available to support a "Yes" response. However, if you send me, Grant Cardone and Jim Ziegler to 100 dealerships and compare our ability to get in front of a dealer or GM with that of a competing team made up of 2 beautiful women and a Chippendale male dancer, I will bet a considerable amount of money that Jim, Grant and myself get in front of more dealers/GM's and sell more of whatever it is we are assigned.So, no doubts about sex working as a sales enhancement... But, as Chris Hanson pointed out, there are so many other ways to sell depending on your targeted customer demographics and what you are selling... Some of which may outperform sexually stimulating or engaging strategies and tactics.
Sex Sells Blog Post Comment by Timothy Martell
"I couldn't disagree more. Love it or hate it... its reality. For example: Right now I am hot on facebook marketing. I have used it very successfully in several dealerships now and I now offer the service direct to businesses as well as a vendor reseller program. Guess what... Sex sells there too.
Even promotions offering to give away free iPads and highly desirable gifts pale in comparison to campaigns being run on fan pages that have a picture of an attractive woman. What is even more interesting is that it even resonates with the female demographic. People like attractive people. The more provocative, the faster the fans come...
Look, I guess kudos for trying to sound all PC in the era of "The View" and Obamaland. But this is not reality. You are in the minority, whether "they" admit it or not.
Bottom line: Sex sells and it likely always will. And to be frank, if what you bought works and makes you money, does it really matter what the reason was? I say promote 'em all! It sure works for godaddy! I hope it works for me! Attractive women: apply here! I know what sells!" - Timothy Martell
Sex Sells Blog Post Comment written by Chris Hanson
"Just to be clear, this isn't directed at anyone, it's just my point of view...
Here's the bottom line: Sex may sell but you have to determine if you want to sell that way or not... just because it does sell, doesn't mean you have to. Just because sex sells, doesn't mean that is the only way to sell and it certainly doesn't mean that is the only way to succeed at selling... many businesses have proven that over the years.
We can give lots of examples of businesses using sex to sell and lots of examples of businesses not using sex to sell. Why? Because that's not how to sell. What I mean is this... sex doesn't sell, it's a way to sell if you want to go down that road... if you don't want to go down that road, train your staff... just to be clear, train your staff. Train them on how to sell, what customer service means, how to really sell and keep doing it. Yes, you can and may do this and still use sex as a way to sell. But why you succeed will not be because you did or didn't use sex to sell.
Train your staff on how to sell, market your business right and train your staff some more on how to sell and you will succeed.
Ok, I'm done with my little rant" - Chris Hanson
REFERENCE LINKS AND SOURCES:
Sex Sells; Is it Acceptable to Use Sexually Stimulating Advertising and Physically Attractive People to Sell Cars?
Micah Birkholz's "Are You Buying What They Are Selling" Automotive Marketing Blogs and Articles
The Booth Babe Chronicles: Psychology Of Auto Show Marketing, With Special Emphasis On Gender-Related Issues
What's the attraction? Look to society, biology, not 'logic'
ivities and our general productivity:
Tool #1 – Google Adwords Keyword Research Tool
Although the free Keyword Research Tool offered by Google’s Adwords doesn’t offer as many features as standalone SEO programs offer, this resource is a great option for checking general search, competition, and CPC metrics on the fly. Be sure to check out the feature that allows you to brainstorm keywords by URL in order to uncover the keywords your competitors may be targeting!
Tool #2 – Google Trends
With Google’s new freshness update in effect, picking up on and capturing breaking news stories and trends is a must for SEO. Google Trends is one of the best places to find this information, so make it a habit to regularly monitor this service for trends in your industry.
Tool #3 – Buzzfeed
Another site we use to identify the hot trends within our industry in order to rank highly for QDF (query deserving freshness) SERPs is Buzzfeed, a popular news aggregation site that covers a wide variety of niches. It’s also a great place to keep up on the latest memes and popular sayings floating around in Internet culture.
Tool #4 – Google Insights for Search
Before you launch any new SEO campaign, check out Google’s Insights for Search tool to confirm that there’s consistent demand for the particular search terms you’ll target. A few minutes of research on this free service can save you a fortune by preventing you from going after the wrong keywords!
Tool #5 – Google Related Searches
Any time you conduct a search in Google, you have the option of selecting from a number of other potential queries that Google considers to be substantially related to your original term. This data can be found in the left-hand sidebar of any Google SERP (under the “Show search tools” menu), and it provides a great opportunity to find potential LSI keywords for your blog posts and content marketing articles.
Tool #6 – Google Correlate
One final Google tool to take a look at is Google Correlate, which will help you determine if trends that exist in your target keywords’ search volume variation correspond with trends in the real world. This can be especially helpful when understanding unexpected SEO behavior or when predicting the potential variability of search volume for future projects.
Tool #7 – Alexa
Although the Alexa ranking system itself has some weaknesses, the service’s webpage offers website owners data on visitor demographics, top search queries, potential target keywords, and other helpful SEO metrics. Simply enter your URL into the company’s homepage search bar to get started!
Tool #8 – Keyword Discovery
Keyword Discovery is one of the most widely used, standalone keyword research tools on the web, and its breadth of features easily demonstrates why this site remains dominant in the competitive field of market research programs. Give the site’s free Search Term Suggestion Tool a try, and then consider signing up for a free trial of the site’s paid keyword research and competitive intelligence tools.
Tool #9 – Keyword Questions
Wordtracker’s free Keyword Questions tool is a godsend whenever you’re struggling to come up with article topics for your site or for your marketing campaigns. Simply enter your target keyword into the engine, and it will return specific questions that people have entered into the search engines that relate to your topic, providing you with instant article-writing fodder that’s guaranteed to interest your audience!
Tool #10 – SearchStatus plugin
Yet another SEO aggregation toolbar, the SearchStatus plugin deserves special mention for its keyword density measuring feature, which allows you to quickly measure the specific keyword usage rates found on other industry websites for your own competitive analysis.
Tool #11 – KGen
Want to know which words on any webpage will be deemed most important by the search engines? Then install the KGen plugin for Firefox, which enables you to view websites through the eyes of the search engines and uncover potential opportunities to outrank your competitors for valuable keyword phrases.
Tool #12 – Soovle
Another fun keyword research tool to take a look at is Soovle, which pulls search suggestions from the seven top search engines. Simply start typing your target keywords into the site’s free engine, and you’ll automatically receive related keywords that can be used to power your own SEO campaigns.
Tool #13 – Google Analytics
If you carry out any SEO activities at all, you simply must have a web analytics program in order to measure the impact of your campaigns. Google Analytics is by far the most commonly used option, and it’s easy to see why. The program is free to use and provides a wealth of data, including advanced event and goal tracking features that allow you to conclusively measure the ROI of your SEO campaigns.
Tool #14 – SEOQuake
SEOQuake is one of many different SEO extensions (available for both the Firefox and Chrome browsers) that return information about individual web pages, as well as about the listings within individual SERPs. Use this tool to check things like web page PageRank, Alexa traffic rank, site age, number of backlinks, and more crucial pieces of information to uncover when conducting competitive research.
Tool #15 – SEOBook browser extensions
By signing up for a free SEOBook account, you’ll gain access to the site’s selection of free SEO tools, including “The SEO Toolbar,” “SEO for Firefox,” and “Rank Checker.” Much like SEOQuake, these Firefox plugins pull several different SEO metrics that can be used to identify potential link partners, uncover weak spots among industries and competitors, and much more.
Tool #16 – SiteTrail for Chrome
The SiteTrail for Chrome plugin allows you to pull up various website SEO metrics, including site rank, site traffic, and site analytics, from a simple link within your right-click menu. The tremendous amount of information this tool provides and the speed with which it generates SEO data make it a great option for conducting market research on the fly.
Tool #17 – SEO for Chrome
One final SEO research plugin to consider is the SEO for Chrome plugin. In addition to providing data on key SEO metrics from within the Chrome browser, this tool takes competitive web marketing research one step further by providing information on a given site’s social media presence.
Tool #18 – SEOTools for Excel
Although Microsoft’s Excel program may seem outdated, it can be turned into a productivity powerhouse with the addition of the free SEOTools for Excel add-in. Once installed (see the instructions here for tips on setting it up correctly), you’ll be able to use this tool to conduct on-page analysis, monitor backlinks, pull Google Analytics data directly into Excel for further exploration, and more!
Tool #19 – SEOSiteCheckup.com
Want to get a feel for whether your site’s SEO is on track compared to established best practices? Enter your URL into the SEOSiteCheckup.com analysis tool and get a free custom report measuring a number of different SEO factors.
Tool #20 – Hubspot Marketing Grader
Formerly Hubspot’s Website Grader, the new Marketing Grader service provides free reports that measure your site’s progress in three key areas: your promotional efforts, your on-page conversion optimization, and your website analytics.
Tool #21 – Majestic SEO
When it comes to competitor backlink research, a tool like Majestic SEO, which lets you view and analyze all the links pointing at other websites within your industry, is an absolute must. Although you’ll need to upgrade to the paid version for full access, even the free version provides some data on both your own site’s backlink profile and your competitors’ link collections.
Tool #22 – Open Site Explorer
The Open Site Explorer provides similar type of information as Majestic SEO, but since the two tools pull from different data sets, it’s worth comparing the results between both services to get a better feel for the health of your site’s off-page SEO activities. Again, the program offers both free and paid versions with different levels of access and functionality to suit your specific needs.
Tool #23 – Affiliorama SEO toolbar
While the Affiliorama SEO toolbar pulls many of the same pieces of information as the previous plugin recommendations, this free extension deserves a spot in any SEO’s tool chest as a result of its dofollow/nofollow feature, which highlights link attributes that are crucial to consider as part of your linkbuilding campaigns.
Tool #24 – Google Alerts
Google Alerts, which allows you to receive email updates whenever your designated keywords are mentioned online, can be used for a number of different SEO needs, including identifying potential backlink sources that reference your target keywords and uncovering negative brand mentions that should be fixed using Linkception.
Tool #25 – Onlywire
When used correctly, social bookmarking can be a good way to reach new followers and build brand awareness for your website, but since the process of hand-submitting links to multiple sites can be time consuming, take a look at the free Onlywire service. It will automatically post your links to the networks you participate on.
Tool #26 – Seesmic Ping
As another automated social bookmarking service, Seesmic Ping is a similar option to consider for your web promotion and SEO needs. Expanding on its predecessor’s (Ping.fm) weaknesses, the new Seesmic Ping service allows users to post from their iPhone, iPad, Android device, or email, in addition to providing advanced spell check and preview capabilities.
Of course, this is only a small selection of the thousands of SEO productivity tools out there. If you have other recommendations you’d like to share, please include them in the comments section below!
Tool #27 – SEMRush
SEMRush is the “Mac Daddy” of the SEO world when it comes to understanding the true monetary value of your traffic or the potential of your target keywords. It’s pricy, but it’s often worth the cost, given the amount of information made available through the service.
Tool #28 – Traffic Travis
While there are plenty of SEO tool suites out there, there aren’t many free ones that are as fully functioned as Traffic Travis. Whether you’re a beginning user or a more advanced SEO, Traffic Travis’s free collection of keyword research, search engine, PPC, and page analysis tools can help you to compile a significant amount of SEO data quickly and easily.
Tool #29 – Market Samurai
Market Samurai bills itself as a comprehensive SEO suite, and with good reason. Not only does this single program include keyword research tools, rank tracking, link sourcing, and more, its one-time fee makes it a great value compared to similar programs that require a paid monthly subscription.
Tool #30 – Raven Tools
According to the company’s website, “Raven’s SEO, advertising, and social media tools help you work faster and smarter.” And there’s really no arguing with this statement when you take a look at the breadth of SEO information that’s pulled from SEMRush, SEOMoz, MajesticSEO, WordTracker, Google, and other services for aggregation in the program’s “Research Central” dashboard.
Starting at $99/month, it’s a more expensive SEO productivity solution, but the ROI of a toolset like this could be high if you’re able to secure higher SERPs rankings as a result.
Tool #31 – SEOMoz Pro
One final comprehensive SEO tool suite that you should consider is SEOMoz Pro, which combines the expertise of the SEOMoz community with top-of-the-line SEO monitoring and social media marketing products. Of special note is the service’s “Q&A” feature, which allows you to get expert answers to any SEO questions you encounter, a “must have” for new SEOs and webmasters.
Tool #32 – SEO SERP Workbench for Chrome
If paid SEO programs aren’t in your budget right now, check out a fun, little tool called the SEO SERP Workbench plugin for Chrome. It won’t do everything that the paid services listed above will, but it does give you a quick and easy way to check the position of multiple sites (including both your page and your competitors’ pages) for a given keyword in the SERPs.
Tool #33 – Spyfu
While Spyfu primarily offers paid services that allow you to “spy” on your competitor’s PPC campaigns, the free edition of the company’s “Spyfu Classic” service also provides free information that’s valuable from an SEO standpoint, including top organic keywords and top natural search competitors. Give the free tools a try, and then investigate some of the more complex options available in order to improve the effectiveness of your PPC advertisements.
Tool #34 – Google Adwords Editor
Once you start getting into PPC advertising on a serious level, you’ll likely find that manually creating campaigns, ads, and keyword groups within your Google Adwords account becomes tedious and time consuming. A better alternative is to download Google’s free Adwords Editor application, which will allow you to bulk edit your campaigns from your desktop and then automatically sync them to your online Adwords account.
Tool #35 – Microsoft Adcenter Editor
Similarly, if you advertise your website through Microsoft’s AdCenter program as well as Google Adwords, the Adcenter Editor program is a “must have.” In addition to allowing you to edit your PPC campaigns more efficiently from your desktop, the program offers performance alerts that will notify you whenever key campaign metrics dip below a certain level.
Tool #36 – SocialOomph
As social media continues to play a larger than ever role in search rankings, building and establishing your profiles on these sites should be considered a primary SEO priority. Since carrying out social networking marketing campaigns can be time consuming, consider adding an automation tool like SocialOomph, which allows you to schedule tweets for future updates, set up “following” rules, and more.
Tool #37 – Tweriod
In order to improve the effectiveness of the messages you send to your social networking followers, you need to know when they’re most active, and, therefore, when they’ll be most receptive to your offers or conversations. For this purpose, check out Tweriod, which will compile data on your Twitter followers’ online activities and provide you with recommendations on the best times, by the hour, to engage with your community on this social site.
Tool #38 – Twiends
If your social networking following isn’t as robust as you’d like, take a look at services like Twiends, which will allow you to quickly connect with potential new community members based on your shared interests.
Tool #39 – Triberr
Similarly, the Triberr website enables you to multiply the reach of your social marketing efforts through the formation of teams that automatically promote each other’s content to their own followers. Look for existing networks within your industry and request an invitation, or simply start your own “tribe” to effectively expand your social networking reach.
Tool #40 – Google Documents
Whether you collaborate with virtual workers around the world or simply need to share files with your colleague down the hall, Google’s free document editing and storage solution offers a great way to share and collaborate on files. As an added bonus, the program’s easy-to-navigate permission settings allow you to control exactly who can see and edit each file in your account.
Tool #41 – Dropbox
Another alternative for sharing files across teams is Dropbox, one of the web’s top file storage solutions. After you sign up for a free account, you’ll be able to automatically sync files from your desktop computer to your online account, allowing for enhanced backup protection as well as easy collaboration with other Dropbox users.
Tool #42 – Basecamp
Basecamp is the “Mac Daddy” of online project management and collaboration programs. It’s expensive, but the features this tool offers in terms of detailed task tracking and delegation across multi-person teams is unparalleled among free competitors.
Tool #43 – Evernote
Evernote is a great option for capturing ideas on the fly, whether that includes potential web development opportunities you encounter while working on your SEO campaigns or new target keywords you think up while running errands on your day off. We at Single Grain especially love the fact that the program syncs easily between mobile, web, and desktop applications, making it nearly impossible to forget the brilliant ideas you have while on-the-go!
Tool #44 – Skype
If you work with team members or clients in various locations, installing Skype is an absolute must. Not only does this free tool enable you to quickly set up text-based chats, phone calls, or video conferences, it’s also easy to record your Skype conversations for later reference (additional add-in tools may be needed).
Tool #45– Trello
Trello is a free project management utility that allows you to collaborate across teams through the use of project boards, activity cards, and task lists. Although it doesn’t offer all the same features as Basecamp, it’s one of the best free alternatives available today, and it’s one that we use frequently at Single Grain.
Tool #46 – Notable App
If you manage SEO campaigns for clients, you’ll occasionally run into situations that require you to obtain feedback on different web activities. Instead of asking clients to type out lengthy comments and explanations, the Notable App enables you and your clients to capture shared screenshots and add notes in an intuitive click-and-drag format, resulting in huge time savings for both you and your customers!
Tool #47 – HipChat
If you’re still using AIM, Gchat, or other free internal chat services to share messages among your team members, take a look at HipChat, a business-oriented solution for group chat needs. We love the fact that it operates across platforms, as well as the professional environment the app creates for business communications.
General Productivity Tools
Tool #48 – Excel
Excel and the rest of the Microsoft Office suite might seem like dinosaurs in this new world of online apps and cloud-based programs, but don’t count them out yet. When paired with the SEOTools for Excel add-in discussed earlier, this comprehensive data management program can be transformed into an SEO powerhouse that’s capable of providing many of the same features found in expensive paid SEO programs.
Tool #49 – Adobe Reader
Chances are good you already have this standard program installed on your computer, but are you really using its full capabilities? The Adobe Reader package can be used to search PDF documents, track comments across multiple parties, and even verify digital signatures, making it an important tool for any SEO’s arsenal.
Tool #50 – Jing
Jing is a free screen-capture utility put out by Techsmith (the makers of the popular Snagit and Camtasia programs) that can be used to take screenshots, record screen-capture videos, and collaborate on images taken by the tool. While it won’t substitute for a full-fledged image or video editing program, it’s a great option for visually sharing quick ideas between team members.
Tool #51 – Photoshop
While it’s true that Photoshop has a pretty sizable learning curve compared to Jing, it’s worth learning this full-featured program for a variety of SEO campaign needs. Whether you’re simply resizing images for web deployment or creating custom graphics for use on new websites, Photoshop has the advanced features needed to make your SEO activities more visually appealing.
Tool #52 – Filezilla
Every SEO worker needs an FTP program, and Filezilla is by far our favorite. It’s free, easy to install, and offers plenty of options for controlling the security of your remote web connections, making it an ideal solution for your file sharing needs.
Tool #53 – Boomerang for Gmail
The Boomerang extension for Gmail can help you take control of your inbox by allowing you to schedule outgoing messages, as well as set archived messages to be returned to your inbox at set times. It’s a major time saver over digging through your email account to find that one important piece of information you archived months ago!
Tool #54 – Gist
These days, professional networking requires more than just contact information, which is why you need a social CRM system like Gist. This tool integrates with your mobile devices and email accounts to pull additional social data on your contacts, including their most recent social networking activities, blog posts, and more. It’s a great way to get the conversation rolling with new and existing business contacts!
Tool #55 – Notepad++
Finally, when it comes to modifying code to improve a client’s on-site SEO, our favorite tool for the job is Notepad++. This free tool goes above and beyond the standard Microsoft Notepad editor, offering a number of features, including support for multiple coding languages and higher execution speeds, that are critical for efficient code editing.
Digital Marketing Agency
Sujan Patel is the co-founder of Single Grain, an SEO Agency based in San Francisco, CA. Single Grain specializes in helping start ups and Fortune 500 companies with their digital marketing strategy. You should follow Sujan on Twitter.
listened to several speakers mention the use of microsites by dealers and attribute their knowledge of microsites to yours truly. I suppose being called the “Microsite King” (see www.MicrositeKing.com) can’t be all bad, but right here and right now I would like to set the record straight about the issue of whether or not using microsites is good or bad… The use of microsites should be considered as one facet of a multi-faceted and full featured digital marketing system. Microsites can have either a positive or negative impact on a dealership’s overall digital marketing results depending on how they are deployed and many other factors. The key to microsite success is the role they play in achieving a balance and synergy within the other components of a dealer’s digital marketing strategy. The goal of this article is to provide a foundational understanding of what microsites are, how they differ from landing pages and to share a few examples of the many uses of microsites that dealers and Internet Sales Managers can consider for potential deployment within their own digital marketing strategies.
During the Digital Dealer conference I was asked many questions about how microsites are used, what they were, where to get them and how much was the right price… I am going to outline a few of the questions and share my opinions as to the right answers. The following questions and my answers to them have been set up within the context of a “how to” and “why” perspective for use in developing a dealership’s digital marketing strategy and ongoing digital advertising campaigns.
1. What is the difference between a landing page, a microsite and a dealer’s normal web site?
I get asked this question all the time, so it must be fairly relevant to many people… First off, let me say that for all practical purposes every web site contains potential landing pages, but not all landing pages are part of a microsite or what I would call a full featured web site, some are just plain old single page “Landing Pages”. A Landing Page is whatever web page that a sponsored link, display ad, click-to-play video ad or any other type of online promotion points to… Single purpose Landing Pages can be a distinctly separate tactic used in addition to a dealer’s primary full featured web sites and microsites. Although a dealer’s primary web site typically has sections devoted to each dealership department, as well as access to the dealer’s full vehicle inventory, a microsite typically displays a limited number of pages primarily focused on a very specific and limited topic, such as a specific model of vehicle or a component of the vehicle buying process… Think of the traditional 4-square dealership worksheet and imagine a web site dedicated to each of the sections within that 4-Square. Each of them would be a microsite.
Now, I’ll describe microsites in terms that would be relevant to today’s sales management professional at a dealership engaged in Digital Marketing activities:
• A microsite index page is attached to a unique URL that is as descriptive of the microsite’s subject matter as possible and available to the dealership.
• The index page within a microsite that is accessed by the root domain of the URL can also be used as a campaign landing page because it is where the consumer “lands” when they click on an advertisement, text based sponsored link or search engine listing of that unique URL.
• In addition to the index page, which we call a home page when applied to a dealership’s full featured primary web site, a microsite has 1 or more daughter pages that are accessible from linked text or images shown on the index page (the microsite’s home page).
• A microsite’s daughter pages must be created within the same root domain structure as the index page’s URL. This is far different than the use of web pages hosted within another root domain structure, as when using links to a different web site’s sections, forms or pages.
• Each daughter page within a microsite will contain additional content relevant to the index page’s primary subject matter and is what qualifies the site as a “microsite” instead of a simple “landing page”.
Obviously, from the first part of my answer you already know that a landing page is a single web page connected to a unique URL, but without any additional pages of relevant content connected to it that are hosted within the same root domain structure. A good example, and the epitome of a “Microsite” (it’s even small in size), including rich media presentations and specific vehicle component sections along with daughter pages containing vehicle information, photographs and specifications can be seen at www.SanDiegoChevySilverado.com.
Conversely, a good example of a true “Landing Page” devoid of any other content within the same root domain structure is: www.ChevyPriceQuote.com. Please note that both landing pages and microsites typically feature multiple links to other web pages that are part of separate and distinct URL domain structures, usually within the dealer’s primary web site, also known as “Deep Links”.
The bottom line is that every microsite contains a landing page, along with one or more additional content pages, while the term landing page is also used to describe a single web page, usually with a form that is linked to advertisements and text based sponsored links and is distinctly separate from any other web site. Technically, any web page connected to outside links, such as banners and other forms of display advertisements shown within published web sites, as well as text based sponsored links and URL listings in SEM campaigns are “Landing Pages” because it is where the consumer lands when they click on the advertisement or listing… However, within the car business today, the most common use of the term landing page is to describe a single web page specially created for a specific advertisement, designed to convert visitors into electronic leads. Alternatively, Microsites require more content to set up properly than solo landing pages, which typically require a limited amount of text and an online form for customers to complete and submit.
2. When and How are Landing Pages and Microsites used?
Both microsites and landing pages are used for a variety of purposes by dealers, 3rd party lead providers, SEM services providers, dealer advertising associations, dealer groups and car companies. Compared to landing pages and depending on the richness of content they contain, automotive microsites usually show increasing levels of effectiveness in generating leads over time. There are 3 prevalent digital marketing campaign objectives that microsites and landing pages are used for within the car business today.
A. Generate sales leads in the form of completed online forms, incoming phone calls and showroom traffic… When used by SEM services providers, landing pages are typically designed to generate electronic leads and are optimized for the highest possible Visitor-to-Lead conversion rates.
B. Attract unique visitors using highly specific and limited subject matter content that is indexed by search engines as relevant to key word searches related to the site’s subject matter. When successful, a microsite’s title and description appear at the top of specific search engine queries based on richness of relevant content.
C. Generate online traffic to other dealership web sites through the use of linked objects displayed within the microsite, or within the text based content of the site. This objective is best met through the use of managed organic content that is search engine optimized around a subject matter that is popular among a targeted audience that will be searching for it. Otherwise, a microsite could be misconstrued as a link farm.
If you are like me, seeing a few examples really helps to clarify a concept. If you visit www.Chevy-Malibu.com you will see a microsite that is focused on the all new 2008 Chevrolet Malibu and nothing else. It has lots of rich content relevant to the all new Malibu, including an interview with the dealership’s New Vehicle Director, Scott Gruwell. At the bottom of the landing page are links to content within the store’s primary full featured web site that supplement the forms and phone numbers within the microsite in seeking to convert visitors into leads and phone calls. 3 months after being launched, a search for “2008 Chevy Malibu” returned a world wide front page listing as follows:
2008 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid from Phoenix Arizona Chevy Dealer ...
2008 Chevy Malibu. Come and fall in love with the all new 2008 Malibu from chevrolet. Courtesy Chevrolet in Phoenix offers the best pricing and financing on ...
www.chevy-malibu.com/ - 19k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this
The model specific microsite that has outperformed any other microsite I have ever seen in generating incremental eLeads and unique visitors to the primary web site operated by the dealership, visit www.2008ChevyCamaro.com . A Google search for 2008 Chevy Camaro returns the following listing at the very top of the world wide search results:
The All New 2008 Chevrolet Camaro from Courtesy Chevy in Phoenix ...
2008 Chevy Camaro. Your Valley Chevy Camaro Dealer located in Phoenix, Arizona, The New 2008 Chevy Camaro, Courtesy Chevrolet Camaro, 2008 New Chevy Camaro.
www.2008chevycamaro.com/ - 15k - Cached - Similar pages
In July 2007 the Camaro microsite attracted over 25,000 unique visitors, of which over 1,800 of them submitted an online lead form. This microsite also generated over 2,500 unique visitors to the store’s other web sites, which resulted in over 50 additional leads. Courtesy Chevrolet operates the 2008ChevyCamaro.com microsite and spends less than $100 a month hosting it. There was no paid advertising used to generate traffic, although the Transformers movie seemed to generate a big hike in Camaro related searches.
One of the first microsite’s I created is the popular www.Tahoe-Chevrolet.com. If you Google “2007 Tahoe” it shows up near the top of the search results as follows:
2007 Tahoe at Courtesy Chevrolet- The all new 2007 tahoe! Phoenix ...
2007 Tahoe by Chevy. Come and fall in love with the all new 2007 tahoe from Chevrolet. Courtesy Chevrolet in Phoenix offers the best pricing and financing ...
www.tahoe-chevrolet.com/ - 20k - Cached - Similar pages
You should click on the photo galleries and specifications pages within each of the above listed microsites to truly understand what differentiates a microsite from a landing page. I have never seen a landing page by itself generate any significant organic site ranking.
3. Who creates the online digital advertising that dealers would use to help drive traffic to microsites and landing pages?
Creating online advertisements that dealers can then place on various web sites or as sponsored links with paid search engine advertising is typically done by the dealership’s vendors. However, all too often vendors generate digital ads in either a size or format that is intentionally designed to prevent the dealer from using them elsewhere. That’s why I give Cars.com a lot of credit because even when they build a Flash based ad for the dealers that advertise on Cars.com, you can ask for the same ad in an animated GIF file format which they will provide. This allows the dealer to use that great looking ad created by Cars.com on other web sites and further leverages ROI from the dealer’s investment in Cars.com advertising. An example of a digital ad created for one of the dealers I work with in San Diego is shown below:
Another example of a dealership’s digital advertising as created by Cars.com is shown below:
In my new position as Director of Digital Marketing for ADP Dealer Services, I am spearheading a project where we will by supplying digital advertising content to dealers. Our first priority will be to provide digital advertising that has already been proven effective for dealers to those who have web sites supplied by an ADP Digital Marketing provider, such as BZ Results and ADP Dynamic Websites. ADP Digital Marketing is now providing digital advertising content for online promotions that comply with industry standards so that they fit into various web sites that a dealer may choose to advertise with. Digital Advertising assets (files) can be created by anyone using a PC with MS Office installed, but there is a ton of work and expertise that goes into making an effective digital advertisement. Here are a few prototype examples of the most basic ADP Digital Marketing dealership ads:
We offer a wide variety of dealership digital advertising files in animated and dynamic versions; we even provide digital advertisements with lead forms built right into the ad itself.
When it comes to paid search advertising, text based sponsored links are usually created by a dealer’s SEM services provider. However, despite the fact that there a lot of very knowledgeable SEM services providers, such as BZ Results Search Engine Marketing, Clickmotive, Jumpstart and others, in my opinion this is a bad practice. Outsourcing the thinking and creative promotional exercises that have historically been done either in-house or in conjunction with a dealer’s ad agency is more likely to result in a failed digital advertising campaign. This happens because separating digital advertising from the other forms of dealership promotional activity leads to a disconnect with the dealership’s marketing strategies. I recommend that each dealer and management team control and monitor their digital advertising with the same diligence and direct participation that they use for TV, Radio, Newspaper, Outdoor, Direct Mail and all other media. Over two thirds of all car shopping is done online, does it really make sense for a dealership’s management team to pay so much attention to the ads placed in media used by a minority of car buyers and then ignore the ads seen by the majority of automotive shoppers?
4. Does a dealer have to use an outside supplier to do this, or is it something dealers can do on their own? How do dealers organize to do this?
All or part of a dealer’s digital marketing activities can be managed in-house. Alternately, a dealer may choose to pick and choose which components are executed in-house and which are to be outsourced, or a combination of both. I am currently engaged in a consulting relationship with a Chevrolet store in Northern California that has never done digital advertising before I started working with them. Their Marketing Manager, who creates all their newspaper advertising and works with their TV and Radio suppliers, is doing a fantastic job of using his skills to create digital advertising campaigns. ADP’s own BZ Results has created a portfolio of microsites and landing pages for their use in online advertising campaigns. Our ADP Digital Marketing Consultants have taught their managers to create online paid search text ads and create campaigns using Google’s AdWords applications (which are free to advertisers) to serve them up to car buyers in their market area. Their training and consulting services were delivered by our ADP Digital Marketing Catalysts over the course of 2 visits, 2 days each. As a result of this consultative engagement, the dealership’s Internet and Marketing Managers place the digital ads they create in over 800 web sites where these ads are seen only when the store’s local residents visit those sites. Of course, these are very successful car guys who know what it takes to get a car shopper’s attention, and they have years of experience using radio and newspaper to sell cars, but wouldn’t you rather have these people managing your digital ad campaign investments than a bunch of geeks that have never sold a car?
Yes, it takes focus, time and effort, and although all of a dealer’s digital advertising needs can be outsourced to save time, this typically results in the managers being disconnected and removed from the store’s digital advertising initiatives. Outsourcing digital advertising concept creation can result in a lack of commitment to making the sales to the leads generated that is required to get the ROI results. I recommend learning how to do it, then doing it long enough so that if the dealer decides to outsource the work, they at least know what it is, how to measure it and what it takes to do a good job. Now that I work for ADP Dealer Services, I would much rather sell Digital Marketing products and services to dealers who know what it is and how it works, than to those that do not know what they are buying. Other considerations are the ability to adjust campaigns daily, even hourly and saving money. Most stores can save thousands of dollars by managing their online campaigns and by knowing how to evaluate a supplier for the portion of the digital ad budget that is outsourced. Generally speaking, I consider a blended approach of both in-house and outsourced digital advertising to be the best of both worlds, and it keeps the vendors honest when you compare their results with the in-house results. The blended approach also allows a dealer to shift dollars from in-house to the out-house as resources and budgets fluctuate.
5. How can dealers manage multiple URLs? How do dealers ensure they get ranked by the major search engines?
As far as acquiring and using domain names (URL’s), although a lot of dealers use low cost domain management service providers such as www.GoDaddy.com and www.PowerPipe.com, I feel most comfortable going directly to the source by using www.NetworkSolutions.com where dealers can buy a domain and web forwarding services (if needed) for less than $47 a year. Significant discounts apply if registering for 3 years or more. Since it can take up to 3 months to get a new microsite organically ranked for free search engine traffic, I recommend creating a Google AdWords account and building a paid search marketing campaign using keyword bidding on text based sponsored links that point to the dealer’s new microsite. This gets traffic going to a microsite right away, and then if the site is built well enough to be considered relevant to the intended sales, parts or service shoppers, you can back down the paid traffic after 3 to 6 months and let the organic relevancy of your microsite do its magic by attracting search engine generated traffic. The people at Google have told me about a 3 month period after a new microsite goes live as being “in the sandbox”, where it will not get organically ranked, but I have seen exceptions made for really good microsites that covered a topic that does not have a lot of competition for relevancy in search results. The Camaro site I previously mentioned is one of those… After your microsite is up and running, copy the actual URL string of characters from your browser’s address bar when viewing the site, then go to http://www.google.com/addurl and paste the microsite’s domain based URL string into the field for the site address. Then type in a description of the site using no more than 20 words into the text field set up for it. Next, try to decipher the garbled up characters that Google displays to keep bots from being able to do this and type these weird looking characters displayed into the indicated form field… If you are successful in translating the garbled up letters, when you hit the submit button you will get a confirmation page that says your site will be queued up for crawling and indexing by Google’s spider bots. I know it sounds like a bunch of hassle, but anyone who can figure out how to use GM’s Dealer World, Honda’s Interactive Network, Toyota’s Dealer Daily or Ford’s FMCDealer.com can ace this stuff.
6. How can the dealer make sure that their landing page/microsite strategy actually delivers desirable content to automotive Internet users, and that the landing page sites deliver on any promises made in the ads themselves?
Dealers should be consistent and transparent in their digital advertising campaign messages. In the case of paid search campaigns, why would you want to attract clicks from people that don’t want to buy a vehicle, order parts or get their vehicle serviced? Only if you are an SEM services vendor who is evaluated by traffic and leads generated! (oops, that one slipped out) When doing it yourself, make sure the ad contains verbiage that describes the landing page’s content that you are linking it to. For example, if your ad says something like “Chevy Price Quotes… Get Discounted Prices on a New Chevy from Courtesy Chevrolet in Phoenix” and it points to www.ChevyPriceQuote.com you can be pretty certain that the people clicking on the ad are interested in getting a price quote on a new Chevy and that they are willing to buy it in Phoenix, AZ (duh!). The landing page gives them the instructions and the form to complete that are in sync with the ad’s message, so it is a no brainer for the customer to fill it out the form and find out how your store will respond.
A good example of this is a microsite I built for a Free Gas advertising campaign that you can visit at www.ChevyGas.com . This microsite has a built in calculator that asks the customer how many miles they drive every week, then how many miles per gallon their current vehicle gets. It then shows the customer how much money they will spend in a year. The customer is then invited to enter a contest to win a free gas card, or to register to receive a year’s worth of gas at no additional charge when they buy a new Chevy from Courtesy Chevrolet. This is then promoted using the following image ads:
If you look at the ads shown above and then you visit the web site by clicking on the ad, you can’t help but see that the site delivers on the promises made in the ad itself. If the ads were linked to my primary web site’s home page, and the consumer was then expected to find the free gas special offer from there, then it would not be delivering on the promise implied by the ad and it would fail to produce any results. Online advertisements should be directly linked to single click access to the promised content.
7. How does a dealer incorporate the use of microsites into their existing CRM tools and processes to maximize the ability to track and manage results?
Forms, phone numbers and links… This is one of the most important aspects of any microsite because ultimately the volume of forms submitted, phone calls generated and traffic linked to other sites operated by your dealership is how you will evaluate your microsites. The forms used to submit leads from a dealer’s microsite must be set up to be submitted into the dealer’s lead management tool in XML/ADF format. Each form should be tagged to display the lead source as that microsite’s description in the dealer’s lead management tool. Each microsite will have its own source tag so that leads and sales generated can be logged and traced to that source. It is the same process as tracking leads from a third party lead provider, then calculating the ROI… The only thing missing is the profit requirements of the lead provider! When done properly, microsites generate more ROI than when splitting the pot with a lead provider that uses the same methods to generate leads and then sells them to multiple dealers at a profit. It is important that the dealership’s staff that will be handling leads from a microsite be shown the ads and site content used to generate those leads, so they can respond appropriately. A best practice is to have campaign and microsite specific email templates and auto responders. Until recently, if you submitted a lead through www.2008ChevyCamaro.com you would have see that the emails coming back are specific to that microsite. Don’t worry about costing the dealer any money, because incremental leads from microsites don’t cost any money… They make money.
8. How can dealers measure the results of digital ad campaigns that make use of microsites? What are the most common and useful metrics?
As I mentioned in the last section, microsites should be evaluated based on several Key Performance Indicators (KPI), a few examples of these are:
• Lead Forms Submitted + Phone Calls / Unique Visitors = Conversion Rate
• Unique Visitors Referred to Primary Sites / Microsite Visitors = Referral Rate
• Organic Unique Visitors / Total Unique Visitors = Organic Penetration
Be sure to display (big and bold) a unique toll free AdTracker phone number on your microsites to track incoming calls generated, and make sure your microsite supplier embeds site visitor tracking software such as Omniture’s SiteCatalyst into the site. One of the most useful reports is the Referring Domains reports which show how many leads were submitted by the URL used to link an advertisement to the microsite. I use multiple URL’s for each microsite and then monitor each ad group by using distinct URL’s as the pointing web address that then shows up in the Omniture reporting.
Whether it is a microsite, any other site or simply an online advertising campaign to deep links within your primary web site, here’s the metrics I find most useful:
Analysis Subject Cost Unit Description
Advertising Impressions $2.16 Per Thousand People
Microsite Visits $2.43 Per Visitor Session
eLeads and Phone Calls $31.94 Per Lead
Appointments Generated $12.78 Per Dealership Appointment
Vehicles Sold $412.65 Per Vehicle Retailed (PVR)
We then use the above metrics to calculate the following cost effectiveness analysis
Metric Description Actual Case Study Example:
Total Cost of Ad Campaign and Microsite: $71,801.30
Advertising Impressions Generated: 33,257,657
Microsite Visits Generated by Ads: 29,528
eLeads and Phone Calls Generated: 2,248
Appointments Generated from Leads: 562
Vehicles Sold to Site Visitors: 174
9. Will an LP/MS strategy work for both long-term sales campaigns, and short-term promotions? Are there circumstances in which LP/MS might not be an appropriate solution?
Microsites can be used for current promotions and then left intact for long term use in generating organic traffic and leads after the current month’s ad campaign is finished. Sometimes keeping them updated can be a chore, but what isn’t? I have used them for both long and short term campaigns and objectives, as well as modified short term campaign microsites to be relevant after the campaign is over. Usually the monthly hosting fees are low relevant to the set up costs, so why not let your microsites collect organically generated traffic and produce leads as an ongoing yield from their hosting fees? As for when they are or are not appropriate… Plenty of dealers look at other dealer advertisements in every media channel and criticize or applaud those ads. Microsites and their cheaper cousins (landing pages) are the same way. I could show you some truly tacky looking microsites that generate plenty of leads and sales for their dealer, but which other dealers will say “that’s terrible, he shouldn’t be allowed to do that” or “I would never use something that looks that hideous”… Beauty is in the eye of the beholder when it comes to microsites and landing pages. The metrics tend to show whether they should or should not have been used. Keep in mind that microsites are never appropriate without the dealer’s commitment to invest money in marketing and promoting them. Individual results may vary, and runaway successes like www.2008ChevyCamaro.com are only available to those dealers who try multiple microsites. Anyone who tells you that microsites are a “sure thing” or “guaranteed to produce sales” or that they can duplicate the success of some of these microsites on an “at will” basis is either lying or does not have any experience doing it. Microsites are a form of communication and depend upon online advertising and search engines for their success… This means they must be conceived, gestated, born and raised. At the end of the day, some will work better than others. Just remember, nothing is better than rich and relevant content that people are looking for and which search engines can index… Especially when served up free from the clutter and distractions of other subjects, products and services. And THAT is what creates the magic of microsites!
10. What about the costs of creating and hosting microsites? What kind of initial investment is required, and what does it cost to keep them up and running?
Different microsite suppliers charge different fees. At ADP Digital Marketing we have not yet established our microsite pricing matrix, but they will be completed by the time this article is published. We are still assessing the typical costs involved, but we have sold, designed and delivered microsite prototypes to our pilot dealers on the following cost basis:
Design and Setup: 3 microsites package = $1,995.00 one time fee
Monthly Hosting: 3 microsites package = $595.00 monthly
Alternately, we have sold prototype microsites to other dealers as follows:
Design and Setup: 5 microsites package = $0 one time fee
Monthly Hosting: 5 microsites package = $3,000.00 monthly
I have personally used some smaller independent microsite designers that charged $750 per site as a one time set up fee and $75 per month to host them. And, I have seen some of the large enterprise dealer groups purchase microsites from ADP for as little as $295 a month per site with a $595 set up fee. It is safe to say that costs are reasonable for the sites themselves, but it is usually the advertising campaigns are where the real money is spent. As for staff and overhead, well… Tina Pratt, the GSM at People’s Chevrolet in Chula Vista builds her own microsites and uses the store’s digital advertising budget for pure advertising buys, which I taught her to do herself and she does a heck of a job for that store. I have recently been hired on a consulting basis to compete with her and she wins the search engine placement battle quite frequently. But, that is when the teacher shows the student how it’s done and I usually come right back at her with an online ad campaign for Courtesy Chevrolet in San Diego that kicks her butt, until we run out of budget. Ahhh, the car business… You gotta love the competitiveness of it all!
11. How about some Case studies; one or two brief examples (with details) where LP/MS made a difference. What was done, and what were the results?
There are so many examples of microsites being used to make a difference in a store’s success that it is difficult to pick one in particular, but let’s take a look at the www.PHXfinance.com microsite I designed for Courtesy Chevrolet in Phoenix. After you look at this very basic, and not so elegant special finance site, take a look at the advertisement we placed in over 60 bus shelters around Phoenix in August 2006, which is shown below:
Imagine sitting in a bus shelter, in 100+ degree temperatures and staring at that life sized poster twice a day, five or six days a week… To say it generated a few phone calls and visits to the microsite is an understatement. The bus shelter ads cost about $5,500 per month, and was used as part of the budget previously spent with BarNone for special finance leads. Combined with the online advertising, which was $4,500 per month, we set up a $10,000 a month “eFinance Department” total advertising budget. The PHXfinance.com microsite was, and remains able to receive organic ranking in a highly competitive subject matter area and appears as a first page search engine query result, for “phoenix auto finance” as shown below:
Phoenix Finance, Do you have Bad Credit and want a Used Car? at ...
Courtesy is the Phoenix Valley’s only car dealer that has been nationally recognized for their leadership in the area of credit repair by hiring and ...
www.phxfinance.com/ - 10k - Cached - Similar pages
The astute reader will notice the bus shelters display the URL: www.PHXfinance.com whereas some of the organic search results list PhoenixAutoFinance.com. PhoenixAutoFinance.com was used for the original root domain URL, which was indexed by search engines, and PHXfinance.com was used as a special, shorter and easier to remember URL for specific ad campaigns where we wanted people to go directly to the advertised URL. This allowed us to evaluate the effectiveness of the ad campaigns by looking at the referring domain reports for the microsite. The Courtesy Chevrolet eFinance team really hit its stride in September 2006 when they sold 57 cars. When we examine the metrics around the use of the eFinance microsites, here is what the results were:
PHXfinance.com Results Cost Unit Description
Advertising Impressions $4.57 Per Thousand People
Microsite Visits $3.72 Per Visitor Session
eLeads and Phone Calls $17.71 Per Lead
Appointments Generated $48.10 Per Dealership Appointment
Vehicles Sold $178.07 Per Vehicle Retailed (PVR)
We then use the above metrics to calculate the following cost effectiveness analysis:
eFinance Digital Marketing Metric Description Actual Case Study Example:
Total Cost of Ad Campaign and Microsite: $10,150
Advertising Impressions Generated: 2,221,168
Microsite Visits Generated by Ads: 2,729
eLeads and Phone Calls Generated: 573
Appointments Generated from Leads: 211
Vehicles Sold: 57
Given the low cost per vehicle retailed (PVR) we initially were very excited by these results and by the integrated nature of the promotion with more phone calls generated than electronic leads. However, once we started counting up all the expenses paid in the form of lender fees, we realized that generating special finance leads online is a lot cheaper than getting the deals bought! Our process for handling the incoming phone calls was to get callers to either schedule an appointment to come in right away, or if they wanted to know for sure whether they were pre-approved, we asked them to complete a credit application, such as the one at www.SDCreditApproval.com which is a completely different dynamic online credit application. We set up SDCreditApproval.com to quickly access a deep link connected to an easily remembered URL. The talking credit application is provided by DealerCentric and hosted within a BZ Results web site. So, yes the microsite made a difference in this case study, but it was used in conjunction with online and offline advertising, combined with a very talented crew of automotive professionals made up of Ron Daly, Scott Daly and Barbara Mason. In the interest of proper disclosure, I will also report that by January 2007 we completely reconfigured the eFinance Team because of the high bank fees and the need to properly compensate some of the most talented car people I have ever had the privilege of working with.
Ultimately, a dealer’s use of microsites is not a silver bullet in the world of digital marketing and advertising. It is another tool that savvy dealers can use to get an unfair competitive advantage… Combined with the right people, lead management processes and technology, the use of microsites is one of many digital marketing tactics that separate some of today’s most successful dealers from those that would like to get there.
Director – Digital Marketing
ADP Dealer Services
BREAKOUT ROOM 3
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Welcome and Announcements Deirdre Borrego, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Data & Analytics, J.D. Power
Keynote Speaker: Beau Boeckmann, President, Galpin Motors Q&A: Mike Battaglia, Vice President, Automotive Retail, J.D. Power Sponsored by
Case Studies in Automotive Content Marketing When is advertising not advertising? When it's CONTENT. Join experts in content creation from VerticalScope’s Geared Content Studios, The Story Lab, Toyota, and GM as they discuss successful branded content examples and what every marketer needs to know about creating it and measuring success. Moderator: Colum Wood, VP of Content, Vertical Scope, Inc. Panelists: Ernesto Del Aguila, Senior Associate Brand Manager, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. Kristen Naimi, VP, Global Content Director, The Story Lab Bridget McCarville, Manager, GM Branded Entertainment, General Motors
The (Horse)Power of Addressable Advertising It's becoming increasingly evident that addressable advertising is a must-do for automotive brands. On this panel, hosted and moderated by AT&T AdWorks, you'll hear about the benefits and challenges of addressable advertising from both the OEM side and agency side. Moderator: Tom Hagopian, VP, Data Strategy & Analytics, AT&T AdWorks Panelists: Tony Weeks, Sr. Manager, Media, Nissan Jessica Robine, Director, Advanced TV, Cadreon David Lai, Supervisor, Insight & Intelligence, Carat Cindy Hamrick, Director of Marketing, Gulf State Toyota
AMR Kickoff Gala
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Welcome Deirdre Borrego, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Data & Analytics, J.D. Power Roman Lesnau, Senior Director, Global Automotive, J.D. Power
Automotive Industry Review Thomas King, Vice President, PIN U.S. OEM Operations, Media and Marketing, J.D. Power
Media and Marketing Review Amit Aggarwal, Digital Marketing Analyst, J.D. Power
Marketing Across Channels: Multi vs. Cross Channel In this panel, we’ll break down Multi-Channel vs. Cross-Channel, the opportunities it creates, and the mistakes to avoid. Moderator: Jonathan Anastas, Chief Marketing Officer, TEN: The Enthusiast Network Panelists: Dean Evans, Chief Marketing Officer, Hyundai Allyson Witherspoon, Director, Marketing Communications and Media, Infiniti Kim McCullough, Vice President, Marketing, Jaguar Land Rover North America, LLC Jack Kelly, Digital and Social Marketing Manager, Subaru of America
Networking Break: Sponsored by
YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE: GETTING YOUR CUSTOMERS TO NOTICE YOU
Capture Audience Attention through a Collaboration between Real and Artificial Intelligence Leaders at Jaguar Land Rover North America, LLC and Visible Measures discuss a unique approach to capturing and sustaining a leading share of target audience attention with online video through the first-ever closed-loop optimization system that adapts to consumer and competitive behaviors. Seraj Bharwani, Chief Strategy & Analytics Officer, Visible Measures Kim Kyaw, Head of Digital, Social & CRM, Jaguar Land Rover North America, LLC
DATA MEASUREMENT/AD BLOCKING
How Authentic Is Your Marketing Data? Digital ad fraud, robotic traffic, unviewed attribution and phantom leads are creating data integrity gaps that can lead to flawed marketing analysis and imperfect business decisions. With multi-device consumption patterns, unlocking cross-device identity is the key to seamless consumer dialogue for automakers. When it comes to identity and quality market leads, we'll cover why automakers should fully understand the value of authentic data and how it impacts their bottom line.
Moderator: Andy Jacobson, Co-Founder, Lakeview Midwest, LLC Mark Pearlstein, CRO, DoubleVerify Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan, Founder and CEO, Drawbridge
THE DIGITAL DEALERSHIP
Data Driven Success in the Digital Space Join Lance Bachmann as he discusses how the largely brick-and-mortar auto dealership industry has shifted gears to favor ecommerce. To succeed today, dealers can’t ignore the Internet’s value—but how do you leverage the Web? Bachmann will explain how the auto industry can take advantage of metrics and data to effectively market in the digital space, maximize online visibility, and convert views into profits. Lance Bachmann, Founder and President, 1SEO Michael Rossidivito, Digital Marketing Director, Peruzzi Auto Group
YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE: GETTING YOUR CUSTOMERS TO NOTICE YOU
The Power of Authenticity: Customer-First Storytelling for Automotive Brands How do you connect with consumers, particularly on an emotional level, as a brand in a relatively crowded industry? FIAT achieved this by taking a unique approach to storytelling – by enabling their owners to tell their personal stories. This customer-first approach enabled FIAT to unearth unparalleled authenticity and bring it to life through engaging video content. Matthew Blosl, SVP, Business Development, Tongal Casey Hurbis, Head of FIAT Brand North America, Fiat Chrysler Auto
DATA MEASUREMENT/AD BLOCKING
Big Data Unification Across Channels Today, each person's digital consumption is splintered across multiple devices, including computers, smartphones, tablets, and smart TVs. Soon, connected cars will become yet another channel for marketers to target where important data is captured. Kate O'Loughlin, SVP, Media Business, Tapad
THE DIGITAL DEALERSHIP
Data-Driven Digital Conquest: How Actionable Data Helps OEMs and Dealers Gain Market Share As consumers become less brand loyal, it's critical for dealerships to have an effective conquest strategy. Find out how trends in purchasing and consumer research, along with the availability of targeted market registration data, help both OEMs and dealerships develop digital marketing programs that sell more vehicles and gain market share. Patrick Bennett, Founder & Chief Product Officer, Showroom Logic Jessie Hochhalter, Sales Enablement, Channel Sales Partnerships, Google
YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE: GETTING YOUR CUSTOMERS TO NOTICE YOU
Rethinking the Customer Engagement Model—Mazda Mindset 2.0 This panel discussion will take a look at advancements in Mazda's custom audience development, profiling, targeting, and engagement methods. Hear how that is supplemented, supported, and informed by data. Mazda will share insights into how the brand continues to define and qualify their target consumer around the “Mazda Mindset.” Learn how Mazda’s engagement model is supplemented with predictive targeting—in real time—to deliver a deeper connection with the brand and, ultimately, grow the Mazda Mindset. Josh Walsh, Co-Founder, AdTheorent Stacy Fairbanks, Manager of Media Communication, Mazda North America Operations Olga Weinraub, VP Integrated Media Director, Garage Team Mazda
DATA MEASUREMENT/AD BLOCKING
We've Got the Data! Now What?: Turning Big Data into Actionable Results “Big data” is not a new concept in our industry. We have big data, and now we have real-time data. The challenge is securing truthful statistics we can utilize to make more lucrative decisions with our marketing dollars. This panel will illustrate how to transform data into actionable results across tiers, and rise above the crowd in 2017. Moderator: David Metter, President, AutoHook, Powered by Urban Science Erik Lukas, Retail Digital Operations Manager, Subaru of America Kelly McNearney, Senior Automotive Retail Strategist, Google Jenny Watson, Digital Marketing Expert Dean Evans, Chief Marketing Officer, Hyundai
THE DIGITAL DEALERSHIP
Data Attribution and the Smartphone Effect on the Automotive Retail Experience Today's automotive experience is changing. Tomorrow's automotive shopping experience in the showroom and on the lot is about delivering timely, relevant information to vehicle shoppers precisely at the moment of decision. See how data attribution from smartphones and connected cars are changing the consumer experience at the retail level. Ben Anderson, CEO, Automotion Thomas Gage, Sr. Director, Enterprise Product Solutions, Cox Automotive
YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE: GETTING YOUR CUSTOMERS TO NOTICE YOU
Cadillac’s Native Advertising Playbook Hear firsthand how Cadillac uses native ads to reach millennial audiences with a fluid mix of earned and sponsored content. In this fireside chat, Dan Greenberg and Hannah Feder will have a candid conversation around Cadillac’s strategy to modernize its brand, engage younger tech savvy audiences, and create unique branded experiences. Moderator: Dan Greenberg, CoFounder & CEO, Sharethrough Hannah Feder, Media Marketing Manager, Cadillac
DATA MEASUREMENT/AD BLOCKING
Lead (with Analytics), Follow or Get out of the Way! It’s no secret that auto advertisers are being asked to do more with less, and as a result the industry is demanding increasingly precise data-driven solutions. Media partners that have direct access to content, data and technology will lead this advertising revolution. Nissan and Comcast will share how they are using rich consumer data beyond traditional age/gender measurement providing the greatest level of accountability and transparency to reach Nissan’s targeted consumer. In addition, Comcast and Toyota’s Northern California agency H&L Partners will share a case study success on how they effectively used data measurement to drive effective campaign management and gain market share. Moderator: Andrew Ward, Group Vice President, Comcast Media 360, Comcast Joe Cashen, Senior Manager, Market Intelligence, Nissan Sue Ream, SVP, Media Director and Partner, H&L Partners
THE DIGITAL DEALERSHIP
Executing National OEM Initiatives Locally Jeremy Anspach, CEO and Founder of PureCars, is joined by three dealer and advertising experts, representing both tiers 2 and 3. By incorporating national incentives into its local strategy, the company was able to accelerate sales in a big way. These industry leaders will share their expertise in digital and automotive, backed by real results from their dealership’s own successful digital campaigns. Moderator: Jeremy Anspach, CEO and Founder, PureCars Panelists: Myles Rose, Digital Marketing Operations Manager, Gulf States Toyota, Inc.
Miran Maric, Director of Marketing, Asbury Automotive
Trace Przybylowicz, Autos Lead: Industry Relations, Facebook
MULTIPLE USES OF MOBILE
Mobile-first Tactics Drive Real Results Search Optics recently conducted a study in partnership with ClickZ, entitled “The State of Mobile Advertising.” The results showed that a mobile-first strategy has become vital for shoppers moving through the stages of the buying journey, from hyperlocal to fully responsive. This was demonstrated by a Search Optics leading OEM partner who realized a 200% increase in leads and conversion rates after implementing these key mobile strategies. Christian Fuller, Chief Relationship Officer, Search Optics
MEASURING SALES: THE ULTIMATE ROI
How an Auto Brand Launched a Museum and Reached an Untapped Audience This behind-the-scenes conversation reveals how Vox Creative and Infiniti translated the auto brand's aims into a successful, multiplatform and award-winning program. On stage together, Mike Hadgis and Nick Sparacino explain how they took a wild idea—building a food museum from scratch—and not only made it a reality, but also made it work for the brand’s bottom line, with practical lessons that will be useful for both teams’ next projects. Michael Hadgis, VP, Global Revenue & Partnerships, Vox Media Nick Sparacino, Sr. Manager National and Regional Media, Infiniti
ADVANCES IN FOOT TRAFFIC MEASUREMENT
The Race Is On: Why the Auto Industry Should Embrace Location Measurement It has been more than three years since location data changed the course of the auto industry and created an invaluable opportunity for auto marketers to accurately track dealership foot traffic. But it’s been a steep climb for many in terms of understanding how this technology works and how to translate that data into real-world business outcomes and smarter, more effective media spend. This session will use a microscopic lens to examine where we’ve been with location data—including adoption challenges of the past, the misrepresentation of location data, and the sometimes questionable quality of that data—and where we’re headed as this technology and its application matures. Michael Hayes, CMO, CRO, UberMedia Angela Steele, Global Head of Product, General Motors, Dentsu Aegis Network
MULTIPLE USES OF MOBILE
Impact of Conversational Agents on Automotive Marketing Rapid advances in AI, the growing popularity of messaging, and higher consumer expectations have given rise to virtual assistants and chatbots. These conversational interfaces will facilitate such B2C interactions as vehicle selection, finance and insurance, as well as interactions in and out of the vehicle, and may ultimately lead to a single, trusted point of contact between consumers and businesses. Mark Dipko, director of corporate planning for Hyundai Motor America and Martin Schmitt, CEO of CarLabs, will discuss the impact of conversational agents on traditional marketing models. Martin Schmitt, Co-Founder and President, CarLabs.com Mark Dipko, Director, Corporate Planning, Hyundai Motor America
MEASURING SALES: THE ULTIMATE ROI
Moving from Spot TV to Targeted Digital Video in Auto Advertising Auto marketers are continually making digital a primary focus for their ad budgets. In this presentation, Viant and Nissan's agency partner, Zimmerman will explore how auto marketers can best take advantage of the shift to digital and accurately measure the effectiveness of their campaigns with data-driven marketing strategies. Brian Bell, Regional Vice President, Viant Inc. Aaron Gwin, Digital Director, Nissan Division at Zimmerman
ADVANCES IN FOOT TRAFFIC MEASUREMENT
Closing the Gap: Connecting Addressable TV and Display Ads with Foot Traffic How do you know if your ads are actually driving traffic to your dealership locations? The data connecting addressable TV and displays ads with foot traffic, specifically the kind of lift automakers get from specific ads, is unclear. The result: missing the mark with ROI measurement. Allison Metcalfe, VP of Customer Success, LiveRamp Duncan McCall, CEO, PlaceIQ
MULTIPLE USES OF MOBILE
Is Desktop Really Dead? Mobile video is the fastest-growing element in the automotive marketing mix, pushing marketers to extend their campaigns beyond desktops and television. But with the continued proliferation of mobile, should OEMs begin preparing for the end of desktop advertising as we know it? In this session, we will discuss how mobile can best complement your overall media mix and will also share best practices to drive successful cross-channel results. Join Canvas Worldwide and Opera Mediaworks to learn how using a combination of data, technology, and creativity can help marketers tell better stories about vehicles and the user experience. Nadine Jarrard, VP, Sales - West, Opera Mediaworks Scott Klatskin, SVP, Client Director, Canvas Worldwide
MEASURING SALES: THE ULTIMATE ROI
Closing the Loop between Digital and Vehicle Sales What is online-to-offline measurement and how does it work? How does it compare to other marketing sales impact methods? Uncover the sales impact of digital media and automotive website by connecting online behavior to the offline sale. Answer fundamental questions automotive marketers face: Is my digital marketing investment selling cars? How can I improve my effectiveness? Will Sayre, Senior Director, Online to Offline Analytics, J.D. Power Michael Lamontagne, Director of Analytics & CRM, 22squared
ADVANCES IN FOOT TRAFFIC MEASUREMENT
Is that a map in your pocket? How to Leverage Mobile Technology to Tap into the Power of Location According to Google, search interest for “car dealerships near me” doubled year over year. The rise of mobile and location-based technologies and applications offers challenges and opportunities for the automotive industry to connect with those customers demonstrating the highest degree of purchase intent. Learn what innovative brands like GM and Pep Boys are doing to get found on mobile and the tools and technologies that companies like Foursquare, TomTom and Yext are doing to help. Moderator: Steve Shannon, Former Hyundai CMO and Yext Advisory Board Member
Panelists: Rachel Silva, AVP of Marketing, Pep Boys
Rob Van Essen, Director of New Technologies, TomTom
Steven Rosenblatt, President, FourSquare Jon Beebe, Director, Digital Advertising and Analytics, General Motors
Demand Accountability: Can Video Advertising Sell Cars? As automotive manufacturers continue to demand accountability from their marketing activity, 1-to-1 video marketing is poised to be the next big driver of automotive sales and return on investment. The following questions are addressed in this session: Can video go beyond traditional media metrics to drive vehicle sales? What best practices exist to transform video marketing from branding to actually selling more vehicles? Jason Baadsgaard,Chief Revenue Officer, Eyeview
Keynote Speaker: A Brand Story to Tell Mazda is a company with a unique story to tell. It starts in 1920, when a small company in Hiroshima, Japan, is founded to harvest cork for industrial applications. Over the next 96 years, that company goes on to represent the resilience and never-stop-challenging spirit of the Japanese people, as it constantly dares to defy convention and follow its own path to success. Today, Mazda is a fiercely independent company known for stylish, cleverly engineered vehicles crafted in Japan but displaying worldly sensibilities. Russell Wager, VP, Marketing, Mazda North American Operations Q&A: Deirdre Borrego, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Data & Analytics, J.D. Power Sponsored by
AMR Connect: Drai's
Thursday, October 27, 2016: THE FUTURE OF MEDIA
Announcements Deirdre Borrego, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Data & Analytics, J.D. Power Roman Lesnau, Senior Director, Global Automotive, J.D. Power
Keynote Speaker: Innovation in Media: Transforming the Video Experience in the Multiplatform Era Join industry leader Linda Yaccarino, Chairman, Advertising Sales and Client Partnerships, NBCUniversal for a keynote chat with J.D. Power's Roman Lesnau as they discuss the evolving media landscape that advertisers are facing today. Learn how companies like NBCUniversal are leveraging their expansive portfolios to create content-driven innovations, help advertisers achieve their ROI across every platform and transform the world of advertising as we know it. Linda Yaccarino, Chairman, Advertising Sales and Client Partnerships, NBCUniversal Q&A: Roman Lesnau, Senior Director, Global Automotive, J.D. Power
Streaming Services: What Key Factors Impact Customer Experience and Why We all know how fierce the competition for viewers and listeners in the fast-growing streaming services market is, so providers need to find ways to improve the customer experience in order to improve their bottom line. This session will present an overview of the results of two new J.D. Power studies—the 2016 Streaming Video Satisfaction Study and 2016 Streaming Music Satisfaction Study —that provide key insights into what customers consider the most important aspects of a satisfying service experience. Additionally, the session will discuss the impact of specific viewership and listening behaviors, such as binge watching, playlist adoption, cord-cutting, and exclusive content on the streaming experience. Kirk Parsons, Practice Lead and Senior Director, Technology, Media & Telecom Services, J.D. Power
Future of TV Broadcast The way consumers view television has changed and fragmented with the evolution of TV; yet, TV remains an important advertising medium. The when, how, and where consumers are watching TV programming are impacting advertising opportunities and content. How can automotive marketers embrace the changes and still have an impact? Moderator: Michael Kassan, CEO, MediaLink Panelists: John Tierney, SVP, Sales Strategy, Comcast Spotlight Steve Lanzano, President & CEO, TVB Edward Erhardt, President, Global Sales and Marketing, ESPN
Streaming Video on Demand Moderator: Chris Hamer, CEO & Founder, CrowdFlik, Inc. Panelists: Peter Naylor, Senior Vice President of Advertising Sales, Hulu Jim Lombard, Head of Advertising Sales/Business Development, Roku Rob Gelick, Senior Vice President & GM, Digital Platforms, CBS Interactive
In-Car Audio – Where It Is and Where It’s Going American’s love affair with in-car audio goes back 80 long years. But smartphones and connected cars are rapidly changing the way drivers consume in-car audio. After a brief presentation from Edison Research’s Larry Rosin on the current state of In-Car radio listening, representatives from Pandora, Spotify and iHeartRadio will discuss where the listening might be going next. Moderator: Larry Rosin, President, Edison Research Panelists: Doug Sterne, VP Audio Development and Strategy, Pandora Carter Brokaw, President of Digital Revenue and Strategy, iHeart Media Jonathan Tarlton, Senior Manager, Automotive Business Development, Spotify
Keynote Speaker: Erwin Raphael, General Manager, Genesis, Hyundai Motor America Q&A: Robert Mansfield, Senior Director, Global Automotive, J.D. Power
3:10– 4:30 p.m.
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