Professional Community for Car Dealers, Marketing, Advertising and Sales Leaders
Ralph Paglia, Editor-In-Chief of the Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community agreed to answer AJ's questions regarding the use of Video Marketing by North American Car Dealers as part of their overall Digital Marketing Strategy. The introduction and interview transcript are shown below:
For this month’s video marketing profile, I interviewed Ralph Paglia whose Automotive Digital marketing career started back in 1981.
Ralph has helped over 3,600 dealerships implement strategies as well as serving as ADP Dealer Services’s first Director of Digital Marketing Solutions when the company created the the ADP Digital Marketing Group in January 2007. Prior to his ground breaking role at ADP Ralph served Courtesy Chevrolet during their run up to become the #1 GM Dealership in the world.
Ralph also served in various roles at The Reynolds and Reynolds company, including OEM Partnership Executive and Reynolds Consulting Services Practice Leader. For well over 25 years Ralph has provided the auto industry with Thought Leadership, new ever more effective sales, marketing and operational strategies, along with the hands on tactical skills development that new strategies require. Below is a transcript of our conversation:
AJ LeBlanc- Can you give us a brief overview of your basic marketing strategy & philosophy?
Ralph Paglia- For over 20 years I have been developing, implementing, monitoring and consulting car dealers and OEM’s about what I will describe as technology enabled “Integrated Marketing and Sales Strategy”. As much as it may seem like common sense to us, the auto industry needs to improve and streamline the functional areas that serve up various types of communication to consumers so that there is both a greater coordination of message content and the targeting of audience which receives such messaging. As simple as it can sound, the strategy of delivering the “Right Message” to the “Right Customer” at the “Right Time” using multiple media channels which are all synchronized to achieve much greater effectiveness through the consistency, look and feel of the message seems to elude too many dealerships and car companies. Digital Marketing has accelerated and shined a spot light on the need for better integration across multiple media channels because of how effective it is. In the early days of online marketing and sales promotion by car dealers there were shockingly disparate messages and themes bombarding their local customers depending on whether the media was offline or online… Thankfully, we seem to be well past those times, yet there is still a deep need for dealers to better realize the efficiencies of digital marketing and place digital channels at a higher priority, allocating budget to offline channels on the basis of what is left after digital channels have been optimized.
AJ- What type of marketing efforts do you feel should be implemented in the stores on a consistent monthly basis?
Ralph- Digital first, simultaneously with social media and reputation management. In the digital channels, the use of video and images dramatically improves results, yet there is very little additional cost in this day of photo and video enabled smartphones combined with online hosting channels such as YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and others. Dealers should always focus their “Job 1” marketing tasks on the creation of assets that can be multi-purposed and used a variety of channels. This creates both efficiencies in regards to cost and more consistency in messaging, look and feel, thus fulfilling the strategy of Integrated Marketing. Today, dealers should be creating photos and videos on a daily basis to supplement and enhance their written content creation… Content Marketing as a subset of an overall Integrated Marketing strategy can be an effective means of establishing a car dealer’s credibility and service as a resource to consumers around expertise and answers to their questions. Consumer Generated Content such as dealership reviews, ratings and commentary are now well established with a level of credibility that eclipses sponsored message channels. This level of credibility, combined with the increasing practice by car shoppers of seeking out a dealership’s reviews and customer ratings has now elevated Reputation management from the “Nice to Have” category to a “Must Get Handled” level of priority. Regardless of the platforms and sites used by a dealership’s customers to publish their reviews of the store, video testimonials provide the greatest impact from many perspectives… Video is an SEO powerhouse, the testimonials are extremely credible, and each video is likely to appear in organic search results as it’s own listing.
AJ- Why is it important for a dealership to have Video marketing as part of an overall marketing strategy?
Ralph- Video is to the Internet like TV was to Radio… Just like TV changed “Broadcast Media” from a one dimensional medium to a multidimensional experience, Video combined with the wide deployment of broadband Internet access has transformed the average car buyer’s online experience to a degree that has resulted in a drop in the average number of dealership visits by consumers for each car they buy. Many people like to say Google loves video” but nothing could be further from the truth… People like Video and Google serves up search results based on what people like the most in the form of online content! Video is absolutely a mandatory part of any car dealer’s marketing strategy if it is going to achieve competitive market share objectives. One of the aspects of video production that seems to intimidate many dealers is the cost of professional services. My guidance is to combine a reasonable amount of professionally procuded video content, such as what Car-Mercial provides, with self generated video content that is shot by dealership employees and distributed across social media and video hosting channels. Integrating a dealership’s YouTube Channel with their Facebook, Google+ and Twitter accounts makes it easy for videos uploaded by dealership employees to instantly be syndicated to appear on the dealership’s Facebook, Google+ and Twitter accounts. This sort of “Guerrilla Marketing” by dealership resources is especially effective when supplemented by more professional service providers such as Car-Mercial.
AJ- How have you seen the video marketing change over the years within dealership advertising strategies?
Ralph- The biggest changes I have seen revolve around production and distribution… With the ease of producing decent video content, combined with the emergence of solution providers, an effective multi-channel video component within a dealership’s Integrated Marketing Strategy is now both reasonable in cost and easily achievable. The other aspect of video marketing that has been refreshing to watch is the increasing awareness of its importance and impact by car dealers. I have seen many dealers emerge and grow from their deployment of Vehicle presentation Videos (VPV) to the point where the majority of their most profitable sales are directly attributable to their use of VPV’s. Douglas VW and Infiniti in New Jersey is a classic example of a dealer which has leveraged the daily production of VPV’s along with broad based distribution of those videos to a level where most of the dealership’s gross profit in the sales department is directly attributable to their video marketing.
AJ- How can a Video SEO strategy impacted a dealership’s website visibility on search engines?
Ralph- The use of Video for SEO purposes is way past the point of theory or conjecture and is now recognized as one of the single most effective aspects of a dealership’s SEO strategy. Videos placed on YouTube with a link to the dealership’s Vehicle Detail Page (VDP) is proven technique for raising that dealership’s website authority and rank on the relevant Search Engine Results Page (SERP). The bottom line is that a few hours and dollars focused on video SEO will generate organic ranking results and impact far greater than any other use of resources.
AJ- How do you measure the effectiveness of online Video strategies?
Ralph- Quantity created and uploaded each day, week, month and year, Total Views, Traffic Sourcing (Online and offline) along with sharing of video by viewers across their social channels and by email.
AJ- Lastly, what do you think the future holds for automotive dealerships and online video marketing strategies?
Ralph- It is inevitable that more and more dealers will adopt video marketing strategies to follow the leaders and early adopters who are already using video for competitive advantage. In more competitive markets, a dealer’s video marketing execution will be one of several major factors determining the success of that business. Video has gone beyond a luxury and now becomes a necessity for car dealers in order to achieve any meaningful results from their overall marketing strategy. Customers expect to find VPV’s and other types of video online from dealers, and then they do not, that dealer is eliminated from consideration.
Conclusion: Start using video marketing today to help your dealership gain additional exposure online to in-market automotive buyers.