Automotive advertising agencies are often lead by independent experts in the auto industry that rarely take direction from “the competition.”
AdAgencyOnline.Net is an online automotive advertising resource / networking community that has crossed that bridge by adopting the philosophy of “A rising tide floats all boats.” Philip Zelinger, the President of Ad Agency Online, L.L.C. and host of the blog talk radio station featured on AdAgencyOnline.Net – WAAOL, All Automotive Advertising News All The Time
– recently shared some best practices with the online audience of his “Lunch With Phil Discussing Automotive Advertising” show.
Philip introduced some “bleeding edge” automotive advertising vendor applications that promise to “blur the line between the virtual and the real world showrooms” for auto dealers.
The general direction of the best practices discussed on the show was to maximize the efficiencies of online selling processes by replicating established “real world” policies and procedures. New technologies and Internet driven applications are now able to accommodate real time customer interaction that literally crash through the glass wall that used to divide car shoppers from auto dealers and they promise to improve the R.O.I. for those auto dealers that invest in them.
Conversion tools lead the list with Argistics – “AutoTransaXion” representing the best of the best.
Their customer interaction program enables a two way video engagement platform that hosts a complete online transaction application. The “pull/push” nature of this next generation chat program allows online shoppers convenient access to requested information from an auto dealership’s DMS. The customer information is simultaneously linked to the auto dealer’s CRM. The net effect is that buyers and sellers can communicate in a completely transparent - real time – manner which replicates the proven processes in a brick and mortar facility but without the same sales pressure; real or imagined.
Another “next generation” automotive advertising vendor that was credited by Philip Zelinger as being a game changer was SiSTeR Technologies – “Video CarLot, (VCL).”
Their automated video production application is their core product, but their differentiator lies in their “platform” philosophy. VCL uses their video to position other applications and linked online resources at the top of the search engines. This targeted marketing platform promises to “leap frog” competing video production applications by combining the scalable nature of their production capabilities with their direct API with Youtube. Their end game is to control a “first to be first” position in both long tail and short tail regional searches for auto dealer’s fighting over online shoppers and to then maximize the conversion for sales and service directly from the video to the sponsoring dealer or paid advertisers linked to the video.
Database marketing, or applications that focus on existing customers from sales and service, were also part of the comprehensive automotive advertising programs suggested by Philip Zelinger for AdAgencyOnline.Net supporters.
Bulldog Marketing Technologies, Inc., (BMT), provides an automated email and direct mail marketing program that focuses on unsold vehicles and ongoing service opportunities. Direct integration with an auto dealer’s DMS and/or CRM fuels an ongoing targeted follow-up process that customizes the “sales” message to be relevant and current to the customers that receive them. Through the use of a proprietary filter – ConsumerClense – BMT is able to use third party resources cross referenced to the auto dealer’s database to determine if the customer has already purchased a vehicle. If so, the message is converted into a service offer that promises to retain the customer even if the initial sale is lost.
According to Philip Zelinger, direct marketing to conquest customers has also been brought into the future with applications like CityTwist.Com.
“This “DIY” template based email application allows an automotive advertising agency or an auto dealer’s staff to build an email campaign with a list sourced from a 250 million “opt-in” database of local customers. The “low hanging fruit” of an auto dealer’s database is job one, but that resource is limited to “what was” while auto dealers have to deal with “what is” in today’ shrinking auto industry. Customer loyalty is at an all time low as car shoppers look for the “best deal” and there has never been a better time to increase market share for an auto dealer that wants to stay in the game.”
Other Internet facing solutions that provide leveraged resources to supplement limited automotive advertising budgets and shrinking working capital reserves, such as New Wave Automotive, (N.W.A.), Colliers Automotive Real Estate Services, (C.A.R.S.), and Market Acceleration Partners, (M.A.P.), were introduced by Philip as “preferred automotive advertising vendors” on AdAgencyOnline.Net.
These vendor clients and joint venture partnerships with AAOL have extended the size and depth of experience in the “think tank” that is the true asset of any profitable business.
Philip Zelinger explained his philosophy that has supported his recent expansion in an otherwise shrinking auto industry.
“I invested 25 plus years as a General Manager and then Dealer Principal. More relevantly, I started my career in 1975; right in the middle of the last crisis for the auto industry. That experience taught me to control expenses while maximizing the R.O.I. for every dollar. This accepted wisdom was not limited to automotive advertising budgets. It applied to all aspects of operations which included having an “exit strategy” with regards to the real estate as well as the retail business that supports it.”
“A survivor in today’s auto industry must understand the importance of “assets” vs. “working capital” vs. “cash flow.
Sometimes the math for an auto dealer suggests that the highest and best use for his real estate supports a career change, or even retirement. In other situations, a well capitalized auto dealer with a positive cash flow may value that same auto dealership differently. Also, factory site controls may have a say in the decision leaving the auto dealer little choice in the matter.”
“M.W.A. in cooperation with C.A.R.S. can evaluate the real estate and the business from a variety of perspectives.
The resources and experience in the venture capital and real estate arena represented by the general partners and principals in these two independent organizations offer solutions not easily available in this market. The business models they develop include the technologies and leveraged resources developed by AAOL and our new affiliated office -M.A.P.. Virtual world solutions to real world problems must be considered in any forward thinking business plan. Finding developing technologies and applying them to create a selling process that blurs the line between the virtual and the real world showroom is job one for AAOL and AdAgencyOnline.Net. The “people power” at a senior executive level that M.A.P. has added to our network is an invaluable resource that will open many opportunities not otherwise available.”
A number of other vendor clients of AAOL and preferred automotive advertising vendors on AdAgencyOnline.Net, such as EverycarListed.Com, (ECL) and DealMaker.Com, were also discussed and recommended by Philip.
ECL offers free listings to auto dealers and consumers alike. The leveraged exposure that this communal inventory represents has attracted a growing audience of online shoppers. Sponsoring auto dealers receive the leads generated from their inventory for free or they can increase their exposure in a variety of packages offered by ECL that combine Internet based advertising with real world marketing plans. The result is a perfect integration of conventional advertising in the real world and digital marketing on the World Wide Web.
DealMaker.Com offers a different solution than ECL, but the end game is the same.
Their pending inventory based website relies on a proprietary platform that allows a granular comparison of every posted vehicle by every dealer. A consumer can define the vehicle they are interested in and simultaneously open negotiations with every dealer. The transparency of the site also allows every consumer on the site to monitor the negotiated selling price. The end result is a market driven transaction that protects all parties by establishing a fair price for the consumer and a fair profit for the auto dealer.
For additional information on any of the vendors or agencies referenced by Philip Zelinger during his online review of automotive advertising problems and solutions, automotive advertising agencies, auto dealers and automotive advertising vendors should visit http://adagencyonline.net , or http://www.blogtalkradio.com/adagencyonline .
Philip can be reached for a free automotive advertising consultation toll free at 1-888-796-2228 or by emailing him at email@example.com . To quote Philip Zelinger, “Help is only a click away.”