“I see our online advertising increasing—that’s just a given. The reason is that I know it gets results.”
-- Darin Wade, vice president, Rich Ford
Wheels in motion
Working with Google AdWords Authorized Reseller ADP Dealer Services, Rich Ford leads its region in auto sales.
For more than 48 years, the Rich Ford dealership has been a familiar part of the landscape in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “For almost all those years, we’ve been on the same corner of town,”
says Darin Wade, vice president.
With Rich Ford for 18 years, Darin now oversees the dealership’s growth and marketing efforts. And he’s got a lot to brag about: “We’re in a metro market of less than a million people in little ol’ Albuquerque. Yet last year we moved up to twentyeighth in the nation in new car and new truck volume for Ford Motor Company. And we were number one in our region for the entire year.”
A big reason for that success is the addition of online advertising to the dealership’s media mix. Historically, Rich Ford has had a heavy schedule of radio and television advertising, with a small amount of direct mail to support a satellite showroom. “Being in this market for so long, we have some very prime radio and TV positions. We don’t want to give that up.”
But like any advertiser, Darin needed to make sure Rich Ford was spending its advertising budgets in the most effective ways. “There’s only so much you can do with target rating points,
” he says. Darin sought to diversify into online advertising in part because he knew it was accountable. “The advantage of online is that you have a better tracking scenario than you do with any other media,”
Darin explains. However, Darin felt Rich Ford could benefit from expert help, and began to look for a group to manage its online campaigns.
In January 2008, he turned to BZ Results, a division of ADP Dealer Services, a Google AdWords Authorized Reseller™. Ralph Paglia, the director of digital marketing for ADP Dealer Services, came from a car sales background, which made the difference for Darin. “The advantage that they have is that they were car people before they were marketers,”
Darin says. “So they understand what the dealer’s philosophy is.”
BZ Results set up an account for Rich Ford with Google AdWords™, Google’s online advertising platform. Ralph worked closely with Darin to develop the right messages and associated keywords that would connect with Rich Ford’s target audiences, then deployed the campaigns.
Traffic to the Rich Ford website immediately spiked, as did leads. “When we included AdWords and left our other media the same, we saw a huge increase in website traffic,”
Darin recalls. “Within the last six months, our website is getting more and more leads. And I attribute most of that to the AdWords program.”
Google Success Story I AdWords Reseller
•• Rich Ford
•• Albuquerque, NM
•• Ford new car and truck dealer
••BZ Results, an ADP company
•• Coventry, RI
•• Auto dealer digital marketing specialists
•• Expand online presence
••Measure ad responses to enhance effectiveness
•• Increase lead generation
•• Achieve greater day-to-day control over messaging
•• Control sales erosion in the face of a slow economy
••Worked with BZ Results, AdWords Authorized Reseller, on creative development
••Used AdWords reporting to monitor performance
••Managed and updated messaging on a regular basis
•• Tracked online results by impressions, clicks, and clickthrough rate
••Did roughly three times better than typical Ford dealer in controlling erosion
••Outperformed dealers in much larger metro markets
••Held onto #1 position in their 9-state region
•• Significantly increased lead generation
••Moved up to 28th among all Ford dealers nationwide
Navigating challenging times
Although Darin is optimistic about the results he’s seen, he’s had to adapt his approach to an economic downturn. When the economy is sluggish, a dealer’s success is often measured not in terms of sales increases, but in losses prevented. “A lot of dealers are defi nitely struggling for survival,”
Darin explains. “In our own backyard, our top two Ford competitors were down 17 and 19 percent in volume. And the national numbers for that period were down 13 percent. But we were down only fi ve percent—in other words, we were still selling about three times more cars than anybody else.”
Darin explains their strategy: “The only thing that we did diff erently was to add this online spending piece to our traditional buy. Our lease volumes went up, our requests for information went up, and so did our overall sales appointments. Yes, I think you have to say AdWords made a diff erence.”
For BZ Results and parent company ADP Dealer Services, being a Google AdWords Authorized Reseller has a number of benefi ts. First, they can respond quickly to their clients’ needs thanks to the fl exibility of the AdWords platform. And as their client, Darin saves precious time and energy by relying on BZ Results to manage Rich Ford’s campaigns and update its ads regularly. “Either every week or every other week, we change our AdWords message,”
Darin explains, “We’ll have a meeting on Monday to tell BZ Results what we want our ads to say, and by Wednesday we’re already running with a new campaign.”
Armed with training from Google, BZ Results has also incorporated sophisticated strategies for targeting car buyers. Using AdWords tools such as demographic targeting, they can pinpoint their audience and advertise the right model car or truck to the consumer segment most likely to buy.
BZ Results has also seen clients’ openness and trust increase since joining the program. Ralph Paglia elaborates: “By becoming part of the Google Reseller program, and making sure our Digital Advertising Analysts are Google AdWords Certifi ed, we’ve been able to achieve improved credibility and relevance in a segment where our client base has not traditionally turned to us.”
Darin agrees: “Dealers nowadays should know they need to be on the digital side. But they also need to have someone they have confi dence in show them the results. I feel I’m pretty Internet savvy, but it took an expert like BZ Results to say ‘I know this is your message, I’m gonna help you do it.’”
The road ahead
Off ering advice to others in the automobile industry, Darin says “This is not the time for car dealers to stick their heads in the sand. As a matter of fact, this is the time when we should put more of our message out there.”
And when looking to the future for Rich Ford, Darin concedes that long-term planning is diffi cult for new car dealers these days. “But I see our online advertising increasing—that’s just a given. I can also say, in a time when we’re decreasing television and we’re decreasing radio—just because we have to—we are not decreasing our digital spend at all. The reason is that I know it gets results.”
About Google AdWords
Google AdWords™ is a performance based advertising program that enables businesses large and small to advertise on Google and its network of partner websites. Hundreds of thousands of businesses worldwide use AdWords for text, image, and video ads priced on a cost-click (CPC) and cost-per-impression (CPM) basis. Built on an auction-based system, AdWords is a highly quantifiable and cost-eff ective way to reach potential customers.
For more information, visit http://google.com/adwords
About the Google AdWords Authorized Reseller Program
The Google AdWords Authorized Reseller™ program enables strategic relationships between Google and companies that can deliver the power of Google AdWords to their local merchants. We value the relationships and knowledge resellers possess in their communities, and share a mutual commitment to deliver targeted, measurable advertising solutions to local marketers. Small and medium-sized businesses working with an authorized reseller receive professional, full-service AdWords account management, from account setup and activation to ongoing campaign monitoring and optimization.
For more information, visit http://www.google.com/adwords/reseller/us
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