Automotive Digital Marketing

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This social media marketing clip is primarily about the most recent facts and figures that are rocking the marketing industry to its very foundation. My wife, Elizabeth Archuleta sent this video to me, and as always I am thankful for her diligence and support. The clip contains a series of information bullet points that would serve car dealers and their marketing managers well to pay attention to... This clip is hosted online at

If you would like to learn more about ADP Digital Marketing's "Social Marketing and Reputation Management" consulting and managed solutions, then please fill out the form at:

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Comment by Ralph Paglia on September 20, 2009 at 12:04am
@Blake - Thank you for a sincere and ethical response to the discussion around this video... IN many ways I agree with you, but let me point out the obvious. If a dealer can't send an email, then what are the chances they are going to participate in an online community like ADM, DealerRefresh, DrivingSales, ISMinTraining, ISMtoday or any of the other really great online resources that have appeared the last few years? Since day one I have been aware that a lot of what happens on ADM and the other communities serving the dealership based population of digital marketing professionals is "preaching to the choir" and probably explains the generally advanced level of knowledge, skills and practices that are displayed in these types of sites. Bot please do not interpret this response as cynicism, because I have been consistently impressed with the level of digital marketing and sales knowledge, skills and savvy that can be found in dealerships all over America for the past 14 years... Ever since I did training for Autobytel dealers in the mid 90's... I do believe that as the gap between the most knowledgable dealers and least knowledgable dealers grows, the check point is that eventually the lowest common denominator dealers eitehr improve or go out of business, or change owners... So, as we raise the upper limits of capabilities amongst the top 20% of dealers in the areas of social media marketing and reputation mangement, we will eventually pull up the knowledge and capabilities of the lowest dealership's resources.

However, the cynicism you expressed about suppliers is right on target... I am a supplier and I know about how the game is played. Sometimes I feel like a cop pulling over a stolen car and fining the car thief is his own son, when I see something happen on my own team. A lot of the value I believe i have contributed to the ADP Digital Marketing team is simply being knowledgeable enough to be able to cry foul when one of our own people violates the substantial business ethics and corporate principles that ADP requires of all their employees... Which are actually very good, protect the dealers as clients and make ADP a company that a car guy can be proud to work for... Which is why I am driving the development of a Social Marketing and Reputation Management solution that dealers will be able to source from ADP. My vision is a fully managed solution that will allow dealers to gradually get themselves and their employees engaged... And, which would have a sliding cost scale to reflect the reduced hours that ADP supplies over time as the dealer learns and takes over more and more of the social marketing and reputation management chores. I know that initially, we have to provide a turn-key solution to get the dealer in the game, so to speak. But, I also know that long term, the dealers will need to take complete ownership and the ADP team of Social Marketers would back down on their involvement beyond the technical support. That's my vision and I am working on convincing ADP executives that we can deliver on it, make a fair profit doing so, and drive increased revenue for our shareholders as well.

How am I working on it? I am doing it myself for about a dozen dealers with help from a small team of our best people at ADP Digital Marketing... Really good people that have dealership experience and have since become experts in SEO, Digital marketing and Social Media... Peeps like Tom DiSanto, Tony Guarnaccia, Mike Brodeur, John Volatile and others... We believe we can help dealers get into the social media marketing business in an effective way that will yield a ton of value to their dealerships. The fact that we love this work and all get excited when we find something that works is a bonus for both us, and the dealers we serve!
Comment by Ralph Paglia on August 23, 2009 at 10:42pm

When I started selling cars on February 13, 1981 there were several old car dogs that kept telling me this was a "People Business" first and foremost, and that my quest for product knowledge was less important than understanding the way people think, communicate and are motivated to take action... As much as I did learn about the products, how the features benefited my customers and eventually the various ways to market and sell cars, it always has been the truth that this is primarily a People Business.

I submit that if a whole generation of 8 to 28 year old's understand social networking and user generated content, then the average car dealer and his managers if they are even REMOTELY motivated to improve their results should be able to figure the "People Business" aspects of social networks and social marketing stuff out! And, if they cannot? Then they ought to go get a job as a welder, coal miner, construction worker or some other job that is not such a "People Business" as the car business.

Anyone who is worth a rat's ass in the car business can grasp the concept of the power behind word of mouth... If you have ever been under pressure to improve CSI scores, then you understand reputation management. The real problem is that there are far too many sales managers still remaining in dealerships across America who are too lazy to get up from behind the desk to take a turn, close a deal or handle heat properly... Likewise, they are also too lazy to type a single damn word, never mind put a sentence together, write a blog article, post to a forum or respond to a customer inquiry, or even begin to delve into the world of social media.

Does this sound a little harsh? Yes, and intentionally so... I am no longer sympathetic to the lazy sales managers who think because they were the store's number 1 car salesman in December of 2003 that they are God's gift to the car business and no longer have to work... Sure, there are plenty of hard working, very highly skilled professional managers out there, and I am proud to know quite a few and consider them both friends and professional colleagues, but it is high time that our industry rids itself of the sales managers whose only efforts are made towards discrediting the work of others, often times BDC and Internet Sales Managers.

The next time I hear some lazy asshole sales manager who thinks his only job is to send lot attendants to pick up Iced Teas and lunch for him, ask "how do I know all these Internet sales would not have bought a car from us anyways, even if we did not have a web site and an Internet sales team?" I may just go ballistic and get out the super soaker for a little fun at his expense!

Social Media marketing is the most natural "People Business" to come around in a long time that can be leveraged for the benefit of people who sell cars and trucks... If there are people out there who can't bear the thought of working it, because, well it just seems too much like work... Well, go get a life somewhere else where you don't have to communicate with people and get out of the way of those that are willing... Let the people like Stan Sher, Berkley Sturgeon, George Salman, Joel Matteson, Kevin Frye, Chris Ferris, Chris Fousek, Nick Cybella and thousands of other automotive digital marketing professionals who are qualified to work in the 21st century automotive industry get the job done.

Comment by D'Andre Ladson on August 23, 2009 at 4:45pm
Great post! There is no denying that Social media has infiltrated nearly every aspect of our lives. You must embrace Social Media to stay relevant.
Comment by Jim Flint on August 23, 2009 at 12:02pm
Staggering and true. Good car guys/gals follow the people and the numbers--the money then follows. If you watch the video, the numbers are just too strong to ignore.
Comment by Ralph Paglia on August 23, 2009 at 11:14am

Comment by Ralph Paglia on August 23, 2009 at 10:57am
Wow... This is THE video clip to open up a meeting about Social Media Marketing and set the stage for its significance and relevance to your dealership, car company or solution provider organization. After seeing the series of facts and figures presented in this clip, only an absolute moron would deny the allocation of adequate resources towards capitalizing on this variation of Internet based media.

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