When I was studying graphic design, I remember my instructors repeatedly mentioning –harping really– about “design consistency”. Since then, this principle has stuck in my mind and, as a designer, I understand how inconsistent design can harm your brand. Continue reading “The Importance of Design Consistency”→
It’s that time of year again! No, not for the Roller Derby Championship, but for the FCA Digital Road Show–which has been hitting cities since the beginning of April for all of their Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram stores. The Strathcom team was fortunate enough to tag along on five stops this year, hitting Barrie and Markham in Ontario, and Edmonton, Calgary and Grande Prairie in Alberta. The purpose of these stops are to get all of the FCA Digital Vendors in one room to help educate and bring new topics to light for FCA dealers. In other words, it’s a bit like vendor speed dating–we each get a table, and the dealers strap on their (metaphorical) quad skates to rotate through, every 20 minutes, and have a more personal, one-on-one conversation with each vendor. Continue reading “The 2018 FCA Digital Roadshow: A Recap”→
June 21st has come and gone, and yet another Google Think Auto conference is in the books. Moving this hotly anticipated event from September to June was a solid choice by the Google team — can you blame us for thinking that? We live in Edmonton where it’s winter 10 months of the year and we were dying for some warm weather! Continue reading “GOOGLE THINK AUTO 2018: FULL REVIEW”→
June 21st was not only the summer solstice, it was also the day of Google’s 2018 Think Auto event. The scenery was a little different from the usual September setting, but we weren’t about to complain about the hot weather. Held at the Toronto Centre for the Arts for a second year in a row, the Google auto team did not disappoint with this year’s round of stats and insights! Continue reading “Google Think Auto 2018: A Quick Recap”→
In the wonderful world of web, we as consumers are exposed to subliminal messages and overbearing marketing lists that have become second nature. And while automotive dealers have a plethora of knowledge, having seen the industry progress firsthand, some of the marketing ploys they ask for get lost in translation due to the stimulus-overload we are already in the midst of. Simply put, there are too many features available on websites, and everytime we add a new feature something gets lost in the shuffle. We, as designers, are often tasked with creating carousel slides to catch the eye while there are better tools available. If you read my last blog, about trusting your designer, then you’ll remember that sharing your vision and goals is an important part of the process — but letting us help guide you with our professional knowledge is just as important. After all the main goal is to improve the communication from Dealership to Marketing Manager to Designer, culminating in getting the message through to the customer loud and clear. And as a former dealership employee, marketing manager, designer, and customer, I can tell you with all honesty that these lanes of communication could be improved.Continue reading “A Modest Request…”→
a person who plans, designs, creates, and often maintains websites.
By definition, the title of web designer seems simple. Someone who makes and maintains websites. However, it seems like even the most expert of designers spend much of their time trying to predict what a client wants instead of creating beautiful pieces of art. What caused this? Continue reading “Trust Me, I’m an Expert!”→
Strathcom Media is ecstatic to be appointed as an online advertising partner for Jaguar Land Rover dealers across Canada. If you’re not familiar with Strathcom, we have been providing online solutions to dealerships across the country for over 20 years and are recognized as a leader in website design and digital advertising.
Last week, the Strathcom team was honoured to not only attend Dealer Huddle III, but to also be on the speaking roster. This year’s Dealer Huddle Automotive Event was hosted at Facebook Canada’s head office in the MaRS Discovery Building in Toronto, On. Dealer Huddle is a VIP Automotive event focused on the future of Canadian Automotive trends, and it brought together an impressive list of speakers for a room filled with dealers and students from the Georgian College Automotive Business School.
The morning kicked off with an exciting presentation from Josh Bloom, Head of Autos for Facebook Canada. He really hit home on the importance of focusing on mobile and even stated that 80% of Facebook’s revenue is generating from mobile. Josh had some great examples of how to utilize video on Facebook and what to try to make it stand out on a busy newsfeed. The whole idea behind video is to connect with your audience — make it personal!
I was honoured to present at the Dealer Huddle Automotive Event and to go up right after Josh. Although his Wakanda dad-joke fell flat (if you don’t get the reference, please drop what you’re doing and watch Black Panther right now!), I was excited to showcase how dealers can put Facebook into practice. In this industry, we are inundated with data from both Facebook and Google and it can be challenging to know what you should do with it all. In my presentation, I was able to showcase how to make that data work for you. We went through a number of real-life dealership examples showcasing how you can use Facebook’s ad formats and unreal targeting tools to ensure you’re getting the right message in front of the right audience. If you’re curious to see those examples, shoot me an email – email@example.com. Main takeaways from my presentation during this Dealer Huddle Automotive Event were to get creative, test absolutely everything and to find the right advertising agency to partner with to execute your strategies.
Mike Blackmore was up next to give us all a behind-the-scenes look at his experience in the automotive industry so far. If you’re curious as to what a marketing career in Auto could look like, Mike is definitely the person to talk to. He has a ton of dealership experience and has been the Chief Marketing Officer for the Harms since 2010. Mike showcased a number of tips for how to manage expectations, what a ‘normal’ work week might look like. and how he constantly works to stay relevant.
Networking is such a huge part of any marketing or Sales role and Logan Kierstead ran us through some great examples of how we can go about it differently. When we think of networking, I think everyone’s first reaction is to tighten up, clench their jaws and start sweating a little bit. It’s safe to say that it’s an uncomfortable exercise, so what can you do to get around it? Logan’s tips were to think of what you stand for (being confident, approachable, friendly, etc.), be patient, be consistent, and more importantly, be authentic. Utilizing platforms like LinkedIn are great for introducing yourself to new people and building valuable connections with others in automotive industry.
After lunch, we had Adam Biesenthal from the Drive Auto Group run us through the importance of building the right team at the dealership. Some of the stats he shared were quite daunting, like how 39% of Sales Consultant jobs end in termination and the average tenure in the auto industry is 2.5 years, and yet it takes up to 3 years for an employee to reach their maximum proficiency. So what’s the number one thing you can do to change this? Have an onboarding plan! Instead of throwing a new Salesperson on the floor with little to no training and expecting them to sell 15 cars in their first month, show them the ropes, introduce them to the staff, and maybe take them for lunch on their first day. Do something different!
Speaking of that… Brent Wees was up next to give a killer presentation on Doing One Thing Different Today! Sounds easy, right? We all think that we’re multi-taskers, but really, we’re just half-assing a number of different projects all at once and talking about how busy we all are. Brent’s five tips during this Dealer Huddle Automotive Event were to:
Research like the wind – ask yourself, can I Google this
One day, one focus – no one can multi-task
Stories, not selfies – take a quick look at your Instagram feed; what story does it tell?
Be Authentic – everyone can see through the bullshit
Understand the brand – the body of work you stand for and not the props you use
To finish up this killer day, we had none other than Brian Sencich to hit the stage. As the Auto Client Partner at Facebook Canada, Brian gets grilled with questions on the effectiveness of Facebook on a daily basis. Continuing with Josh’s theme of mobile, Brian showcased how your phone is no longer just a piece of technology, it’s a piece of consumer behavior. We’ve come a long way from the Danny Glover-Lethal Weapon days when we were walking around with the equivalent of a car battery just to make a call. Now we have more power with our two thumbs than we’ve ever had before. In the past, you could never say that you were able to sell your house the second day it was on the market because your realtor was smart enough to post it on Facebook and it was discovered by someone interested in the post as they were scrolling on their newsfeed while sitting on their couch at home. Mobile is what ties everything together for consumers and Facebook gives you the ability to connect with potential buyers on a different level. If neither of these focuses are in your 2018 plan already, then you are already behind!
Special thanks to Jay Radke and R22.io for hosting this great Dealer Huddle Automotive Event and bringing so many of us from the industry together. We hope to see you all out next year!
Interested in learning more about setting up a mobile strategy for 2018? Are you sad you missed out on this killer VIP automotive event? If you said yes, then reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to get more information and be added to our event invite list!
Being a Google Premier Partner gives Strathcom access to events held by Google across the United States and Canada, and we got to take part in one such event in Vancouver on March 1st called “Decoding The New Consumer.”
With Google trainings and events, much of the info is about the data they’re willing to share about the trends they see in today’s consumers, and to no ones surprise, today’s consumers want accurate info and they want it now! Today, consumers are 80% of the way through their car-buying journey before they ever step into a dealership, so being in those moments to provide the consumer with what they are looking for can make or break your sales.
One bit of info I was surprised to see was that Google searches which contain “near me” – after years of increasing – are going down in frequency. Why? Because people expect Google to know where they are, so they don’t feel the need to say “near me.” If they search “Pizza,” they expect Google to know where they are, and show them the best option near them – no need to type it anymore. This is an ongoing trend Google is seeing where people are acting more natural with search; instead of ‘Googling something’ they are asking Google the same way they would ask their friends, which is outlined beautifully in this Google Home ad:
With the decrease in people searching “near me,” Google is seeing a 100% increase in people searching “where to buy.”
Next, Jason Fohlstrom took us through what Google and their A.I./Machine Learning arm DeepMind (they have an office here in Edmonton) are working on. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are two buzzwords you’ve probably heard somewhere in the last few years, but most people don’t know that A.I./Machine Learning already play a huge part in all our lives. They will affect 33% of all the world economic markets (that’s $24,000,000,000,000 – yes TRILLION!) in 2018. You’ve probably heard of it in use mostly with Google’s self-driving car project Waymo, trying to learn how to drive itself without causing an accident or killing someone. It has now driven over 5,000,000 miles completely on its own. This A.I./Machine Learning is actually available to everyone running AdWords today, whether it be through a/b ad testing, which AdWords will do by default with the ads in an ad group, and also through data-driven attribution, with which Google will be able to tell you which steps of the buying process should get the credit for a sale. This is better than giving all the credit to the last click in the process or through a linear model (which Strathcom uses) to give credit to all steps within the process. Smart Display Campaigns let you put in some creative, text and headlines, and your target cost per acquisition/lead, and Google will create the ads, figure out who would be the best people to show them to, and change the creative on it’s own as it gets more data on what the user is reacting to. They also announced targeting by life events, knowing who is going through a targetable life event like marriage, buying a car, graduating from college, etc, so we can show your ads to those people.
In the blink of an eye, Google can analyse 70,000,000 signals to show the right ad to the right person at the right time, which would be impossible without A.I and Machine Learning.
Lastly, we had a workshop session where we saw how we could better pull audience data to create better audience lists, an audience list being a list of users who we can show specific ads to. One thing that was apparent from this session is that the journey is fragmented; people are not all taking the same road when it comes to purchasing, and the more signals we can collect, the better. At the event, Google announced that Map data will now be included in the in-market segment data, so when google A.I. is looking for the best person to show your Ford ad to, they can see that people search for a Ford dealership in Google Maps and opt to show that person your Ford ad. Another great stat Google shared was that 80% of a user’s time is spent outside of search. We know search is usually the main driver of leads, and that needs to be the first place an auto dealer should be, but considering only 41% of users will actually contact a dealership prior to visiting it, it’s also important to diversify your online advertising portfolio and get what you want to sell in front of the right person at the right time, even if it means that person isn’t going to send you a cold hard lead. What better place to do that than the second largest search engine, YouTube! YouTube has always been known as more of a branding play; you can’t expect to get many leads from it, but it is a platform that lots of consumers use in their journey, including for car test drives, car reviews, car walk arounds, etc, so if you want them to find your business, you should be there.
Google made another announcement at the Decoding The New Consumer event, and that is they will now have CPA bidding for YouTube, which means we can set a target cost per lead, that Google will try to reach using A.I.. You have to be reasonable with it though; if you say you want to have a cost per lead of $2, it’s not going to work. You should start with what you would be happy with as a cost per lead (which should be a little less than what the lead would be worth to you) and then Google will work toward that as well as work toward lowering that.
Many of these insights will be shared on https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/intl/en-ca/ eventually, so keep an eye out there and here on the Strathcom blog too for more updates on what’s happening in the online advertising industry!
If you’re struggling for page views and leads on your site, it is time for you to revamp your SEO, and you can start with a SEO audit. Why you ask? Well, gone are the days when you could add a new post or page to your site and expect that people will come to read it. Right now, experts estimate that there are almost 60 million new blog posts alone published each month, that is 2 million a day! And this number doesn’t even include landing pages and other published online content. That is a big sea of content and because of this, standing out has become increasingly difficult online.
This is where SEO comes in. Search engine optimization has always been important. This is probably something you knew before you started reading this post. But what you might not know is what you can do to improve your site’s SEO. That’s why you need to dive right in and do an SEO audit of your site!
Another conference is in the books! DealerTalkX in Toronto took place November 16th in a very hipster and industrial venue called the Warehouse. Although it felt like it was in the middle of nowhere, and our Uber might have dropped us off at the wrong door, the content presented made it well worth the trip.
The morning started off with an interesting presentation from Malte Kruger from Mobile.de which is Germany’s largest vehicle market. He spoke about the importance of reviews when it comes to a vehicle market place and how a German Audi dealership gained 1000 reviews in just 18 months. The key – ask! If you don’t ask for the review, why would your customers think to give you one? Continue reading “DealerTalkX Toronto 2017”→
eMarketer.com recently published their report on Mobile Advertising in Canada and to no ones surprise, mobile is exploding. I wanted to condense and share some of the findings, but if you wanted to purchase the full report from eMarketer.com, you can find it here.
Before I get into the numbers, I wanted to give you an idea of what the end game for mobile is. Mobile has evolved to be a part of our lives; our phones are with us – for the most part – 100% of the time. Because of this, how much we use our phones to complete activities in our daily lives will only increase. It used to be just to make calls, then text as well, then email as well, then surf the internet on the early (crappy) mobile web browsers, then apps and so on. We even have the ability to track our health on our phone, and in a relatively short period, probably 10 years, when you go to the doctor’s office, you’ll just hand the doctor your phone, and it will have all your medical info and readings it has been taking since your last visit. Many companies are working on how the mobile phone will replace desktops, which – other than for work – have been declining in sales. Unless you need a desktop to run high powered programs like video/image editing or PC games, you’ll soon just have your phone and a couple monitors at home/work that you plug directly into.
For those of you who enjoyed the brief highlight reel we released in September on Google Think Auto, here’s the full review. Enjoy!
In September, we were fortunate enough to attend this year’s edition of Think Auto at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. The scenery of the event was different and so was the direction of the event. Instead of focusing on the four phases of the car buying journey, there was a ton of data presented on the the buyer’s persona. If you don’t remember what the four phases are, check out our 2016 recap of Think Auto for a good refresher. Continue reading “GOOGLE THINK AUTO 2017: FULL REVIEW”→
For those new to SEO, the concept of search engine optimization might seem like a combination of voodoo witchcraft and sheer good luck. But you don’t need a magic wand or a four leaf clover in order to improve your SEO on your website today. In fact, there are a few easy things that you can start doing right now in order to bump up your ranking across Google and other search engines. Starting to make small changes will help to drive traffic to your website, and we have 5 easy tips to get you started on improving your SEO today.
First of All, What is SEO and Why Should You Care?
Another amazing event hosted at the Banff Springs Hotel is in the books. The Western Canadian Dealer Summit brought together dealerships from British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan to listen and learn from industry experts about what’s happening in the automotive industry. So what did we learn this year? Here’s our highlight reel.
This past Thursday, we were fortunate enough to attend this year’s edition of Google Think Auto at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. Although the venue changed from the usual scene at Massey Hall and the direction of the event was slightly different by not having individual dealers out (check out our blog on the upcoming Think Dealer events!), the content was useful and provided a different perspective on our ever changing Canadian car buyer market. Continue reading “Google Think Auto 2017: A Quick Recap”→
If you haven’t already heard, Google changed up their Think Auto event this year. Instead of bringing everyone across the country to the centre of the universe…Toronto… they decided to bring their wealth of knowledge across the country and host Think Dealer specific events in 5 cities between October 12th and November 9th. Lucky for us, we were still able to check out Think Auto and you can read up on our quick summary of the event here! Continue reading “Think Dealer 2017 Events”→
It’s always interesting to see the new and upcoming technology that luxury automakers reveal at their auto shows. The technology that is released today could potentially be commonplace for vehicles in the future – and not only for luxury vehicles. This can be traced back to the early versions of the seat belts that Saab offered in 1958, the first implementation of ABS.
Technology and innovation are the cogs that keep the automotive industry wheel moving forward, and Ford is no stranger to this. The evolution of Ford is taking them down new roads with the possibility of “no driver required” by 2021 as they plan to have a fully autonomous vehicle in the market1.
If Ford is bringing this type of ingenuity and forward thinking to the brand, shouldn’t you as Ford Dealers be looking to do the same for your dealerships? The answer is: absolutely and unequivocally YES! Now, you might be asking yourself how you should go about and do this, well search no further, we’re here to help! Your website is often one of the first places a potential customer will search to learn about what you have to offer. They might have started off with a Google search to get there, or perhaps they came across your business page on Facebook and read some great reviews before making their way to your website. At the end of the day, they are coming to your site and you need to be providing the right experience for them. Continue reading “Are you ready to Go Further?”→