There’s No Place Like… MozCon 2018

purple gradient background with M | Moz Con logo and text underneath reading "Exceptional speakers. Actionable tactics. Fist bumps for all."

It’s been a whirlwind of a month for me, what with travelling to Calgary, back to Edmonton, and then off to Grande Prairie for the FCA Roadshow— but July also includes my favourite reason to travel in the summer: MozCon. MozCon is a 3-day digital marketing conference in Seattle, WA that is hosted by Moz, a software-as-a-service business that creates SEO products. This was my fourth time attending this conference, and second favourite visit overall–only beat out by my first experience. Before we jump into my biggest takeaways for this year, I wanted to touch on my first experience (since I’ve never had really had a chance to talk about until now), so that you can understand why this particular conference really stands out from the rest. Continue reading “There’s No Place Like… MozCon 2018”

The 2018 FCA Digital Roadshow: A Recap

Pink wheeled roller derby skate

 

Why Local SEO Matters

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”

GOOGLE THINK AUTO 2018: FULL REVIEW

think auto screen

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”

Hero Conf 2018 Wrap Up

Hero Conf wrap up

The 2018 PPC Hero Conference (aka “Hero Conf” for those who prefer to abbrev) has come and gone, and we had the pleasure of traveling down to Austin to attend. As one of the largest online advertising conferences in the industry, Hero Conf attracted attendees from all over the world for a jam-packed three-day PPC marathon. With keynote speakers ranging from heavy-hitters such as Pinterest and Optmyzr, and breakout sessions hosted by some of the best and brightest minds working in the industry, obviously there’s no way to convey every detail of an event so rich in content and actionable information in one blog post. But we wanted to share snapshots of this year’s iteration, both in content and ambiance. Continue reading “Hero Conf 2018 Wrap Up”

Automotive Conferences You Should Check Out in 2018

Group of people sitting in a row and applauding at conference.

 

Canadian International Auto Show

Toronto – February 16-25, 2018

AutoShow 2018 is excited present attendees with fast and furious opportunities and experience throughout this 10 day event! Continue reading “Automotive Conferences You Should Check Out in 2018”

DealerTalkX Toronto 2017

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.

DealerTalkX Toronto 2017, The Warehouse, Toronto, ON
DealerTalkX Toronto 2017, The Warehouse

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”

GOOGLE THINK AUTO 2017: FULL REVIEW

For those of you who enjoyed the brief highlight reel we released in September on Google Think Auto, here’s the full review. Enjoy!

Google Think Auto 2017

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”

Western Canadian Dealer Summit 2017

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.Western Canadian Dealer Summit was hosted at the Banff Springs hotel

Continue reading “Western Canadian Dealer Summit 2017”

HeroConf 2017: Recap On 3 Days Of Non-Stop PPC

T-Shirt from HeroConf 2017 that says PPC Nerd

From April 17th-20th, I had the opportunity to attend one of the largest gatherings of PPC nerds in North America: HeroConf 2017 hosted in Los Angeles.  This was my first PPC conference and I had no idea what to expect, but I couldn’t have felt more at home at the conference among other people who live and breathe PPC.

It was a busy week filled with learning, networking, and free drinks. Despite all the fun, I came home excited to share my new knowledge with the Strathcom team. Here are my key takeaways about what to expect in the world of PPC in the future.

 

It’s Time to Move on From Last Click Attribution

Attribution Modeling was one of the hottest topics discussed at HeroConf. Speakers from all industries agreed that it’s time to ditch the last click model, and focus on other touchpoints that lead to a conversion. However, there is no magical way of knowing which model is right for you. Speaker Jeff Greenfield of C3 Metrics discussed the importance of not waiting around for the perfect model, but to test and test again. The only way to prove the value of attribution models is to test until you become less wrong. Attribution modelling is extremely important in the automotive industry as we move away from the standard sales funnel, to a customer journey with multiple touchpoints. By ignoring the touchpoints a customer reaches today, we may never see them again for another 3 years.

Integrate Your Paid Social & Paid Search Strategies

Continue reading “HeroConf 2017: Recap On 3 Days Of Non-Stop PPC”

AR Canada 2017 Recap

April 4th wrapped up 2017’s Auto Remarketing Canada Conference at the Westin Harbor Castle in Toronto. This year brought hundreds of progressive dealers and vendors together to discuss new innovations and the future of the automotive industry.

AR Canada sign Continue reading “AR Canada 2017 Recap”

Facebook Auto Summit

Facebook Auto Summit

Mobile Moves Metal

We may be heading into the second quarter of 2017, but we are still talking about how this is the year of mobile. On March 22, 2017, we were fortunate enough to attend Facebook’s first ever Auto Summit in Toronto where mobile was definitely at the top of all conversations. Continue reading “Facebook Auto Summit”

A Look Back at a Successful Year

2016 was a very successful year for Strathcom Media.

We strengthened partnerships, made new partnerships, and even developed and launched a brand new WordPress website platform.

New Website Platform

Last year we had a dream. A dream that resulted in us investing over a million dollars into developing a brand new website platform that was jam packed with new tools for dealers.

Less than a year later, we began moving our dealers onto our all new WordPress platform with technologies like Personalization, Geo-Fencing, Notepad, Silent Salesman and more. This new platform is faster, more secure, and more user friendly so dealers can spend less time making changes to their site and more time selling cars.

New Opportunities with Google

We spent a lot more time with Google in 2016, and even achieved Premier Google Partner status!

In addition to Google breakfasts and hangouts in Vancouver and Toronto, we also held our very first Google event in our hometown of Edmonton, Alberta in June. We also held a contest in September to bring 6 lucky winners to Google’s newest & coolest office in Waterloo, Ontario!

New Partnerships

In 2016 we became a Provider for the Mercedes-Benz Canada Dealer Website Program, and a Preferred Website Vendor for the Kia Dealer Website Certification Program.

We also became a Facebook Marketing Partner and recently hosted our very first Facebook webinar for FCA dealers!

New Conferences

In addition to speaking at conferences like AR Canada and DSES, we also had the opportunity to speak at the first annual Women & Automotive conference in Toronto. We also attended several events including Western Canadian Dealer Summit and ThinkAuto.

We were also included in AR Canada’s Power 200 List for 2016!

New Office

And finally, last month we packed up and moved just up the road into our new office. A new location means a new atmosphere, and a new atmosphere means fresh ideas for the new year.

Thank you to all of our customers for their support, and we look forward to what 2017 has to bring!

Facebook Automotive Partners Summit

We were one of only a few Canadian agencies invited to attend the 2nd Facebook Automotive Partners Summit in Menlo Park, California on Tuesday.  It’s always great to be recognized by a world class company like Facebook (it’s also very nice to leave the snow behind in Edmonton and hang out in Silicon Valley) but the greatest value comes from the industry-specific training and advanced learning that Facebook provides us.  So, here is the highlight reel of what we learned.

Facebook office in California

It was a jam packed day with over a dozen speakers covering over a dozen topics, as well as a tour and happy hour (more on that later).

First off, the technology that Facebook is working on and putting out is pretty slick, check this video out: http://newsroom.fb.com/news/2016/04/using-artificial-intelligence-to-help-blind-people-see-facebook/. This isn’t going to revolutionize the auto industry, but it gives you an idea of what they are capable of and that Facebook truly can reach everybody. Just wait until Oculus is full swing!

I’ve said this before and I am going to continue to say it again: Facebook is not about likes and shares. It is about highly targeted advertising, to relevant people, with a variety of ad formats.  We know that consumers go on a journey when they buy a vehicle.  Facebook enables you, as a dealer, to provide impactful advertising from consideration to ownership. So, what does this look like in terms of format or targeting?

  • Local awareness ads and videos with broad targeting focused on reach
  • Carousel ads to showcase inventory or features of vehicles with in- market auto data or website retargeting and look-a-like audiences
  • Lead ads for test drives and website clicks to VDPs with MAX in-market auto data and/or website retargeting
  • It doesn’t end with sales though, there are huge applications for fixed ops
  • Messenger is going to be big, not sure how big, but it is going to be big and it is going to have an impact in the auto industry
  • The other takeaway that I found very interesting were the abilities Facebook offers you to market to a multi-cultural nation.  Obviously this is very applicable in Canada, take advantage.

Facebook office in CaliforniaBeyond the great information and data presented, it would be a shame if we didn’t talk about the campus. Security is tight so don’t show up just expecting to have lunch with Zuck’.  Once you are in, it is like digital Disneyland; in fact, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg sits on the board of Disney and had them come out to help create the community.  It is truly amazing, and the California weather doesn’t hurt either. They have everything that you would expect your typical Silicon Valley company to have: cafeterias and food, a bike shop, a spa, a bank (of course), an ice cream parlour, a BBQ smokehouse, a woodworking shop, and a pop up shop that local businesses from Palo Alto can occupy so that Facebook can support the local economy.  Watching people work on their laptops while eating ice cream truly makes one envious.  One of the most interesting and important parts of Facebook HQ, in my opinion, is that it is located in the old Sun Microsystems campus and left they some of the logos around to remind everyone how quickly everything can change.  It is a good message for all: keep pushing forward.

Dealer Talk X 2016 – Calgary

DealerTalk X Calgary 2016This past Thursday we were fortunate enough to attend the 2nd annual Dealer Talk X event in Calgary. It was amazing to see how the event grew and evolved in just one year. As always, there were some amazing speakers and here is a quick highlight reel of what they had to say.

The day started off with an inspirational keynote from the 2010 Canadian Olympian Gold Medalist, Jon Montgomery, titled Dreaming Big and Living Bigger. “Things are only out of your reach if you put them there” was the overlying message throughout Jon’s presentation. We all face so many challenges on a daily basis, but some of those challenges exist to push us further; we just need the drive to get there and to celebrate the small victories along the way!

For the first breakout session we listened to Rick Johnston talk about behavioural economics and how the consumer buying cycle has changed, but not in the way you think. Most buyers still go through these 6 phases: Meet & Greet > Fact Finding > Vehicle Selection > Present > Demo > Write-Up, but what has changed drastically are the Fact Finding and Vehicle Selection phases. It’s not uncommon to have a customer walk into the dealership and say “I want a 2016 Honda Civic EX-T in lunar silver metallic, what’s your best price?” So if that’s the case, have your salesmen adapted to this shift? If the customer is coming in to buy and ends up leaving without a vehicle, where is the disconnect? Just because customers are coming into the dealership already set on a vehicle, it doesn’t mean that you can’t provide them with different options for things like financing, leasing, warranty packages, etc. Don’t limit yourself just because the customer says they want to finance the vehicle for 72 months. Give them options.

Our second breakout session was with David MacDonald. David spoke to us about market strategy and financial research and how it pertained to 3 demographics: Albertans, women, and millennials. This was a data-heavy session, so it was perfect for us data nerds!  For Alberta buyers, here were the top three reasons why customers wanted to purchase a newer car:

  • 29% Previous vehicle had too many kilometers
  • 28% Newer or different features in their vehicle
  • 27% Treat myself to something newer

The decision process varied  from rational (too many km’s) to emotional (I work hard so I deserve this).

Here are a few more stats to get you thinking:

  • 85% of Albertans are searching on a desktop or laptop
    • 42% are also searching on mobile, but they tend to go back to desktop to dig deeper into research
  • 73% of Canadians said having no-pressure sales was the number one thing that mattered to them
    • 48% of Canadians also said they want an easy to navigate website
  • 42% of recent car buyers and future intenders in Canada are women
    • 87% of all car purchases are influenced by a woman
  • 60% of millennials will graduate with debt ($40 to $50k)
    • Millennials also lean more towards used vehicles: New – 46% and Used – 54%

Another important takeaway from this session was when David took us through the advertising mediums each demographic uses the most. For each demographic, newspapers were on the bottom and radio didn’t even make the list. Something to think about if you are using either of these to advertise.

After lunch, we got to listen to Rohn Jackson chat about changing our demographic targeting. He brought up a great example about how the data on him as a buyer says he’s a 32 year old male (so a millennial), but when he walked into a dealership with his wife and 6 month old son, he wasn’t seen as a millennial, he was seen as a parent in need of a family vehicle. So if that’s the case, why do we focus on demographics like age and gender? Why not focus on parents? His main message was: don’t focus on a product segment, focus on a people segment.

The day wrapped up with an invigorating keynote from Scott Stratten. If you haven’t heard him speak at an event yet, you should! The overarching theme of his presentation was customer service and how it affects your brand. From doing something as simple as responding to tweet, to going through the amazing sequence of events that the Ritz Carlton staff did to return a stuffed giraffe, (if you haven’t heard the story about Joshie, check it out here), the stories that your customers (or staff) write are usually the ones that stick. The most common issue is that customers simply don’t feel as though they are heard and it’s amazing what an immediate response can do to defuse a situation and how it can start to build a story for your brand.

If you would like to see any of the presentations, they will be posted on the DealerTalk website in a couple of weeks. A big thanks to DealerTalk for putting on another great event, we look forward to coming out again next year!

photo with Jon Montgomery and his gold medal!

GOOGLE THINK AUTO 2016: Full Review

For those of you who need more than a brief summary of think auto here is the big one, enjoy.

Google Think Auto 2016

This year, Think Auto was held in the historic Massey Hall. While the venue was definitely cool, the seats left something to be desired. The event featured a lineup of well known Googlers that took turns presenting different topics. Think Auto followed a similar path to previous years and updated a lot of the data points. There was a strong message presented again this year that OEMs and dealers are not living up to what the customer wants. One dealer group executive who attended the event told me he wasn’t quite sure he liked Google presenting itself as “the supreme overlord telling us how shitty we are at our jobs. We sold more cars than last year didn’t we?” Anyway, his words, not mine.

Sam Sebastian, the managing director of Google Canada, opened the event with a discussion about change which really set the tone for the whole day. Due to the fact that there are a lot of stats at Think Auto, I am going to use a lot of bullet points, this will make it easier for you if you are only looking for the numbers. Continue reading “GOOGLE THINK AUTO 2016: Full Review”

Highlights of DealerTalk 2016

This year’s edition of Kijiji’s DealerTalk went down at the Allstream Centre on Tuesday, September 20.  One of the changes for this year was having two streams that attendees could attend; one for sales and marketing, and the other for the executive level.  I personally thought this was a great way to provide attendees with the flexibility to attend what mattered to them most.

Jon Montgomery speaking at DealerTalk TorontoThe day opened with an inspiring keynote from Georgian College Alum, Olympic Gold Medalist and TV personality Jon Montgomery.  Jon is definitely a charismatic and fearless guy. Who else flies head first down a sheet of ice at 140km/hour? Or just hands his golf medal into a crowd and says: “I’ll get it later”?

After Jon Montgomery, dealers were invited to head to their first break out session.  Due to the fact that I can only be in one place at a time, I cannot give you a break down of all the sessions, but if you are looking for a bigger breakdown check out the site: https://dealertalk.ca/.

I checked out Alan Dickie’s presentation on how he uses video and Facebook for his business and how car dealers can do the same.  Alan is definitely an energetic presenter.  He opened with asking everyone in the room to go to Facebook and put in their status “if I can guarantee you $3,000 over what your vehicle is worth would you trade it in?”.  Towards the end of the session he asked the brave souls who did it what happened.  It definitely generated some buzz.

After Alan I checked out Susan Seto’s data driven presentation on what motivates Canadians to buy a car.  This was a jam packed session with a lot of charts.  Having just attended Google’s Think Auto event, I was interested in seeing what Susan had to say.  It’s important to note that Think Auto samples 5,000 individuals while, to my understanding, this data was based on 1,800 individuals.  Biggest difference in my mind was in the data on most important sources used when buying a car.  There was a little bit of overlap, but while Google says Search, OEM Sites, Dealer Sites and Reviews are where customers are looking, Kijiji – surprisingly – placed classified sites on the list and did not have a single mention of dealer websites.  Seems a little convenient, but then again, I sell dealer websites and Kijiji sells classified listings.  You’ll have to decide for yourself or trust Google!

After lunch I checked out Kyle Costa’s presentation which focused on some fundamentals that you need to get right and then some next level initiatives you can work on when you have the foundation laid.  I agree with Kyle’s mentality that other industries are being disrupted and our industry is ripe for the picking.  Companies like Carvana and Beepi are making an attempt to change the game and if you don’t step up, they will succeed.  Kyle provided real examples straight from the trenches that are working for him, not just ideas a consultant dreamed up and has never tried.

DealerTalk TorontoKevin Graff closed the day with an afternoon keynote which was very impressive considering he had only 30 minutes. Kevin had everyone agreeing that we can all sell more and provided us with five foundations to do this:

  1. Focus on Goals – if I called anyone in your store would they know their target?
  2. Share Results Constantly
  3. Accountability for Success – people play the game different when they know it matters
  4. Ongoing Training and Coaching – do you train every week?
  5. Make it Worthwhile

Overall, I thought that the day was well put on and well received by the attendees.  I also really appreciate the sweet K-Way jacket from Kijiji!

TADA’s Auto Dealers Innovation Series Recap

Auto Dealers Innovation Series 2016

This year’s event dove into marketing and sales strategies and featured presentations from several keynote speakers including: “Dragon” and innovation expert Bruce Croxon, Erin Elofson -Director of Auto and Financial Services at Facebook Canada, and Mike Badour – General Manger of Business Development and Direct Marketing at Canada Post.

Key Takeaways 

Bruce Croxon

Bruce Croxon spoke about how now is the best time to be a consumer and how dealers have the ability to reach the consumer through multiple places and products. Everything from Google to Facebook, cellphone to desktop. He said that dealers need to invest in core values that include teamwork, vision and planning, as well as make sure that they are measuring what is working and what isn’t working. Customer acquisition cost is key, and the importance of relationships between businesses and customers is coming back.

DD20_MichaelCirillo_HeadshotThe Dealer Panel discussed the customer journey and the use of technology. The panel  included the perspectives of dealers, vendors, and OEMs and was moderated by Michael Cirillo – Co-Host of The Dealer Playbook Podcast & President of Flexdealer. They determined that, when it comes to marketing, the old school vs new school argument doesn’t matter. You should never assume what level of technical experience your customers have; in other words, you should base your marketing on your customers’ habits, not their age. They also spoke about how customers expect an ‘instant process’ that matches the experience that got them to the dealer in the first place. The importance of price transparency in the online journey was also reiterated.

2._Erin_ElofsonErin Elofson with Facebook Canada told dealers to forget about fans and followers and to think of Facebook as a new channel to get buyers into your dealership. Out of the over 3.1 million mobile apps out there, 82% of the time spent on apps is split between only 5 apps, one of them being Facebook. Something that a lot of people don’t realize about Facebook advertising is the targeting ability. Since everyone logs into Facebook as themselves on all sorts of devices, Facebook always has the ‘real identity’ of users. Not only that, but Facebook can target people using the immense amount of data that they have about users, and they can use CRM and website matching. Also, since Facebook ads show up on your news feed without interrupting your experience, people tend to be more open to ads on Facebook compared to ads on YouTube, for example.

Mike_Badour-crop1-lgMike Badour with Canada Post spoke about how direct marketing is not only still relevant in a digital world, but actually complements other medias for a complete marketing plan. He also introduced Canada Post’s brand new Smartmail Marketing which uses Neuroscience to help businesses find new customers and increase the value of existing customers. Mike used Audi’s A8 launch as an example of a really cool mail campaign.

This was just a short summary of the conference, but as always, we learned a lot and look forward to attending next year!

Google Think Auto 2016

Google Think Auto 2016
Massey Hall, Toronto, September 8, 2016

Another edition of Google Think Auto is in the books and, as always, it was an insightful afternoon from the online powerhouse.  The theme of the event was change, but this always seems to be the case with technology.  Technology drives change and creates the expectation of change.  We have all been talking about Uber, Air BnB and Netflix for awhile now, but it still remains relevant to be cautiously paranoid about someone coming to our industry and turning it upside down.  We need to continue to push forward and effect change.

Speaking of change, this year Google made some changes to their Think Auto study. They expanded their study from 3,000 car shoppers to 5,000 car shoppers which means that they have deeper data than they have had in previous years. This was also the first year that Google included a dealer-specific segment.

Here are some highlights from this year’s study:

  • Online video is continuing to become more important for consumers but is still not being fully utilized by the auto industry in Canada. Since OEMs are not producing the content, it is up to individual dealerships to start creating the content that customers are looking for.
  • The average car buyer is making 3 dealership visits, but:
    • 40% visit one dealer only
    • 23% visit multiple dealers of the same brand
    • 37% visit multiple dealers and brands
  • Prices and Payments and Booking a Test Drive are pain points for customers
  • 65% of shoppers have emailed a dealer
    • About half of customers are not happy with the timeliness or the quality of responses
  • Google is going to have a Dealer Digital Excellent Award this coming year

We will have a more complete summary to follow with more detailed info and stats, stay tuned!

No Bullshit Here! Google Comes to Edmonton

Google Event

June 23 was our first Google Event in Edmonton and it was a huge success! This event was special not only because it was the first event of its kind in Edmonton, but also because it was the official launch of our non-automotive division – The UnAgency. Check out our full blog post, as well as our band new UnAgency website here!