I recently attended the UnWorkshop event put on by MDA for Edmonton and Calgary automotive dealers. The moderators for the event, Jay Radke and Michael Cirillo, keep these events more hands on and collaborative—and less about being presented to.
This event was focused on local SEO with Darren Shaw, founder of the Edmonton agency WhiteSpark, and he performed a live audit in each city for one of the dealerships attending. Darren focused on 5 key areas during his audit, Google My Business, Reviews, Citations, Website, and Links. Below are a few key takeaways from the conference.Continue reading “MDA UnWorkshop Recap: All About Local SEO”→
Well, another year and another Edmonton Motorshow has passed us by, leaving a small hole in this author’s heart. For car-lovers, the excitement of actually seeing and touching the latest automotive machinery just can’t be replicated by the manufacturer’s “Build & Price” pages or endlessly trolling Kijiji for vehicles you in all likelihood will never own.
This year’s motor show was again a fantastic smorgasbord of economical hatchbacks, looming heavy-duty pickups, and ratified high-performance metal. Picking just five vehicles to represent the very best of the motor show was no easy feat, especially with the car enthusiast inside of me demanding I pick only the most powerful and most expensive machinery available.
Nevertheless, I’ve managed to shorten the list to just five vehicles that stood out from the rest for all the right reasons. So enough babble, let’s get down to business.
On March 28 in Toronto, specialists from across Canada came together for the annual Facebook Summit conference. It was a half day event which consisted of amazing speakers and great food – a full day of learning. After visiting multiple auto-related conferences, training and events, this was a refreshing change for this author as the conference had more of a general outlook about online presence, especially Facebook. Here’s what we learned at the Facebook Summit Toronto 2018 conference.
Auto Remarketing Canada Conference is an annual event that brings together dealerships and vendors from across Canada to learn and network. It is a two-day event with sessions across various stages with multiple vendors offering their magical services. Strathcom Media had four people present at the event, with each of us trying to do a double duty of [wo]manning our awesome booth and attending sessions, and of course, one of our very own was speaking at the event as well. Here’s our Auto Remarketing Canada 2018 recap.
Everything: Content and Social is an event put together by Digital Summit, a U.S.-based event company that specializes in marketing events throughout various U.S. cities. Strathcom attended this conference for two reasons: the first being it was close to Toronto, only four hours of driving; and the second being we enjoy learning and want to learn as much as possible from industry leaders in marketing. This was an eight-hour conference that occurred on March 23, 2018, with industry leaders from companies such as DocuSign, Best Buy, National Geographic, City of Detroit and Verizon speaking at the event. The event was set up in a two-stage format with speakers talking about various online marketing topics. Let me start this Everything: Content & Social event recap with the first thing I learned and that stuck with me from the conference: be relatable. Continue reading “Everything: Content & Social Event Recap – Training Day In the Motor City”→
The Edmonton Motorshow has been Edmonton’s premiere automotive event for the last 42 years. With over 750 vehicles on display, there will be a lot to look at this year during The 2018 Edmonton Motorshow! In addition to all the great activities and events, there will be a few noteworthy vehicles you’ll want to check out. Let’s take a closer look at what this event has to offer. Continue reading “A Sneak Peek at the 2018 Edmonton Motorshow…”→
Bearing in mind that it is your OEM’s booth at the Motorshow, it is important to plan ahead in order to maximize your presence and differentiate yourself from the other dealers fighting over the same pool of visitors. We recommend using a multi-platform approach that targets users in several online spaces before the Motorshow even begins. We can use the Google Search Network to reach users searching for your dealership, your OEM, your models–or even for the Motorshow itself. We can use the Google Display Network in conjunction with Facebook and Instagram to drive awareness of your dealership’s presence at the Motorshow. For example, we can create ads that target audiences interested in your new and updated models featured at the Motorshow, and present them with your dealership’s messaging. Additionally, it’s possible to send visitors of your website a specific message about your presence at the Motorshow, where it is likely that someone interested in a new vehicle may already intend to visit. By leveraging online advertising early, we can get out ahead of your competition and advertise your dealership’s presence at shows.
Setting Yourself Apart with Promos
So, you already market your dealership as a place to find a great selection of vehicles and get a great deal, but so does everyone else! Likewise, other dealerships will be vying for the attention of potential customers at the Motorshow. Set yourself apart by advertising special event-related promotions for visitors who stop by and sign up with one of your Sales team members. For example, you can advertise limited time discounts like “the first 50 people to sign up for a test drive with our new model at the Motorshow get a voucher for $2,000 off their vehicle purchase,” or “enter to win a draw for a free detailing package/free tire swap and storage for a year… when you post a picture of yourself with our Sales Manager Dan at the Motorshow,” etc. The potential promotions are endless! Additionally, during the Motorshow, we can drive traffic directly to you at your OEM’s booth by using online advertising targeted at visitors who are already at or near the event!
Following Up After the Show
Put your Sales staff at the Motorshow to work using the event as an opportunity to collect customer contact information for future follow up. This information is invaluable for creating custom CRM lists to market specific offers to customers who visited you at the event. Your ads can link customers to a specific landing page containing a voucher for an additional incentive offer that can only be redeemed at your dealership. We can also use customer information to create custom target audiences of people who are similar to, and who share similar characteristics with, those who visited you at the Motorshow. It is likely that these people are further along in the buying process and will be more receptive to your special-incentive-based advertising. Additionally, it would be a good idea to write a blog post to engage with customers who were unable to chat with your Sales staff at the Motorshow; here too, we can target users who view this blog with messaging demonstrating your expertise and willingness to help. For example, “Missed us at the Edmonton Motorshow? You can still test drive our new model today!” Even after the Motorshow has wrapped up for the year, we can help you reach out to and retain customers from the event with your targeted message!
There are many ways to use online advertising to maximize your exposure when leveraging a special event like the Edmonton Motorshow. We recommend using a multi-platform advertising strategy targeted at potential customers before, during, and after the show–a strategy that uses event-specific advertising and incentives to differentiate your dealership from the competition. Strathcom Media has over 20 years of experience in the online automotive market and can work with you to develop and deploy an online advertising strategy that matches your specific goals. Make your dealership’s presence at this year’s Edmonton Motorshow a success with Strathcom Media’s digital advertising solutions. Get in touch with us today to learn more.
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 – firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com 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!
Auto Remarketing Canada Conference is a must attend event to ensure you are on the path of consistent learning and growing. Along with some key speakers, you will also get an opportunity to interact with other industry leaders, and network with vendors, whether it is by finding new means of getting your message across or re-hauling your entire marketing plan. In two compact days, ARC covers retail, remarketing and auto finance to further improve your performance in the industry. Learn new strategies to increase your leads and sales; connect with individuals from media, marketing, finance and other dealers; and discuss growth. Carefully selected speakers will talk about topics such as automotive financing, automotive retail technology, digital marketing and used vehicles. Continue reading “Heads Up! You May Have to Book Days Off for these Events”→
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
It’s not difficult to enjoy an evening of fine foods and entertainment, especially when it’s paired with a range of the best vehicles on offer. The Edmonton Motor Show’s 2017 Precious Metal Gala combined these things into a truly enjoyable evening.
The Precious Metal Gala featured the best vehicles available by various manufacturers all in one place. We were excited to explore the offerings. Here are some of the sights and highlights from the 2017 Gala: Continue reading “2017 Precious Metal Gala”→
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”→
For those of you who need more than a brief summary of think auto here is the big one, enjoy.
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”→
This week I had the privilege of visiting the newest and coolest Google office, located in Waterloo, to learn how dealers can capitalize on their fixed ops departments. Here are just some of great stats that Google shared in their presentation:
$19 billion is spent annually on automotive parts and service in Canada
80% of consumers who service their vehicle at your dealership are 2 times more likely to make a purchase from your dealership
Parts and Service queries peak in October and November
We also got to see some great stats from this year’s Think Auto Study:
55% of buyers use their smartphones to research vehicle models while on the lot of a dealership
56% of buyers purchased from a dealership with whom they had no previous relationship with
77% of buyers are looking for vehicle promotions
Online video has a positive influence of 53% on car buyers in the market
For this particular breakfast, we were able to go on exclusive tour of the office along with our Golden Ticket contest winners. We will have another blog post including photos and some video of the office, so stay tuned! And to stay in the loop about our upcoming contests and Google events, please subscribe to our newsletter. Hopefully you can join us next time!
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.
The 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.
Kevin 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:
Focus on Goals – if I called anyone in your store would they know their target?
Share Results Constantly
Accountability for Success – people play the game different when they know it matters
Ongoing Training and Coaching – do you train every week?
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!