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!

Auto Remarketing Canada Conference 2016

26243614245_86be07bd9b_bThe 9th annual AR Canada Conference took place on Monday and Tuesday in Toronto, and our President, Duncan Cochrane had the honour of speaking for the second year in a row. The AR Canada conference is presented by ADESA, CARPROOF and Cox Automotive Canada, and is designed to bring members of the used-car industry together to discuss current opportunities and challenges faced by industry members.

This year, there were over 600 used-car industry professionals and 18 different workshops. There were many ideas and insights shared from all aspects of the industry, and it was a great learning opportunity for everyone that attended. If you weren’t able to attend this year, we’ve got you covered. Here are some of the most memorable moments and key takeaways that we observed!

avatar.jpg.320x320pxShawn Vording from Carproof spoke about a national survey that they completed which found that 40% of customers trade in a vehicle, and 61% of people that traded in a vehicle thought that their trade in value was too low. Are you educating your customers on how the value of their vehicle is determined? Shawn was also able to backup these statistics by doing a live poll with the audience.

25989074080_44155ec0b2_bAnother memorable presentation was from Erin Elofson from Facebook. Facebook is so much more than likes and shares; did you know that there are large, attention-grabbing, lead-generating ad formats available on Facebook? Erin also shared some interesting stats including:

  •  1 out of every 4 minutes spent on mobile in Canada is spent on Facebook and Instagram
  • over 21 million Canadians have Facebook and 16 million of those users are on Facebook every day.

So not only does Facebook give you the ability to create large, creative ads, but also gives you a reach of over 16 million people. This is a huge opportunity that dealers can and should utilize.

25640942533_b438c1f315_bDuncan spoke about Iteration and Personalization. He discussed why it’s important and how dealerships can incorporate it into their websites. Dealerships are now selling to a generation of customers that expects their buying experience to be personalized to them, and Strathcom Media has the tools to help sell to this new customer base.

We had a great time at AR Canada again this year, and we look forward to seeing everyone again at AR Canada 2017!

Strathcom is Presenting at Auto Remarketing Canada and Women & Automotive!

ARC2016_SaveTheDate_180x150-e1449692391903

Have you noticed how many companies have been talking about algorithms and personalization lately? Twitter recently announced that they are implementing an algorithm that – similar to Facebook – will personalize the content that users see. A few weeks later, Instagram made a similar announcement.

You may be wondering what personalization is and why so many  large companies are doing it. If you are going to be in the Toronto area next week, you’re in luck! Our president, Duncan Cochrane, will be presenting at the Auto Remarketing Conference in Toronto for the second year in a row.  He will be talking about Iteration and Personalization and what Strathcom is doing to provide personalization tools to dealers. With over 16 years of combined experience in sales, advertising and marketing, Duncan will show dealers how they can incorporate personalization into their website.

women-automotive_sponsorNot only is Strathcom attending the AR Conference for the second year in a row, but we will also be presenting at the first annual Women & Automotive conference in Toronto on April 6th. Given the current condition of the Canadian economy, our Director of Client Services, Trish Rowsell, will be discussing how dealerships can not only survive in lean economic times, but thrive in them. Trish has over 14 years of leadership experience in sales, promotions and marketing, so she has experience working in economic downturns and will teach dealers how they can make the most of their marketing dollars.

Strathcom Media is honored to have the opportunity to give these presentations, and we hope to see you there!

Western Canadian Dealer Summit Recap- Banff Sept 13–15 2015

western canadian dealer summit

Another great year in the books for the Western Canadian Dealer Summit that brings three provinces together to educate and entertain car dealers.  So what did we learn? Here is the highlight reel:

  • Claire Thomson from Google Canada gave us an overview of the newly released Think Auto Data. Overall auto shoppers are taking 9 days less to move from the thinking to buying stage and they are still not happy with the timeliness and quality of responses from dealers.  Claire reminded us that people are busy and that as a dealer you need to get it right online with the first interaction.  Mobile experience is still important and dealers need to focus efforts on mobile bid modifiers and location and call extensions.
  • Dealer Principal Tom White Jr. gave a top notch presentation on people, process and culture. At his dealership in Wichita they have flipped the org chart upside down and believe in what Tom has dubbed “servant leadership.”  Tom spends 80% of his time getting to know his people at their activity-based dealership.  (A Subaru dealership that happens to be 4th in the country while being located in a market with less than 500,000 people.)
  • Charlie Vogelheim from Motor Trend Audio gave by far the most animated and perhaps most honest presentation on the internet, 3rd parties and vendors. Apple Car Play and Android Auto are coming and all the big manufacturers have offices in Silicon Valley now.  Disruptive technology is on its way to the auto industry, get ready!
  • Jeff Cryder formerly of Lebanon Ford talked about online reputation management. The best question that he posed in my mind was Are your reviews a reflection of your excellent review process or of your quality service? Do not expect reviews for average service, nobody raves about average!
  • Ed Woiteshek from CarProof Canada talked about the think tank initiative that they have launched called Transparency Advantage. Car shopping has a long way to come and it is time to innovate or get disrupted.  The think tank is working on several initiatives with a lot of promise, go to TransparencyAdvantage.org to learn more.
  • Search Optics did an interesting survey of dealers and how they feel their digital strategies perform versus what they are spending. The insights presented were very enlightening for the dealers and provided some benchmarks for dealers to better understand how their own spend compares.
  • Yours truly was on a panel about data ownership and why it matters to dealers. Don Hansen, Emily Baum and Allan Chell presented very important arguments from different perspectives to create awareness about this topic for dealers.
  • Wrapping up the conference was Alan Bird from SCI Marketview who shared his “Driving Sales 2015 Most Valuable Insight” winning presentation. Alan and his team were able to prove with data that not only is the speed of a response important but that the quality of the response is extremely important at increasing closing rates.  (Auto-responders and weak response won’t cut it.) You need to focus on subject lines and greetings, answering and posing questions, giving prices and availability and your dealership value proposition.

It was a great conference and Jay Radke definitely deserves a shout out for hosting it again.  Looking forward to next year in Vegas!

Don't Miss Dealer Talk 2013 – Get a free coupon code!

DealerTalk2013

Registration is on now for Dealer Talk, the one-day sales and marketing event that will change how your business thinks for 2013. This year’s event is a must-attend for both franchise and independent dealerships and the list of all-star speakers just keeps growing.

  • When: March 7, 2013 – 8:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M.
  • Where: The Four Seasons Hotel, Downtown Toronto
  • Strathcom Coupon Code: SMIVIP

DealerTalk largely focuses on marketing and communication strategies and technologies as well as ways that you can empower your sales force and become a leader in the market for 2013. It’s an opportunity to gain experience from industry experts and network with leaders in your field. With a wide scope, the conference is valuable to dealerships at all levels large and small.

Strathcom Media is proud to be a sponsor of this year’s big event, and you can get in with our coupon code for a special rate. Learn more about DealerTalk and register online at their website. Time’s running out to pre-register, so get a ticket while you still can!

Some of the Star Speakers that you’ll see at DealerTalk 2013 include:

Grant Cardone

grant cardone

Sales expert and New York Times best-selling author, Grant Cardone is internationally recognized as a sales and business expert and is best known for his work customizing programs to improve company profitability and brand identity. He has been named the Top Sales Expert and a Top 10 Business Coach to follow on Twitter.

John Edelman

John Edelman grew his business from just a handful of cars and 2 bays to over 130 bays and over 5,000 cars sold a year. He’ll share his story on how he succeeded by empowering staff, customers and his community and grew his business to where it is today and thriving in a small town of just 1500 people.

Paul Potratz

Paul Potratz

As an Industry Leader in Social Media Marketing for the Automotive Industry, Paul Potratz will share valuable insights on dealer strategies to recapture potentially lost customers with retargeting marketing. Car dealers across the company have successfully implemented Potratz’s unique e-commerce marketing techniques to increase sales and succeed online.

Scott Monty

Scott Monty

Scott Monty was listed by Forbes magazine as one of the top 10 influencers in social media. He’s been called an “unstoppable force of nature,” “best corporate social media lead on the planet” and “a visionary” by Ford Motor Company CEO Alan Mulally. As a social media advisor for all activities at Ford including blogger relations, marketing support and customer service, he has become the “thought leader” in social media.

 

See you there!