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”

Think Auto 2017

Google Think Auto 2017
Toronto Centre for the Arts, September 7, 2017

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.

The focus of this year’s event was on buyers falling into three main buckets:

  1. First Time Buyer “The Newbie” – represents 20% of the Canadian car buying market
  2. Brand Loyalist “The Loyalist” – represents 37% of the Canadian car buying market
  3. Brand Switcher “The Switcher” (or the promiscuous as they like to call them) – represents 43% of the Canadian car buying market

Here are some highlights of this year’s study:

  • Video continues to be the hot topic going into next year, but the conversation has changed from OEMs being simply present, to being present in the right way and getting in front of the right audience.
  • The Newbies and the Switchers are the top two buyers heading to YouTube, but they are watching different content. The Newbies are focused on expert and peer reviews of vehicles while the Switchers are watching on the road and test drive videos.
  • On average, Canadian car buyers:
    • Will visit 2 dealerships (down from 3 last year)
    • Are in the market for 57 days
    • Will consider between 2 and 4 brands
  • 80% of car buyers said that digital will reduce the number of visits to a dealership, meaning they are using online resources to be more efficient
  • 54% of car buyers said that they will not contact the dealership before going there
    • This means that you have to WIN online to win the in-person visit!
  • Google will be hosting Think Dealer events across the country to present more dealership specific information

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

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 signThe conference started with our very own Melina Beeston who discussed how dealers can use their online reputation to make more money. 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. If your Google, Facebook, Yelp and DealerRater accounts are plagued with negative reviews, your customers are going to view them as recommendations to not work with you. If you missed Melina’s presentation or would like to learn more about the value of Reputation Marketing, we have created an eBook that can be downloaded here.The Sign outside Melina's session at AR Canada

We also attended a great panel session on Selling to New Immigrants to Canada that was hosted by Todd Bourgon from TADA, Justin Poy with the JP Agency and Amin Tajani with Weins Canada. They brought up some excellent points on how highlighting student lease programs can be especially beneficial for new immigrant students coming to Canada for a short period of time. This information isn’t usually a primary focus on dealer websites, and could be a great way to help differentiate yourself. They also touched on how having a number of sales people who can speak different languages isn’t the most important piece to making a program like this work, it’s about understanding the culture of your customers walking through the door. If your dealership is in an ethnically diverse community, it would be beneficial to have your sales team take some time to read the local newspapers for those communities and learn what is important to them when doing business.

Duncan and Alecia at the Strathcom booth at AR Canada

Then we attended another great panel about the subprime auto finance market in Canada which had representatives from Autonum, Equifax, Carfinco and Scotiabank. They discussed how negative equity is a growing issue and how when it’s coupled with longer terms, you are continuing to delay the customer from coming back to purchase again. Repeat customers is what you want! Educating the client as you go through the process is crucial as well. There is still a belief that if you’re sending an application to multiple lenders at one time, that it will hurt their credit score, when in fact it will only count as one credit pull if it falls within a certain time frame. The average customer’s credit application gets sent out 3.3 times before a lender is selected, so it’s important to educate your customer as you go.

Maria Soklis with Cox Automotive CanadaThen Maria Soklis, President of Cox Automotive Canada, held a General Session about disruptions like digital retailing, mobility and shifting customer preferences are changing the automotive industry. She said that unless dealers want to be the next Blockbuster, they need to embrace these changes and be as proactive as possible. She mentioned companies like Carvana and Tesla that allow customers to buy their vehicles without ever stepping foot in a dealership.

Although the concept of eCommerce in auto was common throughout the entire conference, it is not something that dealers should be rushing into; at least not until it is perfected.

Near the end of the second day, Josh Bloom, Brian Sencich and Nimalan Bala from Facebook hung out at our booth to answer any questions that dealers had about their advertising platform.

Facebook pop-up banner

1-on-1 sessions with Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the 1-on-1 sessions at our booth, it was time for Josh’s Keynote Session where he showed dealers why they need to advertising on Facebook, best practices for advertising on Facebook, and how to get started.

Josh Bloom with FacebookJosh began the session by asking dealers to imagine a platform they could advertise on that everyone uses, and that everyone uses every day. That is exactly what Facebook is. There are 18 million Canadians on Facebook everyday; to put that in perspective, 4.47 million Canadians tuned in to watch the last Super Bowl on CTV, CTV Two and TSN combined.

Mobile phones have become the new TV, radio, billboard, newspaper and direct mail: all on one device. And which app do the most people spend their time? Facebook.

For those that are already advertising on Facebook, Josh emphasized that ads should be designed for mobile devices as that is where most people are looking.

Here are the 5 ‘Go Do’s’ Josh listed for dealers:

  1. Lead generation is easier than ever on Facebook. Try Lead Ads for new, used, and finance campaigns
  2. Plan the work and work the plan. Plan to reach 50-70% of your target audience 2-3 times per week to drive conversions on your website and drive leads
  3. Add the Facebook Pixel to your site. It allows you to: measure conversions and see how your customers are moving between devices before they convert, optimize delivery and show your ads to people that are likely to convert, and build audiences by retargeting website visitors.
  4. Build creative for mobile
  5. Measure everything

He ended his session by listing several providers – including Strathcom Media – that can help dealers succeed with Facebook advertising. And right now, Strathcom Media is offering $500 in bonus Facebook spend – ask us about it today!

We enjoyed attending this year, and we’ll see you on April 9 and 10 next year!

 

Automotive Conferences You Should Check Out in 2017

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

NADA100/ATD Convention & Expo

New Orleans- January 26-29, 2017

Join NADA in celebrating its 100-year anniversary at Mardi Gras World! This convention and Expo offers dealers a rare opportunity to meet executives from major manufacturers. It features hundreds of exhibits as well as dozens of workshops to increase productivity and profitability, as well as solve key issues at your dealership. Keynote speakers this year include comedian Jim Gaffigan, 2016 NADA Chairman Jeff Carlson, President and CEO, Ford Motor Company Mark Fields, three-time Indianapolis 500 Winner Helio Castroneves and World-class snowboarder Amy Purdy. As if that wasn’t awesome enough, you can also enjoy top-notch entertainment such as Foreigner, and Cowboy Mouth!

For more information, follow the link below:

https://convention.nada.org/

 

CBT Automotive Conference & Expo

Atlanta- March 7-9, 2017

Considered the most comprehensive and information packed event in retail automotive, this event approaches all aspects of the industry such as Marketing, Social Media, Sales Strategy, Fixed-Ops, Leadership & Management, Technology and so much more. Have your mind blown by numerous first-class speakers such as New York Times Bestselling Author, Jon Acuff and Head of Retail Sales for Google, Peter Leto. Take back industry insights for your team with the information they require to help your dealership succeed in every department.

For more information, follow the link below:

http://cbtconferenceandexpo.com/learn/

 

SMX West

San Jose- March 21-23, 2017

Stay ahead of your competition with the SEO & SEM pros at this jam-packed conference full of actionable tactics, tips and techniques you can put to use immediately to drive traffic, convert visitors and grow your business exponentially. Whether you are a beginner or really know your stuff, you will leave with valuable and powerful information that will provide you with the tools you need to succeed.

For more information, follow the link below:

http://marketinglandevents.com/smx/west/

 

 TADA Auto Dealers Innovation Series

Ottawa- March 22, 2017

Toronto- March 23, 2017

This exciting conference will feature presentations from high profile industry leaders that are experts in new marketing strategies and technology. Fill your brain with empowering sales strategies, leadership, and a look into the future of the automotive industry that is ever-evolving.

There are some mind opening Keynote speakers such as Sean Moffitt, Marketing Director from WikiBrands and Ian Cruikshank, VP of Sales and Marketing from Speed Shift Media

For more information, follow the link below:

http://www.tada.ca/AutoDealers-Innovation-Series

 

Auto Remarketing Canada Conference

Toronto- April 3-4, 2017

Learn from the best at this annual event that brings together the remarketing and used-vehicle industry for 2 days of learning, sharing and networking to optimize your business. Form powerful connections and attend workshops with top dealers and executive decision makes. If you are in the used-vehicle industry or the remarketing industry, this event should definitely be on your calendar! Early bird registration is now open.

For more information, follow the link below:

https://arcanada.autoremarketing.com/

 

Women & Automotive Canadian Leadership Forum

Toronto- April 5, 2017

This one day forum full of speaker presentations and panel discussions is an innovative, game changer for advancing women into leadership roles in the Canadian automotive industry. As more women join the automotive industry, it is key to provide them networking and career advancement opportunities that strengthen them into leadership and decision-making roles. A great opportunity to both network and achieve goals together. We were honoured to speak at the first annual Women & Automotive conference last year, and we look forward to seeing you there this year! Early bird registration is now open.

For more information, follow the link below:

https://www.womenandautomotive.com/

 

DrivingSales Presidents Club

New York- April 9-10, 2017

Only 250 more seats available at this unique and exclusive event for owners and general managers. This specialized event focuses on critical operation discussions with real-life experts, and solutions are provided for the most challenging issues. Take home actionable strategies for your dealership and engage at a deeper level with dealer executives pioneering new practices for their stores and groups.

For more information, follow the link below:

http://drivingsalespresidentsclub.com/

 

DrivingSales Canadian Dealer Forum

Calgary – July 17-18, 2017

If you’re not into the traditional conference style and just want to learn best practices you can instantly take back to the dealership, mark these dates into your calendar.

“The Canadian Dealer Forum was designed to be a very practical conference – a true forum where dealership executive teams can create an actionable business plan. You will walk away with a list of tactics you can apply the next day to drive results inside your dealership.”

For more information, follow the link below:

http://canadiandealerforum.drivingsales.com/

 

Google Think Auto

Toronto – September 7, 2017

Google has recently announced the date for their 12th annual Think Auto event, and it is going to be held in the beautiful city of New York!

 

Best Practices For Automotive

Michigan- September 18-20, 2017

This conference will unite all levels of industry professionals to create an innovative event built around learning, networking and peer collaboration. This is more of a hands on, interactive experience that will open your mind and leave you with fresh ideas and best-in-class strategies to optimize your overall business performance. To stay up-to-date on conference updates:  #BP4auto

 

DealerTalk

Montreal – September 21, 2017

Calgary – October 17, 2017

Toronto – November 16, 217

Does your digital marketing strategy need a boost? If you want to learn about the latest creative and marketing trends, DealerTalk is the conference to go to. This year’s theme is Dealership of the Future, and is sure to be full of great keynotes (including Gary Vaynerchuk in Toronto) and networking. To make sure as many Canadians as possible can attend, they host the conference in Montreal, Calgary and Toronto.

For more information, follow the link below:

https://dealertalk.ca/

 

Western Canadian Dealer Summit

Banff – September 23-26, 2017

WCDS is a must-attend industry event with the Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan Associations joining together for what is sure to be an information-packed conference.

For more information, follow the link below:

westerndealersummit.com

 

DrivingSales Executive Summit

Las Vegas – October 22-24, 2017

If you are looking for a progressive conference to give you help you with your strategic planning, DrivingSales Executive Summit is where you want to go. This event brings all of the most progressive dealers and vendors together to have industry-changing conversation. Last year, our very own Business Development Manager, Alecia Wilson, spoke at DSES about best practices for hiring and retaining staff.

For more information, follow the link below:

http://www.drivingsales.com/dses/ 

 

Google ThinkDealer

Montreal – October 12 

Toronto – October 17

Halifax – October 19

Vancouver – November 7

Calgary – November 9

Google is hitting the road to provide knowledge and training for dealers across Canada this fall!

We will continue to update this list as more dates and locations are confirmed, and please let us know if there are any other events we might have missed! To keep up to date on events we will be attending and speaking at, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter!

 

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!