Scenario: it’s the home-stretch of 2018. The fourth fiscal quarter hits and you see consumer traffic dry up like a raisin. Well, maybe things aren’t so dire. But we all know that, as a business, you’ve got to acknowledge and adapt to the seasonal change in consumer focus. No, it’s not like people have completely stopped buying vehicles in the last three months of the year—your amped up Black Friday and fear-mongering “Get Ready for Winter” ads have seen to at least a few vehicles leaving the lot since November but, admittedly, it’s nothing like the crazy consumer action you might have seen in July. “Time to tighten up the purse-strings”, you say, “if sales are down, it must be because our advertising isn’t effective, and we’ve got to seriously scale back for the lean months.” Next thing you know, you’ve slashed your total advertising spend in half, thinking you’ve done yourself a fiscal favour for the time-being. Continue reading “The Q-4 Scaries”→
It was almost a day like any other, only that myself and another member of the Strathcom team flew to Toronto to take in Facebook Marketing Pro Expo–an event designed to showcase Facebook’s offerings to select advertising agency partners. Only the best agencies from all over Canada took in the half day event in the beautiful West Toronto event centre, The Glass Factory. In a move to improve the agency relationship, which will in turn improve the client relationship, Facebook introduced Facebook Pro: their new Marketing Partner program.
How It Went Down
The event itself was a great opportunity for Strathcom to network with companies Facebook has partnered with to improve advertising on the Facebook platform. One such provider is Shakr, a tool that lets you build out multiple ads with different content seamlessly, utilizing a user friendly, what you see is what you get-style interface. Along with these networking opportunities, the event offered the chance to connect with Facebook creative consultants to discuss ad creation best practices, and to converse with Facebook engineers to discuss the platform (and any issues that our agency has encountered). While lots of companies claim they’re always trying to improve user experience, we were able to actively influence the platform–which should net you real results! There were several lectures that our team attended, broken down by agency business practices: creativity, technology, and customer relationship management).
Some of the key takeaways from the creativity lecture were:
Facebook’s creative shop works with 7 million advertisers to support agencies. Facebook itself works with 5,000 advertising agencies.
On the advertising platform 4 million accounts use Instagram stories every day, and 3 million users are using Facebook and Facebook Messenger stories daily. If you aren’t already utilizing this tool, get on it.
Good creative makes people do three things: think, feel, and do.
From the technology lecture there was one standout highlight–the impact that attribution modelling can have on a business’ advertising strategies. Facebook Analytics will now show you more in-depth, key insights on your customers. You will be able to look at customer’s journey, and opportunities to reduce drop offs.
Marketing science helps businesses grow by transforming marketing practices, grounded in data science. One of the key takeaways from this lecture was the measurement journey that a department –grounded in a scientific approach to marketing– would use to measure success. This journey to better marketing requires you to have the right mindset, to test assumptions, and to create a long-term strategy that leaves room for growth. Facebook’s suggested format for this is:
Track the correct metrics. If they aren’t furthering your business’ goals, you may not need to focus on them.
Understand the results that Facebook is currently driving.
Optimize Facebook; have it work harder for you.
Determine how Facebook fits into your media mix. Spend the appropriate time to see the appropriate ROI. How does something like cross-device behaviour impact your marketing goals (which will impact your future marketing decisions).
Inform your media spend with better data! This goes back to tracking the proper metrics, and making sure they align with your goals. How much of your budget is allocated to specific channels?
These are all decisions that will help to build a successful Facebook marketing plan.
Unfortunately, like the holiday season, the conference was short and sweet. By lunch we had been filled with knowledge and Facebook branded products, and we headed toward the exit. It may have only been a half day conference, but we’ll see the impact of what we learned playing out for a long time. Fortunately, there was a little time before our flight back to our snowy home of Edmonton, so the two of us took in the West Toronto streets and dined on delicious hot ramen. The perfect way to end a chilly 23 hours in Canada’s little NY.
When most dealerships are faced with the question, “Does your business have a digital strategy?”–the usual answer is (hopefully), “Yes, of course!” And this would be great, but are you truly utilizing this strategy? Or, even worse, are you not using a strategy at all? We’re not saying that not having a digital strategy is borderline criminal (though it is)–we’re just here to help.
When I was studying graphic design, I remember my instructors repeatedly mentioning –harping really– about “design consistency”. Since then, this principle has stuck in my mind and, as a designer, I understand how inconsistent design can harm your brand. Continue reading “The Importance of Design Consistency”→
As an automotive dealer you’ve got a lot to worry about. No doubt, when it comes to your business’ online advertising you’ve got a keen interest in sharing the most effective message that’ll have the most impact in service of your business goals—to sell cars. At your dealership, you’ve got a certain idea of what your business is. It has a certain voice, a certain persona that you want online users to get acquainted with; it resonates with your audience and eventually prods them to trust you with their business. But what if you’re not satisfied with the message or advertisements pushed on you monthly by your OEM? Maybe you think their incentive message is too weak? Perhaps too generic? If you run the incentive advertising of your manufacturer, are you simply settling for creative that doesn’t do your business justice? It’s a fair concern, and one that deserves serious consideration. This post delves into the question of “why” run OEM incentive advertising, and questions whether individuality in your advertising, at this level, might not be the hill to die on.Continue reading “To OEM or Not to OEM? That’s the Advertising Question”→
For any business, credibility is key in maintaining a high level of customer service and, in turn, a high level of customer loyalty. This is especially important for the automotive sales industry, the long-time favourite butt of many a joke aimed at the quintessential “used car salesman” and his well-greased “what do I have to do to put you in this car today, sir-or-madam” approach to business. How then is a dealership best advised when it comes to building a reputation that the consumer will trust? Focusing on the area of online presence, this post will outline a few of the steps you should take (or, frankly should have already taken) to help ensure that the legend of the sleazy car lot doesn’t haunt your reputation on the net!Continue reading “Trust Us: Using your Site to Build Credibility”→
Welcome back to another installment of “You Ask, We Answer!” (*intense music plays*). Because when you’ve got questions, we won’t rest until we find the answers. Well, there was that one time when one of the temps fell asleep while searching for the answer, but we doused them with a bottle of cold water–because that’s the type of intensity we bring to our webinars!
Today, we tapped our Lead Content Strategist, Google Local Guide, and moral beacon Melina Beeston to talk about Google My Business. Not only have we embedded the video below, but we’ve transcribed the whole damn thing (while I may subscribe to the infinite monkey theorem, it isn’t the best practise as a business). Continue reading “You Ask, We Answer: Google My Business”→
One day, probably in the near future, we’ll connect USB cords into a slot on the back of our neck and intake copious amounts of information in a matter of moments. The only thing at risk is filling our minds with too much knowledge and our heads exploding, like one of Gallagher’s watermelons (sorry for the dark mental image, it’s Monday morning and I’ve got a long week ahead of me). In the meantime, we’re forced to find as many different methods of learning as possible within a short time frame. Sort of like when I went to the “How to Make an Impact with Video” seminar put on by Margaux McWatt of local video production company Modern Muse Media. Attempting to condense their 30 hour video training program into 1 hour might’ve proved impossible, but hey, the Mission Impossible movies make Tom Cruise look like an ordinary sized person so my motto is never say never. And while we certainly had to skip a good portion of the actual —you know— filming and editing, I still walked away learning about the importance of video content on social media.Continue reading “Reel Leads: How Video Can Help You Market Your Dealership”→
Welcome to the first of many thrilling installments of “You Ask, We Answer!” (working on the production value, in the meantime just imagine a gong sound in the background), where you send in your questions, and we answer them in our webinars.
We figured we’d start out strong with our Director of Product Development, CrossFit strongwoman, and all-around good gal, Carrie Oliva, talking about On-Page and Technical SEO. We’ve embedded the video footage of the webinar below, and then painstakingly transcribed (read: edited what the app transcribed for us) the answers to the questions below that. Continue reading “You Ask, We Answer: On-Page & Technical SEO”→
Here’s the thing—sometimes something perfectly good gets replaced. Even if the original didn’t need improving (*cough* New Coke *cough*). But sometimes, even if the older version was fine, a change can be absolutely reinvigorating. Life-changing even. Now, am I suggesting that the changes we’ve made at Strathcom are going to change your life? Damn straight. Continue reading “Oh, What a Tangled Webinar We Weave!”→
You did all the right things, talked to all the right people, and finally decided to utilize digital marketing–now what? Let’s not talk about budget, but rather the important question of what route to take. Do you use Google Ads or Facebook marketing? Which platform is going to give you the best bang for your buck? Which platform is ideal for your marketing needs? Is Strathcom trying to just sell me their service with this blog? The answer to the last question is a resounding “No!”, but the other questions aren’t quite as simple. Continue reading “Facebook vs Google: The Battle for Digital Marketing Supremacy”→
In the 70s people hung out at roller disco rinks wearing bellbottom jeans and big perms. In the 80s they hung out at the arcade, and acid-washed denim was all the rage. Fast forward to 2018 and all the cool kids are wearing morose, Zuckerberg-esque heather grey hoodies, sitting in independent coffee shops, spending their time on Google Analytics.
Okay, maybe not quite. But if you’ve been hanging around in Google Analytics lately, you’ve probably seen a few new things pop up. And while we’d never toot our own horn about how cool we are (*sound of crickets*), we do know a thing or two about Google Analytics. Cool or not, you can never say we’re not helpful, so here’s a quick summary of those new features and how they can make your life easier. Continue reading “Analyze This!: New Features in Google Analytics”→
Like my diet, the Google Display Network can be a bit hit or miss. For those that need a quick refresher, think of the Display Network as a passive form of advertising where, unlike traditional search advertising, Google gives advertisers the opportunity to place ads on a variety of sites or apps beyond the ‘Search Engine Results Page’ (SERP). Users in this network may not necessarily be in “shopping mode,” rather, they are busy reading about crypto currency, watching Beyoncé’s latest music video, and learning why its good to drink kombucha (two of three being major components to my aforementioned diet). To be successful in the GDN, your ads must not only attract the users’ attention, but entice them enough to click through to your site, leaving the original content they were engaged with. Accomplishing this is not easy – have you ever tried competing with Queen B? Continue reading “Enhance Your Display Campaigns with Custom Intent Audiences”→
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”→
How can you best maximize your chances for sales success and brand loyalty, vs. losing sales opportunities in both the short and long-term? For starters, this can be done by having a deeper understanding of the preferred car shopping experience that today’s customer is looking for, both online and offline, and then adjusting the dealership’s business practices accordingly. Today’s customer, who also happens to be the customer of tomorrow, are those who were born between 1977 and 2000 — commonly referred to as millennials. It is estimated that by 2020, 40% of new car buyers will be millennials; furthermore, according to a study byBrandwatch, 88% of current millennials use the internet to research a new car purchase.
Simply put, this means that a dealership’s sales and marketing team must ensure that their shopping experience, both online and off, is up-to-date.
So how can your dealership ensure that its online and offline experience is up-to-date for today’s potential customer, while staying true to your brand? It starts with understanding today’s customer, particularly the millennial, and doing what’s necessary to integrate the online and offline brand experience for them, in one seamless flow. And no, that doesn’t necessarily mean memes or viral videos (which, if used incorrectly, are the online equivalent of the giant inflatable green dancing tube man).
Imagine a world of data that you can interpret, analyze, and use to build future marketing campaigns. Now, what if you could do all that right now . . . from the comfort of your laptop while you watch your favorite country win their next footy match.Continue reading “The World Cup of UTM!”→
In the wonderful world of web, we as consumers are exposed to subliminal messages and overbearing marketing lists that have become second nature. And while automotive dealers have a plethora of knowledge, having seen the industry progress firsthand, some of the marketing ploys they ask for get lost in translation due to the stimulus-overload we are already in the midst of. Simply put, there are too many features available on websites, and everytime we add a new feature something gets lost in the shuffle. We, as designers, are often tasked with creating carousel slides to catch the eye while there are better tools available. If you read my last blog, about trusting your designer, then you’ll remember that sharing your vision and goals is an important part of the process — but letting us help guide you with our professional knowledge is just as important. After all the main goal is to improve the communication from Dealership to Marketing Manager to Designer, culminating in getting the message through to the customer loud and clear. And as a former dealership employee, marketing manager, designer, and customer, I can tell you with all honesty that these lanes of communication could be improved.Continue reading “A Modest Request…”→