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Friends and Family Online Most Trusted Source for Vehicle Selection and Car Buying Guidance

January 23, 2013 2 comments

Friends and Family Online Most Trusted Source for Vehicle Selection and Car Buying Guidance

Family and Friends Still Most Trusted for Vehicle Shopping and Car Buying Decisions

American Automotive Consumers still look first to their friends and family for advice regarding their major purchase decisions, according to a WSL/Strategic Retail survey.

69% of the Wall Street Journal’s respondents said that family and friends help them choose what to buy, up 13% from 61% last year.

Next on the list, manufacturer (OEM) and retailer (Dealership) websites, each used by 55% of the survey’s respondents.

The study notes that retailer websites (including car dealers), are a growing influence on consumers, having played second fiddle to manufacturer websites in prior surveys.

Traditional media such as TV and magazines are an information source for 42%, ahead of sales associates and e-mail messages from manufacturers and retailers, each at 32%.

It’s interesting to note that this study shows traditional offline media ranking behind digital and online resources as a trusted information source. This may be partly due to the increasing influence of online reviews and dealership ratings by automotive consumers… Considering the study’s bias from being funded by a TV advertising based consortium, revealing that digital media is more trusted than others is most notable. While that may be the case, the authors of this study point out that several other studies point to TV advertising in particular as most effective in influencing consumer purchase decisions.

Despite recent finding by other scientifically validated surveys that almost half of Americans engage with brands on social networks, just 26% of respondents to the WSL/Strategic Retail survey said they use social networks to find information about an item they’re considering purchasing.

If Millennials (16-34) can be used as a leading indicator for automotive marketing professionals, social networks may prove a more influential automotive consumer research and information source in the future: Millennials were 54% more likely than the average respondent to say they turn to social media for product information.

About the Data: The data is based on a survey of 1500 adults and 200 teens aged 16-65+.

Source: www.marketingcharts.com/family-and-friends-still-most-trusted-for-s…

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

Digital Dealer Compliance – Automotive Marketing Professionals

January 14, 2013 Leave a comment

Digital Dealer Compliance – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

 

Digital Dealer Compliance

Dealership compliance concerns have traditionally focused primarily on the sales and finance processes. However, the unprecedented growth of digital marketing, social media, and online reputation management has invited new regulations and created additional legal challenges for dealers to contend with. Following are six areas that dealers should pay close attention to in 2013:

Advertising Online – Internet advertising may be handled by any number of people in the dealership, such as a used car manager, internet manager, marketing director or perhaps an outside vendor. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and state regulators have been taking a much more aggressive stance in examining and challenging internet advertising. It’s vital that anyone who is responsible for writing and posting advertisements online be well aware of state and federal advertising regulations.

A particular area of concern is social media. Despite the fact that social networking tends to be a low-keyed, casual type of communication, advertising regulations still apply. For instance, if inventory is posted or prices/payments are quoted on a social media site, it’s likely that the posts will be deemed to be advertisements and will be subject to disclosure and truth in advertising regulations. A good rule of thumb is to have any information that could possibly be construed as advertising reviewed by upper management or a qualified professional before it is posted online. Remember, advertising violations can be easy for regulators to identify and difficult to defend against.

Online Reviews – The FTC’s updated Endorsement and Advertising Guidelines require companies to ensure that their posts are completely accurate and not misleading, and planting or allowing fake reviews is a violation. Reviewers must never endorse a product or service that they have not used personally or create any other form of false endorsement.

Dealers may also face liability if employees or vendors use social media to comment on the company’s services or products without disclosing the employment or business relationship. The FTC has indicated that companies are fully responsible and liable for all inappropriate actions of their employees and their vendors.

Regulations also require that any reviewer provided with any form of compensation for posting a review must fully disclose the source and nature of any compensation received. So, if a dealer gives away free oil changes or gas cards for reviews and the reviewers fail to disclose their compensation, the dealership may face liability.

Social Media Policies – Social media applications have soared in popularity and it’s important that dealers control the information that’s coming out of their business. Policies and procedures should be put in place to spell out how employees are expected to conduct themselves within social media.  A social media policy can help take the guesswork out of what is appropriate for employees to post about a company to their social networks.

In addition, there are a number of legal considerations that every company should be aware of when establishing their social media policies and procedures, such as social media use in employment decisions; potential overtime claims; harassment, discrimination and defamation claims; and copyright and privacy issues. Beyond legal risks, employees can harm a company’s reputation by disseminating controversial or inappropriate comments.

Contests and Sweepstakes – Sweepstakes, contests, and giveaways have become increasingly popular among dealerships, especially on sites such as Facebook. These promotions can be a great way to get word out about your company, increase your social media presence and develop leads. However, entry into a poorly considered sweepstakes or contest can be a trap for the unwary dealer. These promotions are governed by a variety of federal and state laws as well as social networking sites’ terms of service. Failure to follow pertinent statutes and regulations regarding promotions can lead to government inquiries, civil enforcement actions, adverse publicity, and even criminal penalties.

Text Message Marketing – A recent high-profile lawsuit involving a large dealer group that allegedly failed to honor text message opt-out requests ended in a $2.5 million settlement. Text messaging is subject to a number of federal and state restrictions and the rules are extremely confusing. These regulations can be much more difficult to deal with than telemarketing or email regulations – primarily because many consumers are charged for text messages and the government feels that they should be afforded additional protection against unwanted solicitations. It’s wise to always consult knowledgeable legal counsel before launching a text marketing campaign.

Online Privacy – Dealerships typically collect a great deal of personal information from their website visitors through contact forms, online credit applications, etc. What many businesses fail to realize is how vitally important it is to properly handle any Personally Identifiable Information (PII) collected from consumers through their sites. The potential penalties are substantial. It’s important for dealers to examine their policies for handling consumer privacy online and to review the policies with their employees and vendors to ascertain their understanding. The FTC has penalized a number of companies for failing to follow their own published privacy statements.

 

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

 

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A Promise Made Should Always Be Kept – Automotive Professional Community

November 30, 2012 Leave a comment

A Promise Made Should Always Be Kept

A Promise Made Should Always Be Kept

A Promise Made Should Always Be Kept
My office here at home faces the street and across the road I see two men building a home that is every bit 5000 square feet. Everyday no matter what the weather may be, the men brave the cold and the rain to accomplish the task of building the home. Yesterday I walked over to speak to the men to ask them why they braved the elements day in and day out to finish the home. They both just laughed and said that they had made a promise to the owners that they would be in the home by Christmas and once they give their word and make a promise there was nothing not the cold, not the rain, nor the snow that could keep them from breaking it.

I thought to myself, “What a powerful message these men have to teach us all.” The power of a promise kept is not only thought provoking but simply powerful in itself. What an unbelievably simple yet powerful message that these two men can teach us all when it comes down to running our business. No matter what business we run, a small mom and pop store or a multi-million dollar dealer group, couldn’t we all learn or build upon the powerful message of a promise kept?

If you own a dealership or manage a dealership have you ever sat back and simply observed to see if the promises that you are making to your customers are being kept? If you are not keeping your promises, maybe its time to figure out why, because promises matter to your customers. If your dealership or business does not deliver on the promise that you made, your business will not matter to them anymore. This reigns true no matter what your business may be and more importantly, with our social media crazed life that we now lead, lashing out online about the broken promises that your business made will have instant ramifications to the credibility of your dealership or business.

There is no time like the present to take the necessary steps to make sure that your business is keeping their promises, because if you do not the consequences can be so severe that no reputation management company can help with. So if there is one lesson I have learned this week its how powerful your promise can be to your customer and how keeping your promises can help with every facet of your business.

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

Google: Friend or Foe to Auto Dealers – Automotive Marketing Professionals

September 27, 2012 Leave a comment

Google: Friend or Foe to Auto Dealers

I owe Mark Mark R Dubis a big thank you for redirecting my attention to this post, and more importantly, the PDF file of the eBook that Chuck Barker wrote as a result of his research.  Since the early days of dealers directing customers to post reviews of their sales and service experience on Google, I have been skeptical of the practice, taking a lot of criticism for being contrary to where every other consultant seemed to be taking dealers.  My reasons were quite simple, Google is consistent at one thing… Constantly changing the rules, algorithms, features and functions of their apps.  Ever since I got burned by Google’s killing their Google Audio program in May 2009, I have held a healthy skepticism for any process that places the dealer overly dependent upon a Google App that may easily be terminated at any time.  It is easy to tell which Google Apps should be overly relied upon: Any Google App That Does NOT DRIVE REVENUE! So, for example, Gmail is safe, it generates enormous amounts of revenue from advertising and the many fee based users, such as myself.  Google Adwords is a sacred cow, of course… But, those business reviews were NOT making Google any money and that is why I have warned dealers NOT TO DRIVE REVIEWS INTO GOOGLE unless their customers choose Google from amongst many choices… Anyways, download the newly attached PDF from Chuck Barker, read it and you will gain a more balanced perspective on Google’s role as a dealership marketing resource.

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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