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Infographic: Top 100 Automotive Blogs Ranked by Quality of Posts

February 17, 2013 Leave a comment

The following list showcases an independently produced and ranked directory of the Top 100 Automotive Blogs selected for recommendation to visit, subscribe, join and follow them in 2013…

When the author (Ron Mays) who assembled and created the ranking for this list of the Top 100 Automotive Blogs and Networks for 2013 first contacted Ralph Paglia, we did not know what to expect. Ralph provided Ron Mays with the information he requested. When the list was announced and the below Infographic published, all of us associated with the Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community were pleasantly surprised to see that the ADM Professional Community came in at number 10 out of 100 sites that were selected. The infographic Ron Mays and the CouponAudit team created to display this ranking of auto industry and car business networking UGC sites is available below.

Top 100 Fashion blogs to follow

An infographic by the team at CouponAudit

In above infographic, you can view the Top 100 Auto Blogs to follow in 2013. The team at CouponAudit ranked the sites shown according to quality of posts.

English: Infographic on how Social Media are b...

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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Dangers of Marketing Metrics Dependency – Automotive Marketing Professionals

December 10, 2012 3 comments

Dangers of Marketing Metrics Dependency

Dealer Beware

As Pamela Vaughan so aptly describes, there are many reasons why all car dealers, General Managers and automotive marketing professionals should be aware of the pitfalls around being overly dependent on making decisions based on report data and performance metrics numbers… 

The Marketing Metrics Continuum provides a fra...
The Marketing Metrics Continuum provides a framework for how to categorize metrics from the tactical to strategic. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Among many reasons I wanted to feature Pamela Vaughan’s article on the ADM Professional Community is my own direct experience working on teams that provide marketing services and advertising products to auto dealers. While working on such teams for many years (since 1997), I was privileged to collaborate with some of the brightest minds in automotive marketing.  A standard operating procedure for such supplier and service provider based teams is to focus on researching a never ending supply of Key Performance Indicator (KPI) data and Reporting Analytics… Many hours and a high level of concentration are routinely invested in extracting the data points that make the products these teams provide to car dealers appear more effective than they may actually be for most dealerships.  

Data Bias Logic and Justification

The logic behind these initiatives is similar to the old days of the Cold War with “Mutual Assured Destruction” (MAD)… Since each supplier’s perception is that their competition is doing it, they feel a tremendous amount of pressure to extract the compelling data that will empower their sales team in gaining a competitive advantage while seeking each dealer’s attention.  

Although the data is usually factually true, I have seen far too many dealers exhibit a tendency to become overly dependent on supplier provided reports and metrics.  This is then exacerbated by the far too prevalent tendency to focus on examples and “Case Studies” taken from other dealers which have been selected for the purpose of making a sales presentation or proposal.  

The Most Relevant and Useful Marketing Data Sources

Like most automotive professional marketers, I am a firm believer in the appropriate use of Key Performance Indicator (KPI) tracking and reporting. However, it serves every dealer well to realize that the most important metrics are the ones the dealer extracts themselves, or by trusted managers using the same measurement tools and parameters each month.

The most relevant Key Performance Metrics (KPI) are the ones generated by the dealership when compared to the previous month, the same month a year ago, the YTD compared to the same time period a year ago.  These are extracted and reviewed without filtering or withholding of data points that do not show what somebody wants to see reviewed by the dealer. As stated, my personal experience is that Marketing Reports and Performance Metrics that are reported to dealers by suppliers and service providers are completely factual, but they have been selected by design, and for the purpose of casting a favorable light on the products or services that supplier offers.

Market-mix models
Market-mix models (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Beware of Supplier Built Reporting Systems

There is a growing trend for many of the more all inclusive dealer website and marketing service suppliers to create proprietary and inclusive reporting systems.  These supplier provided reporting tools and apps remind me of asking a fox to report on the state of the hen house.  I have seen several of them make use of such tactics as (for example) blending organic traffic with paid traffic, then dividing by the dollars the dealer spends within THAT SUPPLIER’S Search Engine Advertising (SEA or SEM) system.  The assumption being that all traffic to the dealer’s website came from their own source of search advertising, which results in reports that appear to be a very low “Cost Per Visitor”… The dealer that views such reports will routinely confuse this metric with Google generated “Cost Per Click” data, incorrectly concluding that the supplier’s system is performing far better than it actually is.

 

Such systems also take advantage of OEM sponsored or third party provided Search Engine Advertising (SEA) programs to enhance what their internal and proprietary reports show the dealer. These types of supplier built data and KPI reports are being generated from “Bias Engineered In” reporting systems.  This creates a compelling argument in favor of using independent and more reliable KPI reporting and tracking applications, such as Google Analytics.  Reporting application such as Google Analytics, WebTrends or Adobe’s SiteCatalyst are a far better source of data for making marketing decisions.  They are unbiased and more reliable for dealers to use.  

 

Almost all supplier engineered, designed and built-in reporting system will BY DESIGN contain a bias towards making value added products and services sold by that same supplier look better.

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.

Richard Bustillo – Rick Case Honda Collision Center – Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community

April 27, 2012 Leave a comment

Richard Bustillo – Rick Case Honda Collision Center

These “Automotive Management Minute” videos from Richard Bustillo should be mandatory for every dealer in America to watch… I love his style and each video in the series has been tremendously insightful in regards to managing car dealerships.  Use the link provided to watch this Automotive Management Minute video from Richard Bustillo, General Manager of Rick Case Honda in Florida.

via Automotive Digital Marketing Professional Community.

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