Has the Promise of Big Data Finally Been Fulfilled?

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by David Metter

Big data has been a big topic in automotive for a long time now. At this point, I think we’ve all realized there is a limitless digital warehouse of actionable data that exists. However, the struggle remains in deciphering how all the pieces fit together and translate into more sales. At the absolute core of the car business, when all the digital minutiae and politics are set aside, being able to prove sales is the only way to know if something is working. Owning the ability to prove sales in near real time is unquestionably big data’s most powerful accomplishment as far as the car business is concerned.

Perhaps the focus has simply been in the wrong place, or maybe it’s the fact that the focus has been in too many places. Dealers have been forced to adapt, master new technologies, implement new ways to operate and sell more cars all while being pushed in a million directions, attempting to distinguish between gratuitous opinions and actual science. It’s easy for dealers to lose sight of the end game when they’re stuck trying to figure out how the pieces fit together and how to create the story needed to turn data into action. This is why a lot of people view big data as nothing but a big problem.

I’m going to make this whole big data problem very small. The only data you need to start with, the only data that allows you to take immediate action is sales and service data, nothing else - and this is the reason:

We know that when customers physically walk into a showroom, closing rates jump to roughly 60-65%. Therefore, leads are important, but there’s no argument that showroom visits are more important than leads, and sales are more important than showroom visits. That’s the trajectory. If you’re using big data for anything other than proving sales or service revenue, you’re wasting your time. Sales have always been, and will always be the single most important dealership metric.

You also have to look at the history and trends of your past sales and the sales of your fiercest competitors. Too often, some of the most influential players in this industry forget that no two dealers are the same and no two markets are the same. Therefore, the data you need to own more of your market share may be much different from other stores, including each rooftop within a large or small dealer group.

In a lot of ways, big data is like a hammer. We can all go to Home Depot and buy the same hammer, but what we use it for, and what we ultimately build with that hammer is contingent upon its user. Choose to use your hammer better and smarter than the competition. Know that in order to do so, you also have to know how your rivals are using their hammer – in other words, the sales and defection trends of competing dealers in your market. It’s impossible to cut your losses if you don’t know they exist. You need to view both your opportunities and losses from a 360-degree, closed-loop vantage point. Big data exists not only to show you what you sold, but just as importantly, what you didn’t sell.

To put things into perspective, know that the power of big data transcends far beyond the car business. On a global scale, true improvement and change can only occur if a problem or a need for change is identified. Over the last decade, big data has proven its ability to influence the world’s greatest issues, including social change, government policy, and industry laws and regulations simply by its ability to demonstrate a need. When a need is identified, it then opens up the door for change.

In the TEDx Talk, “Stories are Just Data with a Soul, Chris Coates paints a very clear picture that data exposes needs by telling stories. “These stories can help people leaving prison to find work and stay out of prison and build new lives. They can save someone’s eyesight or their leg. Data can give children in the most deprived parts of the country chances in life they wouldn’t otherwise get.” What Coates is saying is that data alone has the capacity to change a life. If big data can change lives, it can absolutely change the effectiveness of your sales operations.

 

Winning Means Knowing What You’re Losing

3 Steps to Reduce Lost Sales

by David Metter 

1. Use Data That Tells a Complete Story

The only way to know exactly where you stand in your market is to have a clear view of what you’re losing. The problem the automotive industry has faced for years now, is that both CRM and DMS data is one-sided, one-dimensional, and only shows your effectiveness against your own sales. But what about the sales of competing dealers or brands in your market? Wouldn’t it be easier to grow your market share if you knew what percentage of it you actually owned compared to your top competitors?

The other problem exists within the reporting provided by some third party vendors, as these reports only show you one side of the story – their side. In other words, what you’re winning. If you think about it, what is the most vital piece of information to have in terms of improving your dealership’s sales operations? Is it how many clicks your VDPs got or is it how many actual vehicles you sold…or didn’t sell? You be the judge.

2. Accurately Quantify Your Lost Sales Opportunities

What if you could know which dealerships you’re losing sales to? How many units per day or per month are you losing to competitors? How many of your customers purchased from competing dealers or brands in your market?

It is critical for dealers to not only look at their own data and sales and defection trends, but also the sales trends of their biggest competitors. Know where you stand. If you have a clear view of what and how much you’re losing, then you have a clear view of what you need to win back. 

3. Identify the Source of Lost Sales & Adjust Accordingly

There are several factors that play into each and every lost sale. What dealers need is the ability to recognize if sales are lost due to internal or external factors. For example, is there an internal problem with your sales staff or with a specific salesperson? Are your lost opportunities tied to a certain model? Or, is it an external problem such as one of your lead providers consistently delivering leads that are no longer in consideration? Look into your website traffic and the traffic providers you work with. Are these sources driving low-funnel buyers to your showroom, and can they prove it?

If you don’t know the answer to that question, it’s because you’re not seeing the full picture. You can’t fix a problem if you don’t know the problem exists. Similarly, you can’t make smarter decisions with your marketing budget if you don’t know which sources are driving bad traffic or causing high defection rates. 

Now that we’ve identified all these potential problem areas, allow me to leave you with the light at the end of the tunnel. The good news is that the tools and data needed to complete the story of your market’s sales trends already exist. I know this because I’ve been on both sides of the equation. I’ve worked as the CMO of a large dealer group, and I’m currently on the vendor side of the car business. Therefore, I can say with confidence that attempting to grow your market share without a complete view of your market in today’s complex landscape is asinine. I can also say based on factual, proven stats that Urban Science has the fastest, most accurate sales match data in existence. So at the end of the day, you can go with your gut, or you can go with prescriptive science-based conviction. (I suggest the latter).

 

To learn more about identifying and eliminating lost sales, visit DriveAutoHook.com/TCA.

 

CASE STUDY: Boucher Hyundai TRIPLES Sales Efficiency With AutoHook Incentives

In order to overcome the challenges and heightened competition of a flat market, Boucher Hyundai needed a way to protect their territory by increasing their market share, improving their sales efficiency, and reducing the incidence of lost sales to other dealers in their PMA.

SEE HOW WE DID IT! CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD.

AutoHook Moves Aged Inventory...FAST!

SUBARU DEALER CASE STUDY

 

JIM BURKE AUTOMOTIVE GROUP


2016 SUBARU IMPREZA 2.0i LIMITED 4DR

 
 

THE DEALER RESPONSE

“We had a 2016 Impreza 2.0i Limited 4dr that was on the lot for 362 days. We needed to move the Impreza ASAP and we were able to accomplish this utilizing AutoHook’s Web2Show solution via our Dealer.com website. We did an increased, targeted offer for the Impreza’s stock number only of $100 for a test drive and sold the vehicle in just 4 days. We are thrilled with the quick turnaround of this specific vehicle targeting campaign and will definitely continue to use AutoHook’s solutions in the future.”

Gordon Gibbs, Internet Marketing Manager
Jim Burke Subaru
 
 
 

SAF-ELIGIBLE SUBSCRIPTION

Convert more website traffic and leads into high-intent showroom visitors through AutoHook's SAF-Eligible solutions. Dealers can sign up below with their Dealer.com User login.

 

DEALER.COM ENHANCED TARGETING CAPABILITIES

Custom, on-demand strategies to fit your dealership's unique needs.

  • Conquesting
  • Geo-Fencing
  • Specific Model Targeting

INTRODUCING: THE ALL-NEW SALES MATCH REPORT

AutoHook Releases Purchase Analysis Reports for Current Clients

As of May 2017, AutoHook released an all-new dealer sales match report, further solidifying their place in the industry as the true definition of automotive attribution. Current clients will now have a 360-degree view of their dealership’s sales, conquest, and defection trends based on data only hours old, as opposed to 90-day old registration data used in previous reporting.

REPORT ENHANCEMENTS

The Closest to Real-Time Data in Existence

This is no joke. Urban Science has the only Shared Sales Database that allows our clients to see sales effectiveness across multiple car brands in near-real time. Thus, we can report back on the numbers faster than the OEMs themselves, giving dealers:

  • First-time visibility into sales and defection to other dealerships and brands.
  • The knowledge required to take control of your dealership’s marketing and operations.
  • Names of defectors to like-brand dealers as well as competitive brands.

AutoHook’s current dealer and OEM clients will have a significantly more actionable snapshot of their market conditions. Urban Science’s new vehicle sales matching data is now being directly pulled into AutoHook’s private offer and redemption platform for the generation of weekly reports. 

Your Total Lost Sales by Competitor

This is a big one! Prior to this release, dealers could only see how many total sales they lost to competitors. Now, you have complete visibility into competing dealerships in your market (by name) that you lost sales to. This is what is known as “actionable data.” If you are a Hyundai Dealer and you’re losing the most sales to Hometown Hyundai down the street, you can then work with AutoHook to deploy a targeted conquest incentive campaign to reduce pump-in sales. OEM clients receive even more in-depth reporting on the number of new to brand buyers AutoHook delivered to their stores.  

Customize Your Report View

Your AutoHook Client Service Specialist (CSS) can also generate a custom Purchase Analysis Report to show sales match data from any date range of your choice.

Weekly Updates

Each dealer’s Purchase Analysis Report will include their previous three full months of sales data in addition to their metrics through the current month to date. Reports are updated and reran each week, guaranteeing the most current metrics as well as sales lost to other brands or dealers in the market. Your CSS will review these reports with you on a one-on-one basis and offer recommendations as to how AutoHook can help you grow your market share and reclaim lost sales from competing stores.

REAL PURCHASE ANALYSIS REPORT EXAMPLE

An example of the new Purchase Analysis Report from an actual dealer is shown below. (The dealership’s name and competing dealer names have been changed to protect their privacy).

Starting Summer 2017, AutoHook Purchase Analysis Reports will be automatically sent out weekly to all dealer clients. In the mean time, please reach out to your CSS or DealerSupport@UrbanScience to access your sales report based on your AutoHook test drive incentive redemptions. Or please contact us with any questions. Enjoy!

10 WAYS TO BOOST SOCIAL CONVERSION WITH AUTOHOOK INCENTIVES

A How to Guide for Dealers

Why Social? Marketing 101 says if you want to effectively reach your customers you have to be where they are, or “in the right place at the right time.” Social media represents the most widely utilized communication channel in existence. Salesforce reported 66% of all Internet usage occurs on social sites. Facebook takes the cake as the most widely used platform with 80% of Americans using it on a regular basis (talk about being where your customers are).

Why AutoHook Incentives? That’s an easy one. In order for a customer to redeem an AutoHook incentive, they have to physically walk into a dealership. We all know the chances of selling a vehicle drastically increase when you’re able to get shoppers off the Internet and into your store. But what AutoHook does that’s even more important than driving more showroom visits (yes there are more important things), is we use the most up-to-date sales match reporting to prove exactly which incentive offers resulted in a sale.  

Below are 10 ways to boost the revenue driving opportunities already available to you as an AutoHook customer. Simply reach out to your AutoHook Client Service Specialist (CSS) to implement any of the examples listed below. They will help you set up campaigns and make sure these efforts convert into sales or service appointments.

1. PLUG INCENTIVES INTO YOUR EXISTING SOCIAL CAMPAIGNS

Plugging in an incentive into any social campaign is very simple to do. All AutoHook needs to know is the URL of the landing page you want to drive traffic to - whether it’s a specific vehicle, model, service offer, or special. We then provide you with a trackable link you can drop into any Facebook or social campaign. We attach a unique identifier to every offer so we can prove sales attribution for your store. Furthermore, we source out every link separately so that you can differentiate which specific AutoHook campaign converted into a showroom visit or sale in your CRM.

  • Customize Time Frame & Offer Amount: All we need from you is the landing page you’d like to promote, the value of the incentive you’d like to offer and the time frame in which you’d like the campaign to run.
  • Ex: Boost your new vehicle specials with a $50 offer.

2. USE YOUR CRM DATA TO CREATE CUSTOM AUDIENCES

We know no two dealers and no two markets are the same. Therefore, we don’t believe in one-size-fits-all solutions. Despite what vendors try to tell you, no one knows your pain points better than you. The most valuable data you have at your fingertips is your own customer data. Use this to pull targeted lists that address your unique needs and then work with a Client Service Specialist (CSS) to implement the campaign on social.

Here are a few examples to get the wheels turning:

  • Pull a list of customers who are in equity and provide an incentive for them to get into a new vehicle for the same monthly cost.
  • Consolidate a list of all active leads across all your 3rd party sources and retarget those individuals all in one place.
  • Use equity-mining software such as AutoAlert to identify all customers in your market who have upcoming contracts ending on a lease or purchase.
  • Target customers who visited your service drive but did not purchase from you.

3. ELIMINATE WASTED TIME & MONEY

Wouldn’t it help to know which leads in your CRM have already purchased so you don’t waste time and money trying to sell them? A high percentage of car buyers are only in market for a relatively short period of time. Through near real time sales data from Urban Science, AutoHook can help you identify which customers are no longer in market for a vehicle. No one (not even the OEMs) has access to this data within DAYS after sales transactions occur (rather weeks or months). Work with your CSS to create a suppression list of all the customers currently in your CRM that have already purchased a vehicle elsewhere.   

4. INCREASE CUSTOMER RETENTION

This is a HUGE and often undervalued aspect of the car business. Retention is half the battle. We know 30% of people will defect to a different brand after their lease is up. Use an incentive to ensure they come back to your store to test drive the newest model or any other vehicle they might be interested in. Mine your CRM data to find consumers who are “in equity” or who have a lease coming to term in the next 3-6 months.

5. TARGET UNDERPERFORMING MODELS

Real Dealer Case Study: Germain Ford of Beavercreek

  • Using the data found within the MarketMaster tool and Urban Science’s shared sales database, AutoHook identified specific areas of opportunity for Germain Ford of Beavercreek to grow their market share by targeting the top three models they were losing to competitors (including the Ford Focus, Fusion, and Edge). We then implemented a $50 test-drive incentive on all Focus, Fusion and Edge VDPs and SRPs, while running social campaigns to drive traffic to those pages. The result was a 47% reduction in overall lost sales (pump-in). Click here to see the complete case study.

Can’t move a VIN off your lot? Try increasing the dollar amount of the test-drive incentive.

6. TARGET UNDERPERFORMING AREAS

Utilizing Market Master, AutoHook can help you identify the zip codes in which you’re losing the most sales opportunities. We can also show you the areas with the highest levels of pump-in sales and increase the incentive offer to come in for a test-drive in those underperforming areas. This will help you take back market share from the top brand competitors in your market.

Never heard of Market Master? A lot of dealers don’t know this powerful revenue driver exists. Market Master is an Urban Science tool that uses near real-time sales data to identify the biggest areas of opportunity within your market. It’s typically located within your dealer portal through your OEM (currently available for Ford, FCA, Honda, Hyundai, Toyota, and Nissan). 

7. CONQUEST TOP COMPETING BRANDS

Go after the models you know you’re losing to competitive brands in your market. Tailor the creative and messaging in your social ads to express why your brand is the better choice. For example, “Before you go back into a new Ford F150 here’s a $50 Visa Gift Card to come in and test drive the Dodge Ram at Hometown Chrysler.”

8. PLUG INTO VIDEO PRE-ROLL

Custom links can be embedded directly into your video ads on Facebook. Need to move more of a certain model, try offering $25-50 just for coming in to test-drive the featured vehicle. Chances are, if they’re watching the video, they’re already interested.

9. SECURE MORE FIXED OPS APPOINTMENTS

Running service specials? Why not promote them on social to get more exposure? Use incentives in your service and parts campaigns on social sites. Here are a few examples:

  • Schedule a service appointment and get a $25 Visa gift card.
  • Buy 4 tires get a $50 Visa Gift Card.
  • Get a $10 Amazon Gift Card just for getting your oil changed with us.

10. BOOST HOLIDAY SPECIALS

Memorial Day is coming up! Lift the performance of your limited time holiday offers with a $25 gift incentive (or an amount of your choice). Dealers spend countless amounts of money to get customers in the door. Why not spend another $25 to ensure the sale? This same idea can be deployed throughout the year to increase sales around the holidays and give wings to your current specials and holiday sales events. 

To conclude, the opportunities in which you can leverage AutoHook to boost the performance of your social campaigns are limitless. Plus you have the attribution reporting that goes along with it, so you know we’re delivering results in the form of sales and service revenue.

In January of 2017, AutoHook opened up our API so that other best in class technology vendors could tie in our incentive offers to their own existing solutions. SOCIALDEALER is the latest partner to join in our open API initiative. Current and future clients of SOCIALDEALER will see even higher form fill conversion rates on social due to their integration with AutoHook’s API. To learn more about the new capabilities of this partnership, click here.

IS VENDOR INTEGRATION THE NEW INNOVATION?

A Tale That Proves 2 Technology Leaders are Better Than 1

By David Metter

Too many companies these days suffer as a result of being close-minded. They think innovation means constantly developing new solutions to better service dealers and OEMs. I’d like to challenge that mindset. What happened to sticking with what you’re best at? I’m not saying don’t dream big, but I am recommending you dream a little smarter. Too often vendors attempt to do things they’re never going to be good at. For example, I know AutoHook will never be great at social advertising. We could do it, and we could do a decent job, but what’s the point of doing anything if you don’t do it right?

Great solutions are a result of knowing what you’re best at and holding on tight to that. In my opinion, strategic partnerships might just be the new and improved form of innovation within the automotive space – and here’s why. AutoHook’s core competency is securing our private offer and incentive rail system within dealerships and directly proving the source that led to a sale or a new to brand buyer. We’re great at attribution reporting because of the data we have access to through Urban Science. We’re never going to be great at Facebook ads, but we know SOCIALDEALER is.

To provide some color, AutoHook opened up our API in January of 2017 so that reputable partners could access our redemption platform and proven attribution engine at no cost to them or their dealer clients. SOCIALDEALER is the latest company to join in our open API initiative to advance actionable data and simply deliver a higher ROI through these types of technology integrations.

SOCIALDEALER’s core competency is in converting customers through social media advertising. Now that they have tied into the redemption rail system AutoHook has already put into place, they can prove exactly which social campaigns resulted in an incremental sale or service appointment. Having the ability to tie in what we’re best at with what another vendor is best at and execute on that to sell and service more cars (and prove it)…now that, that is innovation.

By integrating with our private offer and attribution API, SOCIALDEALER can do more than just show conversions from their solutions to more showroom traffic. They can validate to their dealer clients if a vehicle was purchased as a direct result of their own existing ad platform. This open and unified approach presents countless opportunities for innovation that benefits all parties involved. Most importantly, it benefits the dealers and OEMs that no longer have to pay the integration fees vendors typically charge to work with other vendors.

Here’s a breakdown of how this whole open API thing works. SOCIALDEALER can now use AutoHook’s redemption rail system to serve inventory-specific test drive offers to highly targeted audiences on Facebook. For example, if a customer views a vehicle details page on a dealer’s website and later goes on Facebook to post a picture of their cat, SOCIALDEALER will then retarget that shopper and strategically plug in an AutoHook incentive to visit XYZ dealer to test-drive the vehicle they previously viewed or showed interest in. Through a vast network of data partners (yes more vendor integration) SOCIALDEALER will plug a test drive incentive offer directly into their Facebook ads AND with prepopulated form fields. All the customer has to do to redeem their incentive is hit submit and show up at the dealership. No one else in the space can do that.

We know conversion rates decrease when a customer is asked to fill out an online form with several fields of their personal information. Adding incentives to forms absolutely lifts conversion, but having the form already filled out with the customer's name and contact information, that’s just a no-brainer. That’s why this partnership defines innovation (along with all the other vendors in our API Partner Program).

Think about Salesforce and what happened after they decided to open up their interface and allow third party providers to integrate, for free. Their revenue grew exponentially and their adoption rates blew up. Now you can have video conference calls, send emails, post to social sites, and sign contracts all within Salesforce. Their AppExchange literally has 1,000 different apps available to their customers. That’s beyond valuable, and that’s exactly what being a little more open-minded can do for automotive. I mean heck, look what it did for Apple!

 

To learn more about AutoHook’s API Partner Program visit DriveAutoHook.com/Partners.

 

CASE STUDY: AutoHook PUMPS UP Market Share for Germain Ford of Beavercreek

In a down market, Germain Ford of Beavercreek needed a way to gain market share and reduce pump-in sales lost to their top two competitors. Using AutoHook's private incentive offers and sales match attribution reporting, they were able to reduce lost sales by 47% and increase their market share by 44.9%.

SEE HOW WE DID IT! CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD.

5 Reasons to Attend PCG’s Automotive Engagement Conference

1. The Mission…

QUALITY > QUANTITY

Unlike any other conference in digital history, the Automotive Engagement Conference began as a collective mission to expose all digital entities guilty of not delivering QUALITY, measurable solutions to dealers. It all began as a dream, or more so, it began when industry leaders started waking up to a big problem. Study after study found evidence of dealerships paying for website traffic that consisted of BOTS – not humans – not actual people that were capable of purchasing a car, let alone converting into a showroom visit. The unfortunate reality is all too often digital advertising sources are charging dealers big bucks for clicks and impressions that did not engage with their website or the content and lead forms within it.

Orbee, an automotive software company that specializes in identifying bad website traffic, determined up to 60% of dealerships’ paid traffic, and up to 80% of their overall website traffic is coming from non-humans (or bots). Furthermore, Orbee’s late 2016 Automotive Website Traffic Quality Report stated, “Bot traffic is a $7 billion problem for the advertising industry and with dealership digital marketing budgets averaging $30-50K per month, the automotive industry must address this issue to prevent massive waste in digital adverting spend.”

Last year, Brian Pasch, host of the AEC Tour, began the PCG Engagement Project in efforts to measure the quality of traffic coming to dealer websites. “Once dealership managers understand the impact of not measuring engagement – their advertising blind spot — they will act to get their website(s) configured to start tracking engagement,” said Pasch.

Pasch’s mission to expose these “sharks” along with the rate of waste occurring under the radar was something AutoHook ethically HAD to get involved with. The AEC Tour isn’t your ordinary pay-to-play conference where vendors spend thousands of dollars just to get their product in front of dealers around the country. This is a movement. This is a collective mission to hold ALL automotive agencies and vendors accountable for providing their dealer clients with accurate reporting that shows their solutions deliver actual human traffic, capable of converting into a sale.

2. The Experts…

PCG has hand-picked the companies and presenters listed below because of the simple fact that their solutions are all proven to increase consumer engagement, and most importantly, increase sales from all lead opportunities. 

LEARN FROM AWARD-WINNING AUTOMOTIVE MAR-TECH EXPERTS

 

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3. The Content…

Dealers will learn proven methods to:

  • Accurately measure their website’s engagement metrics to further increase conversion rates and ELIMINATE areas of waste in their marketing spend.

  • Leverage marketing automation tools to create relevant advertising optimized by consumer engagement.
  • Improve their online communications strategies to increase conversions: leads, calls, chats, and text messages.
  • Lead their dealership in a digital age and protect your store from Digital Sharks!

AutoHook President, David Metter, will be presenting:

“99 Problems but the Data Ain’t 1” – Check out the teaser video below.

4. The Value…

+ $300 WORTH IN MATERIALS

+ AWESOME SWAG BAGS AND FREE PRIZES!

5. AutoHook Will Cover Half Your Ticket…

Tickets for the event cost only $50. Have you ever attended a conference for just $50? When you visit AutoHook at a city near you, we’ll reimburse you for half your ticket cost with a $25 Visa Card.

RECIPE FOR SUCCESS: Tactical Advice for Growth in a Flat or Down Market

FREE WEBINAR RECORDING

Only the lucky ones get to attend webinars like these. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to engage with the four marketing powerhouses with the secret sauce for digital success. AutoHook President, David Metter will be joined by David Kain (President, Kain Automotive), Todd Smith (Founder, ActivEngage) and Ken Kolodziej (Founder, String Automotive) to bring you tactical advice for growth in a flat or down market during this free, one-hour webinar + Q&A.

Learn from the industry’s masters of automotive data, sales process, conversion, and engagement measurement. Straight talk. Serious strategies. Next level digital targeting.