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When Performance is Measured, Performance Improves.

Digital Dealer Keynote Pt. 2

Picking up where I left off – Jay Baer’s keynote at Digital Dealer 2013:

The second half of Baer’s session on social media for car dealerships went in depth into his mantra of “Youtility”. Essentially, he explained how a car dealership (or any other enterprise) can build value with their online presence by offering information rather than promotion. In our 20-Groups we often point out the ongoing conversation that your customers are having with your dealership, whether you are taking part or not. This presentation suggested the same thing and provided directions to taking advantage of this opportunity to connect.

Baer presented the three facets crucial to Youtility, the first being self-serve information. As noted in Google’s ZMOT article, between the years 2010 and 2011 consumers needed twice as many sources of information before making a purchase, from 5 to 10. When looking specifically at an auto purchase, this jumps to 18! ZMOT graph

It seems that the massive increase in information available has led to a much higher demand for information. His suggestions for addressing this are:

• Provide as much information as possible – it you don’t someone else will (here’s a great example of providing useful information on a dealership blog);

• Don’t focus on closing the deal right away (“don’t be like a 19 year-old dude”);

• Use multiple sources since customers are going there anyway and have a system in place to address leads from these other sites;

• Make as much content as possible and get it out there (he specifically suggesting writing up a report of youth league sports, as this is information customers want and don’t have easy access to – this keeps customer sticky even when they are not in the market for a car).

The second tenet of online success is to answer every question. Baer started with an example from McDonald’s Canada, whose website committed to answering any question posted to it. When someone posted the question “What’s in your secret sauce?”, they not only gave the recipe but uploaded a video showing how to make their sauce at home. His point is that you should not only be offering as much information as possible (transparency is an ever-increasing buzzword in the auto industry), but it should be relevant and preferably right from the customer’s mouth. He pointed out that car dealers are usually not trusted, and one way to build trust is by being overly forthright and honest online. And what better way to do that than answer every question a customer has! Questions also lead to uncertainty, which creates doubt in the customer’s mind. A dealership can build great rapport with a focus on teaching and helping the customer rather than selling to them.

Obi Wan

Finally, Baer urged everyone to focus on creating real-time relevancy with a focus on successful mobile apps. With examples from a supermarket app to help plan your path through the store and a knot tying app from Columbia Sportwear, he suggested that your content can be completely irrelevant to many if it is extremely relevant to some. To get started, he recommended the following steps:

• Discover customer needs through keyword search, internal web search, web analytics, social chatter or simply by asking your customers (he suggested every salesperson writing down questions they hear more than once and answering them online);

• Map needs to different actions whether through blog posts, video, e-books, events, etc;

• Market your marketing, get the word out!

• Make this competency a skill, not a job – in other words, everyone should be doing this, not just your internet manager;

• Since the digital world is evolving rapidly, make this focus a process not a project.

With the staffing and budget of most car dealerships, it seems crazy that they can’t find anything relevant to talk about online. But when I search through Facebook pages, blogs and most information that car dealerships are presenting online, that seems to be the case. So you have a quick list of possible topics provided by Baer, you could talk about: Should I lease or finance? What isn’t covered in my warranty? Is it safe to fill out a finance application online? How do I terminate my lease early? Where can I detail my car? Obviously there are many more, I think that was the point…



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