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Digital Dealer Keynote w/ Jay Baer, Pt. 1

The final presentation on Day 1 of the Digital Dealer Conference featured Jay Baer, a marketing author and speaker. Baer offered some interesting insight into the shift in marketing that has occurred as a result of the internet. Growing up with the internet and having studied marketing, I assumed that this would be a pretty familiar topic, which was true for much of the discussion. However, as someone whose personal online social interaction is the bare minimum on Facebook and LinkedIn, the insight into building value through social media was very interesting. But that focus will come in the next post; for now, I will lay the groundwork much as Baer did and provide a second post to cover the rest.

Baer started by covering three types of marketing: First was top of mind marketing, which basically refers to the traditional strategy of always keeping your brand in front of your customer. This is a difficult proposition in today’s market because people are so fragmented – where do you send your message? One very interesting stat on this point comes from TV ratings over the past 30 years. In 1976, Happy Days was the #1 rated TV show with 32% ratings (meaning 32% of total TV viewers watched Happy Days). In 2012, that number dropped to 13% (I think he said it was American Idol or Sunday Night Football – I would have been among the 13% for one show and not the other…). In other words, you have to yell very loud in many different places if you want to be heard today.

The second type of marketing presented was inbound marketing, in which demand is not created but simply fulfilled. The Yellow Pages were the most successful source of inbound marketing at one time, now search engine optimization is the most visible option. Baer suggests that even this is a fleeting form of marketing; he claims that search engines are not used nearly as much as a result of the many third party sites that provide significant traffic through recommendations (such as Angie’s List, Yelp, Facebook, etc.). This is troubling because car dealers are still behind the game with the basics. While SEO is and has been a buzzword in the auto industry for a while now, SEO gurus all over (including the next day’s keynote speaker) see the auto industry as severely lagging. So do we tell our dealers to get the basics right or skip inbound marketing entirely? You have to walk before you can run, right? Obviously SEO is not dead and there is still a ton of opportunity to optimize websites and improve customer experience. However, truly progressive digital dealers will keep the next phase in mind as they build their dealership’s digital marketing strategy.

Baer called the final type of marketing friend of mind marketing. The basic idea here is that personal and professional relationships have merged online (Baer claims that Facebook is made up of half friends and half companies). Car dealers are no longer competing with other car dealers, but with every other distraction that comes with social media and the online experience. In order to be seen you can’t just be loud, you have to be more interesting and relevant than other businesses AND people.

 

Yelling at computer

It doesn’t work like that…

 

Next time I will cover Baer’s message of “Youtility”, an in-depth look at the message that you are sending online and if it is actually accomplishing anything.

 

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