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Digital Dealer Overview – Mark Schaefer

The final day of sessions at the Digital Dealer Conference started with a presentation from Mark Schaefer, a marketing guru. Similar to many other sessions, Schaefer focused on the need to manage your online presence with the understanding that you are nurturing customers’ needs over an extended period. Whether you like it or not, you are having a conversation with potential customers every day. That being said, Schaefer also emphasized that “people buy from people”, a concept that many car dealers invoke when writing off that silly fad that is the internet. This leads to an interesting insight: successful online operations utilize technology in order to better connect their people (staff) to other people (their customers). It’s not the same as a handshake and hello but it is today’s equivalent. By giving the customer a view into the people behind the company, you have bridged a very important gap; technology allows you to bridge that gap with far more people than ever before.

Here are other some thoughts presented during the sessions:

• Minute interactions lead to more engagement which eventually leads to sales;

• 33% of Facebook users follow brands (this number has doubled in 2 years);

• You have to recognize that the benefits of social media are qualitative, not quantitative;

• Use Klout and Hoot Suite to find the most influential people in your community on social media and either partner with them or analyze their recipe for success (Schaefer also mentioned that Bing’s algorithm may include Klout score as a determining factor your page ranking);

• Technology is the auto industry’s biggest discussion point on social media, so much so that Audi has special Facebook content for individuals with higher Klout scores (specifically targeting people with influence in specialized areas like photography and electronics, but not car-related)

Another interesting point that Schaefer made was that marketers have always treated new media like old media. Movies were like plays, television was like radio, and social media is used like broadcast advertising – this is especially relevant in the auto industry, where every online promotion looks exactly like a paper flyer and every online video looks exactly like a TV commercial. Social media should not be an aggressive advertising platform, but rather as a medium to provide meaningful information, targeted connections, and authentic helpfulness.

 

 

 

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