Laptop with reel

Marketing Trends Illustrate the Importance of Video

by Tim James

If you still aren’t sold on the importance of video marketing, it only takes a brief glimpse into recent news to illustrate just how important video is in marketing. There are many news stories relating to acquisitions, statistics and trends, which highlight the increasing importance – and value – that platforms of all kinds are placing on video content. The common thread that exists throughout all of these stories is companies recognize consumers have a strong desire to view video content and are positioning themselves to be able to serve that up.

Consider these recent stories:

  • Facebook videos are now receiving 3 BILLION views per day. Facebook is all about relevance. It wants to serve up content that its users want to see. A recent report by social media company, SocialBakers, reported that video posts surpassed all other types of content with the highest organic reach as well as highest fan reach. In addition, Facebook gives videos that are directly uploaded to their site more organic reach than videos shared via link from YouTube. This is in an effort to boost its own video platform. Facebook has even begun to solicit celebrities and large media companies to upload their videos straight to Facebook, rather than YouTube or other platforms.
  • Twitter recently renewed its agreement with Google to allow access to Twitter’s data stream. Since their breakup in 2011, Google has had to scrape Twitter in order to serve up tweets in search results. With this new agreement in place, Google can now index Twitter content in real-time providing more SEO benefits for Twitter content. Seeing as Twitter recently added a feature allowing video tweets, it’s entirely possible that Google could serve up your tweeted videos in real-time search results.
  • Last November, in order to deliver better video ads across its many properties, Yahoo acquired BrightRoll, a video ad delivery platform, for $640 million. One month later, they acquired Evntlive and Ptch, both of which cater to the video content industry and, according to many sources, made them the largest video platform in the United States.
  • Even AOL has been bolstering its video capabilities with the acquisition of three video marketing companies in the past 5 years –the 5Min video platform for $65 million in 2010, Adap.tv for $405 million in 2013 and, most recently, Vidible in December, for an estimated $50 million.
  • There has also been a plethora of video sharing apps emerging in the last few years such as Vine – which ultimately partnered with Twitter – and Instagram, which added a video sharing feature and was purchased by Facebook for $1 billion.
  • And last, but far from least, we have the largest player of them all – Google – which acquired YouTube way back in 2006, and has grown it into the second largest search engine in the world. It is currently racing Apple to become the first company to be valued at $1 trillion.

This is just a small sample of the investments major companies are making in video. It shows the importance successful businesses are placing on video content. And, I would say, a strong belief that video content is the future. I highly doubt anyone could argue against the fact that these companies know what they’re doing, simply based on their combined net value of $1.3 trillion. If all these companies were joined into one country, this humungous sum of money would place it at number 16 out of all 194 countries in the world.

I’d say they know what they’re doing.

Hispanic family shopping online

As Hispanics buy more cars, stores add videos in Spanish

Eighteen months ago, Coast Nissan in San Luis Obispo, Calif., introduced Spanish-language videos with each car posted online.

General Manager Eric Ideman said it was a response to two trends:

•  His customer base along the central coast is heavily Hispanic, with many speaking only Spanish or preferring to communicate in the language.

•  Data showed increasing numbers of online vehicle-shoppers watching car videos.

“We have lot of people searching [for cars] in Spanish,” Ideman said. “We wanted to make sure they could get their videos in Spanish, too.”

Hispanics account for an increasing percentage of car purchases nationally, causing dealerships across the country to reassess how they market to the demographic, according to Eley Duke III, vice president of Duke Automotive (Chevrolet-Buick-GMC-Cadillac) in Suffolk, Va.

The videos at Coast Nissan and sister store Coast BMW appear as links on the Web pages of specific vehicles. They are for new and used vehicles. And they are either vehicle walk-around videos or a series of still photos spliced together with voice-over.

Duke said the area has a small Hispanic population nearby. But, he said, he added Spanish-language videos in December to the inventory he shows on the dealership website and social media feeds because he doesn’t want to lose a single sale to a language barrier.

Duke, like Coast Nissan, added the videos at the recommendation of one of its digital ad agencies, ZMOT Auto. The agency recently announced a deal with inventory video maker Flick Fusion to provide Spanish-language voice-overs to Flick Fusion’s videos.

In 2014, Hispanics accounted for 12 percent of retail vehicle registrations minus fleet and commercial vehicles, according to IHS Automotive. The number was 9.3 percent in 2010, according to Marc Bland, IHS Automotive vice president of diversity and inclusion. “If an automotive brand is looking for growth, there’s no better place to look than the ethnic consumer — with Hispanics leading the way,” Bland said.

The U.S. Census Bureau projects that Hispanics, who numbered 52 million in the country in July 2011, or 17 percent of the population, will account for 30 percent of the population by 2050.

Duke said video-watching also is on the rise among car shoppers. “Videos are such a big part of a visual society,” he said.

According to Google’s “Digital Drives Auto Shopping” study published in November 2013, more than half of auto shoppers watch 30 minutes or more of video during their shopping journeys. Moreover, one in four watched an hour or more, the study found.

In recognition of those trends, Coast Nissan is offering all of its online inventory with videos in English and Spanish, Ideman said.

The store is not as close to heavy Hispanic foot traffic as some competitors, he said. So Coast Nissan also is ensuring that its paid search ads, blogs, chat and website content are in Spanish, too, so those customers can find and interact easily in either English or Spanish, he said.

It isn’t good enough, Ideman said, to get an online lead or phone call from Spanish-speaking customers and make them wait for a response until the store can get a bilingual salesperson to contact them.

“People want an immediate response, or they go away,” he said.

Coast Nissan sells about 80 vehicles per month split evenly between new and used.

Of the store’s six salespeople, four are bilingual. And so is Coast Nissan’s finance director, who is responsible for closing deals in finance and insurance.

Ideman said, “We want to hold them all the way through the transaction.”

Written by David Barkholz [Originally published 2/16 on Automotive News]

ROI - Golden Key.

The Most Important Metric In Gauging Video ROI

by Tim James

The question most pondered by businesses when advertising is perhaps the most important:

“What is my ROI?”

It doesn’t matter whether we’re discussing television ads, radio, 3rd party leads,

that gorilla on top of your building, or the contest you’re running on social media; all roads lead back to the ability to answer that one simple question. Dealers and their vendors use call tracking numbers, unique landing pages, and a plethora of reports to justify the monthly expense of any given marketing campaign. Some dealers swear that a product or service works, while others might complain that it does not.

In the case of video marketing, if you don’t believe or are unsure about its effectiveness, there’s one simple metric that you should take a look at:

Inventory turn.

You’re already keeping track of this. You know the average length of time a new or used car sits on your lot. You might even hold your used car manager accountable for this. This isn’t something that sits in the pile with all of the other reports. It’s something that is vital to the dealership’s profitability and, more importantly, the bottom line. Flooring costs can get quite expensive. The longer a car is kept in stock, the less profit it’ll make. In terms of time alone, that vehicle is depreciating daily. That’s where video marketing comes in. It can make your vehicle stand out and engage online shoppers better than any other form of media.

If you have a comprehensive video marketing strategy in place and are executing on that strategy (taking the videos, making them engaging, getting them on all of the key touchpoints), take a look at your inventory turn to gauge its effectiveness. What was it before video marketing? What is it now?

The bottom line is that any dealership marketing strategy has one simple goal: selling more cars. Video marketing done right will speed up your average inventory turn. And the ONLY way it can accomplish that is by bringing in more customers who are buying your vehicles more quickly. And that’s the only answer that matters.

man with maze

They Watched Your Video. Now What?

by Brian Cox

There’s no doubt that video marketing is exploding in popularity with businesses and consumers. Both Facebook and Twitter are investing heavily in video and, in the case of Facebook, rewarding those who upload their video straight onto its extended reach advertising platform.

The days of reading long text descriptions and features of vehicles on websites are quickly fading. Manufacturers and dealerships are putting more effort and bigger budgets into video marketing. However, no matter how creative, funny, informative or compelling a video is, if it’s missing one simple ingredient, it will not help you sell more of anything – whether that’s a salesperson, the dealership or a car.

What is that simple ingredient? – It’s a call-to-action.

In terms of functionality and conversion, all websites typically contain calls-to-action. Customers that visit a dealership’s website can gather the information they want and, most of the time, there is a call-to-action on the page they’re viewing; be it the home page or a vehicle description page. Many videos, however, have no call-to-action. An online car shopper will visit multiple touchpoints when researching vehicles – Think of all of the sites your videos are on that the consumer could visit. You may control the content and call-to-actions on your own website, but it’s not always the case on every touchpoint.

Many dealers incorporate personalized video e-mail responses and walkarounds and introduce staff on their “About Us” pages. These are all great but, in many cases, they neglect to incorporate the single most important question that a consumer will ask after watching:

What do I do now?

Even if you have a call-to-action on the actual webpage that the consumer is on while watching your video, include a call-to-action within the video itself. It doesn’t have to be long or confusing. It should be simple. Something like:

  1. Call us at XXX-XXX-XXXX or email us today at XXXXXX
  2. Make sure to mention this video to claim your special offer
  3. Make sure to visit our website and get the exclusive Internet pricing only available on our website

If you’re not asking viewers of your video to do SOMETHING at the end of your video, they won’t do ANYTHING and you’ll be missing out on conversions. Guide the consumer through the funnel in relation to the video content they just watched. If the video was a “Why Buy From Me” sent by a salesperson, include their contact information at the end. Another thing that can be very beneficial is to incorporate a call tracking number on your videos.

If it’s a vehicle walkaround video, direct your customers as to what they should do next. Create a video explaining how your dealership assists people with challenged credit then direct them to your online credit application to get started. If you produce service videos, make sure to include an offer, coupon or, at the very least, an invitation to the dealership or to schedule an appointment.

It’s really not a difficult concept. Almost every other form of marketing will have calls-to-action (if they’re any good). So why shouldn’t you also include them in your videos? It’s up to you to tell your customers what you want them to do. If you guide them properly and with relevance, you’ll find that more of them follow the path you’re leading them down and will see more conversions.

Choosing for happy and friendly at the office

Playing to Customer’s Emotions in Marketing Works

by Tim James

I have long preached the fact that including video in your marketing is an effective way to get customers emotionally connected to a specific car on your lot. This visual connection to the senses serves to enhance the appeal of a vehicle to an online shopper. If there was some technology that allowed consumers to touch, feel and smell your car while shopping online, I’d be all in. Unfortunately, the online vehicle shopping touch-points that exist today don’t allow for 4-D shopping; they are currently limited to a flat screen.

So, how about taking your video marketing game to the next level and incorporating marketing messages that play to consumer emotions. This is far from a new marketing tool. In fact, you see it every time you watch television or the latest viral video. Super Bowl commercials are typically prime examples: many are creative, funny and even touching.

Messages that create a sense of urgency, build trust, offer an incentive or some value added benefit, or appeal to some perceived status, are not uncommon in manufacturer and dealership marketing. What’s not as common is seeing a dealership incorporate these emotional triggers into their inventory marketing – at least in a video. Consider how much more effective the use of the techniques would make your inventory videos. You only have a few seconds in which to capture an online car shopper’s attention in your video. If your video captures the customer’s attention quickly through creative messages that play to their emotions, chances are they’ll watch longer. This can build more excitement in your vehicle over other similar vehicles. There’s no doubt that the more emotionally connected a customer is when they submit that lead, the more likely it will result in a sale.

Have fun with your walkarounds. Don’t simply point your video camera or smartphone and walk around the vehicle while describing it in monotone. Excitement is infectious. We use this all of the time when the consumer is on the lot. Keep your videos interesting and transfer your passion and excitement for the vehicle into the video. This will undoubtedly have a stronger effect on the emotions of any customer viewing it.

You don’t even have to be terribly creative (if you aren’t the creative type). Your dealership most likely has already employed an ad and marketing agency to do that. Simply look at the messages already going out to customers via traditional media and incorporate those unique selling propositions into your walkaround. These type of messages can then help sell you and the dealership, not just the vehicle.

Let’s face it; there are probably over 100 shiny vehicles, similar to the one you have online, that an online shopper is viewing. Anything you can do to give your vehicle an edge over the competition will help your vehicle stand out in the customer’s mind. Play to their sense of fun. Build a sense of urgency. Build trust and offer value in your video walkarounds. Step outside-the-box with a little creativity and, I promise you, your vehicles will get more attention and you’ll see more people submitting leads that are farther down the funnel and more emotionally invested. And that can only bring you more sales.

American football players in game, quarterback running. Game

Winning Is Knowing The Rules Better Than Your Competitor

by Brian Cox

On January 11, the New England Patriots faced the Baltimore Ravens in a contest that would dictate which team moved onto the AFC Championship game. Going into the game as heavy favorites to win, the Patriots quickly found themselves losing the game 14-0 quickly. Undeterred, they powered through trading touchdowns with the Ravens for the remainder of the game to ultimately win. The real story that comes out of this win, however, is how the Patriots reached into their bag ‘o tricks to achieve what they had come to – win.

Several players on the Ravens were quoted as follows in an article in the Boston Globe

“They pulled out every trick play in the book” – Chris Canty, Ravens defensive end.

“They couldn’t just drive the ball down on us regular. They had to do something tricky.” – Ladarius Webb, Ravens cornerback.

“You’ve seen one gimmick, you’ve seen them all.” — Terrell Suggs, Ravens linebacker.

And the most profound…

“It’s not something that anybody’s ever done before.” – John Harbaugh, Ravens head coach.

John Harbaugh and the Baltimore Ravens were not just upset that they had lost, but that they had done so because of what they deemed trickery on the part of the Patriots. Their anger, however, was misdirected as the Patriots did nothing wrong, according to the NFL rules.

New England Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady, summed it up best in his reply to their criticisms when he said, “Maybe those guys got to study the rule book and figure it out? We obviously knew what we were doing.”

Patriots coach Bill Belichick did. Any other team in the NFL could have pulled off the plays and formations that the Patriots did which helped them win that game – but nobody ever had. By knowing the rules and using them to his team’s advantage, he was able to throw unexpected plays and confuse his opponents enough to win. On the other side of the field, Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh, was complaining about the rules and how the Patriots won. He was so incensed during the game that he even, literally, cried foul (and got one) when he ran onto the field to argue with officials.

Being successful in business and marketing is no different. Dealerships have so many rules placed on them by so many different regulating bodies, it’s surprising that they can say anything more than “Here is our car. You should buy it.” To win in the automotive industry, you have to be a leader.

Business leaders are creative. They find ways to innovate and do things that their competitors aren’t. They know the rules of the game backwards and forwards. They find strategies and incorporate plays that nobody else does, and then use them to win. Whether that’s winning a new customer, a star employee or simply sales volume, they have thought about all scenarios and crafted strategies to achieve them. There are plenty of books that tell you how to be a successful leader, run a successful business, have success in marketing and hire superstars. Every business has access to those resources. Success lies in not only knowing the rules but in knowing the rules so well that, when you pull out that trick play, your competition doesn’t know what hit them.

Turning on a Quality button with the word Quality in white lettering

Forget MORE Leads. Focus On More QUALITY Leads.

by Tim James

In the world of automotive retail, dealerships are always searching for ways to increase leads. Whether they choose to pursue that goal through third-party lead providers, increase page rankings through better SEO, or various other ways, if there is a customer in their market who wants to buy a car, dealers want an opportunity to earn their business.

When a shopper shows up to the lot, the sales team is trained to engage the shopper and ultimately get the shopper emotionally attached to a vehicle, even if it is not the exact vehicle the shopper was initially inquiring about. In other words, your goal is to make the shopper want a vehicle the dealership has in stock, regardless of which vehicle the customer came in asking about. This is accomplished with the walk around.

This sales technique doesn’t have to be limited to physical customers at your dealership. Online, a good video will accomplish this same emotional process. A video is the best way to engage a consumer on your VDP Pages and showcase your vehicle. This highly visual medium allows you to deliver the most information while also selling your dealership and the vehicle at the same time.

Getting the consumer emotionally attached to the vehicle and MAKING them want a vehicle you have versus simply HOPING they will want a vehicle you have is how you produce the MOST & BEST leads you can get. They are more likely to re-engage after their initial communication (answer your phone call or respond to your email); more likely to set an appointment; more likely to show for that appointment and they are more likely to purchase.

This whole process is less about the information you have available on your site and more about how you deliver the information.  You could have tons of information and all kinds of pictures, but today’s consumer wants their content delivered via video…which is a “win/win” because with a video you can deliver the information and “sell” the vehicle at the same time.

Make good use of video and ensure that you have full and complete vehicle descriptions. You end up with more quality leads which should translate into increased responses and more productive engagement (less haggling over price), leading to the ultimate goal of increased sales.