The automobile covered with a silk fabric

In Marketing, Consumers Want to Know What is In It For Me

by Tim James

 

People aren’t watching your commercial or video because they want you to sell them your product. They’re watching because they want you to sell them a solution.

In the world of online marketing, oftentimes marketers forget this very basic concept. Think of it as painting pictures when selling. The idea is that you want to tell the consumer why they need a feature, so that the consumer will visualize how each feature will make their life better, easier, more efficient. How it will make them more money, or provide a solution to a need. It’s not uncommon for salespeople to go on and on about the features of a vehicle. It has this type engine. It’s safe. It has Bluetooth, etc. They may as well (and some probably are) read the window sticker to the customer. Great salespeople, however, understand that the customer doesn’t necessarily care about the fact that the vehicle has Bluetooth, unless it’s tied back to how it benefits the customer.

Mr. Customer, one of the great features on this vehicle is that it has Bluetooth functionality. This will allow you to connect your cell phone wirelessly and accept or make phone calls without taking your hands off of the steering wheel. Which will make your commute for you and your family safer.

Consumers may watch dozens of video walkarounds in their car-shopping journey. If you’re doing live video walkarounds of your vehicles, consider this: How would you do a walkaround for a customer right in front of you? Why would you do your live video walkaround for your website and VDP’s any differently?

Create more memorable videos that capture a customer’s attention and sell the consumer on why they need the features of each vehicle. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t talk about the vehicle’s features. What I’m saying is that you’ll create more powerful videos if you tell the consumer why those features are important and highlight the impact each feature will have on their lives.

old tv retro style isolated on white background

Those Were the Days

by Brian Cox

Remember the days when television actually closed for the night? In those days, if you were up late enough, inevitably you’d hear the Star-Spangled Banner followed by that creepy off-the-air snow that is a potent reminder of the movie Poltergeist.

Television has been a part of most people’s lives since the late 40’s. DVRs or online streaming weren’t even a concept at that time. There was no on-demand. People planned their evenings around the programs that the networks were broadcasting. It’s a very different scene today.

With all the technological advances we have in digital video and online streaming, I find it interesting that some dealerships balk when asked to invest in online video content. Yet these same dealerships are heavily investing in traditional television advertising.

I recently saw an incredible statistic in Digital Sherpa:

In the next 30 days, more video content will be uploaded online than all three major U.S. television networks have created in 30 years.

The fact is that online video marketing is highly cost-effective and produces an excellent ROI. In addition it can be efficiently targeted and can be produced without the need for an expensive video setup. Consumers today are immersed in video content. They cannot get enough of it… and I don’t mean the kind on TV. Commercials lost some value the second a DVR came along, allowing consumers to fast-forward through them. Besides, how do you know who’s watching a given show and whether they’re in the market to buy a car? You don’t! The facts are that with traditional television advertising, you get demographics and viewer statistics and then start playing fish in a barrel.

Video marketing doesn’t mean you need a studio, professional camera equipment or actors. All you need is a smartphone. Most smartphones nowadays have an integrated camera with the ability to take videos. Some even have higher resolution lenses than stand-alone video cameras!

I’m not here to completely bash traditional television advertising. There are plenty of dealers that still use it and find value in it. All I’m saying is that television advertising is actually a more expensive form of video content. The only difference is that it costs more — and, in most cases, a LOT more.

If you still have doubts, read the Digital Sherpa article. It has 24 other statistics that support the value and effectiveness of video marketing.

DD-Logo-Tampa

Digital Dealer 18 Recap: Fusion Bombs and Video Marketing

IMG_4007As the sun sets on another Digital Dealer Conference, once again Flick Fusion is proud and honored to have participated. This spring’s conference saw a new location: Tampa, FL. We feel it was an excellent venue that offered just the right balance of hotel accommodations and some wonderful nightlife venues for dealers and attendees to learn some new best practice tips while also having a little fun.

IMG_4005Flick Fusion’s adventure began as a sponsor or the official Digital Dealer Kick-Off party on Monday night. The event itself drew over 600 RSVP’s and was a great success. Dealers and vendors had the opportunity to partake of our signature drink – the Fusion Bomb. This drink proved incredibly popular and it was great to see party goers sporting the Flick Fusion colors as part of their drinks. A live DJ kept the party hopping and the venue – Jackson’s Bistro – turned out to be an excellent venue; both for the spectacular waterfront views and delicious food.

2015-04-22 13.31.09Wednesday highlighted the prime reason that Flick Fusion attends – to educate dealers. Speaking to a packed room, perennial speaker and Flick Fusion’s VP of Sales, Tim James, educated dealers on the importance of video marketing. Attendees of the lively, highly popular session were provided with all the statistics that truly illustrate the true value of video marketing. They left with step-by-step instructions as to how to immediately implement a video marketing campaign in their stores.

2015-04-22 13.34.14If you’d like a copy of this powerful presentation, click here and fill out the contact form.

Thanks to the staff of the Digital Dealer Conference for putting on one of the best Digital Dealer Conferences ever. Feedback has been very positive from vendors and dealers alike. And thank you to all of the attendees who flocked to the exhibit hall and kept the booths packed. Also, thanks to everyone who came to see Tim James’ session. See you next time at the 19th Digital Dealer Conference in Las Vegas!

Fotocamera 2014010

Is Having Too Many Pictures A Bad Thing? Perhaps

by Brian Cox

It wasn’t too long ago that we saw most dealers’ VDP pages contain only a couple of pictures of a vehicle. As technology improved and made it easier and more efficient for dealers to take and upload more images, best practices quickly raised the standard for image quantity to 40 or more pictures. Now, however, a recent article in Automotive News cites a white paper that suggests that a VDP page that contains more than 9 photos causes “image fatigue” in a consumer. Apparently this results in a drop off in lead volume as consumers get tired of clicking through multiple images to find the information they are seeking – whether that be interior images, exterior images, or whatever aspect may be important to that particular buyer.

The thought process behind providing multiple images is that the consumer has the ability to inspect a vehicle online and gain more interest by having any questions about vehicle condition answered. The results of the white paper suggest that the optimal number of photos on any given VDP is nine. According to the report, used vehicles posted for sale with nine images generated 50 percent more leads than those without any images; 56 percent more leads than those with 20 images; and 71 percent more than those with 30 images.

Why does it seem like best practices have gone backwards?

My take on that it is this: It’s easy to see how today’s online car shoppers can get image fatigue by clicking 40 pictures, one by one. That being said, I don’t think it’s any less important for shoppers to be able to obtain the information they need without experiencing the “image fatigue” suggested by the white paper.

It’s actually a very easy solution… video.

At the time it became a best practice for dealerships to have 40+ pictures, video marketing was in its infancy. Many inventory videos were crude and looked unprofessional. As technology has improved tremendously, video has become the media type of choice, as stated by many research studies. And not just in the automotive industry, but in every sector.

So, perhaps consumers tend to lose interest after clicking on too many images. Or, perhaps the real reason they lose interest is that the dealer didn’t provide the type of content that would keep a consumer’s interest, the one that is preferred by most demographics, the one that converts and sells cars… video.

Rear view of luxury car

Live Video Walkarounds: Are they Worth the Effort?

by Tim James

While most forms of digital marketing offer some value to dealers, the one constant has – and always will be – the better your inventory merchandising, the higher your sales.

In the digital world, your merchandising takes place on your VDP Pages, making your VDP Pages one of (if not “the”) most valuable pieces of digital real estate that you have today. The goal of the merchandising on your VDP Pages is to get a consumer emotionally attached to the vehicle, to take “mental ownership.” Or, at a minimum, to generate enough interest that the shopper will come to your store and take a test drive. If you can’t obtain one of these goals, then you hope that your presentation of the vehicle at least had a large enough impact on the shopper that they will remember one of your vehicles as they continue their shopping and bounce from site to site.

This is why you invest the time and/or money into your current digital marketing strategy: You have a website that gets good traffic and that has good flow to the Vehicle Details Pages (VDPs); pay 3rd parties for VDPs on their sites; have high quality photos for each vehicle on its VDP; use a good quality vehicle description for each vehicle; and even have all kinds of “conversion widgets” and such on your VDP Pages. You know how important your VDP Pages are. And you currently invest a lot of time and money into your efforts to have the “best” presentation of your vehicles as possible on those VDPs.

Now, up to this point, I haven’t told you anything that you don’t already know. But let’s consider this:

• People retain 20% of what they hear, 30% of what they see, and an amazing 70% of what they see & hear combined. This means that a shopper is at least 40% more likely to form an emotional attachment and remember “your” inventory if they are able to watch videos of the vehicles on your VDPs.

• More than 85% of today’s consumer’s say that they prefer product video over photos and a text based product description. Shoppers are significantly more likely to spend a greater amount of time on your VDPs — and more likely to return to YOUR website at a future time — if they know that they can receive their content the in the form in which they desire to receive it…video.

• Live Inventory Videos average 600% more engagement than stitched photo videos. This means that having a stitched photo video is better than not having a video at all; however, you will receive a significant boost in engagement if you are utilizing live inventory videos. This IS the best presentation of your vehicles (merchandising) possible for your VDPs.

The actual process of shooting a live inventory video only takes around 2 to 5 minutes per vehicle. Yes, it may take you a little longer in the beginning, when you first start shooting the videos, and before you are comfortable with the process. But, after you’ve shot a few, you should easily be able to get your process down to the 2 to 5 minute range. The actual process of shooting a live video is hardly an overwhelming investment of time, especially when considering the engagement and conversion benefits.

What DOES take time is everything else. You have to manually upload the video to a “host” (or multiple hosts), rename every file as you upload it, and then manually process the video URL to each location that you would like for the video to play. I’m sure there are plenty of you reading this who remember the days that this same “time consuming” process was at one time true for your photos. Shooting the photos was the easy part, but to get your photos to all of the various digital touch-points, you had to manually rename them and upload them touch-point by touch-point. Instead, many dealerships would either choose to not keep their photos current on the various digital touch-points, to outsource the photo process to a 3rd party, or would hire an in-house staff to do nothing but shoot and upload photos all day. As time progressed, and as dealerships started to realize how important the photos were to the merchandising process, more and more started investing in technology that made the upload and distribution process fast and easy. They still had to have someone shoot their photos, but that’s all they had to do and technology took care of the rest.

The great news is that this same technology now exists for your videos. All someone has to do is shoot the video (2 to 5 minutes) and technology will automatically name, upload, and distribute the videos for you (and often in real-time). In fact, you can even have your photographer shoot the video for you at the same time they are shooting their photos. And if you aren’t comfortable with your photographer talking about the vehicles while shooting the videos, then technology can even automatically add the audio layer to the video as it is being automatically uploaded. And you could even have one of your Sales or BDC Team members (from the comfort of their own office) re-record the audio layer of the video and instantly replace the automated audio layer on all of the digital touch-points (in real-time), if so desired. No more wind or highway noises, no airplanes flying overhead, and no worrying about the weather.

Even greater news is that these same videos can then also be utilized by your sales team and/or BDC team for personalized walkaround videos for lead responses. Instead of the time consuming, over and over process of shooting one video that would be seen by one person, of checking out the keys, finding the vehicle on the lot (in the heat, cold, rain, snow), pulling the vehicle out of the line, shooting the video, parking the vehicle, walking back inside, checking in the keys, uploading the video to a “host”, grabbing the URL and sending the video URL out in an email…the sales or BDC team member can now simply pull up the existing video (being used on the VDPs), re-record a personalized message as the audio, add background music (if desired), click save, and email out…all in less time than it takes to check out the keys and find the vehicle on the lot.

We used to find all kinds of excuses for why we didn’t keep our VDPs (across all of the digital touch-points) updated each day with 25, 35, 55+ photos. Excuses ranged from “it’s too much work” to “it costs too much money (if outsourced).” And I’m sure you can find plenty of new excuses as to why you aren’t shooting live videos for your VDPs and using walkaround videos for your lead responses…but the fact is that “it’s too much work,” is no longer a valid excuse, especially when you consider the impact that it will have on your sales.

White laptop and dollars

Consumers Like Video So Much They’re Paying More To Watch It

by Tim James

Video, and especially mobile video, is fast becoming the media of choice for consumers of all ages. From the cable-free movie, to online streaming services, to the latest and greatest phone apps storming the scene, we are all consuming data at a record pace. According to a white paper by Cisco, mobile data has increased in size nearly 30 times since the year 2000. And mobile video accounts for 55 percent of all data traffic.

Today, consumers are increasing data plans with their cellular phone companies so as to consume more video – and they’re doing so willingly — according to a recent article on Mashable. The article reports the massive growth of the mobile live-streaming app, Meerkat. With Twitter entering the live-streaming market Monday via their recent acquisition of Periscope, smartphone users are finding more ways to share video with each other than ever before. In fact, in less than 24 hours, Periscope broke into the top 50 apps on the iTunes app store illustrating the remarkable demand for video content. And, according to the article, “wireless carriers have invested more the $1 trillion in the last few years to build out networks capable of serving massive amounts of data and high speeds.”

And as far as video itself — Almost every major social media application has integrated video into their platforms. Why? Because that’s what their users want. Videos are given more organic reach on Facebook. Platforms are opening up their APIs to allow for video embedding. User-generated video content is exploding. And consumers have made it very clear that they like video content so much that they are willing to increase their cellular phone budgets so as to consume more of it. If this is the case, then why not market to them in their format of choice?

Back in the day, most people read physical newspapers and watched local television… and that’s where car dealers advertised. For lack of subscribers, newspapers moved online, or went out of business. And then, as streaming video services became a more popular (and less expensive) alternative, people started ditching cable.

None of us knows what the future will bring. Change will come, but we don’t know what or when. All we do know for certain is that right now… video is where consumers have placed their attention. And not just video, but especially in mobile format. If only for that single reason, that’s the content car dealers should be producing. Take a look at your marketing and see how you can improve on your video content. It would also be wise to ensure that your web content and any video is mobile ready, so this new generation of consumers can access and even share your content.