Lehel Reeves shares a tip about how dealerships should respond to leads received from a consumer that converts through a video.
Interpreting meaning through communication can be hard.
For example, the simple statement “Fine.”
What does that word really mean? Ultimately, it depends on the context and, more importantly, how it’s said and the body language which happens in that exact moment.
When your significant other says “fine,” you darn well better know what it means, or you can be in a whole world of trouble! Or, if you tell a teenager they must clean their room before they can go out with friends, play video games or whatever they want, there are many ways “fine” can be expressed. If they say it loudly while slamming the door in your face, that has a much different meaning than if they say it in a low submissive but agreeable way.
Humans are masters of perception. We all communicate, and that communication comes across in different ways – be it vocal, physical, or via some activity.
But what does all this mean as far as your dealership and communicating with your customers?
As marketers, with all the data available to us today, we can better interpret customer interactions and more effectively communicate with them than ever before.
An argument could be made that a customer’s digital activity can tell us more about their intent than a face-to-face conversation. Ultimately, the digital footprints a customer leaves throughout their car buying journey are, in fact, a conversation. You may not be able to see the customer, but they express their intent through their online activities.
That customer looking at your website and bouncing through your entire used car inventory, who also jumped around on third-party listing sites, is much higher in the sales funnel. They are having a conversation with you. Something along the lines of, “I’m in the market for a car but I don’t know what I want.”
A customer visiting your website, viewing every Honda Civic in stock, is not only telling you they want a Honda Civic but, if you want to get granular, also which trim level, price range and mileage restrictions they value.
Whatever they spend the most time viewing is probably the best fit for what they are searching for. An unlimited amount of data is out there to help you identify, define and motivate customers. You must just take the time to look at it.
Now that you know the customer’s intent, where they are in the funnel and what they are interested in, what’s the best way to communicate with them?
While you have the secret-agent advantage of all this relevant data showing the customer’s intent, the customer still wants good old face-to-face interaction when it comes down to the sales process. Simply sending a templated email accomplishes nothing. It’s not personal, is not directed to them, fails to really interact on an emotional level, and usually has little relevance.
Of course, you “could” take the creepy road and tell them everything you know about them — but that would likely be counterproductive.
The best way to engage a customer is through a personalized video response. They can see you, hear you and read your body language. If you’re sincere, friendly and engaging, and use the data you have about the customer’s digital journey to craft a personal response, the customer will be able to relate; rapport will be established infinitely better than any “Buy from us because we love you” e-mail template.
Don’t be afraid to send video email responses to your customers. Most of your competitors simply send those canned templates from their CRM with ZERO impact – if they even make it through the customer’s spam filter.
Make an impression and win business using technology that allows you to interact with customers the same way business has been won for decades… in person. With video you can now interact in person, without the customer even being in your showroom.
The statistics show that customers respond to video. They can read your personality and intentions more clearly via video than a written communication, because emotions are more clearly illustrated. And, more importantly, as a result they will connect with you better and choose your dealership to buy or service their car. Then everything will be just “fine!”
by Tim James
Amazon and Google are engaged in a war. Both produce proprietary hardware that consumers can purchase and use to access content through various means — and the competition is getting vicious.
I recognize that, in terms of video marketing hosting platforms, YouTube is the 800-pound gorilla — it certainly has large market share in terms of search and users. But recently, YouTube chose to engage in a battle with Amazon that threatens the usefulness of their platform. Why? Well, as consumers have grown used to accessing YouTube in different manners – via mobile phone, browser, connected device or streaming hardware – they now simply expect the same access, regardless of where they choose to access that video content.
Why should dealers care?
As in all marketing, dealerships should expect to benefit from the fruits of their labors. While technology has made the path of entry to different solutions easier, as a dealer, it still takes time and effort to create your content and messages.
When it comes to video marketing specifically, regardless of whether you are shooting video on smartphones, or have an elaborate professional setup, most of you probably still make the effort because you realize the value and exposure video content brings.
But, what if you do all the work and miss out on customers because companies don’t like each other?
Ah… the million-dollar question. I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “You get what you pay for,” right? Yes, YouTube is highly popular with dealers in the video marketing arena, for good reason. They are the 2nd largest search engine in existence and, more importantly, they are free.
Um, but hold on a sec… are they really, free????
What happens when a customer searching for vehicles gets blocked from watching that video you made of your inventory? What about when they get an “Access Denied” message when trying to watch that personal video response you made for them? Any of these scenarios could cost you a sale, which costs you money. Not so free then, right?Well, that ease of access is no longer the case, and it could get worse. What am I talking about?
First, in October 2015, Amazon pulled Google Chromecast and Apple TV from its inventory and no longer offered it for Amazon customers to purchase, presumably to encourage use of its own Fire Stick product as a streaming solution.
Then, Amazon expanded its voice-activated hardware, Echo, to include the Echo Show, which includes a screen and video capabilities. At first, YouTube was available on this hardware. But soon after its debut, YouTube pulled access from the Echo Show because of how Amazon implemented it, which excluded some features.
Moving on forward, just last month, YouTube again appeared on the Echo Show, prompting many to believe that the companies had made up. However, apparently that was not the case. According to TechCrunch, Amazon simply developed a workaround to allow Echo Show users to access a web version of YouTube without Google’s knowledge.
Next, on the 5th of December, Google once again blocked Echo Show users from accessing YouTube content. And it doesn’t seem like this battle is anywhere near the end.
On top of that, consider the data deficiencies, CRM integration or other workarounds staff go through to integrate inventory, or personalized video messages to your customers. The mere fact that videos hosted on the YouTube video platform could NEVER BE SEEN, even by those who TRY TO VIEW THEM on what’s arguably the most patronized company on the planet (Amazon), should concern dealers.
Neither Amazon (who is making inroads into selling cars on their website) nor Google particularly care about car dealers. There is much more revenue to be had in the marketing ad revenue world, as well as the cable-cutting trend that led them into the hardware business — and Amazon is working on coming after a share of the pie that Google has carved out.
As the war between the two companies’ heats up, avoid becoming collateral damage and consider the hidden costs associated with hosting your video on these platforms. “Free” isn’t always free. Make sure you have a video marketing platform that protects YOUR interests. Ensure that those valuable, time-sensitive messages are delivered and can be viewed by your customers, and remove yourself from the battlefield.
by Tim James
Virtual Reality has been quite a craze recently with video gaming and other consumer electronics. However, the high cost of entry and expensive units limited its reach. Even Google’s cardboard VR glasses required smartphones that cost upwards of $700. The Oculus Rift Goggles were even more expensive and required high-end computers to work.
Now, however, Sony has provided a more cost-effective way for consumers to experience VR with the release of VR glasses designed for use with the Playstation 4 game console. With an installed base of 44 million Playstation 4 owners, the glasses instantly sold out on pre-order and are still hard to acquire, which illustrates the high demand for VR experiences. This release immediately made Virtual Reality readily available for mass consumption.
But if you think 44 million is a lot, what about rolling out Virtual Reality to over 2 billion consumers?
Well, that’s about to happen!
In a recent article, Facebook’s CTO revealed a roadmap for the future of Virtual Reality. As you may or may not know, Facebook owns Oculus Rift. However, according to Facebook, their plans for the future of VR for Facebook users do not include Oculus Rift. Instead, Facebook is working on a standalone product that will make Virtual Reality glasses which are integrated with Facebook “cheaper, easy to use and highly distributed.”
The project, named StandAlone, could instantly thrust Virtual Reality into almost every consumer’s hands, transforming it into common use in all areas including conversations via messaging (both audio and video), marketing and content on Facebook’s platform. Imagine experiencing all of the content posts and marketing messages in a VR setting.
Many automakers are currently implementing or actively working on their own VR experiences. And a few already have VR content in place. Virtual Reality is here and consumers are pursuing and embracing this technology. With the cost of entry decreasing and consumer adoption increasing, Facebook’s VR glasses could instantly change the game.
Dealerships that aren’t prepared or that have not already implemented VR experiences with their inventory merchandizing may find themselves scrambling as this technology is increasingly in the hands of consumers. VR isn’t going away, and it is not a fad. It’s also not the future. It’s the now.
Are you prepared?
by Gina Reuscher, Director of Marketing, Flick Fusion
What happens in Vegas will not stay in Vegas! It was great to connect with friends and partners at this year’s NADA conference. I would like to share six takeaways that resonated with me from this year’s exposition:
1) The importance of third-party integrations. Partnerships are the lifeblood of this industry, making new technologies more available and affordable for auto dealers. We couldn’t agree more! At Flick Fusion we value our partners and look forward to developing new relationships in this area; specifically with website providers and CRMs.
2) Big data is not a new topic, but it feels like we’re just learning how to best disseminate, organize and analyze the data we have been collecting to use in an efficient way for both car dealers and customers along the car-buying journey. Flick Fusion is a key component in closing the loop between online and offline ‘big data’ throughout the car buying journey. Our platform collects data from pre-, during and post-sale video views, then develops rule and behavior-based responses, allowing car dealers to leverage their data without having to think about it.
3) Going global. Many vendors made announcements or have plans to make announcements to expand their markets beyond the United States. The automotive economy has been an upswing in the U.S. so it’s a great time to be thinking of expanding reach into new areas.
4) Kitty Van Bortel winning the 2016 Time Dealer of the Year award. Not only is this is a huge win for women in the automotive industry, but it’s an example of true leadership and legacy. On a personal note, Kitty’s story about being a breast cancer survivor really hit home. At the show I received some bad news about a close friend of mine who has been battling the disease. It makes me realize that business and personal causes can go hand in hand, and we all have a responsibility to give back in some way, if we have the ability.
5) Peyton Manning. Who knew this guy was so inspirational? Two quotes stood out in my mind: “When looking back to analyze my game, I ask myself three things: What did I notice that was different, valuable and when mastered, can move me towards my goal.” Another great quote from Peyton was, “Leading from example is not the main tool to influence others, it’s the ONLY tool.” For automotive vendors, this comes down to walking the talk, both in business and personally.
6) In closing, I want to bring up another observation that surprised me. I couldn’t help but notice a huge gap in video advertising at this year’s show. NADA 2016 hosted 25+ OEM meetings, 64+ NEW workshops and over 130 total workshop sessions. Yet, not one of these sessions featured video marketing as a topic.
Bill Fox, last year’s chairman of NADA, made a compelling call to dealers to recognize, confront and adapt to change. Nothing has changed the marketing landscape in recent years like video, so at Flick Fusion we hear Fox’s call as both a challenge and opportunity.
Video marketing allows car dealers to take their #1 asset: their vehicle inventory, and create hundreds of advertisements that can be simulcast across dozens of Internet channels. Video is the #1 searched media in the world, so it’s a perfect complement to dealers’ current advertising programs at a fraction of the cost of traditional media.
Flick Fusion is a pioneer in video marketing with a superior platform, so we’re excited to take up this challenge and make 2016 the year of video marketing for the automotive industry.
We’re looking forward to January 2017 and the 100th anniversary of NADA in New Orleans. But before that, we hope to see you in Las Vegas once again, for the Digital Dealer Conference & Expo in August!
What do you think the most important themes were to come out of NADA?
by Tim James
Ever since cellphones gained video recording capability, people have insisted on shooting video vertically. Despite all the harassment and corrections received from peers when sharing a vertical video – “Hold the phone sideways!” – Some things never change. Those black bars that bookend the video when taken vertically certainly aren’t the most attractive. They also limit the space in which the video can be viewed. Despite all this, a bunch of video platforms have finally given up encouraging people to abstain from taking videos vertically and have altered their platforms to accommodate them.
According to an article in Entrepreneur, Snapchat and YouTube have altered their platforms and have given their video players vertical video support. This means that those annoying black bars will no longer be visible when a vertically filmed video is uploaded. The newer live-streaming video services – Periscope and Meerkat – have always promoted a vertical video format. The thought process behind this is that most consumers peruse content holding their phone in a natural way (vertically) and horizontal video forces them to rotate the phone – an unnatural action with a smartphone.
In fact, Snapchat asks its marketers to reshoot their videos in a vertical manner. While this can be a costly suggestion, according to Snapchat, “vertical video ads are nine times more likely to be viewed to completion than their horizontal counterparts.”
It’s all about options, folks. Some consumers like watching videos horizontally. In fact, most video marketers up till now would cringe every time they saw a video with the black bars on the side, indicating that it was taken vertically. Now, however, these video hosting platforms and apps are optimizing their properties to emphasize vertical videos, so as to accommodate the way in which consumers actually use their devices. This is instead of forcing them to make (or watch) videos in an unnatural position. The fact that vertical videos have higher completion rates is certainly logical for these very reasons.
The most important things to consider when choosing platforms for your video marketing are: a) is the platform optimized for a mobile web experience, and b) is your video attractive and easy for a consumer to view. Forcing consumers to watch videos through an app could make them hesitate to watch – especially if they aren’t already a user of the app.
It’s also important to include distinct calls-to-action that consumers can take within the video player itself. It’s great if they watch your whole video. But, if they cannot be lead further down the buying funnel, what’s the point? You cannot expect a consumer to watch your video and then have to hunt you down because, well, they won’t.
It seems that we can lay to rest the taboo of vertical video now that these platforms embrace it. Does this mean horizontal video will all of a sudden be taboo? Who knows – and it really doesn’t matter anymore. Make compelling videos and host them in a way you can control where they go next, rather than risk the video player suggesting “relevant” videos which just so happen to be from your competition. In this way you’ll win in your video marketing — whether you take the video vertically or horizontally.
by Brian Cox
Last year, Facebook changed its algorithm to favor video content in an effort to gain market share in the very popular video content market. In fact, it’s done such a good job that daily video views increased by 400 percent – a huge rise over its September, 2014 numbers of 1 billion per day, to an incredible 4 billion per day. That’s a significant rise in less than a year.
Now, as a further enhancement, at the end of June, 2015, Facebook announced that it is again making tweaks to its algorithm so as to better identify the types of video content its users want. In the past, Facebook’s algorithm tracked the types of content that each individual user liked, and subsequently delivered more of that type of content. For example, users that interacted with photo content the most would be delivered more photo content. And the same for video. However, it always necessitated action on the part of the user. Whether that action materialized as a like, share or comment, Facebook’s algorithm noted that and factored that into the content type it delivered to that person.
In a recent blog article, Facebook shared, “There are many times people don’t want to like, comment on, or share a post, but this does not mean it wasn’t meaningful to them. In an effort to capture that meaningful content without actionable engagement, Facebook is now taking into account more interactions with videos that we have learned indicate whether someone found that video interesting, such as choosing to turn on sound, making the video full screen, and enabling high definition. So, if you turn the volume up, or make the video full screen, we have updated News Feed to infer you liked the video and will show you similar videos higher up in your News Feed. We have found that this helps us show people more videos that they are interested in.”
This comes on the heels of another significant algorithm change that was also made in June, 2015, whereby Facebook started to track how long a user lingered on a video in their Newsfeed. Facebook began using this as an indicator of relevance to that user and factored this in as an indication of interest.
From a video marketing perspective, this algorithm now enables auto dealers to see increased reach for their videos from consumers that watched them, but took no further action. Chances are, if a consumer is watching your video on Facebook – whether they are interacting with it or not – they are pretty low down the funnel. Facebook’s new algorithm will take note that they lingered on your video, interpret that as interest, and increase the priority as far as delivering similar content to that user.
Facebook knows that its popularity hinges on finding the right balance between satisfying its advertisers and delivering the types of content its users want to see. By continuing to tweak its algorithm, Facebook can more successfully deliver interesting and relevant content to individual users, providing a better overall customer experience and increased opportunities for video marketers to reach relevant consumers.