technology

Why Face-to-Face Conversations are More Important than Ever

By Timmy James

 

By nature, humans are social creatures. Need more proof? One of the worst punishments our legal system has come up with is solitary confinement. Not only is this dreaded by inmates, but it can also affect their mental health. Whether an introvert or an extrovert, we all crave personal interaction.

Like many of you, I am currently working from home. And, at the end of one day last week I had an impromptu meeting with one of my customers. The meeting started on the phone but, after 15-20 minutes of the call, we decided to switch to a live-stream one-on-one video call. While we continued talking about the business matter, the conversation quickly changed into a personal chat. Just two people who have been working from home for many days now. While we both interact with people throughout the day, most interaction is via the phone or text. When we switched to the live-streaming video call, emotions changed into joy and excitement that we were having a personal, live, face-to-face interaction with an individual outside of our homes.

Even before this health crisis, people wanted to have live interaction. That’s exactly why sales managers are renowned for telling salespeople to “Just get them in.” Of course, at the moment, we have a quandary. Many salespeople are out of work, CRMs are still spitting out the same messages and consumers are still shopping for vehicles… but nobody is answering them.

We’re dealing with a situation unlike anything seen since the measles or polio breakouts decades ago. The entire country is hunkered down, sitting at home with their families. And many are very bored. What do people do when they are bored? They tend to accomplish tasks they’ve been meaning to but have not yet found the time for. And guess what? This could very easily include researching a vehicle purchase. 33 states have either halted or limited vehicle sales forcing salespeople to stay at home. However, in many cases, their CRMs are still receiving leads. OEMs are offering aggressive incentives and interest rates are low.

Car sales are all about emotions. That’s why the standard has always been to get the customer to test drive, kick tires, breathe in that “new car” smell and take mental ownership. However, before any of that can happen, a salesperson or BDC agent needs to create rapport to get that specific customer to choose their dealership.

Customers currently don’t have the luxury of visiting the dealership. But you can approach that level of face-to-face contact with live video chat. It builds the rapport needed for the customer to decide who to buy from and what to buy. Your dealership can interact with these customers in a personal way while building that emotional relationship with the salesperson, the dealership AND the vehicle. And what do those interactions produce when doing this via live-streaming video calls? The same as it produced for me and my customer — Joy and excitement. It helps move that customer down the line to the sale.

Many dealerships are experimenting with virtual test drives and video calling to provide that in-store face-to-face experience right now and having amazing success. But like all sales processes, it must be done right to have the most effective impact. Many of the popular video calling platforms out there require both users to install plugins or download the same apps to assure cross-platform and cross-operating system compatibility. These platforms are great for organized meetings, entertainment, or educational purposes. But when you need to engage a customer or a lead from your website, or for email/texting communications, the best video calling technology to utilize is one that allows a “one-click” audio and video communication to work inside web pages through direct peer-to-peer communication. This eliminates the necessity to install plugins or download apps and ensures an instant video connection; no matter what device or platform the customer or lead is utilizing.  This could alter the entire experience completely and make the difference between a GREAT video experience, and no communication or experience at all (another lost lead).

So, consider using live video chat to have that face-to-face interaction with your customers that is very much desired, especially right now. Combined with good storytelling through strategic vehicle and dealership marketing videos, it could easily slingshot your dealership into a consumer’s first choice. Not just in these times when it is even more crucial to communicate this way, but also when everything goes back to normal. And now is the time to start planning for the future. You don’t want your competition to beat you and take your customers away!  Get that competitive edge and create those loyal customers now!

How to Take Advantage of the Rising Popularity of Video Marketing, right NOW!

by Tim James, COO, Flick Fusion

You don’t have to look very far to see that Video Marketing is the future of digital marketing. Not only is it cost effective, easy to create and use video online, but consumers favor video on almost every platform.

If you are a dealer, video is too important to overlook. While it is popular now with marketers and consumers, that popularity will be even larger over the next few years.

Here are three things fueling the growth of video marketing over the next five years and beyond. Along with some simple tips you can use to stay ahead of the trends in 2020.

  1. 5G is coming…

The world is on the edge of a communication revolution. 5G networks will be rolling out in the US by the end of 2019. Since most mobile devices are already designed for viewing video and downloading large files, the real innovation for video in a 5G world will be Augmented Reality.

For example, Panera Bread recently launched an AR ad unit for mobile devices. Consumers can project and rotate menu items and share the content across popular social media channels. The idea is to add transparency and increase engagement. For your dealership to be competitive, it makes sense to incorporate AR advertising and image overlays into your 2020 marketing strategy. A consumer can’t really “see” a car by reading a monroney sticker. They can, however, kick its virtual tires online and cruise through and around it via video. Imagine car shoppers interacting with a vehicle walk-around video right in their own homes.

Some other major national brands and games have found success with AR applications. Snapchat filters are wildly popular among younger generations and are a great example of how simple overlaid images can enhance the user experience and help spread brand awareness.

  1. 70% of the workforce will be millennial or younger over the next 5 years

Speaking of younger generations, 70% of the workforce will be millennial or younger over the next 5 years and their purchasing power will continue to rise. Millennials, Gen Y and Gen Z consume video for more than just entertainment. They use it to guide them in everything from fixing their own washing machines, to learning about brands and products. This then influences their purchasing decisions.

According to a consumer study by Animoto, 8 out of 10 millennials find video helpful when researching a product or service. In fact, they are 85% more likely than baby boomers to purchase if they can watch a video explaining it first.

How can your dealership take advantage of this? Include demo videos on product pages as consumers prefer product demo videos over still images. Placing video on your website increases conversion by 80%. Also, having video on a website makes it 53 times more likely to make it on Googles 1st page. In addition, email open rates increase by 7% when the word “video” is in the title. So, it make sense to include video as part of your lead follow up process.

  1. By 2020, most content will be video

In 2016, Facebook predicted that almost all of its content would be video. Since then video consumption has increased by 100% per year. By 2020, 80% of all digital content will be video. 6 out of 10 consumers prefer video over television. Not only is video the consumer’s preference, it can also reinforce your brand because viewers retain 95 percent of a message that they watch through video.

Video continues to dominate every form of content delivery, and somehow manages to break its own records year after year. Video content is here to stay. Not only is it here to stay, but marketers that fail to use it – and fail to have a robust mobile and video strategy – will quickly find themselves left behind eating their competitors’ dust. And, more importantly, left behind by their potential customers.

Decide now to increase your video content production efforts so you are ahead of the competition in 2020. Include video on your website, use it for more effective customer follow up and make it a core part of your overall marketing strategy. It is what consumers want, and your profit margins will probably agree.

Video is Everywhere!

There are a huge number of travelers on domestic flights each year. Southwest Airlines, not unlike others, offers these passengers paid wi-fi, but, more importantly, in-flight entertainment. The standard of that entertainment has changed immensely over the years. In the not too distant past, flight attendants collected discarded newspapers and magazines and offered them up to the next group of fliers for ‘entertainment.’

Today is vastly different due to the mediums now available and advances in technology which has effectively changed people’s desires. Take a look at this image.

It is a current pamphlet in every Southwest Airlines seatback notifying passengers that there is “in-flight entertainment.”

Let’s do a quick dive into these. Five types of “free” entertainment are promoted– movies, on-demand TV, messaging, live TV and music. How many of these are video-related items? 3 out of the 5!

Guess what folks? Airlines have chosen video as the preferred method of entertainment. I bet that there were focus-groups galore before they decided what amenities they wanted to adopt and market. You better believe they did that before adopting the technology along with the related expenses!

Of course, some passengers bring their own newspapers and magazines (because the airlines don’t offer them anymore, except for their own in-flight magazines). Passengers also bring digital reading material and… surprise… iPads with movies (hint: videos)!

There are many things these days that can be used to entertain people while stuck in a giant tube 15,000 feet in the air –all looking for things to … God help me… pass the time. Personally, I prefer to sit in the first-row isle seat — I like to be the first one OFF the plane, rest my cowboy hat on my knee, and…watch movies that I’ve downloaded specifically for the flight.

If you are hesitant or uncertain about the impact video can have on your customers, just be observant on your next airplane ride and see what the majority of people are doing to pass the time… I would bet I know the answer.

If you ever travel with a cowboy hat, rest it crown up on the seat back tray to avoid any damage. Be sure to thank the flight attendants and, once you see that everyone is watching some sort of video content, take a break from any in-flight entertainment you may be enjoying, and look out the window once in a while. The Grand Canyon looks awesome from high in the air. The World is an amazing place to see!