The landscape of the web is ever changing and evolving as the environment is defined by new entrants with new business models and incumbents working to maintain and protect what revenue they have. Staying on top of this is key as these changes impact where you can derive maximum value from your marketing spend. In the past, mainstream adoption of technology and the internet was generally led by the development of intuitive interfaces and authenticated walled gardens of content where users feel safe to roam. It was not until the first of the graphical browsers turned up like Mosaic and Netscape, along with online communities like Apples’ eWorld that the person in the street experienced the power of the web in finding relevant content, even if it was only to download Doom and read the odd text based email.
Next to none of the original internet players still exist and even the companies that replaced them have in turn come and gone. The largest players with deepest pockets like Yahoo! still struggle to survive and despite the best efforts of Marissa Mayer, it will not last in its current form. So while we are in a period of change, we are always in a period of change and our strategies need to evolve and keep up. Our buyers are bold adopters of new things and quickly form different web based habits and allegiances. The rise and fall of Pokemon Go is testament to this. What will remain as a legacy is the tangible benefit that location based augmented reality games can bring businesses. Did you setup your Pokemon Go Gym?
Change does bring opportunity and we are going through a period where content on the web is becoming more fragmented across many more marketplaces. In the past this would have been seen as a potential problem as it was hard to distribute data between many marketplaces and even if this was achieved the customers could not find or locate the products or services. Things have changed and the transfer of data such as vehicle listings is relativity cheap and the ability to search the web for content is relatively easy. Your customers now don’t need a single large marketplace to find product as they look through the web as Google sees it; content is now found on many more niche and dedicated sites. Have a look at the courier parcels turning up at your workplace for your team, a couple of years ago these were originated from one or two online marketplaces only. Now they will be coming from far and wide from both international and domestic web based marketplaces. The cheese has move and will move again and again.
In the automotive retail world, it is not any different and at AutoPlay we have the advantage of seeing a huge number of customer leads each day and the trend in the distribution of leads is changing. If conducted well, leads generated by a dealerships own activity either based around a physical event or a solely online campaign are outweighing the traditional online marketplace. Mixing media, marketplaces and online communities through a coordinated campaign is a winner for driving customer engagement. Search providers are competing directly with content providers and the lines are being blurred. Google serves up more content than most marketplaces and Facebook is enhancing it’s search to more effectively reach outside its own domain and is rapidly deploying its own marketplace.
Finding the value and ensuring any web spend is optimised requires a plan, nothing complex, it just needs to follow or drive the customers journey through to a purchase. It needs to complete a loop and be integrated into a complete plan; any spend in isolation is wasted spend. For example, if you are currently spending on Google remarketing and you are driving as many customers as possible back to your website, you will not be leveraging the true value from this spend. Start with a customer touch point within your business and then work through the customer journey. If a customer emails you, how are you and your team responding? Does the response include links to bring the customer to your website to view a video or access more information? If you do, from that point you have them in your re-marketing net, if not, you are not leveraging this spend to the maximum. Does creating the odd post on Facebook and running a few Facebook ads generate any value, where are these leads being captured and measured? Is this activity linked to other above the line marketing and where does the call to action leave the customer sitting?
Keeping track of your customer leads is a great way of measuring your return on investment. What leads are coming from what spend and what is the cost of acquiring each of those leads? How are you keeping the engagement going with those customers after spending the upfront cost of acquiring the leads the first time around? Is your traditional online spending still working for you? Should you start to include other options that could be lower cost but add more value? Technology easily allows you to cover many bases effectively.
At AutoPlay our Sales Pipeline product is underpinned by the ‘AutoPlay Philosophy’ which is our management of those customers deemed as lost through our Live Leads remarketing engine. This forms the remarketing loop by keeping the potential customer engaged through updated vehicle listing and video. Again the goal is to keep bringing the customer to a point of re-engagement based on relevant reinforcement of the sales proposition.
Never before have we had so much control over our customers at such low cost, it does require some work and thought but the quality of the leads is generally higher and more qualified as you touch them a number of times. Being everywhere your customers are or are heading to on the web is becoming easier and easier, however any online activity needs a defined start and end to keep the customer engaged on the path to a sale.
AutoPlay Sales Pipeline is a pre-sales lead management tool designed for dealerships, dealer groups and automakers