Friday, July 1, 2011 | Edited by Daniel Moores
||Auto $ Drive Online: Dealers Earmark 32 Percent for Web Media Buys
A decade ago, the nation's auto dealers were spending the lion's share of their ad budgets on newspapers and local magazines.
"Online spending was negligible," according to Kip Cassino, executive vice president at Borrell Associates.
Many local magazines have vanished, and newspapers have seen their print classified auto ad revenues plunge from $4.8 billion in 2001 to $1.2 billion last year. However, online media has absorbed much of the fallout, and now receives the bulk of auto dealers' ad dollars.
Indeed, dealers are now earmarking 32% of their budgets for online media buys, according to a new Borrell report authored by Cassino.
"The biggest beneficiaries are a few key players at the local level that serve dealerships with everything from listings, photos, leads, Web site development, keyword buys and search engine optimization," according to Cassino.
"It's difficult to sort all the players because of the various partnerships to share traffic, leads and content," he added. "But the most formidable players at the local level are the ones who sell directly to the dealers."
They include Autotrader.com, with revenues of $720 million last year; daily newspapers -- including Cars.com -- with online auto revenues of about $525 million; and local TV stations, with revenues of $300 million.
Other contenders include Vehix, Autobytel, Dealer.com, Source Interlink Media -- Automotive.com and MotorTrend.com -- eBay Motors and Yahoo Autos.
In Borrell's ongoing surveys of small and medium-sized businesses, auto dealers clearly have the highest interest in the Web among other local advertisers. They buy banners and listings principally from local newspapers' Web sites, but are also buying ads on local directory -- "Yellow Pages" -- sites, and local radio and TV sites.
"It's really not surprising, especially for the newspapers, TV and radio stations that have merely leveraged their existing sales relationships into online buys," notes Cassino.
As such, only 13% of auto advertisers said they did not plan to buy online banners, or listings from any local media company this year. That percentage is considerably smaller than for local retailers, health-care professionals and real-estate agents, who shun local sites at a higher rate.
Going forward, Borrell is forecasting a sevenfold increase in targeted banners, from $165 million in 2010 to $1.2 billion in 2015, and a 2.5-fold increase in video advertising, from $107 million to $263 million.
"While dealer advertising via video sounds like a great idea, we must note that $262 million is a virtual drop in the bucket when spread across all local markets," Cassino adds. "Video is a fantastic branding format, and we believe auto dealers won't see nearly as much branding value with fragmented audiences online as they see with mass audiences in television."
(Source: Online Media Daily, 06/23/11)
||We Welcome Mobile Ads -- Just Not Too Many
Marketers be aware: U.S. consumers are open to the idea of getting offers on their mobile phones (particularly offers from their wireless companies), but they don't want to be inundated with them.
According to Upstream, a provider of mobile marketing technology, and Luth Research, 70% of smartphone owners are interested in being notified by their carriers about offers such as cell phone plan upgrades, discounts and special offers. The mobile carriers, in fact, were preferred sources of this information, even more so than deal providers like Groupon or LivingSocial. According to the survey of more than 2,000 customers, 28% of cell phone users trusted their mobile service provider, while only 4% trusted the deal sites.
"Carriers are closing the gap on brands with respect to consumer openness and receiving marketing alerts," Michael Linnert, North American General Manager for Upstream, tells Marketing Daily. "They interact with their customers regularly through new phone and plan purchases, customer support, billing, and other factors that make up the customer experience."
But when using mobile marketing, restraint is advised. According to the survey, 74% of cell phone users preferred less than two notices from their carriers each month, while 56% said they would like the opportunity to specify the number of notices they receive from their service provider.
"Brands have a limited number of opportunities to connect with their customers and prospects over mobile," Linnert says. "This limit of two alerts per month places a huge premium on making each interaction with a consumer count through optimized communications."
Ignoring these boundaries can have serious consequences. More than half (56%) of the consumers said they would change carriers if they were contacted more than that, a quarter of those people said they would make such a change within a month.
"Mobile is not a broadcast, volume- or spam-driven game, but rather a very personal medium. If brands do not respect the personal nature of mobile and 'over-contact' their customers, it can have dire consequences, such as opt-outs and churn," Linnert says. "Even if customers do not opt-out or leave, they will develop a 'blind spot' regarding messages that come from an overly aggressive brand or carrier, and there will be a precipitous drop in response and conversion rates."
(Source: Marketing Daily, 06/22/11)
||Why Interactive Retail is a MUST for Today's Tech-Savvy Shopper
Technology has changed consumers' view of in-store shopping. Online shopping and mobile access to information via smartphones allow consumers to determine -- prior to setting foot in a store -- the product they want, at the price they want, from a store with the biggest variety.
Today's shopper looks for a new, more convenient, informative and engaging in-store experience; one providing all the benefits of online shopping, with the primary advantages to shopping in person, the ability to touch and try the desired product and leave the store with it in hand.
Buying confidence is greatly affected by technology: 60 percent of shoppers rated online reviews as more important than in-store employees, traditional media and social networking.
Savvy customers prefer researching products online rather than speaking with store staff and 51 percent of shoppers said consumer-written online reviews are influential towards purchasing a certain product.
Interactive retail can bring together the best of "brick and mortar" and online to deliver a truly engaging customer experience.
Customers know more than salespeople
With more consumers becoming empowered with pre-purchase information through online resources, salespeople are often at a disadvantage as their customers become more knowledgeable about the prospective product.
Meanwhile, retailers try to hire the best sales people available, but face common challenges related to training and retention.
In-store smartphone research influenced 39 percent of walk-outs:
- 55 percent of retailers believe shoppers are better connected to information than store associates
- 87 percent of retailers agree consumers using online shopping tools and price-comparison apps can easily find better deals
Shoppers have more information:
- 12 percent went online to check other retailers' prices
- 8 percent checked product availability at other retailers' stores
- A 2010 study showed 49 percent of shoppers used two or more (online, mobile or in-store kiosk) technologies to shop, a 36 percent increase over 2009
Shoppers have better information:
- 39 percent of consumers read eight or more reviews (versus 22 percent in 2007)
- 50 percent say a lack of reviews degrades trust in a product; 38 percent say a lack of negative reviews degrades their trust
- 57 percent of consumers consult online reviews and peer recommendations prior to buying electronics
- 41 percent are more likely to share negative product experiences online via Twitter or by writing a review
This data points to a serious need among mobile retailers to better equip their salespeople and stores with additional technology and information.
By allowing shared access to product and rate plan information in-store, wireless retail staff can use interactive technology, like touchscreen kiosks, to guide shoppers through the purchasing steps -- presenting a familiar interface that brings elements of online and mobile shopping experiences directly in-store.
Operationally, retailers use these interactive terminals to equip salespeople with the same information that shoppers have. They train staff on products, increase sales effectiveness, boost productivity and commissions, and ultimately improve retention.
Bridging the gap between online and brick-and mortar retail
Because shoppers seek an informative, engaging and efficient buying experience, a combination of technology and service is the best approach to grab their attention and keep them browsing in-store.
This is especially true of mobile phone shoppers. In spite of being able to research product prices on the web, they still need to visit a physical store to try out the device.
A 2010 Accenture survey found that customers prefer to buy mobile devices in-store, while retailers can effectively upsell and cross-sell, as well as teach customers how to use the available products and services. Retailers must "introduce technologies such as interactive digital displays, video assistants, social networking technologies and Wi-Fi networks that enable shoppers to remain connected with trusted people and information while they are in the store."
Comparing Good and Bad Mobile Phone Shopping Experiences
Good experiences give customers what they want... quickly.
A 2009 study conducted by the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania found that great shopping experiences are characterized by five elements:
- Engagement: Being polite, genuinely caring and demonstrating sincere interest while helping and listening
- Execution: Patient explanation and advice, checking stock, having product knowledge and providing unexpected product quality
- Brand Experience: Exciting store design, consistently great product quality, making customers feel they're special and that they always "get a deal"
- Expediting: Being sensitive to customers' time and long checkout lines, and being proactive in helping speed up the shopping process
- Problem Recovery: Helping resolve and compensate for problems, upgrading quality and ensuring complete shopper satisfaction
Identifying negative shopping experiences
To create the ultimate in-store experience, retailers must also examine errors with the current process. Surveys found negative phone shopping experiences to include:
Long waits for help
28 percent of walk-outs ended with an average of $132 unspent due to out-of-stocks, limited salesperson assistance and long check-out processes.
Over 50 percent of associates said they had little time to help customers because of pressure to complete other tasks.
Retailers have yet to invest in technology that meets the price-comparison needs of tech-savvy shoppers.
Limited selection/out of stocks
34 percent of retail managers cited frustration when notified of an out of stock item after getting complaints, instead of knowing ahead of time.
In the end, wireless retailers must offer a convenient and engaging in-store experience. It's really about giving customers the product they want, while providing the pleasant shopping experience they demand.
(Source: Chris Krywulak, CEO of iQmetrix, in WirelessWeek, 06/22/11)
Daily Sales Tip: Is Content King In Social As Well As Traditional?
In radio, program directors and managers know "content is king." The same holds true for your social media sites.
Whether it is your station social site, that of your personalities, or your own social site you use to market yourself, make sure your content is worth reading.
Amanda Palmer, lead singer of The Dresden Dolls, has amassed nearly a half million Twitter followers according to David Meerman Scott's e-book, 11 Examples of Online Marketing Success. Palmer has had limited success musically. Billboard shows her best album sold fewer than 150,000 copies. However, Palmer uses her social media reach to sell products. In a few hours she rallied her fans to buy $11,000 worth of T-Shirts by Tweeting the offer.
Palmer gives this advice to anyone using social media: "Before you start using Twitter as a promotional tool, take a step back and examine your product carefully. Make sure it provides the promised value because no amount of social networking can compensate for that."
Use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, SlideShare, Flickr and other social networks as the tactics for your commercial and self-promotion, but first develop your social media strategy that includes content your audience will find worthwhile.
Source: John Potter, VP/Training, RAB