Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Grill up Some Dealership Marketing Success

Grilled steak
The weather is starting to cool off, meaning that if your grill isn't reserved for football game tailgates, it's likely already in storage for the winter. But down here in Texas, it's almost always grilling season, and it's hard to beat a big, juicy grilled steak.

As easy as grilling the perfect steak might sound, steak is fickle and can become tough if you're not careful. Likewise, when your dealership is trying to create a rich marketing campaign, it's just as easy for things to go bad quickly.

If you're craving a delectable steak and want to make your dealership's marketing campaigns as enticing as a filet mignon from a high-end steakhouse, here are some tips for you.

Don't Overcook It

How you like you steak prepared — whether it's rare, medium or well done — is entirely up to you. While some of us might prefer a medium-rare steak, even a well-done steak can be tasty. But no matter how you like it, you usually cut into it to make sure it's not too dry.

Marketing campaigns can end up dry too. If you let a campaign run too long, it can start looking tired and overused to your potential customers. You need to make sure the campaign is producing your desired results. If it is, great job! If not, put it on pause and take it back to make it perfect. Be sure you have a way to measure marketing impact so you know when a campaign isn't generating leads anymore.

Know When to Keep It Simple

The temperature of your cooked steak can dictate flavor, but seasoning and marinades can play big roles as well. While complex marinades are perfectly acceptable, you should consider using a basic seasoning if you want the meat to speak for itself. Sauces and marinades can complement a prime cut of beef, but a simple sprinkle of salt and pepper will allow the steak's natural flavor to shine.

The steak, which is the focus of the flavor, is a bit like the message you want to convey in your marketing campaigns. Marinades, sauces and seasonings are like the ways you try to draw attention to your campaigns. It's easy to let the bells and whistles — such as a script-heavy website or a big PR stunt — take precedence over the message. Use only as many attention-grabbing techniques as you need, because using too many can smother your original message, leaving prospects wondering what you're even selling.

Occasionally Go Against the Grain

There are many cuts of steak to choose from when you want to grill some meat, but most are pretty similar in thickness and shape. If you want to try something really different, look at a "cowboy cut" rib eye — just make sure you grill it right. Since it's a thick, bone-in cut, the cowboy cut can't just be thrown on the grill for a few minutes. It takes longer to cook over low heat and must be flipped frequently. That time investment can create a dinner that's a little different and delicious.

It might take more time to see success when you stray from your traditional approach, but a new approach can be worth the wait if it's done right. Much like how you don't want to overextend your traditional campaigns or use too many bells and whistles, a new approach should follow the same pattern. Just be sure you take the time to make it right, because even a minor mistake can be expensive and damage your dealership's brand.

So how do you like your marketing campaigns prepared? Do you like to keep them simple and on-message, or do you go the extra mile to make them stand out? Let us know in the comments.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Data-Backed Decisions Can Take Your Sales to Stellar Heights

Children pretend to be astronauts
Do you think the engineers planning the Mars missions haphazardly lob rockets into space hoping they make it to Mars? When billions of dollars of infrastructure and hardware are at risk, a ton of data collection and research go into every little decision.

Collecting and using data to make marketing, sales and training decisions can set you apart from your competitors, but ignoring the information available to you can send your dealership toward disaster. Here's how you can use the right data to your advantage.

Improve the Sales Process

Data collection needs to be a priority for your company so you can more efficiently direct your marketing and training efforts. Surveys after a sale can give you information on why customers picked a particular vehicle, why they picked your dealership and how they felt about the sales process. Recording and monitoring calls can also give you insight into how reps are performing.

For long-term improvement of your sales process, you're going to need more than just accurate contact data. Detailed demographics of your customers can reveal what kind of features they're looking for, how they feel about one brand over another and even where your sales process might be faltering.

Know What the Customer Wants

If you knew a customer were shopping for a certain type of car with certain features, wouldn't it benefit you to put a targeted ad in front of their eyes before they visited one of your competitors? Wouldn't you like to know some key pain points that might make them change their preferred make or model? Knowing what a customer is looking for before your competitor does gives you the perfect opportunity to strike while the iron is hot.

Data also gives you insight into which advertising methods are working and which ones aren't. Paying for ineffective advertising doesn't do anybody any good. Tracking lead sources, whether through phone calls, clicks or search terms will allow you to focus your efforts on the more successful sources.

Meeting Customers' Expectations

Dealerships are frequently happy to let sales figures do the talking. After all, if a rep isn't make sales, there must be a problem. Having access to performance data and being able to see where that sales rep is falling short can give you insight into how to improve their training. Don't buy into the myth that training should have a one-size-fits-all approach. Everybody has a different way of learning.

Meeting customers' expectations and providing stellar service can be the difference between them sticking with you or leaving for your competitor. Most Americans have given up on a transaction at some point because of a poor service experience, and the majority of those who have done so likely won't consider you again once they leave. Improved data analysis leads to better training and happier customers.

The next time you want to make decisions on the fly, take a moment to realize how much you can learn from the data. Otherwise, "Houston, we have a problem," because dealership margins are too slim for dealers to be making haphazard and unguided decisions.

Monday, October 10, 2016

[INFOGRAPHIC] Customer Service: The Forgotten Marketing Channel

How does your customer service look? If you've been neglecting training your staff, you might be suffering consequences you don't even know about. For example, did you know that 89 percent of consumers stopped doing business with a company after a poor experience?

Check out the infographic below for more shocking customer service statistics.

Infographic - Customer Service: The Forgotten Marketing Channel

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

(Snack) Attack Your Marketing and Sales

An assortment of snack foods
One of the most relevant subjects to the human race is food.

Brace yourselves (and maybe grab a snack); a lot of food talk follows.

We absolutely love food. And rightfully so — it’s delicious. Most of us consume it at least three times a day to keep our bodies going from sun up to sun down. We prepare it ourselves. We pay restaurant chefs to make it. We wait in lines of vehicles to take it on the go. The list goes on and on.

But perhaps the most underrated food form is the good ol’ afternoon snack. So grab your favorite tasty treat and nibble on these marketing and sales tips.

Take Advantage of Chip... Er, Cheap But Effective Options

A bag of tortilla chips paired with a nice big bowl of zesty salsa is a cheap but effective way to fill you up. Can a snack get any better than that? If you said no, you’re wrong. That might sound harsh, but we’re serious about our chips and dip here. The only downfall to this tasty snack is that some chips are going to break off into the salsa, leaving you half-chipless and completely dipless. It’s a sad but inevitable truth. But don’t fret, because your next dipped chip will return the savory goodness back to your eager taste buds.

Similarly, starting a new social media campaign is a low-budget way to upgrade your marketing. Posting on social media sites costs you nothing (except for a small portion of your time), but it can increase the reach of your marketing activities significantly. Unfortunately, new content is posted so often that some posts tend to get lost in the salsa that is social media. On the bright side, the accelerated content turnover allows you to post as frequently as you desire, so you can make up for any posts that get swallowed up.

Create the Perfect Mix 

Trail mix is quite possibly the most diverse (and deliciously nutritious) snack on the shelves. What makes trail mix so great? Every single ingredient is essential to perfecting the overall concoction. Each has an individual purpose. Without the nuts, you wouldn’t have the salty component. Without the M&Ms, you wouldn’t have the sweetness. Without the raisins… well, you get the picture. With every ingredient you add, the trail mix continues to improve.

With that in mind, implementing an advertising campaign with diverse components is an effective way to boost your marketing. Using a variety of platforms like social media, direct mail, mobile marketing and traditional media can increase your ROI by 24 percent. Each platform gives your company a better chance of reaching your target market, so add some new marketing channels into the mix for your next campaign.

Get It While It’s Hot!

Whether you prefer your popcorn buttered, salted, caramelized, or heck, even kettled, we can all agree that it's best when it's fresh and hot. Some like to savor the flavor and take time eating it, even setting it aside to save for later. We don't judge these outcasts, but we do have some advice: Don’t wait too long to eat it, or it’ll get cold and stale.

Leads are the same way — you need to capture them while they’re still hot. When new leads pop up, it’s crucial that your sales team take action immediately before the leads turn cold and stale. In fact, 35-50 percent of sales go to the sales team that contacts customers first. Responding with urgency so you’re the first to contact a lead can make a huge difference in your business’s conversions.

Want to chip in some of your own marketing and sales tips? Dip into the comments below to let us know.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

How Mario Can Help You Save Customer Calls

The classic Mario games presented a way for people of all ages — adults included — to have some video game fun. Whether you prefer to play the games on a Nintendo 64, GameCube or Wii, you’re bound to have a good time.
Animated video game landscape
You can learn a lot from these games, like how to dodge a Koopa shell, or how to strategically maneuver around other characters. Even better, you can learn how to up your game with customer interactions. Wait, what? That’s right; Mario can help your business. Let a couple of our favorite Mario games teach you how.

Super Mario Bros.

Super Mario Bros. provides endless hours of obstacles and levels. Each world and villain creates a new way to challenge your gaming skills while helping Mario rescue Princess Toadstool from the evil Bowser.

Your company may have some Princess Toadstools that need to be saved too. The challenges you face when contacting customers probably aren’t turtle shells or fire-spewing plants, but poor call etiquette could be just as hefty a barrier blocking you from business prospects. Have no fear, there's a way you can rescue some of those mishandled calls.

Monitor your sales reps’ conversations when they’re talking to customers on the phone. By sitting in on calls or reviewing call recordings, you’ll be able to pinpoint what led to a lost customer and tailor employee training to limit that risk. As an alternative, you could outsource the call monitoring and have call evaluation professionals notify you of missed sales opportunities.

Mario Kart

Similar to Super Mario Bros., Mario Kart allows you to use devices such as banana peels, ink blots and Koopa shells to deter competing carts in the race. Mario Kart also has several racetracks with various hurdles such as icy roads and sand. Your business is also competing in a race. But instead of competing in a video game race, you’re seeing who can get to a potential customer the fastest. 

In Mario Kart it’s not unheard of to distract and sabotage competitors, but if you focus on boosting your speed and enhancing your abilities, you’re more likely get to the finish line the fastest. The same idea applies to your business. Instead of focusing on how to divert competitors, focus on how to reach customers the fastest. Since you’re 21 times more likely to qualify a lead by contacting them within 5 minutes versus 30 minutes, it’s imperative to increase your response time. To do so, dedicate an employee to lead response or invest in a tool that'll notify you of online leads. By increasing your response time, you’ll better your odds of winning the race to the customer.

What's your favorite Mario Game? 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Improve Your ROI and Customer Service by Digging in to ‘Jurassic World’

Jurassic World movie poster
Image courtesy IMDb
“Jurassic World” was one of the most highly anticipated movies of 2015, and with roughly $1.67 billion in box office sales, it clearly didn’t disappoint. The fourth film in a series of entertaining attempts at recreating dinosaurs dug up roughly two decades worth of nostalgia fossilized in its fans.

The first anniversary of the flick got us thinking of a few takeaways that you could use to improve your business activities.

Aside from the obvious recommendation to never recreate dinosaurs, we found that “Jurassic World” also provides some helpful hints to increase your ROI and enhance your customer service.

Know What Your Assets Are Made Of

One important factor that contributed to the downfall of the Jurassic World theme park was the ignorance of what the terrorizing creature known as Indominus Rex — or “the asset” as it’s casually called in the film — actually was. Apparently a 40-foot killing machine (a T. Rex) wasn’t entertaining enough, so the park scientists decided to make a dinosaur that would be more exciting for the public. The result? A cocktail of classified creatures’ genes, making Indominus Rex the first genetically modified hybrid dinosaur ever created. There’s no way that could ever go wrong.

Since the park crew was unaware of the hybrid’s genetic characteristics, they failed miserably in their attempts to corral Indominus Rex once she broke loose from her enclosure. Had they known what the dinosaur was capable of, we imagine their approach would have changed significantly.

Likewise, knowing the characteristics of your target audience typically gives you a better idea of how to market to them. So how do you improve your knowledge of prospective customers?

By using a call tracking software, you can generate call reports that may provide information like callers’ zip codes, age groups and average income so you know exactly who’s in your market. This information enables you to adjust each marketing campaign to best fit customers within certain demographics. If you want to round up a lot of leads, we suggest acquiring as much information as possible on your target market.

Have Professionals Ready to Step In

If a giant, dangerous dinosaur gets loose, the last thing you want is for it to reach people. You need to do whatever it takes to regain control. In the movie, the park managers opt to send in an "expert" team to take down Indominus Rex, equipping them with glorified stun guns. By the time they elected to employ the abilities of Owen Grady, an expert dinosaur trainer — yes, dinosaur trainer — it was far too late.

Like in the movie, if an asset (client) gets away, you don’t want them reaching competitors. If a dinosaur trainer is unavailable to retrieve your lost leads, we recommend engaging the expertise of call monitoring professionals. The professionals will listen to your recorded calls to identify any missed sales opportunities. They'll alert you if a lead needs to be recovered, and you can either rectify the situation personally or assign it to a sales rep. While you could listen to every call on your own to find these escaped leads, they'll likely be long gone by the time you uncover them.

Tracking Solutions Are Ultimate Resources

You didn’t think a single human could take down a colossal dinosaur, did you? Even a dinosaur trainer as remarkable as Grady needed the help of his team of Velociraptors. Despite the glaring concerns of releasing a group of known killers (reference any of the first three films), the raptors complete the mission by using their exceptional tracking skills to find Indominus Rex and eventually bring her down.

Create your own tracking team that’s as relentless as the Velociraptors. If your business is struggling to take down the competitor, put together a group of call tracking solutions to boost your business’ ROI. Inbound lead tracking helps determine your most effective marketing campaigns so your business can focus on the advertisements generating optimal returns. Outbound lead tracking monitors and tracks your employees’ calls, which increases accountability among staff and encourages elite performance. With a team of tracking solutions, your company has the resources to take down its competition.

Love business tips from featured films? Check out these dealership marketing tips from the Griswolds.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

How Lessons from 'Sixteen Candles' Can Help Your Dealership Court the Right Customers

Sixteen Candles stars Samantha and Jake sit by a birthday cake
Image courtesy Universal Pictures
Since we've been in the mood for classic '80s movies lately, we followed "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" with another John Hughes film, "Sixteen Candles." It tells the story of a budding high school romance thrown into chaos by a number of outside influences, which overwhelms the lead character, Samantha Baker, as she tries to make a connection with her crush, Jake Ryan.

When you're trying to connect with your crush — we mean your dealership's customers — it's easy for things to spiral out of control due to unexpected circumstances. Maybe you're wasting time and money on a campaign your potential customers have already forgotten, or perhaps you're sending mixed messages to your audience, confusing them and sending them to other dealerships.

If you're struggling to find that special marketing spark with your customers, here are three marketing lessons we can learn from "Sixteen Candles."

Remember the Important Things

The movie starts out with Samantha waking up on her 16th birthday — a day everyone looks forward to. But to her dismay, her family forgets all about her birthday!

It might surprise you to learn that, like Samantha's birthday, some of your marketing campaigns are being forgotten and ignored by your potential customers. Likewise, you might be forgetting some of your better campaigns if you're focusing your time and money on weaker campaigns. Be sure you know how your campaigns are performing so you can get the most out of your marketing budget.

Since many consider phone calls the best lead source, applying unique toll-free numbers to your marketing campaigns and tracking the resulting calls can help you pinpoint which campaigns are working and which ones aren't. That way, you're not forgetting anything.

Send a Clear Message

Samantha doesn't just feel forgotten by her family but also by her big crush, Jake. In fact, Jake doesn't seem to know Samantha even exists before she accidentally drops a piece of paper on which she had written her true feelings. Jake becomes interested in Samantha after finding the paper, but keeps hitting a wall when he wants to contact her. He tries calling her house, but her grandparents pick up the phone and promptly turn him away. Uh-oh! Then he tries going to her house in person, but, due to a miscommunication, he believes Samantha is getting married, when her sister is actually the one planning a wedding. Even bigger uh-oh!

If your marketing campaigns aren't sending a consistent message, it can confuse your customers and cost you sales, just as a miscommunication causes Jake to think his chances with Samantha are over. Be sure your marketing messages are consistent across all outlets — from traditional advertising to social media to your website. Customers will turn the other way if you can't back up something that was promised in one campaign and not another.

Pursue the Right Relationships

As if Samantha doesn't have enough going on, she also has to deal with Ted, a geeky freshman who badgers Samantha for attention just to win a bet with some friends. It all begins when he moves to Samantha's seat on the bus. Ted tries to make conversation, but Samantha isn't having any of it. His annoying advances continue for much of the movie.

Don't let your dealership be a Ted to your customers. Some people simply don't want to receive unsolicited calls, which is why they sign up for do-not-call (DNC) lists. If you're placing calls to numbers on the federal DNC registry, you could face large fines and a damaged reputation. To protect yourself, use a call tracking software that flags numbers on the DNC registry and keeps you in compliance.

Jake, Samantha and Ted aren't the only lovable movie characters we can learn about marketing from. Check out some of the lessons we took from Forrest Gump.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

How the Flash Can Help You Improve Your Dealership

The Flash running
Image courtesy of IMDB
In the television series "The Flash," Barry Allen struggles to balance the demands of his personal life with the demands of being the Flash. Whether you're a superhero or an automotive dealership, life tends to throw curveballs when you least expect them.

For the Flash, those curveballs have been epic battles with meta-humans wielding crazy superpowers. Conversely, dealerships might have struggling marketing campaigns or unhappy customers to deal with.

If you need help measuring your marketing success or providing speedy, awesome service to your customers, take a few tips from the Flash to keep your dealership in the Speed Force.

Always Be Prepared

The Flash rarely goes into any situation without preparing for it. That’s because with preparedness comes the confidence to take on the challenges of the day. Flash understands this and frequently trains on his Cosmic Treadmill or heads to S.T.A.R. Labs to hone his amazing abilities. In many instances, the Flash and his team of scientists analyze threats ahead of time so they understand how to best conquer them. It’s not always easy, but one way or another, Flash finds a way to be prepared for whatever he comes up against.

For a marketer, being prepared means knowing who you're targeting when you launch a campaign. For example, if you’re marketing luxury automobiles, do you get more customers with campaign messaging that focuses on price or on luxurious features? Using your incoming call data to analyze location, age group and average income levels to make sure your campaigns target the right groups.

Push Yourself to Improve

Thanks to mechanical engineering genius Cisco Ramon, the Flash is kept up-to-date on everything that goes on in his city. Via his meta-human tracing technology, Ramon seamlessly alerts Flash to any threats. Although he knows about all the threats, there are some situations where the Flash needs to learn a new ability to defeat his foe. In those times, Flash commits himself to mastering a new technique so that he’s more powerful than ever before. Whether it’s a five-alarm fire or another meta-human terrorizing citizens, the Flash constantly pushes himself beyond his limits to keep the city safe.

Evolving and improving is just as crucial to marketers in today’s digital age. Social media and other technologies require us to constantly change with the world around us, because a clever campaign might go viral one day and be forgotten the next. Always track the success of your campaigns so you can cut the campaigns that don't keep pace and focus your time and money on successful campaigns — until they, too, run out of speed.

Know When to Ask Questions

It’s easy to get caught up in wanting to impress others by not asking for help, but that can lead to costly mistakes. Despite his amazing powers, the Flash is never above asking questions at S.T.A.R. Labs or leaning on family and friends for support and encouragement.

Just as the Flash knows when he needs help with a situation, your employees should know that they have resources and opportunities to help them get better at their jobs. One way to help your sales team improve is to record incoming and outgoing calls and review them for mistakes. If a common mistake is found, you can help management tailor training for specific employees to keep those mistakes from happening again.

Whether you’re trying to stay in front of marketing trends, improve employee training or manage the many leads your awesome marketing is undoubtedly bringing in, we can all strive to be a bit more like the Flash.

If you think your marketing can’t quite keep up with the Flash, check out our post “Shift Your Marketing into High Gear.”

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Lessons in Marketing As Taught by Ferris Bueller

Ferris Bueller drives a Ferrari
Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures
The school year is wrapping up for many students across the country, so we popped the iconic '80s film "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" into the DVD player (we lost our VHS copy — and our VHS player) so we could reminisce about some of our own experiences playing hooky from school.

In case you need a refresher, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" is about a popular high school senior who skips school with his girlfriend and best friend to have an adventure in Chicago before graduating.

Believe it or not, Ferris Bueller and his principal, Mr. Rooney, provide some useful lessons for how to approach your dealership's marketing (just don’t skip out on work — you’ll likely get fired if you do).

Be Creative and Strategic

Throughout the film, Ferris seems to be inches away from getting caught and sent back to school, but his creativity helps him always stay one step ahead. His most creative diversion is when he takes advantage of the mind-blowing speed of high school gossip in order to convince the entire school and community that he's extremely ill, minimizing the chances that school staff will come after him — all but Mr. Rooney. Ferris's creativity makes him a natural-born marketer, except that he uses his creativity to market his own popularity rather than a product or business.

While Ferris uses his creativity to divert attention away from his day off, being creative and adaptable can help your business stand out from other dealerships and get the attention you want. For example, let's look at word-of-mouth advertising. It might be enough for your competitors to sit back and let a customer tell their uncle about a good experience, but what if they share that good experience on social media or a review website like Yelp? If your customers are bragging about you on the Internet, you need to be creative in leveraging those posts within your own social media marketing. Let people know your customers are happy.

However, as priceless as positive word-of-mouth is, negative word-of-mouth reactions can be absolutely devastating (especially since people are more likely to share negative experiences). You need to be prepared for negative reviews and have creative ways to address them.

Don't be a Rooney

One of the funniest aspects of the whole movie is the plight of Mr. Rooney to prove that Ferris is a masterful liar who isn't actually sick. Mr. Rooney becomes obsessed with catching Ferris and ends up in some ridiculous situations, including a phone conversation he thinks he's having with irate parents. Of course, we know the offended father is actually Cameron, Ferris's best friend.

If call tracking software had been around in the 1980s, especially if it synced to a database of student information, Mr. Rooney would have seen the caller's information and saved himself a lot of unwanted embarrassment. Knowing who is calling your dealership can spare you some embarrassment as well. Inbound call tracking that syncs with your dealership's CRM can help you manage all the customer information that comes in on a daily basis. Don't humiliate yourself in the search for customer information like Rooney does in his search for Ferris.

Know What's Going On

Ferris has a knack for tricking people into doing his bidding. Much like Ferris baffles Mr. Rooney through an awkward phone conversation with Cameron, Ferris conceals his true identity through a confusing exchange with a maƮtre d' to get a table at an upscale restaurant. Time and time again, Ferris makes people look foolish because they don't know what's really going on.

Not knowing what's going on with your marketing campaigns can make you look pretty foolish too, especially if you don't realize one of your most expensive campaigns isn't actually working. To measure the success of your marketing campaigns, take advantage of the value of phone leads by applying unique toll-free numbers to different pieces of advertising. By tracking the resulting calls you can find out which campaigns are performing to expectations and which should be cut to improve your marketing ROI.

Ferris always finds ways to stay a step ahead of his pursuers. If you want to see some ways automotive brands have stayed a step ahead of the competition, check out these great auto marketing campaigns!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Shift Your Marketing into High Gear

Race track pit zone sign
Car racing seems so simple on the surface, especially on oval circuits like Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the prestigious Indianapolis 500. The drivers just jump in and drive in circles for a couple hours, right? How hard can it be?

The reality is that propelling a highly-technical machine at speeds of more than 200 mph around an oval course is an extremely difficult (and expensive) venture. For more than 100 years, car builders and race teams have pushed the envelope of technology and human endurance in search of more and more speed at the Indy 500.

Winning one of the world's most famous auto races takes a complicated combination of people doing their jobs right and machinery making it to the end (500 miles, to be exact). Much like a great marketing campaign, everything has to come together if you're going to be celebrating in Victory Lane.

We've written about the relationship between marketing and auto racing before, but as we gear up for the 100th running of the Indy 500 this month, we realized there are a few things we can learn about dealership marketing and sales from this big race.

Learn How to Gauge Success

For many IndyCar teams, victory is the only mark of success. But did you know that just three teams have accounted for 11 of the last 16 Indy 500 victories? Team Penske won five of those, including the 2015 edition of the race, and holds the most Indy 500 wins of all time with 16. When certain teams are so dominant, even a top-5 finish for less-resourced teams can be considered a huge success.

IndyCar teams have a pretty easy way to gauge their success since a top-5 finish is certainly better than a top-15 finish. But how can you gauge the success of your marketing efforts when there's no clear way to see how a particular campaign is performing against another campaign or an expected average?

Applying unique toll-free numbers to different campaigns and tracking the resulting calls will help you understand which campaigns are generating leads and giving you a quantifiable return on investment. Doing so will help you know if you have a contender for the podium or a campaign that's heading for the pits early.

Always Try to Improve Your Service

Being on a team's pit crew is much more challenging than simply changing a tire occasionally. Even one minor slip-up can cost a team precious seconds and positions in the running order. Being a strong, cohesive pit crew takes a ton of practice and training. In fact, IndyCar even holds a pit-stop challenge before the Indy 500, rewarding the fastest crew with $50,000.

Much like how one mistake in the pits can cost a team a win, one mistake by your sales rep on the phone with a customer can cost you that sale and thousands of dollars in the process. Stack those mistakes over time and you would be looking for a new sales rep. Recording and reviewing calls will help you identify when these mistakes happen so that you can not only make an effort to save the potential lost lead but also improve your training programs so the reps know what mistakes to avoid.

Take Advantage of Technology

Gone are the days of sticking a big engine in a lightweight chassis and sending it around the Speedway's oval at insane speeds. Today, engineers at Chevrolet and Honda Performance Development spend millions of dollars designing aerodynamic parts for the cars to increase downforce and make the cars round corners as fast as possible. While the qualifying speed record hasn't been broken in a few years because of changes to the rules, the application of technology is helping teams inch closer and closer to the mark.

Being on the forefront of technology can help boost your marketing as well. Don't get any crazy ideas! We're not suggesting that you put a bunch of aerodynamic parts on the cars on your lot (as much buzz as that would generate), but rather that you use technology as a tool to deliver your message. Social media advertising is a great way to take advantage of technology since you can target exactly the kind of customers you want to bring into your dealership. If you're struggling to find the sweet spot on social media, check out these tips.

How do you get your marketing campaigns to Victory Lane? Let us know in the comments.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

What Rodeo Can Teach Us About Marketing

Barrel racer
From big shows like our hometown Houston Rodeo and Livestock Show to far-off places like the Maah Daah Hey Stampede in Grassy Butte, ND, the professional rodeo season is well under way — and to be honest, we have a bit of rodeo fever.

You see, partner, rodeo has heaps of things in common with marketing. The most obvious one is the sponsor banners you see in almost every arena. Companies — and not just western wear or farm and ranch products — understand the value of marketing their brands to a big audience. Shoot, the Houston rodeo had 1.3 million people attend over the course of its three-week schedule.

But we're not here to talk you into a banner of your own at your local rodeo. We actually figured out a few things that we marketers can learn from the entertaining cowboys and cowgirls that command such an impressive audience.

Everyone Has to Work Together

Team roping is one of our favorite rodeo competitions because it's all about precision and teamwork. Just in case you're not a rodeo fan: Team roping involves two horse-mounted cowboys attempting to rope the same steer. The first rider ropes the steer's horns, and the other ropes the back legs. It developed from ranchers occasionally needing more than one person to restrain a large animal for various reasons.

When you're doing a big marketing campaign that spans several media outlets — say, a campaign that has direct mail pieces, a radio advertisement and a web landing page — there's a certain amount of precision that has to happen between these channels to make it all work. A radio advertisement should appeal to people who listen to radio while a web landing page should appeal to people who can appreciate the use of technology. Just be sure the message is consistent throughout the channels because even though the targets are different, they're still focused on the same steer.

Follow the Right Path to Success

Most rodeo events are all about finishing as quickly as possible, and barrel racing is no exception. Barrel racing features horse-mounted riders rounding a triangle of barrels as fast as they can. While the rules dictate that the cowgirls must ride in a cloverleaf pattern, the riders can approach the barrels at any angle and as closely as they're comfortable, which can affect their efficiency and speed.

Likewise, you should be in a position to adjust your marketing campaigns once they've launched so that you're not continually producing ineffective materials. You can see how your campaigns are performing by applying unique toll-free numbers to different campaign materials and tracking the resulting calls. If a portion of a campaign isn't performing to expectations, adjust your approach to make sure you're rounding up leads as quickly as possible.

Hang On for a Wild (Social Media) Ride

Eight seconds might sound like no big deal, but it's definitely a big deal when you're gripping a rope with one hand and being flung in every direction by a big, angry bull. Bull riding is one of the rough stock events of rodeo — meaning riders aren't trying to beat a time, they're just trying to hang on for eight seconds (which is harder than it sounds). According to Professional Bull Riders, the top 10 active bulls buck off riders in an average of just 3.5 seconds — a relative eternity from the eight seconds needed. They also buck off riders 87 percent of the time. In bull riding, failing is the norm.

Riding a bull is a bit like launching a social media campaign. The content cycle on social media is rapid, so if something you produced doesn't get noticed pretty quickly, you'll be knocked off and forgotten. Your content has to flex the right muscles to hang on for the long haul. In the meantime, you're going to fall a few times. The important thing is to learn from the posts that stumble and make sure you're producing content that pulls in big scores.

Speaking of scores, did you know this year's NFL Draft is coming up? If you're a football lover, check out our post "Go Deep and Score the Game Winner with Your Marketing."

Monday, April 18, 2016

What Dealers Wanted Most at NADA 2016

“So tell me about what you guys do. Do you provide any training solutions?”

This was by far the most common question at NADA 2016. People can tell by our name that we do something with calls. But what exactly is that? It’s hard to fit us into just one box.
Callbright NADA booth
Just like many of the dealers at NADA, you may think of us as a call tracking provider, and you’d be right. But luckily we’re not a one-trick pony. We can help you track your calls and help you recover lost leads. Allow us to explain.

Manage Mishandled Phone Calls

The dealers we spoke with were most concerned about the amount of time it takes to sift through hundreds or thousands of phone calls to find the ones that need to be addressed. The time required to listen to all those phone calls would be better spent on other duties (you know, like selling cars). “How can I quickly pick out the calls that need further attention?” they asked.

That’s where speech-recognition technology comes in handy. You can define key words and phrases that would indicate how well (or how poorly) a phone call is going — such as pleasantries, curse words or even competitors’ names. If the speech-recognition technology picks up any of these words or phrases, the call recording will be automatically flagged. When going through your recordings, you’ll immediately know which calls to evaluate and therefore which employees to train further.

Recover Lost Sales Potential

Sure, you can address mishandled phone calls. Sure, you can train your employees further. But one thing dealers told us they couldn’t do: Make their employees seize opportunities in which buyers are on the fence about making a purchase. You may have employees that think, “This guy’s just not going to buy, so there’s no point in trying anymore.” In reality, the prospect just needs an incentive or a nudge. Dealers begged us to tell them how to catch these missed opportunities if they didn’t contain any phrases set up in the speech-recognition tool.

They were excited when we told them they could use a team of professionals to listen to all of their call recordings to evaluate whether a call is successful or needs further attention (within two hours of the call, no less). With the amount of responsibilities that go into running a dealership, there just isn’t time to sift through every phone call to find lost sales opportunities. When a call is deemed a missed opportunity, you’ll receive an email with the call recording and a brief rundown of the call, so you can follow up with the caller and recover the lost sale.

If you’ve had training on your mind lately, visit our website to see how else we can help your dealership.

Monday, April 11, 2016

What Forrest Gump Can Teach Us About Marketing

Forrest Gump
Image via IMDB
Do you ever watch an old movie and realize things about the movie that you didn't before? We do. When we rewatched Forrest Gump recently, we found that Forrest — ping pong celebrity, Medal of Honor recipient and shrimp boat captain — has a lot of valuable lessons to offer. Some of his famous quotes can even be applied to marketing.

“Me and Jenny go together like peas and carrots.”

Forrest and Jenny’s relationship isn’t exactly what we’d consider “relationship goals,” but in Forrest’s mind, she was his soul mate, and that’s all that matters, right? That’s not how it works in the business world. Unlike Forrest and Jenny, your staff and clients have to be on the same page.

Your staff members might be like Forrest. They may get off the phone with a client thinking, “Wow. We go together like peas and carrots.” But after reviewing the calls, you may find that from the client’s perspective, they think the exact opposite.

To solve this problem, regularly evaluate call recordings to help you track mishandled calls. This will allow you to find the holes in your staff’s performance and kick up your training so your team provides top-notch customer service and lands more sales.

“Momma always said life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

Forrest Gump’s momma is right: Life can be unpredictable. Perhaps the most memorable of the many Forrest Gump quotes, this one especially rings true in the marketing world. You may think your marketing reflects what your prospects are interested in, but in reality it may not always line up with what they really want.

Speech-recognition technology allows you to select keywords specific to your organization to be identified during phone conversations. You can then review the flagged calls so you can uncover the ones that require attention or have the highest revenue potential.

“Momma always said you’ve got to put the past behind you before you can move on.”

Letting go is difficult — take it from Forrest, who held on to the same girl for decades despite the grief she caused him. Like Forrest, you may love something that doesn’t give you anything in return. If a marketing campaign doesn’t generate any leads, it may be time to let it go and reallocate your budget to a campaign that does.

Keeping track of ad performance can help you figure out which campaigns are the Jenny to your Forrest. Call tracking software will enable you to record how many phone calls your campaigns produce by assigning a unique toll-free number (TFN) to each one. Once you realize which campaigns aren’t providing any return, you can start focusing on the ones that do.

Are cult classic movies your marketing advice love language? Check out our post "Star Wars Branding Partners That Nailed Their Marketing."

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

How These Spring Break Activities Can Help Your Marketing and Sales

Skiing down a steep slope
The southern United States might be getting a warm end to winter, but we know many of our neighbors in the midwest and northeast are still bundled up and dreaming of beaches. We also know that many youngsters from all over the country will be going every which way — to places warm and cold — for Spring Break soon.

You're probably going to be spending "Spring Break" in your dealership, but that doesn't mean you can't dream a little. Lean back in your chair and imagine you're on a beach with the smell of salt water and sun-baked sand filling the air. See, it's like you're already there.

While you're dreaming of some of your own Spring Break activities — a lengthy nap, anyone? — here are some of our favorites, and what they can teach us about marketing and staff training.

Hit the Slopes

Many of us around the Callbright office grew up in Texas, so heading northeast (or just east — it's a big state) for a snowy Spring Break was an annual pilgrimage. While skiing down the bunny slope was probably the norm, we all dreamt of speeding down a double black diamond. But skiing is a very technical sport and takes years of practice to get right.

You need lots of training if you're going to tackle the toughest slopes on the mountain, and your sales team needs just as much training if they're going to be successful working with some of the toughest customers. Use a call recording program so you can easily evaluate how your sales reps are performing on the phone. This will help you tailor training programs to meet specific pain points and improve your staff's call handling overall.

Warm up at the Beach

We know Spring Break doesn't have to be all about kicking back by the ocean, but a week in the sun has to sound pretty good to our freezing neighbors in the north. Warming up is the best part of spending Spring Break by the ocean. Of course a rainy Spring Break could cool things off if you didn't check the weather.

Checking the weather forecast to plan your days during Spring Break is just like checking the status of your marketing campaigns. Are they still hot, or have they seen brighter days? Just like you would make alternate plans on a rainy day, you'd come up with a different strategy for a stale marketing campaign. While we can't tell you how to predict the future, we can tell you that using unique toll-free numbers (TFNs) on your different campaigns and tracking the resulting calls can help you identify where you're having the most success. This will help you decide whether or not to keep certain campaigns running.

Do Something Charitable

Spring Break doesn't have to be all about the extravagant places you can visit. Instead of spending the week on a beach or in the mountains, many people spend the break doing charity work to help the less fortunate. These people spend their Spring Break volunteering at homeless shelters, building homes with non-profit organizations and even going on trips to volunteer in other countries.

Being charitable is something you and your company can actually do. Get some of your employees involved or use your dealership's brand to sponsor a charitable organization or program. Volunteering in your community can endear your brand and let people know that you care.

What else are you doing to enhance your marketing this spring? Let us know in the comments.

Friday, February 12, 2016

What We Can Learn From Our Favorite Super Bowl Auto Ads

The Super Bowl is always a big time of year for the automotive industry. With millions of viewers tuned in (many of whom watch the commercials as intently as the actual game) it’s a valuable opportunity for companies to show off their brands and their newest vehicles.

Super Bowl 50 logo
Image source
Nissan was one of the big winners after last year’s Super Bowl XLIX. Its emotional “With Dad” spot, which unveiled the company’s new racecar and its new Maxima sedan, was named the Favorite Super Bowl Commercial of 2015 by voters. So which automotive companies had a successful Super Bowl Sunday this year? Here are some of our favorites and what we can learn from them.

Toyota Prius — Getaway Car?

The Toyota Prius might not strike many as being an ideal getaway car, but that’s exactly the kind of thinking Toyota was trying to change with its tongue-in-cheek spot called “The Longest Chase.” After their original getaway car is towed, bank robbers avoid the cops and skip town in a hijacked Prius, earning the admiration of the public along the way.

Toyota’s commercial is bold in that it encourages the audience to view the Prius as something other than a slow, generic hybrid. Getting consumers to completely rethink your product is tricky but can be very profitable. If things are getting a little stale around your dealership, try changing up your image to get consumers to think of you in a different light.

Audi’s Zest for Life

We’ve never been in space, but we can picture how being earthbound after going into orbit could be a bit of a bummer. That’s how the man in Audi’s “Commander” felt before his son showed up with the new R8 sports car. The retired astronaut seems rejuvenated at the mere sight of it, and the sound of the high-revving engine makes the audience feel the thrill. Using David Bowie’s “Starman” made the spot a touching tribute as well.

Audi tugged at some emotional heartstrings with this one. There’s nothing wrong with using basic cars for day-to-day use, but who wouldn’t want to slip into that R8 and let the engine wail after seeing this commercial? When you have a car that hits the fun and luxury buttons more than an everyday car, be sure you’re playing up those angles. Give your customers a reason to believe that kind of car would make life more fun.

Honda Has a New Truck to Love

Honda is looking for people to love its new Ridgeline pickup truck. After giving us a chorus of sheep singing Queen’s hit “Somebody to Love,” we’re definitely interested. In addition to immediately capturing our attention, Honda succeeded in subtly featuring what makes the product unique. Of course a pickup truck can work well in a ranch setting — but speakers in the bed so you can jam out with your livestock? That's one feature that would definitely help the day go by faster.

While Honda didn’t completely focus on the new feature, the singing sheep got our attention and made the truck memorable. When you introduce a new car, or an existing model is updated with a new feature, don’t stick with the same old advertising gimmicks hoping people will notice. Have fun with it! Honda did, and it made us want bed-mounted speakers.

What was your favorite car commercial from the Super Bowl? Let us know in the comments.