Cody Tomczyk of Force Marketing Discusses The Biggest Marketing Opportunities your Dealership Should Pay Attention To



Cody Tomczyk, Vice President of Force Marketing joins Jim Fitzpatrick in our CBT News studio where the pair discuss how video is now the largest single opportunity for a dealer in today’s market, best practices for utilizing big data, and more.


Jim Fitzpatrick: Hi everyone, I’m Jim Fitzpatrick, thanks so much for joining us on another edition of CBT News. Today, we are joined by Cody Tomczyk with Force Marketing. Cody, thank you for joining us.

Cody Tomczyk: Glad to be here.

Jim Fitzpatrick: We hear so much about video advertising, right? Dealers are … How do we do it, what does video advertising mean, I know we used to run ads on pre-rolls, or ads on TV, or what have you, but everybody’s telling us now, Google, Bing, Yahoo, you gotta be in video. Tell us what that’s all about, and what dealers should focus on.

Cody Tomczyk: I think, personally, video’s the largest single opportunity for a dealer today, really for a couple reasons. First, we’re trading in attention. If the eyeballs are there, the video is being consumed, which we know all the stats point to video as being consumed at larger numbers than ever before, growing year over year at a rapid clip.

But two, your competitors aren’t really playing in that space, and if they are playing in that space they’re not doing so effectively. So I think a lot of that uncertainty, that fear you’re describing a little bit, of where do I start and what do I do, is simply because they literally have no idea how important it is and where to begin.

DealersSo I think the first part of where to start, when I consult with dealers, is just demystifying the differences, how difficult it may be to enter, and really just getting them in a spot where they can be comfortable knowing that this should be a part of their media mix.


Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay, so let’s drill down a little bit. Define video marketing, are you talking about walk-arounds, are you talking about somebody holding up their cell phone and taking a video that way, are you talking about a pre-roll, a TV spot? Talk to us about all of the above.

Cody Tomczyk: Yeah, so what you’re talking about is content, right? One of the things we recommend to dealers when we’re consulting with them about their marketing, period, not just video, is answer the questions and be there for their needs.

If they’re interested in a particular vehicle and there’s an opportunity to give them more information, whether that be through a walk-around type of video or a test drive type of video, that’s great. If they’re simply just trying to explain why you should do business with my store, great.

As long as you’re answering the questions and doing so with actual people, really if those can be people at the dealership, not paid actors, and really getting down past the general managers or deal principals and really involving service advisors, sales managers, leasing consultants-

Jim Fitzpatrick: Be authentic.

Cody Tomczyk: People relate to people. Yeah, absolutely.

Jim Fitzpatrick: You don’t have to have, like you said, some high-paid actor.

Cody Tomczyk: No doubt. And to the point about high-paid, that’s one of the areas that I think has been a barrier to entry for a lot of dealers, is not just the cost of one time, but that recurring cost. What we’re consulting with dealers on is being able to create what we’re calling evergreen videos where we’re not relying on changing manufacturer incentives every single month, creating new content, because there’s only so many ways you can sell a car and sell your dealership, especially if you’re being authentic. So answer those questions and be personable, and I think you’re good to go.

Jim Fitzpatrick: And having fresh videos constantly coming out, is that important, or can you do a series of videos in January and just let them live the whole year?

Cody Tomczyk: I think the latter, you can certainly do that. One of the things that our team has been working on with our Helix technology is being able to provide scaled video solutions. So, rather than have to worry about that new, fresh content every single month, one of the things we’ve been developing is a dynamic video product that pulls in inventory relative to the customer.

For example, if you’re online and you’re shopping three, four, five, six, eight specific vids, when we show you the video, you’ll see those three, four, five, eight specific vids. If I’ve never been to the site before, but we’ve identified that Cody is an in-market shopper for Hyundai Santa Fes, when I see that same video, the inventory I see will be Hyundai Santa Fes.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Very cool.


Cody Tomczyk: Yeah, and it’s not just cool, yes it’s great because it’s flashy and it’s new, and we know dealers love flashy and new, but we’re connecting audiences with things that matter to them. And now we’re talking about personalization, and we’re doing so at scale. So now I don’t have to create new video every single month, I can save on my costs.

I’m having a better customer experience, we saw a McKenzie study recently that said 50% of customers would be willing to switch brands for a more personalized digital shopping experience. And really, that speaks to we’re just not providing enough personalization and relevant content. So this answers that as well.

And one of my favorite components of this is that now we also don’t have to be dark in the beginning of the month while we’re creating new content or waiting on manufacturer incentives. So that’s where, back to the first point in your initial question, what is the advantage? There’s a first-mover advantage to being able to play in the space where attention is, your competitors aren’t, and you’re on 24/7. It’s a no-brainer as far as I’m concerned.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Let’s switch gears a little bit. I know that you’ve been to Google, you go out there often, you get updates, they kinda tell you guys because you’re huge players in the auto space for digital. What are some of the latest updates from Google? What should dealers be aware of?

Cody Tomczyk: Well, one of the things I think is really interesting right now is Google has … A couple years ago they released their Dealer Guidebook, best practices, where you should invest first, the type of keywords you should buy, really kind of a starting point for dealers who wanted to get more involved in the process with their vendors.

What that has evolved into, and they were really alluding to it then, but they’ve really brought it up to the forefront now, is they’ve identified that there is a best practices structure for building campaigns, one that answers, again back to that consumer intent, one that answers consumer intent. They go back to the Micro Moments, which Google’s been promoting forever, where should I buy, am I getting a deal, is it the right car for me, and on up the ladder.

What that is suggesting to the space, both being vendors and dealers, is that there is an opportunity to align your campaigns in such a way that you can strategically invest your dollars better. That’s something that a lot of vendors probably should have figured out on their own, and a lot of marketers should have figured out on their own, but they’re literally providing you the format now that says this is what we should be doing.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right, and coming from them, you know that those guys know what’s going on, and they give that advice to dealers.

Cody Tomczyk: Yeah, and I think one of the things that’s actually most interesting is their involvement now specifically with the manufacturers as it relates to the tier three space. FCA is the first one that this process I’m about to describe is happening with, but mandated effective April 1st, they are going to say if you, as a preferred FCA vendor, are not using the Google Micro Moments structure for intent ad structure, then you are gonna be looked at unfavorably as a vendor as a preferred partner. And actually start to take your name off those lists.

Jim Fitzpatrick: No kidding, wow.

Cody Tomczyk:  So what that tells me is that … This is a hot topic right now, certainly for us, and I’m sure you see it out there as well … What that tells me is that there’s a lot of unrest with these OEM preferred vendor programs, between what we’re recommending and the performance that’s coming out the other end, if you’re the manufacturer.

So now, by FCA being the first one, and I don’t think they’re gonna be the last one, saying, “Okay, you can be on our preferred list, but you gotta follow these set of rules where Google says these are the best practices.” Meanwhile, most of the vendors should have been doing that to begin with.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right, now they’re forcing their hand on it.

They are, and it’s gonna impact co-op dollars.

Jim Fitzpatrick: So let’s switch gears again, talk to me about dealership data. We’ve heard big data and the importance of data now for probably the last five or 10 years in the auto space. How valuable is it, where to start with it, how to effectively maximize it, because dealers are sitting obviously on just a huge plethora of data in their dealership.

Cody Tomczyk:  No doubt, and frankly the best data possible. We were out at NEDA a couple weeks ago, I was speaking to a Vice President of Marketing for a 20, 25-store group, and I was asking him, “If you look back at the end of 2019 and you could say this was a successful year or not because you accomplished one thing, or didn’t accomplish that thing, what would it be?”

And he said, “We have 25 dealerships. We send one direct mail piece minimum per customer per month to everybody that we market to. We estimate that 40% of our data is bad data, and yet we’re still sending direct marketing to those customers.”

Jim Fitzpatrick: Ouch. And there’s a lot of dealers that are listening to us having this discussion right now and shaking their head in agreement that yes, that’s probably what’s happened at their store.

Cody Tomczyk: You run the math, it is a no-brainer. So some of the smarter organizations, some of the more progressive organizations, are realizing, hey, there’s a real opportunity here to not only just wrap my head around this valuable resource that I have, but I need a plan in place, and I need it yesterday because dollars are getting wasted every single day.

So I think the first place to start is really corralling that data. And there’s some partners out there that can do that. We, through our Helix technologies, are able to bring in not only all that first-party data but third-party data.

Because to me, and this will become more apparent over the next 12 months, but the difference between the people that are very successful at being efficient, and when we’re in a world of compressed new car margins, efficiency is more important than ever, the dealers that really capitalize on this versus the dealers who don’t are going to be the people who are proactive and making data a priority before any dollar gets spent in any media channel.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right. And it’s a high water mark, if you will, but it’s one that’s got to be … You gotta start out as a dealer to say this is the goal, right? Because to your point, every single day dealers are sending out mail pieces, and if the data’s not good, to your estimation 40% in that particular dealer group, that’s a tremendous amount of money.

Cody Tomczyk: It’s insane. And here’s the thing, back to the point about the video with the personalization. We know that a better personalized shopping experience will translate to more car sales and more service ROs. So, if that’s the case, we need to get our heads around the idea that audience first mentality is the way to go.

And certainly the first-party audiences are great, and you also have third-party audiences through companies like Oracle and others, where now once we identify a goal, let’s say that a dealer’s goal is to increase new car market share by 15 basis points. If that’s the case, we need to identify the audiences, both first-party and third-party, that are available to communicate with to go ahead and deliver that message. And then we wanna make sure that those customers are communicated with across multiple channels, and again, it still starts back to the data.

But because you can Facebook, Google, direct mail, email, programmatic, and so on, you could literally build your audience out of your customers on any of these channels, and it’s gonna yield you a higher ROI.

Jim Fitzpatrick:  Now, here we are going to March of 2019, just came off of some pretty good months, looks like the forecast is still 16.8 million new vehicles for 2019. If you had to pick one or two items that a dealer should really hone in on with regard to their marketing in 2019, what would those be?

Cody Tomczyk: I think there’s two fronts. The first we already touched on, is the data side. That is a big thing to tackle, but if you don’t start somewhere you’re gonna be in the same place 12 months from now.

And it’s important that they have a partner to help them with that, because every dealer that’s listening right now goes, “I hear what you’re saying, but who’s got time to get their hands around all of the data?”

Cody Tomczyk: You’re trying to run a business.

Jim Fitzpatrick: They need to get a partner that goes, “We got it, let us get in, let us clean it up and get this thing headed in the right direction.”

Cody Tomczyk: Yeah, it is no doubt a daunting task, but you gotta start somewhere, and that’s certainly something we provide for our partners. But you’ve just gotta start somewhere.

The second side in terms of where I would focus, those two big areas, the second side is gonna be really being focused on outcomes versus marketing metrics. I’ve been in this for a while, I’ve had those conversations with our partners where we’re down in click-through rates and cost-per-click and price-in-share and bounce rates, and while all those things are important, I don’t know that there’s anyone who could tell you one moves another unit or doesn’t move another unit.

I would suggest to dealers that time is better spent by having conversations around am I increasing new car market share, am I increasing used car volume, am I increasing service retention or CPRO? Let the experts you hired be experts. Of course, they’ve gotta prove themselves, but let’s all stay focused on what we should.

I surveyed some of our dealers recently, and what I determined from this survey, one of the main points was, on average, our dealers are saving four to five hours a month not being on reporting calls and back to selling cars. We’re digging into metrics that … We don’t know what are moving the business forward or not. They don’t know-

Jim Fitzpatrick: And conversely, if you’ve got a partnership where you’re a dealer and you’ve got a vendor out there and you’re continually not hitting your number, you got a problem. More than even if that company comes in and says, “Yeah, but look at what you’re paying per click and look at what you’re paying for every per RO,” well that’s all well and good, but I’m not hitting my number.

Cody Tomczyk: Yeah, and to that end, that’s why a large part of our business is more on the business consulting side to say get involved with things like traffic management. What does your closing percentage look? What does your lead sourcing look like and closing percentage on those leads? What is your average response time? What are your unsold prospects doing? All those things.

It’s not enough to just deliver traffic to the site, we’ve gotta complete the entire picture because, like you said, at the end of the day if you’re not selling and servicing more customers, it doesn’t matter what the metrics say.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right, that’s exactly right. Cody Tomczyk, thank you so much for joining us, we really appreciate it.

Cody Tomczyk: I appreciate it