How Dealers Can Navigate Complex Marketing Strategies in 2020

Auto retail marketing strategies are continually moving towards an omnichannel approach, equipped with video, paid ads, and social media engagement. These concepts can be daunting for a lot of dealers out there, but they don’t have to be. To help dealers navigate this, we’re joined by Glenn Pasch, auto marketing expert and CEO of PCG Digital. Glenn and PCG Digital have worked with the likes of GM, Lithia, and Nissan. And he has also provided his expertise to CBT on numerous occasions.


Jim Fitzpatrick: Welcome back to the show, Glenn.

Glenn Pasch: Well, thank you so much for having me back.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure. So let’s kind of dive right in here and let’s talk about some of the marketing trends that you saw in 2019 and what we could look at for 2020 and if those will continue.

Glenn Pasch: Sure, yeah. Some of the marketing trends we’ve been seeing out and for our own clients and that what we’ve been doing and as we’re out consulting or when we’re at our events and we’re talking with other agencies and other dealers, what’s working, I think it’s an interesting concept. I had a few dealers come up to me and say, it doesn’t seem like anything new is happening in digital marketing. Meaning it’s mature. There is no secret little pocket of leads or some fancy thing that no one else is paying attention to. It’s really putting it all together. So you’re opening when you were talking about this concept of omnichannel, I think that’s the biggest, one of the biggest marketing trends is actually how do I put all of these tools together for my market? How do I use all of these different pieces? Maybe radio works for me, maybe cable or OTT works for me, digital, social media, whatever. It’s really now customizing it to your dealership versus, “Hey you need to go invest in this new way of advertising because no one else is.” So I think that’s the biggest trend, is sorting it all out for 2020.

Jim Fitzpatrick: And talk to us about video. I mean, now we hear so much about video out there and as you know, for the last number of years recently anyway, we were telling dealers, “Oh, stay away from TV, stay away from video, you got to be in paper, click you got to be in social marketing, you’ve got to do all of these other things.” And now video’s emerging in a very, very big way. Talk to us about that.

Glenn Pasch: Well, I think just as a consumer yourself or if you watch, I have two young boys, so I watch how they consume content and it’s always through their mobile device; it’s through YouTube. They very rarely are watching traditional television. But on the flip side, that’s where my parents may, or some people my own age, they still are watching television. I think the key about video is how you’re going to use it. It’s the message that you’re putting out. I don’t think that just throwing out another commercial, so to speak, is going to be helpful.

Glenn Pasch: I think the dealers that are really going to maximize video is using video to tell their story of how they’re different in the marketplace in terms of how they treat their customers versus just, here’s our vehicle, because everybody’s doing, here’s my vehicle. Everybody’s selling the same vehicle, so it’s really using video to tell the story of how you’re different. I think that’s the key to video because we will consume it quicker on our mobile phones.

Jim Fitzpatrick: For sure. And everyone’s addicted to video right? I mean, that’s what they want. They want. Obviously here at CBT News, we’re all about telling a story and doing interviews with video because people just don’t, they don’t want to sit there and necessarily and have to read an entire article. With a video they can-

Glenn Pasch: Well I think you have to have both. If you look at any of the news or sports sites, they’ve spent a lot of money to figure out a lot of this.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Oh that’s for sure.

Glenn Pasch: [crosstalk 00:04:10] most of your articles is a video at the top.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s what we have. Same thing. Yep.

Glenn Pasch: Right. And so sometimes I don’t want to watch the video, I’d rather read because I know the reading content might be more in depth. But like if I just want something quick, if I want a little snapshot, it’s all on video. So again, it’s understanding how to use both of those to satisfy your audience

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s right. And it’s being used in a big way in the auto industry now and it looks like that’s growing. So talk to us about SEO, specifically voice search. Is that growing in popularity? What is it and why does it matter to dealers?

Glenn Pasch: SEO in general, I think is having a resurgence because to your earlier point, dealers were told run to paper click, run here because it was very quick and easy and you could see quicker results numerically. But I think taking care of your website through SEO to constantly maintain your site so you do show up in search, is just as important as going out and buying your clicks. Now in terms of voice search, it’s the place that everybody’s doing it now. I mean, we all talk into our phone. Alexa, get us this, Siri, get this. My children, again, going to them, they’re 14 and 12, they don’t type in any search. Where I do, I still will type things in more than I’ll go, Hey Siri, get me this. They talk to their phones all the time. So if you think of everyone’s getting used to Alexa and Google Home, you know all of the tools in inside of their house, it’s just going to be natural if they’re in a car and something’s wrong, “find me mechanic, find me a dealership, find me this, I need my oil changed.”

Glenn Pasch: And so are your sites going to be tossed up one, in search or through the Alexa devices? I don’t think dealerships are ready. So if a dealer asked me, should I start doing this right now? I would say I’d have to look and see if you’ve sort of already checked a lot of the boxes on other things before you go running off to this. I know there are some dealerships that are doing it and doing it really well, but they’re also pretty well run on a lot of the basic blocking and tackling first. So yes, it’s important. Will you have to? Yes, but don’t chase the new shiny thing if you’re still not answering your phones or responding to your customers who are already waving their hands.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s exactly right. Dealers are finding that they have to bring a new level of personalization to today’s consumers. Talk to us about that. Is that when automations come to the forefront or does everybody want that Amazon experience?

Glenn Pasch: So my sort of thought on this is automation is fine to a point. I think everybody confuses when they say, to your point, the Amazon experience, I think what the Amazon experience is, simplicity, ease of use, it works. And you do what you told me you’re going to do and you remember me. Now Amazon’s a little different because we’re shopping more than a car would be three years, but if you’re servicing with them and you’re reaching out. I think where the personalization, I think instead of worrying about automation, I see people misusing automation, some of the automated tools for conversation back and forth with customers, they think, “Oh well that’ll be easy. I don’t have to hire people” and there’s a miscue there. I think it’s more personalization for dealers in this realm, if I communicate with you and I point to a vehicle and I start communicating with whoever, when I show up, do you pick up where I left off or do you make me go back to start the conversation again?

Glenn Pasch: I think that’s what people want in terms of personalization. I don’t think they need to say, yeah, we’ll get to the point of, “Oh, I looked at a truck. Next time I come to the website it’s like, “Hi, Glenn, you’re back. Here’s the trucks you looked at.” That’s cool. But I, me as a consumer, I would rather, if I’m looking at a vehicle online and I send you some information, do you respond back to me about that vehicle or is it just, “Hey, thank you for your inquiry or when you want to commit”, and then you never talk about the vehicle. Or if I do show up, you don’t take into consideration, I already told your BDC internet person or your digital retailing tool, I want to lease, here’s my trade in, here’s what I’m looking to do, and you just greet me on the lot, like I never interacted. I think that’s what customers want because sort of that’s what promising them in this Amazonian experience.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Of course, we still have to talk about social media. Will paid social strategy still be effective in 2020?

Glenn Pasch: Absolutely, and I still think it’s undervalued, so I think if you’re doing it, I would double down. I think it’s really, I think dealers who do it well, craft specific messages, to your point, video to specific audiences. I think the days of thinking I’m just going to blast out one ad or one message and everyone’s going to come there. I think no because it is becoming more competitive. I just from from us, we have clients who are starting to dump more money and taking it from paid search because they can really target and put out a message, but it has to be tied back. Circling back to our early conversation, it has to be tied to video and more importantly I think if a dealer looks at their, takes any model, a vehicle, a sedan and they say who would buy that? So if they were targeting and said, you Jim, we’re going to buy that vehicle, the message that they would send you would be different that they would send if somebody who was younger who would use that car or that truck, right. So I think it’s going to get more competitive, but for the next year or so, I think it’s super effective, super cost effective. You just have to use it correctly.

Jim Fitzpatrick: For the dealers that are watching us right now and maybe getting a slight heart palpitations, wondering, oh my God, if I’ve got four or five dealerships, or even if I have one dealership, we can’t afford to be losing opportunities that are coming our way, right? These are, these are leads that are coming in, whether they call, click or walk in the front door, they’re coming to us and we’re not taking good care of them at a high number. Your company does, in fact, you do audits for dealers, right? I mean, they call you and say, “Get in here, Glenn.” And from a third party person such as yourself, tell me the real deal. Tell me what’s going on. Because my BDC manager is going to tell me something that my marketing manager is not, and my sales manager is going to give me a different story. Can you go into a dealership, spend a little time and say, look, from my viewpoint, here’s where your problem lies, right?

Glenn Pasch: Yeah. So actually this afternoon, so a lot of times I’ll just do it remotely, I’ll present. And then if they want me to come in and help them solve the problem. But even today’s, their appointment ratio to lead is probably about 10 to 15% off, which means they set probably 50 appointments. They should be setting 110, right? So there, even if you just cut it, there’s 20 cars. Simple, simple, simple to do it. Let alone, I’m not even talking about are you actually closing the people in front of you at the great rate, but this dealership, same thing. So all you do is do the math.

Glenn Pasch: If you had 20 cars every single month times whatever gross is, times 12 you know, we’re talking half a million dollars on things that we already spend that are here, but yet we’re always looking down the road of more and I’m going, “Okay, but can we fix this first? And then we want to dump more in.” Great. But don’t dump onto, as you said, sort of the sieve. And we just sell a few more. And I think that’s why that number keeps going up is we just keep spending more to sell a few more on a bad process. So that’s the issue.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Well, Glenn Pasch, I want to thank you so much for joining us once again on CBT News. I thank you for all your time. This has been some really good stuff for dealers to pay attention to and to listen to as we finish out 2019 and going into 2020 because these things are important. I mean, at the end of the day, a dealer’s, a lifeblood lies in the marketing, right? And man, that’s what it’s all about. So again, thanks so much for joining us Glenn Pasch, auto marketing experts, CEO of PCG Digital. Thanks for joining us.

Glenn Pasch: My pleasure. Have a great holiday and I look forward to helping you guys anyway in 2020.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Awesome. Thank you.

CBT Automotive Network, the number one most-watched network in retail automotive. This has been a JBF Business Media Production.