Tag Archive | "Digital Marketing"

CDK Global, CarGurus Partner on New Marketing Solutions

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — CDK Global today announced a strategic relationship with online automotive marketplace CarGurus. Through this collaboration, users of CDK websites will gain exposure for their inventory on CarGurus.com as well as leads from CarGurus shoppers.

CDK will also leverage CarGurus’ anonymized, aggregated data in its suite of automotive digital marketing solutions, allowing the company to create personalized shopping experiences and cross-site consumer behavior attribution.

“We are excited to be able to offer our dealers more leads and more inventory exposure through CarGurus based on our new integration,” stated Max Steckler, product officer for CDK Global. “The CDK Customer Cloud becomes that much more powerful in being able to deliver more targeted and personalized messaging with the addition of CarGurus data.”

The integration also allows dealers to gain a more comprehensive understanding of anonymous in-market consumer behavior across the CDK website eco-system, the CarGurus.com website, and manufacturer, regional and group websites. Car dealers with CDK websites will now be able to precisely target personalized content on their own websites to interested shoppers who previously visited CarGurus – even if they never looked at a specific car on the dealer’s site.

CarGurus uses proprietary technology and data analytics to help shoppers search more than five million car listings and quickly identify great deals from top-rated dealers in their local areas. CarGurus.com now attracts more than 23 million monthly unique visitors in the United States, positioning CDK dealers to reach a significant audience of in-market shoppers.

“Car shoppers rely on CarGurus for transparency and validation, and we are excited to be working closely with CDK Global to enhance that experience,” stated Marty Blue, senior vice president of business development at CarGurus. “Through our relationship with CDK Global, we’re able to unleash even more power to assist shoppers and drive dealers’ business results.”

As an approved participant in the CDK Global Partner Program, CarGurus reporting will be integrated into the CDK Dealer Command Center. Dealers can expect the integrated solutions to be available in early October.

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New Report Reveals ‘Apparent Consumer Appetite’ for Chatbots

BOCA RATON, Fla. — A new study reveals an apparent appetite among consumers for chatbots, but it concluded that these digital boxes that allow customers to converse with a human or AI-enabled bot still have ways to go before impacting business.

Released today by mobile marketing firm 3Cinteractive Corp. (3C), the Chatbot Consumer Report provides an in-depth look at how consumers interact with chatbots and their preferences on using the technology when communicating with brands. Its findings are based on an online poll of 500 U.S. households.

According to results, a quarter of the consumers surveyed said they use chatbots on a daily basis (40% alone for Millennials).When consumers were asked why they thought chatbots were not valuable, 71% said the chatbot could not answer their question or help them. That means businesses will need to expand the capabilities of their chatbots as the technology advances to keep up with growing consumer expectation, 3C officials said.

When asked which tasks they’d prefer a chatbot to handle for a brand vs. a human, checking order status (46%) and product research (42%) rose to the top of the list. But for other tasks, consumers polled still preferred humans over chatbots — 50% for customer service inquiries, and 44% for making an appointment or reservation.

This data is critical for brands since 83% of respondents said they would be more loyal to a brand for offering a chatbot that enables these tasks. Additionally, Business Insider reported earlier this year that 80% of business plan to have chatbots by 2020.

“Choosing the right chatbot strategy for your brand is critical, it’s not one size fits all,” said Margie Kupfer, vice president of marketing at 3C. “Understand your customer preferences and build your chatbot strategy around a specific function that benefits the customer. Starting small and executing your chatbot successfully ensures a positive brand experience and allows you to learn more about your customer in order to scale your chatbot into other business functions.”

Click here to download the complete report.

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TEGNA to Spin Off Cars.com

MCLEAN, Va. — Cars.com is going public, the firm’s parent company, TEGNA Inc., announced on Wednesday. According to its announcement, the digital automotive marketplace will be spun off, creating two independent publicly traded companies.

TEGNA, which was called Gannett until it spun off its newspaper business last year, is the largest broadcast station group among major network affiliates in the Top 25 markets. And according to the company’s announcement, TEGNA is evaluating “strategic alternatives” for CareerBuilder. TEGNA owns a 53% controlling interest in the job search site. Minority owners include Tribune Media and The McClatchy Co.

The company also announced that President and CEO Gracia Martore, who is also a member of TEGNA’s board of directors, will retire upon closing of the spin-off. That’s expected to happen during the first half of 2017.

“Over the last four and a half years, we’ve taken a series of important strategic steps to increase the value of our business, including the acquisition of broadcast stations from Belo Corp. and London Broadcasting, the acquisition of full ownership of Cars.com, and the spin-off of Gannett publishing business,” Martore stated in the company’s press release. “The spin-off we’re announcing today is the next logical step in our ongoing transformation to best position our market-leading businesses and continues our strong track record of creating value for shareholders.”

Cars.com, which completed its acquisition of DealerRater in late July, will remain headquartered in Chicago once the spin-off is completed. It will trade under the ticker symbol “CARS.” Officials said the planned spin-off would result in a trading multiple for Cars.com “that is commensurate with other pure-play digital companies, greater flexibility to pursue merger and acquisition opportunities, and benefits associated with aligning capital structure and allocation with specific business needs and opportunities.

As an independent company, officials added, Cars.com will be able to “focus more sharply on its key strategic priorities,” which, according to the company, include rapid innovation and “active evaluation and pursuit of acquisitions to open up new, adjacent opportunities.”

TEGNA, which will remain headquartered in McLean, Va., will continue to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “TGNA.” According to the company’s announcement, TEGNA’s management team will develop and present detailed separation plans to its board of directors over the coming months. Completion of the spin-off will be subject to certain conditions, including receipt of final board approval, receipt of an opinion from tax counsel regarding the tax-free nature of the distribution, and the effectiveness of a Form 10 registration statement. The latter is expected to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission later today, officials said.

According to the company’s announcement, the impending spin-off will allow TEGNA to focus on opportunities specific to its broadcasting business, which consists of 46 TV stations. They include the No. 1 NBC affiliate group, the No. 1 CBS affiliate group, and the No. 4 ABC affiliate group.

The company’s current debt, according to officials, will remain with TEGNA. However, TEGNA expects to receive from Cars.com a one-time cash dividend immediately prior to the spin-off. It will be used to maintain TEGNA’s current credit rating.

The completion of the spin-off will also mark the end of Martore’s 31-year career with TEGNA and its predecessor Gannett Co. Inc. Upon his retirement, according to the company’s announcement, Dave Lougee will assume the role of CEO and president of TEGNA, while Alex Vetter will maintain his role as president and CEO of Cars.com. The two executives will also serve on the boards of TEGNA and Cars.com.

Lougee currently serves as president of TEGNA Media. He was named president of Gannett Broadcasting in July 2007, and previously served as executive vice president of media operations for Belo Corp. Vetter was one of the original members of Cars.com’s management team. He is credited with helping to shape the company from its initial concept into a leading online automotive destination. In November 2014, Vetter was named CEO and president of Cars.com. The company currently employs 1,300 individuals and serves 20,000 retailers and every manufacturer.

“I am incredibly grateful to have spent more than 30 years servicing this outstanding organization and deeply honored to have had the opportunity to lead TEGNA during its inaugural year,” said Martore, who joined Gannett in 1985 as assistant treasurer. “… It has been an amazing ride, and both TEGNA and Gannett will always hold a special place in my heart.”

As for Cars.com, Martore added: “Spinning of Cars.com from TEGNA will establish two strong, industry-leading companies that are well positioned to compete and to continue to profitably grow in their targeted markets. Each business will have increased strategic, operating, and financial flexibility at a time when the broadcast and digital sectors are both rapidly evolving … Cars.com will have the flexibility to invest in further organic growth and to participate in the active digital automotive M&A market, and TEGNA will have a strong balance sheet and cash flow to continue to pursue investment in organic growth and opportunistic acquisitions and to provide an optimal mix of capital returns to shareholders.”

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Dealer.com Becomes Primary Web Platform for Cox Automotive Clients

ATLANTA — Cox Automotive announced that the Dealer.com website solution will serve as the primary solution for Cox Automotive customers. Current users of VinSolutions’ website product will migrate to the Dealer.com platform beginning in early 2016.

During the migration, which should be completed within 24 months, all VinSolutions website clients will be fully supported under the terms of their existing contracts. Dealer.com joined the Cox Automotive family as part of the Dealertrack acquisition, which was completed on Oct. 1.

“Cox Automotive is dedicated to providing its clients with the best possible technology and experience, and the selection of the Dealer.com solution for websites is a significant step toward helping us integrate the company’s technologies and teams for the benefit of the dealers,” said Mark O’Neil, CEO of Cox Automotive Software.

“As part of the Cox Automotive family, I am confident we are well positioned to deliver the strongest, most comprehensive set of software solutions that will help our automotive retailing clients adapt to and thrive in today’s technology-driven world,” O’Neil added. “The advantage of our newly expanded organization is that we can truly leverage the best of the best in everything we do for our clients. The Dealer.com website solution is certified by 19 OEMs, and has a history of success and stability.”

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7 Digital Marketing Tips to Expand Your Small Business

Whether you’re just starting a small business or looking to expand an existing operation, marketing your business can seem daunting. The key to marketing success is to establish your presence, drive leads to your business and expand your audience, reports NewsOK.

Even for businesses that serve a primarily local clientele, it’s important to remember that today’s customers are more connected than ever before. Technology enables them to rely on mobile devices, web searches and other online tools to research businesses and make purchasing decisions.

To ensure your business is effectively operating in today’s connected local economy, YP, a leading local marketing solutions provider, offers the following advice based on experience running thousands of marketing campaigns:

  • Mobile matters. Almost everyone today owns a smartphone. Yet you would be surprised by the number of businesses that have not optimized their websites for mobile devices. Not only do mobile responsive sites load faster and provide a better experience, they also help with your ranking in search engine results (also known as search engine optimization or SEO).
  • Keep your online presence current. Think of your online presence as a business card you hand out to prospective customers, and take the time to ensure your digital and mobile presence is current and cohesive across all online media. Have you recently changed any contact information, such as phone number, email or address? Supervising this online business card takes time and effort, but the payoff comes with customers who can easily find you and your products or services. Consider setting a calendar reminder to review all online channels for relevance and accuracy on a regular basis.
  • Create valuable content. Can’t think of what to say? Customers are often drawn to tip-based content related to your industry or product, such as best practices or top 5 tips. If you aren’t the strongest writer, find someone on your team who is, or seek professional help outside of your organization. Rich content, especially photos and videos, can also help engage consumers.
  • Keep content fresh. Once you develop content, you need to keep it fresh. As a rule of thumb, you should update images on a quarterly basis. For blogs, update the content weekly, and host the blog on your business’ primary website to keep your audience from clicking away from your site. Post blog headlines and timely information or calls to action above the fold (where they can be seen without scrolling) so customers can access them easily.
  • Reputation and reviews matter. Establishing a loyal customer base means monitoring your online ratings and reviews on a regular basis. A business owner who reaches out to customers for all feedback they provide — whether positive or negative — creates a powerful statement. Addressing or correcting any errors shows accountability for your business and can build loyalty.
  • Drive traffic. Bidding on keywords is the foundation of a search engine marketing (SEM) campaign, which allows you to promote your business within online searches. As you begin, opt for smaller, more targeted keywords such as your company name. Stay away from generic terms that describe your business, such as “bakery” or “cafe,” as this will bring competition from other businesses of the same general type and more expensive click costs. Instead, try the category plus geography keywords, such as “cafe St. Louis” or “bakery Denver,” to drive local traffic to your site.
  • Mind your spelling. Another tip for your SEM campaign — when people search for your business, count on a few misspellings and typos and put those mistakes to work. Bid on misspelled words about your business to drive that traffic to your site. This strategy can also keep click costs lower by adding relevant words with less competition to your SEM campaign.

Small businesses often work within a limited budget. But don’t let pinched funds get in the way of smart spending. Products that boost your digital presence and performance, such as those offered by YP, can help your business get found by consumers and grow your customer base.

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AutoNation Discusses CFPB, Digital Push

FORD LAUDERDALE, Fla. — In a quarter in which it posted record second-quarter earnings per share (EPS) from continuing operations, AutoNation’s F&I operations realized an 11.5% increase in revenue from a year ago and a $9 million, or 5%, increase in total gross profit.

Average gross profit per vehicle retailed for the nation’s largest auto group rose $23, or 2%, from a year ago to $1,398. For the first six months of 2014, PVR rose $45, or 3.3%, from a year ago to $1,395. The group achieved this during a quarter in which it installed in nine stores the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA)’s Fair Credit Compliance Program in response to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)’s scrutiny of rate markups.

“It’s been successfully implemented without much disruption and no impact on results,” Mike Jackson, Chairman and CEO, said of the NADA’s program, which calls on dealers to document variations in rate markups on retail finance contracts. “We will now take it to additional stores on a gradual basis.”

Jackson added that he believes banks, dealers and the CFPB will eventually come to some sort of agreement regarding how finances sources compensate dealers in the indirect financing channel.

“And that will unfold over the course of the year, but my expectation will be some sort of agreement and some sort of common ground,” said Jackson, who also responded to a question about reports that the CFPB is turning its attention to F&I product sales.

“We have seen zero real activity in that area,” he said. “All the focus is on the reserve amount.”

In the second quarter, AutoNation posted second quarter net income from continuing operations of $101 million, or a second-quarter record of $0.83 per share, compared to $90 million, or $0.73 per share, in the year-ago period.

The dealer group also reported revenue of $4.8 billion, up from $4.4 billion in the year-ago quarter. That 8% increase was driven by stronger performance in new vehicles, parts and service, and finance and insurance.

Total gross profit for variable operations on a same-store basis was $3,279 per vehicle, a $67, or 2%, increase. Same-store new-vehicle revenue increased $200 million, or 8%, from a year ago to $2.7 billion on the sale of 79,000 units, a 6% increase. The dealer group also posted new-vehicle gross profit of $159 million, up 10 million, or 7%, from a year ago. New-vehicle gross profit per vehicle retailed was $2,008.

Retail revenue for used-vehicle sale was $976 million, an increase of $23 million, or 2%, on 52,000 used vehicles retailed, which was flat with a year ago. Revenue per used vehicle retailed increased $527, or 3%, to $18,836. Retail used-vehicle gross profit was $87 million, up $4 million, or 5%, from a year ago, while gross profit per used-vehicle retailed was $1,687, an increase of $91 per vehicle, or 6%.

Parts and service recorded a posted record revenue and gross profit, with revenue increasing $41 million to $696 million. Total gross profit grew 6%, or $17 million, to $297 million.

Jackson also provided an update on the company’s digital retailing drive, saying the group is ahead of expectations in terms of acceptance of the brand and the amount of traffic being generated by the group’s digital sites. He also announced the group is moving into the next phase of its digital push.

“So we’ve decided to accelerate the new phase, which is increasing our marketing around the brand AutoNation to drive even more customers to our digital sites and, of course, a big investment in the capabilities of the site itself, which the next step would be that the site goes transactional at the end of the year …,” Jackson said, noting that customers will be able to select a vehicle, get a committed price and submit a deposit without ever entering one of the group’s stores.

Jackson said digital sites will be expanded next year to allow the group to appraise and purchase customer trade-ins. They will also be able to provide customers with quotes on financing. “This is our strategic vision, if you will, that we believe today’s customer and future customers want one experience, not an online experience and an in-store experience, but one seamless experience where they can interact and transact both digitally and in the store,” he said, noting that the AutoNation will invest an additional $100 million over the next two years to solidify the brands, increase site traffic and add transaction capabilities to its digital sites.

Jackson, however, stopped short of providing a timetable on how things will play out. “So it’s certainly not the end of the story over the next two years,” he said. “There will be more chapters, but we’re in a very ambitious and exciting phase. I call it an investment phase.”

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