Speaker 1 [00:00:00] The All Ears podcast is sponsored by Eli. It's time to take your dealership from zero to 100 from dedicated underwriter, an account, executive teams to comprehensive training courses. Ally has the resources needed to take your business to the next level. Contact your local account executive today.
Speaker 2 [00:00:30] Hi, everyone, this is Steve Schmidt without a mode of news. Welcome to the All Ears podcast sponsored by Ali and produced by the Automotive News Content Studio. In each episode, we delve into topics important to executives working in automotive retailing and gain insight and perspective from some of the allies best thought leaders who also share their recommendations on how dealers and others can navigate transformational change underway. Our objective is to provide actionable insights that you can use immediately in running your business and offer perspectives to help inform your business decisions. In this episode, we're talking with allies, Kevin Howard, executive director of Digital Strategy and Growth Marketing, about how dealers and other marketers in the automotive industry can use digital media to connect with consumers. He says how consumers shop for cars continues to evolve as a result of technology, particularly how they use social media and search engines. The implications for automotive marketers are significant and are likely to become more so as the use of internet cookies that have helped marketers serve up very targeted advertising continue to go away in response to regulations designed to protect consumers privacy. Still, Kevin says there are many ways dealers and other marketers can use their own data and also establish relationships with others that will continue to allow for targeted advertising. How should I know marketers be harnessing social media search engines and other digital retailing tools to connect with customers today? How should they be preparing for the future? Here's my conversation with Kevin Howard, executive director of Digital Strategy and growth marketing at Ally. Kevin, thanks so much for
Speaker 3 [00:02:05] joining me today on the All Ears podcast. How are you, sir?
Speaker 4 [00:02:10] Great. Thanks for having me.
Speaker 3 [00:02:11] Well, thank you for joining us. We have a very exciting discussion today and that's around using digital media to connect with consumers. Why don't we start with a bit of level setting what the landscape looks like? Can you talk to us a little bit about how shoppers have changed the tools and resources they're using for their purchases?
Speaker 4 [00:02:31] I think there's no there's no mystery here. More and more folks are definitely using online medium as a way to do their research. They're looking at what their friends are doing through social media. They're using a lot of streaming channels, whether it's YouTube, et cetera, to understand more about different looks and feels in information that they're seeking out. And really, it's about instant gratification. How how can they get the information quickly? And more and more of it is also happening in the mobile devices. So people are really locked at the hip with their phone in terms of how they're going to access and get the information they need.
Speaker 3 [00:03:10] Talk about how that translates into the importance of social media and search engines in today's shopping experience.
Speaker 4 [00:03:17] If I could use an analogy, I would say that if we think about the auto space specifically, I see search is similar to the yellow pages of the old days. It's really how people begin to understand what they're looking for, really digging into different things about makes models, but also they want to form a personal connection with potentially the dealerships or the vendor that they're seeking out. They want, they want it to be easy to navigate. They want to be able to click on different models. They want to be able to easily click to call someone. They want to have access to directions, hours, things like that. So I see that as the first step in a user's journey is really understanding and getting these different things in their consideration. Set social is is also in that case. But I see it a little bit differently. I think for the most part, the way advertisers use social and really the way people use social, it's more of their news outlet. So think about newspapers. This is really the new newspaper for Gen Z in terms of understanding what's happening in the world. Understanding what their friends are gravitating towards and really getting more information in many cases unprompted about things that they may be interested in. And I think this is where advertisers have a really awesome opportunity because you have a lot of information at your disposal, either through the data you have, the data the OEMs have, or the data that the social networks have collected to give very targeted about what you want to tell them about the products you offer.
Speaker 3 [00:04:52] As you point out, advertising on these platforms has grown exponentially, so if you're a dealer, how might you make the most out of social media and search in marketing efforts? I'm trying to drive at my local store.
Speaker 4 [00:05:07] I would say if we start with social, I think it's very important that first and foremost, you identify the types of actions that are most important for you, for a person who is coming to your website and that you tag them accordingly. So what you want to do is understand, hey, if they get to the website and they go down a certain path, but they don't finish, that's that's a piece of information you can use in the social network to say, Hey, they shopped this model they're interested in most most likely in market. How can I resurface this conversation in social and help them understand more about that model they're interested in? So it's very it's very focused on using, tagging, using data to understand who these people are and how to meet them in the middle. And I'd say that what social also offers is the ability to not only have a wide canvas to showcase the inventory you have, but also personalize the offers, and maybe you have a special offer on a certain model and a certain geo. And then you can create urgency so that the idea that you can say only x laugh or time-limited to get them to want to act. And I finally say that social is definitely a golden place for if you have your own first party data customers that you can continue that lifecycle marketing. So when it's time for servicing time for lease, then you want to upsell them to potentially a new model. This is a golden opportunity to do that in a place that does well in terms of that.
Speaker 3 [00:06:38] You mentioned younger consumers. Gen Y was really the leading generation. Now Gen Z is entering the marketplace. What are some of the trends you are seeing in how these younger consumers are researching products? And can you share some tips with dealers on how they may reach these new potential consumers?
Speaker 4 [00:06:57] It's interesting because I have to Gen-Z daughters and I can see the behavior, I mean, they were born with basically a phone in their hand, and they don't they don't watch TV. They don't read newspapers and is really the way they get their information is is either through their social networks, through streaming video or through search engines. And it's really about an instant gratification culture. So how can they how can they get to the answer the quickest? And what I've seen, as you can see the migration of not it's probably a little bit of a detriment, but you can see that there's less need for personal contact. They do a lot of their communication through instant messaging and through non conversations. So I think that's where we're going to see a lot of that movement is. How do you how do you get to that place where there's less friction? They can. They can find what they're looking for, and you can make it as seamless and easy for them to become a customer as possible. And you can even see that when COVID hit. I think that the shift has really taken hold in terms of just the willingness not to have to see and feel and touch a physical product to make a purchase. I mean, people were buying houses like crazy during COVID sight unseen because the market was so hot. And if they're willing to make those types of purchases sight unseen, you can imagine that that'll trickle down to other purchases that are meaningful but not necessarily needed to be personally involved.
Speaker 3 [00:08:27] We'll be right back with more.
Speaker 1 [00:08:32] Want to run laps around your previous business goals? Ally has the resources and tools to help your dealership succeed with dedicated underwriter, an account, executive teams, customized afternoon solutions and comprehensive training courses alike and help your business crush every lap. Ready to get started? Contact your local Ally Account executive today.
Speaker 3 [00:08:54] Marketers are getting ready to go on a diet. What I mean by that is cookies are going away. It's been a trend going on for a couple of years. Google, the biggest web browser, has now delayed its its sunset of third party cookies until 2023. Still, there are implications for marketing. Can you talk a little bit about what that means for digital advertising? Maybe explain a little bit what's happening and how all of that is going to be relevant to dealers.
Speaker 4 [00:09:25] It's been a long time coming. I think we've talked about the death of cookies for really the last 10 years or so, and I would say that cookies are definitely a common currency across the digital landscape in terms of how advertisers can target them. Just to give a little background on what cookies are, it's essentially a way for technology providers, advertisers, data companies specifically to follow users across the internet because you essentially place a small beacon or pixel on a user's browser, and you can begin to understand all the different behaviors they have across the internet and begin to make assumptions of Hey, they have intent for X, Y and Z products. So it's very powerful, and a lot of people use third party data providers because of that. Usually, the third party data providers have relationships with multiple publishers that allow them to put pixels on their site and understand people who go there and what they do. And then they basically package of that data and sell it to advertisers. With all that going away and with Google and Apple essentially blocking the ability for these data companies and technology providers to track people across the internet without their consent. It really puts the catbird seat in the social networks and then in the search engines in terms of really how you can target with precision because you can still use their data. That's the dirty secret is they actually have, you know, first party data across their entire ecosystem that they can sell to advertisers. So you can imagine it's a little bit self-fulfilling that more and more budget will most likely go to these platforms because you can still use the targeting available there. Given the fact that they have that first party data, what it means for advertisers is we have to also build up our first party databases so that we can have rich information that we can use to target both people who have shown intent and are not customers, but also customers as well. So any way you can build that first party database and I mean, when I say first party data that is collecting some pieces of information that the consumer has allowed you to collect and then use for marketing purposes, it's going to be critically important that you think of unique ways to do that, whether it's, you know, legion type campaigns within page paid search for and social on the website. If you have a new model coming out and you want to get more information, have them get their email address, you can collect that piece of information and use that for currency. But the more and more data you can collect on your own versus relying on third party data providers is really going to be key. And also, if you can leverage Chloe Williams to help you build that database based upon the huge amount of traffic that they generate as well in terms of models and features all the all the better for you.
Speaker 3 [00:12:24] You mentioned this has been a trend 10 years in the making again, Google is now delayed its onset of cookies for another year. How is it and why is it important? I should say that marketers be thinking about this now and how might dealers start working to build their own first and second party data as a resource in this future cookie less world?
Speaker 4 [00:12:49] Every advertiser is grappling with this, and actually the Google announcement came about a year ago and was actually supposed to take off take hold this year, and they've actually delayed it because they had so much backlash from advertisers. There really is. I'd say, no silver bullet here. I think know we're all grappling with this in terms of how do we build a first party database, whether it's providing useful content for users in exchange for information know I've seen in us included. We've seen a big explosion of content avenues where you provide helpful content, whether it's videos or advertorials or booklets of information, in exchange for data with the hope that you can use that data in the future. And I'd say that publishers are also closing their their data set and creating walled gardens themselves, whether it's some of the bigger newspaper publishers, et cetera. So now if you want to get that content, you've got to exchange some information to do so and either subscribe for free or subscribe for pay. And then those publishers are going to work with advertisers and create basically their own mini networks to exchange data, first party data between the two to create more customized targeting. So it's it's kind of going back to the way targeting in digital was about 20 years ago. So it's going to be less cookie reliant and more publisher publisher of first party and advertiser first party reliant in the exchange that data between the two. So they're still be tart, they'll still be targeting in place, but it's just not going to be as probably granular as we have the data. Cookies.
Speaker 3 [00:14:33] Kevin, thanks so much for joining me today on the All Ears podcast. Appreciate you taking a few minutes and sharing your insights with our audience.
Speaker 4 [00:14:41] Great. Thank you. Thanks for having me.
Speaker 2 [00:14:43] That's all for this episode of the All Ears podcast. Join us next time when we'll continue talking about the changing digital marketing landscape and how dealers can best harness the power of digital retailing. On behalf of Ally in the Automotive News Custom Content Studio, thanks for joining us!