Third-Party Auto Website Executives Offer Insight on Business Models

Automotive Marketing Roundtable 2013 DSC_4280-SThird-party automotive website executives offered their observations about vehicle price transparency during a panel discussion at the October J.D. Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable (AMR) in Las Vegas, NV. More excerpts from the panel discussion that was moderated by Joel Ewanick, former automotive marketing executive and now managing partner of Global Auto Systems, are highlighted in today’s post.

 Moderator: Joel Ewanick, managing partner, Global Auto Systems, Inc.

Panel Members:

Seth Berkowitz, president and COO, Edmunds.com

Larry Dominique, executive vice president, TrueCar, Inc.

Jared Rowe, President, Kelley Blue Book

Alex Vetter, senior vice president, Cars.com

Joel: You’re very different in how you collect your data—so tell me Seth (Edmunds) why is your data so much better than their data?

 Seth (Edmunds): “I guess we see ourselves across the panel as being least competitive with Cars.com. We respect what they are doing: with the classifieds industry and what they have done in used cars—that’s not really our core space. That might change in the future. I think our biggest differences are with TrueCar and with Kelley Blue Book. . . While we were the company 20 years ago that introduced invoice price, and published it for the first time, we’re actually moving in a completely different direction. . . We are going to have dealers provide actual prices on individual vehicles and then we are going to tell what other people are paying. We have our Price-Promise program, now where you get those actual prices. . . Over the coming months, you’re going to see invoice stripped off behind warning labels where you have to click to get it because we believe that it’s not servicing people anymore and it creates confusion.”

Alex (Cars.com): “Putting a price on a transaction that we know is wildly complex creates distrust in the industry. The expectation that this is the price you are going to pay—is not something that any website [represented] here can actually deliver because so much goes into the pricing at the retail store. We rely on dealer participation to drive that pricing.” Continue reading ›

Marketing Exec Leads Internet Site Panel in Discussing Price Transparency

Price negotiation for most consumers is often described as one of the most arduous parts of the purchase process, according to Joel Ewanick, managing partner of Global Automotive Systems, Inc. The former GM chief marketing officer led a panel discussion about “Vehicle Price Transparency” with four third-party website executives at the October J.D. Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable (AMR) in Las Vegas, NV. Excerpts from the panel discussion are highlighted in this post.

Moderator: Joel Ewanick, managing partner, Global Auto Systems, Inc.

 Panel Members:

Seth Berkowitz, president and COO, Edmunds.com

Larry Dominique, executive vice president, TrueCar, Inc.

Jared Rowe, President, Kelley Blue Book

Alex Vetter, senior vice president, Cars.com

Third-Party Website Leaders Define Business Models

Joel: I see that companies like yours are trying to help the consumer through the process. Can you explain what you do, what your business model is, and then we’ll start to compare and contrast?

Seth (Edmunds): “At Edmunds, we’re working through a major transition. For years, we’ve been an information and pricing authority. We probably have the largest repository of automotive information on the Internet with somewhere in the neighborhood of 3.5 million pages of content. We’ve decided that being this comprehensive encyclopedia of automotive information isn’t enough. . . We’ve decided to make car buying easier. We are going to do this by fostering trust—which is at an all-time low— between consumers and dealers.” Continue reading ›

Over Half of Gen Y Shoppers Who Use the Web are Open to Any Vehicle Brand

Arianne_Walker New

Arianne Walker

One-half of all new-vehicle buyers who use the Internet in their shopping process (AIUs) are open to considering any vehicle brand at the beginning of their research experience. In addition, that percentage is even higher (54%) among Gen Y AIUs, according to our 2013 New Autoshopper Study.*

We see that close to one-half (47%) of Gen Y AIUs use smartphones in their shopping process—the most of any age demographic, which indicates how important it is for brands and websites to put these younger buyers into their marketing equations. The share of new-vehicle buyers in Gen Y is increasing at the greatest rate among all buyers and is projected to comprise 23% of all 2013 retail sales.

Automakers have a terrific opportunity to influence younger buyers during their shopping process, which averages about four months, particularly since they are quite open to considering different brands as they begin their new-vehicle research. In addition, the digital presence of the brand through mobile advertising and by providing content across mobile-accessible sites may be a great way to reach Gen Y buyers, since we see almost half that use a smartphone during the shopping process. Continue reading ›

Live from the Newsroom: Ask J.D. Power Expert about Social Media

Jacqueline Anderson

Social media can positively or negatively affect the bottom line in business. Recently, J.D. Power’s Jackie Anderson, director of social media and text analytics, was interviewed by The Wall Street Journal’s Michael Castner about what companies are doing right with social media and what they are doing wrong—especially when they are . . . Continue Reading Live from the Newsroom: Ask J.D. Power Expert about Social Media

Commentary—No Return from “Online Buzz?”

Jeremy Detgen_v

Jeremy Detjen

Coca-Cola created a large debate about a week ago, with their conclusion that “online buzz has no measurable impact on short-term sales,” according to an Ad Age article.

Wendy Clark, Coca-Cola’s vice president of integrated marketing communications and capabilities, expanded on this finding by stating that in isolation it is true, but should not “obscure the role that social media plays.” This statement was based on an internal Coca-Cola study that shows social media alone does not add much value to short-term sales, but when combined with other channels is more effective than any one channel on its own.

It is important to note that online buzz is only one metric of social media success, and at best it is a measure of high-level engagement or brand recognition. So it makes sense that it does not impact sales directly. Clark goes on to clarify that “in beta testing with Facebook, [they]’ve been able to track closed-loop sales from site exposure to in-store purchase with very promising initial results that are above norms for what [they] see with other media.” Continue reading ›

Third-Party Automotive Websites Need to Satisfy New- and Used-Vehicle Shoppers

Arianne_Walker New

Arianne Walker

Third-party automotive websites with the highest overall satisfaction among both new- and used-vehicle shoppers have the highest advocacy and loyalty rates, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2013 Third-Party Automotive Website Evaluation Study.SM

We find a high correlation between overall satisfaction with a third-party site and the likelihood of shoppers recommending and returning to that site in the inaugural year of  measuring the usefulness of automotive third-party automotive websites during the shopping process.

Specifically, a more satisfying experience results in shoppers who report that they “definitely will” return to the website when shopping for a vehicle and that they “definitely will” recommend the site to friends and family. These return visits and positive word of mouth help increase exposure to the revenue-generating advertising on these sites. Continue reading ›

Entering International Markets: Analysis, Partnerships, Different Strategies

Automotive marketers tend to have a U.S.-centric focus in developing plans and programs even though many are working for multinationals operating in a global economy, according to a panel of auto marketers who presented some international strategies and who discussed what they have learned about international marketing at the recent 2012 J.D. Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable in Las Vegas, NV.

It’s important that a company be very selective when choosing new international markets for entry, which requires conducting analysis to find where good markets are; evaluating the value proposition for each region; and finding partners that your company can work with who understand the culture of that market.

Panelists from four independent automotive websites and a multi-franchise automaker also said it’s crucial to tailor the marketing message to the particular market you are entering, rather than just translating your current marketing message to another language. Continue reading ›

Using Social Media to Understand the Driving Experience

Jeremy Detgen

For decades, J.D. Power and Associates has been helping clients understand “what drives customer satisfaction” through its key automotive studies such as the Initial Quality Study ( IQS), Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI), and Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS), among others. Integrating social media research with traditional research can help provide a more complete picture by diving deeper into the “why?” according to Bill Tuohig, senior director, Social Media and Text Analytics at J.D. Power.

Focusing on the automotive sector, Tuohig summarized at the recent Automotive Marketing Roundtable (AMR) in Las Vegas some details of how social media can help marketers better understand the driving experience.

Recently, Tuohig’s group conducted a project to look at the personalized driving experience and, in particular, studied the role of technology during the driver’s experience. Through analysis of 100,000 posts during a full year, J.D. Power focused on information related to the cockpit experience. Continue reading ›

Understanding Consumers from a Traditional, Digital, and Mobile Perspective

Jeremy Detgen

Defining how consumers engage with media is one way to measure the effectiveness of digital, according to Mike Spadafore, director of Analytics and Solution Development for Acxiom Corp., a technology and marketing services company based in Little Rock, AR. Spadafore described consumer engagement in terms of viewer usage habits and media consumption during his presentation at the recent J.D. Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable (AMR) in Las Vegas.

Using data from Acxiom and partner BIGinsight, a consumer information portal, Spadafore said his group has assessed media usage with scores from Passive to Active and Tethered to Mobile. For example, he said that watching television at home is passive and very tethered. In comparison, when a consumer is looking at vehicle information at the dealership, media usage is active and mobile. Continue reading ›

J.D. Power Explores Best Practices in Social Media Research

Social media is becoming more important in market research for many businesses, including the automotive industry. Understanding how best to use this kind of research to gain the right information for making business decisions is essential for marketers and planners in designing marketing programs and making good business decisions.

Gina Pingitore

Establishing social . . . Continue Reading J.D. Power Explores Best Practices in Social Media Research