AAAS recap by Jon Petron: hot news from Boca Raton

I just took one for the team by leaving Minneapolis in November for the warmer climes of Boca Raton, Florida. My destination was the Automotive Analytics & Attribution Summit, organized by Brian Pasch of PCG Companies – and it was one of the best business events I’ve ever attended.

Why? There were a ton of subject-matter experts – the tone was learning and best practices rather than self promotion and selling. We were in solid, relevant sessions for two straight days with content directed toward dealers with a great deal of actionable advice.

Here are my takeaways from the event:

  • Dealers should care about marketing transparency. Meaning transparency from vendors when it comes to results they claim. Today, it’s common for multiple marketing vendors to take credit for each deal. More transparency would help dealers sort out what really works. Standardization of metrics – an issue being spearheaded by PCG Companies – is something the participants in this event all support.
  • Attribution is more complex than looking at the last click. Cross-device and last-click attribution were big topics at this show, and goals that dealers should be working toward. There was a noticeable shift in focus toward quality outcomes rather than simple reach metrics.
  • Dealers’ own DMS data is a goldmine that many aren’t leveraging. Many dealers focus on net-new leads and give little credit to the data in their own DMS. It’s cheaper and easier to keep a customer than to get a new one – many panelists at AAAS discussed how.
  • Vendors who collaborate in support of transparency help their dealer customers and the industry. Based on what I heard at AAAS, dealers are looking for more collaboration among vendors toward standardization and visibility into the entire consumer ecosystem. Vendors’ efforts in this regard will really help them establish trust with dealers.

These are all issues that Outsell has been talking with customers about for years. In future blog posts, we’ll delve into more detail on these subjects.

New AI-driven solution help boost sales to auto dealers

Outsell announced today that it exceeded revenue and profitability goals for the third quarter. Increases in both areas were driven by the success of its revolutionary new solution Inventory Mover, which meets an unmet need for dealers by taking their individualized communications to the next level.

“We are seeing significant traction with Inventory Mover, an add-on to the base Outsell platform that provide auto dealers with significant benefits including increased conversion rates and more visitors to their stores,” said Mike Wethington, CEO of Outsell.

Highlights from the quarter:

  • Outsell launched a new addition to its NeuroMotics® AI marketing-driven platform: Inventory Mover, the industry’s first inventory recommendation engine that automatically sorts through consumers in a dealer’s DMS and CRM, extracts data on in-market consumers, predicts which VINs will appeal to each consumer, and dynamically shows unique live inventory recommendations to each consumer via automated, individualized emails.
  • Outsell launched new product packages that enable dealers to accelerate their move to digital. Designed to meet the most common needs of dealers, the packages help dealers quickly determine what they need for digital marketing.

In addition, just before the start of Q3, Outsell announced that it had promoted CTO Bryan Harwood to President. Harwood is a six-year veteran of Outsell who’s been instrumental in driving Outsell’s recent growth and success.

Outsell also announces support for PCG Companies’ Google Analytics specifications

Outsell announced today that its CEO Mike Wethington has been invited to present at the inaugural Automotive Analytics & Attribution Summit (AAAS), taking place Nov 8-9, 2017 in Boca Raton, Fla. Wethington will speak about best practices for attribution in digital marketing.

The AAAS is the first event dedicated to online marketing analytics and attribution for the automotive industry. Auto dealers and manufacturers invest heavily in marketing, yet few standards exist for tracking consumer influence, engagement and conversion. PCG Companies (the organizer of the event) believes that the auto industry and its agency partners and vendors must work closer together to determine the influences that result in a sale.

“In the past year, we’ve seen an enormous increase in dealers’ desire to better understand the analytics of their marketing spend to improve its effectiveness and efficiency,” said Wethington. “But there is a learning curve. My AAAS panel session will focus on best practices for harnessing and using the data dealers collect to improve digital marketing effectiveness and to measure what’s working and what’s not, so dealers can funnel their budgets into programs that drive the best results.”

One key topic for AAAS is UTM code standards. UTM codes are used within digital marketing campaigns to help marketers track results. Today, Outsell also announced its full support of Google Analytics (GA) events and tagging specifications published by PCG Companies. Outsell program performance can now be easily viewed and inspected in GA, which is a big win for auto dealers. By supporting the GA specifications published by PCG Companies, Outsell’s clients will have fully transparent reporting, and be able to verify Outsell’s monthly marketing reports.

“Outsell has always believed that an open ecosystem and full transparency should be key requirements to really advance the state of automotive customer engagement and its effectiveness for dealers. Our dealer customers look to us as a trusted advisor regarding customer engagement methods and their marketing spend,” said Wethington.

“Outsell has transformed digital marketing for the automotive industry and is now leading the charge in helping to create standards and offering dealers easy-to-use tools that enable them to leverage analytics techniques to understand and improve dealer performance metrics,” said Brian Pasch, Founder of PCG Companies. “I commend Outsell for joining in this movement toward greater transparency in automotive marketing reporting and analytics. This solves a critical problem for dealers – clear data to help improve their marketing mix.”

To learn more about the AAAS event, visit http://automotiveattributionsummit.com/.

Outsell customer Oxmoor Auto Group to co-present in session on marketing attribution

Outsell announced today that its President Bryan Harwood has been invited to speak at the upcoming Driving Sales Executive Summit (DSES) event, taking place at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, October 22-24, 2017. Harwood’s session, titled, “Marketing Insights and Attribution – Are Your Metrics in Alignment?” also features Outsell customer Chip Alvey, Corporate Operations Supervisor at Oxmoor Auto Group, and takes place on October 22 from 4:00-4:40 pm PT.

Attendees will:

  • Gain a better understanding of marketing attribution models and how to apply them to their dealership’s marketing strategies
  • Receive a checklist of items to discuss at their next marketing meeting that address what their team can do now to best optimize dealership data
  • Learn directly from a dealer about how they successfully use new attribution models and marketing strategies to better track their online efforts and improve overall customer engagement

Who:
Speakers: Bryan Harwood, President, Outsell and Chip Alvey, Corporate Operations Supervisor, Oxmoor Auto Group

What:
“Marketing Insights and Attribution – Are Your Metrics in Alignment?”

Where:
Driving Sales Executive Summit (DSES), the Bellagio, Las Vegas

When:
Sunday, October 22, 2017 from 4:00-4:40 pm PT

Outsell and auto dealers share best practices on finding the ideal marketing mix

Outsell has partnered with Automotive News to host an upcoming webinar titled, “Dealer Marketing Technology Mixology – Digital, Traditional and Advertising Done Right.” The free, online event takes place Tuesday, October 3 at 2pm ET.

Marketing budgets, revenue, and marketing ROI are always top of mind for dealer marketers, as is the question of just how much of a dealer’s marketing spend should be dedicated to each channel.

Marketing budgets in the auto industry have shifted over the past few years to an almost 50/50 split between digital and traditional. Some dealers advocate for even more digital, while others remain skeptical when TV, radio, and print continue to work for them. But the question remains – what is the ideal marketing mix for each individual dealer?

Featured speakers for this webinar are Dale Early, Dealer Principal of Hyundai of Silsbee, Amy Rothenberger, Director of Marketing and Business Development for Mercedes-Benz of the Woodlands and Mercedes-Benz of Music City, and Tricia Turk, Director of Dealer Success, Outsell.  They will explore best practices for getting the most out of a dealer’s marketing budget in each channel and how they can ideally work together.

Attendees will learn how to enhance customer satisfaction and reach their primary market areas by:

  • Maximizing digital efforts as the automotive landscape shifts
  • Capitalizing on traditional methods for increased brand presence
  • Optimizing advertising budget to improve timeliness of communications
  • Realizing the ideal mix of these channels for your dealership

Who:
Speakers: Dale Early, Dealer Principal of Hyundai of Silsbee, Amy Rothenberger, Director of Marketing and Business Development for Mercedes-Benz of the Woodlands and Mercedes-Benz of Music City, Tricia Turk, Director of Dealer Success, Outsell and moderator Jim Treece, News Editor, Automotive News

What:
“Dealer Marketing Technology Mixology – Digital, Traditional and Advertising Done Right”

Where:
Online with Automotive News

When:
Tuesday, October 3, 2017 from 2-3pm ET

inventory mover icon

Outsell Releases Inventory Mover

Today Outsell released Inventory Mover, a product that dynamically serves up vehicles from a dealer’s inventory based on what individual consumers are shopping.

We know today’s consumer expects to be known, heard, and to see only what is relevant to them as a result of marketing giants like Amazon and Netflix utilizing AI and to cater each customer experience.

Outsell Inventory Mover is the industry’s first inventory recommendation engine that sorts through consumers in a dealer’s DMS and CRM, identifies in-market consumers, predicts which VINs will appeal to each consumer, and dynamically shows unique live inventory recommendations to each consumer via automated, individualized emails. Outsell’s Inventory Mover helps by:

  • Analyzing consumer behavior to determine which vehicles in inventory are best for each person, and dynamically serving up those vehicles through individualized marketing communications.
  • Identifying aging inventory and matching VINS to people who are likely interested in those models.
  • Driving traffic directly to dealer Vehicle Detail Pages (VDPs).
  • Updating recommendations seamlessly as inventory is rotated – dealers can specify which vehicles to highlight, or let Outsell completely automate the process.
  • Monitoring shopping behavior and updating recommendations daily.
  • Generating direct leads with availability form, conveniently pre-filling the form for customers so they can indicate their interest with one click.

Additionally, Inventory Mover allows dealers to select vehicles they want to boost, allowing them to highlight potentially “old” inventory, while their consumers are still receiving the 1:1 individualized marketing experience they have come to expect.

Outsell will be exhibiting and featuring Inventory Mover at Digital Dealer 23 in Las Vegas =September 18-20 2017. To schedule an appointment at the show, email info@outsell.com.

To learn more about Inventory Mover, visit www.outsell.com/inventorymover

Outsell also launches new marketing automation product packages

Outsell launched today a new addition to its NeuroMotics® AI marketing-driven platform: Inventory Mover, the industry’s first inventory recommendation engine that automatically sorts through consumers in a dealer’s DMS and CRM, identifies in-market consumers, predicts which VINs will appeal to each consumer, and dynamically shows unique live inventory recommendations to each consumer via automated, individualized emails.

Outsell is already known for its NeuroMotics® AI brain that powers its comprehensive marketing suite. Outsell employs a real-time customer lifecycle based approach that helps dealers accelerate sales by individualizing consumer messages. Its BuyerScout® software detects and tips dealers off to in-market buyers. Now with Inventory Mover, dealers can automatically highlight and match would-be buyers with specific inventory to help them move inventory off their lots faster.

For every month a car sits on the lot unsold, a dealer pays $150-300 in interest, cutting into profits. For that reason, dealers prefer to move inventory within 60 days of receipt. Outsell’s Inventory Mover helps by:

  • Analyzing consumer behavior to determine which vehicles in inventory are best for each person, and dynamically serving up those vehicles through individualized marketing communications.
  • Identifying aging inventory and matching VINs to people who are likely interested in those models.
  • Driving traffic directly to dealer Vehicle Detail Pages (VDPs).
  • Updating recommendations seamlessly as inventory is rotated – dealers can specify which vehicles to highlight, or let Outsell completely automate the process.
  • Monitoring shopping behavior and updating recommendations daily.
  • Generating direct leads with availability form, conveniently pre-filling the form for customers so they can indicate their interest with one click.

Back-end integration is via API – Outsell Inventory Mover simply connects to the dealer’s existing inventory database.

“Outsell’s Inventory Mover takes AI and inventory recommendations to the next level,” said Brian Pasch, Founder of PCG Companies. “This solves a critical problem for dealers – accelerating inventory turnover and minimizing their carrying costs.”

Bryan Harwood, President of Outsell, said:

“Inventory Mover significantly enhances a dealer’s ability to move their inventory quicker. Outsell not only helps dealers determine who’s in market, but can now match the right inventory that appeals most to individual consumers. Our dealer customers are excited about this new solution – a significant number have already subscribed to it, pre-launch.”

Outsell also launched today new product packages that enable dealers to accelerate their move to digital. Designed to meet the most common needs of dealers, the packages are:

  • Optimize: Provides all the basics for effective, individualized digital marketing, including buyer identification, inventory matching and automated communications that are individualized for each consumer’s unique needs and preferences.
  • Capitalize: All of the features of Optimize, plus the tools required for Conquest campaigns for obtaining net-new customers.
  • Specialize: Designed for smaller OEM dealers handling exotic brands, this package provides everything required to automate individualized email communications.
  • Socialize: Dealers who want to connect with customers via social media can leverage the Socialize package to serve up relevant, individualized content that encourages customers to leave reviews, increasing customer satisfaction and helping attract more business.
  • Maximize: This package includes the full suite of Outsell solutions for buyer detection, inventory matching, automated and individualized communications, and social media optimization.

“Outsell’s new packages help dealers quickly determine what they need for digital marketing,” said Harwood. “Nearly all our customers use a combination of Outsell solutions. Our new packages expand their ability to automatically and continually engage their consumers throughout their lifecycle, drive measurable sales and profit results, and save them some money.”

To learn more about Inventory Mover or Outsell’s new product packages, visit www.outsell.com/inventorymover.

Outsell and Auto News host July 25 webinar

Outsell announced today that it has partnered with Automotive News to host an upcoming webinar titled, “Boost Retention and Profits with Individualized Marketing.” The free, online event takes place Tuesday, July 25 at 2:00 pm ET.

Savvy automotive marketers are looking for new ways to better understand how to leverage the Internet of Things (IoT). In order to be successful and stay ahead of the game, it’s necessary to apply the IotT’s network connectivity to gather and share data that supports a more advanced and targeted marketing strategy.

The automotive industry is potentially a huge benefactor of this level of connectivity and marketers in this field realize that a good customer experience comes from consistent personalized attention and dependability. Today’s artificial intelligence solutions can offer the automated, tailored one-on-one engagement that consumers demand with the steady stream of communications necessary to keep them engaged throughout their lifecycle, which can ultimately improve a dealer’s bottom line with increased retention and profitability.

Featured speakers Jay McBain, Principal Analyst, Forrester Research; Kristy Elliott, Dealer/Operator, Sunshine Chevrolet; and Guy Super, Vice President, Outsell will explore how the IoT impacts the day-to-day challenges marketers face.

Attendees will learn how to:

  • Combat challenges created by the IoT
  • Increase customer retention utilizing artificial intelligence
  • Maximize consistency for a dealer’s marketing communications
  • Effectively employ marketing solutions using automated, individualized engagement

Who:
Speakers Jay McBain, Principal Analyst, Forrester Research; Kristy Elliott, Dealer/Operator, Sunshine Chevrolet; Guy Super, Vice President, Outsell and moderater Mary Beth Vander Schaaf, Managing Editor, Automotive News

What:
“Boost Retention and Profits with Individualized Marketing”

Where:
Online with Automotive News

When:
Tuesday, July 25, 2017 from 2-3pm ET

Six-year veteran of Outsell has played key role in broadening Outsell’s capabilities

Outsell announced today that CTO Bryan Harwood has been elevated to President of the company, in recognition for the important role he has played in driving Outsell’s growth and success in recent years.

In addition, Outsell has rounded out its senior management team with the addition of two new executives: Litded Davis has been promoted to Vice President, Product and Program Management, and Chris Johnson has been promoted to Vice President, Development. Both have made significant contributions to the organization during their tenure with Outsell.

Outsell achieved record-breaking sales in Q1, after closing out a very strong 2016. Direct sales now comprise a significant percentage of revenue, and the company maintains strong channel sales as well from agency partners such as Agency 720 and Saatchi & Saatchi.

Mike Wethington, CEO and Founder of Outsell, said:

“While serving as CTO, Bryan frequently contributed to operational discussions and decisions that demonstrated to me and the Board that he was capable of taking on more responsibility. He’s played an important part in not only helping to expand Outsell’s capabilities over the past six years, but also in working with our internal team, customers and partners to make sure our new products were widely adopted by auto dealers. I’m very pleased to see him take a more active role in managing the company’s strategy and growth.”

“Analytics are essential in auto sales, and Outsell helps dealers leverage technology to forge closer relationships with consumers,” said Harwood, now President. “There is so much opportunity in this market, and Outsell has built a fantastic marketing platform that can grow in many ways. I’m looking forward to working closely with Mike and the rest of the Outsell team to make it happen.”

About Harwood, Johnson and Davis
Bryan Harwood joined Outsell in 2011 as CTO. He is an innovative technology leader with a depth of experience building out data and transaction processing systems on a massive scale for global enterprises. Harwood began his career as an IT Architect at IBM Global Services working with clients on large implementation projects. Following IBM, he was Lead Architect at Sun Microsystems, architecting a global e-commerce and content management solution for a top e-learning company. He then moved to the role of Fellow & Chief Architect at Galileo/Travelport, building out the first web services platform for the travel industry, which allowed travel sites like Orbitz, Cheaptickets and Expedia to integrate their systems seamlessly. This next-generation Global Distribution System (GDS) was a revolutionary project in the travel industry. He holds a BS in Information and Computer Science from UC Irvine.

Litded Davis is a results-driven individual with more than 15 years of product and project management experience leading strategic initiatives and delivering innovative products in the healthcare, insurance, banking, incentive and automotive industries. As Vice President, Product and Program Management, Davis implements PMO and product management practices. She leads a talented group of product strategists, product managers, project managers and business systems analysts driving the next generation of the Outsell platform. Previously, Davis was director of the project management organization at Outsell.  She has also held program and product development positions at Hallmark Business Connections, United Healthcare, TCF Bank, Baker Hill (acquired by Experian) and One America (formerly American United Life Insurance).  Davis holds a BS in Finance from Indiana University Kelly School of Business and Certificate of Programming from the University of Minnesota.

Chris Johnson brings more than two decades of leadership experience to Outsell, with the majority focused on scaling smaller development shops up to enable high growth through the professionalization of software delivery practices. At Outsell, Johnson has managed the Development and Infrastructure teams, helping guide the technology practices through the transitions to Amazon Web Services (AWS), .NET development platforms and ecosystems, and Agile development methodologies. Prior to joining Outsell, Johnson managed the development and delivery of the first Web-enabled Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) application suite at Lawson Software, and served as the Director of the Development organization for the Governance, Risk, and Compliance business of Thomson Reuters. He holds BS degrees from the University of Minnesota in both Astrophysics and Physical Science Education, as well as a Master’s degree from the University of Saint Thomas.

“Bryan, Litded and Chris have all contributed to Outsell’s past success in measurable ways,” said Wethington. “These promotions are well deserved and help position Outsell for future success and growth.”

Learn more about the Outsell Team.

Outsell and Automotive News host May 16 webinar

Outsell announced today that it has partnered with Automotive News to host an upcoming webinar titled, “Key Strategies to Effectively Measure Marketing.” The free, online event takes place May 16 at 2pm ET.

Thanks to evolving technologies and access to more data than ever before, marketers can make smarter decisions that drive more meaningful outcomes. These outcomes allow you to enhance the consumer experience and improve overall performance.

Join Katie Johnson, Corporate Marketing Manager for Village Automotive Group; Chip Alvey, Digital Director for Oxmoor Auto Group; and Outsell’s Vice President of Sales Guy Super as they uncover key strategies to help you master measuring your digital marketing.

Attendees will learn to understand how to measure the influence and effectiveness of your marketing efforts by:

  • Focusing on key marketing measurement strategies
  • Avoiding measurement pitfalls that skew results
  • Making data driven decisions for smarter outcomes

Who:
Katie Johnson, Corporate Marketing Manager for Village Automotive Group; Chip Alvey, Digital Director for Oxmoor Auto Group; and Outsell’s Vice President of Sales Guy Super

What:
“Key Strategies To Effectively Measure Marketing”

Where:
Online with Automotive News

When:
Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at 2pm ET