Share your automotive expertise

2 Write a Blog Post

Filed in: None

The Auto Industry's 2013 Most Valuable Insight

By Lindsey Auguste on Apr 26, 2013

​When you get a room full of 100 plus Dealer Principals together, the topic of discussion doesn’t usually fall to things like choosing specific SEO keywords. The conversations center more on high-level thinking and strategic thought processes that fuel these entrepreneurs to take their business to the next level.

That was the very motivation behind DrivingSales hosting the first ever Most Valuable Insight competition. In the spirit of progress and thought leadership, we challenged the thought leaders in our industry to present an insight that directly impacts the way dealer principals and general managers operate their business.  Taking the conversations to the highest level, auto industry professionals were invited to share their thoughts and insights to the attending dealership executives to foster inspiration, progression, and celebration of a better automotive retail industry. Of course, all submissions had to be thoroughly backed with arduous research and empirical support.

After finalists were selected by a group of dealers, the dealer principals in attendance at the 2013 DrivingSales Presidents Club event in NYC were presented with four outstanding contributions to the automotive industry:

  • “Capitalizing on Changes in Online Shopping Behaviors,” presented by Scott Pechstein at Autobytel Inc.
  • “Do You Know Today’s Customer? New Findings Show Difference between Prices of Vehicles Shopped vs. Actual Prices Paid,” presented by Scott Hernalsteen at
  • “Mobile: your key to winning shoppers when they’re ready to buy,” presented by Jack Simmons at
  • “Are You Aiming at the Right Target?” presented by Chris Reed at Cobalt

The presentations were data-driven, actionable, and relevant to the high caliber audience in attendance.  A dealer judging panel on stage and off evaluated the insights on relevancy, originality, empirical support, and implementation, and after the closest dealer feedback in DrivingSales contest history, one insight stood strong as the most valuable.

Congratulations to Chris Reed and the Cobalt team for providing the 2013 Most Valuable Insight to the automotive industry. Reed’s insight, based on an eight month Cobalt study of consumer engagement with online vehicle information including metrics such as VDPs (Vehicle Detail Pages) and Time-on-VDP revealed that vehicle engagement are the single best predictor of future sales, materially superior to other metrics commonly used by dealership marketing staff such as visits and lead submissions. Vehicle engagement metrics provide insight into the effectiveness of a dealers off-line as well as online marketing and can be predictive of the timing of a sale down to the VIN level.  Reed also shared the pitfalls of relying on any single metric, including VDP views, to evaluate marketing performance and the predictive power gained by evaluating the pattern of consumer interaction with content on dealer websites and online advertising in general. 

As the winner of the Most Valuable Insight competition, Reed will have the opportunity to present the Cobalt data in much greater detail at the 2013 DrivingSales Executive Summit in October in Las Vegas.

Congratulations again to all of the finalists for providing thought-provoking data and action items to propel the automotive retail industry forward. 


This was such a powerful segment. Not only were all four of the presenters solid on the stage, their content and overall theme was so on-point with regards to where dealerships need to be focused.

Well done!

Apr 26, 2013

Comments 1 - 1 of 1

You must be logged in to comment

Login Create an account

Add your comments:


Lindsey Auguste's Recent Posts

Related Posts

  • Customer Retention Starts With Employee Retention

    Periodically I get the opportunity to roll up my sleeves and dig into a dealer’s pain point. More often than not these pain points lately are, “how do I get all the customers in to my shop and completed in a timely manner” or “do you know any techs” and “what is the best way keep my customers coming back.”  Here is the extremely tough answer to Mr. Dealer’s questions. The short answer goes something like this “I have an answer but I don’t think you will like the timeline it will take to accomplish this once and for all.” After a frustrated perplexed look from the dealer I usually say, “The complete fix sits within your people, your training program and your ability to grow and mentor your staff.” Obviously this is not an overnight fix. Most of the time I feel they are looking for the silver bullet to Customer retention starts with having a solid process and business model, yes this is a given. The execution of customer retention sits fully on the shoulders o...Read post

  • One of a dozen ways chat can kill your deal – and 3 tips to prevent it

    I once had a general manager tell us that Disney had a vice president of parking to ensure the first and last experience guests have at their parks are not tainted by stress. I don’t know about the VP part, but they certainly have it down to a science, as evidenced by nearly two dozen personal visits and this Wall Street Journal article. What does that have to do with live chat on dealer websites? Only everything. Just like a crappy parking experience can ruin an amusement park visit, OFFERING auto shoppers a chance to chat on your dealer website, then not answering the call when they click the CHAT NOW button is a sure way to kill a car deal. For all the things that can go wrong in an auto shopping experience, and even just during a live chat experience, killing it from moment one by not answering the virtual phone is surely the biggest. Check out my stop watch on this live chat inquiry. This dealer is taking their own chats – or is deluding themselves in to THINKING they a...Read post

  • Drive End-of-the-Year Sales by Targeting Current Customers

    Up next in OneCommand’s Holiday Marketing Guide is an easy way to drive end-of-the-year sales to your dealership. We all know marketing to current customers to keep them coming back is significantly cheaper than going out and conquesting for new business. Although bringing in new business is extremely important, try these three ideas to put current customers into your sales pipeline. Find Pre-Owned Opportunities Chances are you have several pre-owned vehicles in such high demand that they are sold before they ever hit your lot. Look into your database to determine if any of your current customers drive one of these desirable vehicles. Then, reach out to them to see if they are interested in selling their vehicle. If so, you have a win, win; you’re able to stock your pre-owned inventory lot with desirable vehicles and potentially sell a new vehicle. Find Equity Opportunities Another way to find potential sales for an end-of-the-year push is to look into your database and find cust...Read post

  • Is Your Dealership On Blab? Why You Should Be.

    Driving Sales members are going to want to jump on this new social media platform...because it's going to be a game changer.Read post

  • Get Customer's Vehicles Ready for Colder Weather

    Last week, we kicked off our Holiday Marketing Guide with Thanksgiving campaign ideas to help you demonstrate your appreciation to customers, give back to your community, and drive top-of-mind awareness for your dealership. This week, we move to the backend of your business and focus on increasing service visit frequency and dollars spent per RO. That’s right, it’s time to get your customer’s vehicles ready for the colder weather ahead and here are three campaign ideas to help you do just that. Inform Customers Typically customers neglect their vehicle’s service schedule because they are either too busy and it never makes their priority list, or they aren’t aware of the specific maintenance needs for their vehicle. Either way, communication is the key to making sure customers maintain their vehicles regularly. All you need to do is take the time to put together an informational service communication about the maintenance needs for a vehicle as the colder weather sets in. Cus...Read post

  • Vendor Accountability & Transparency

    As 2016 approaches, it’s a great time to think about ways to reenforce accountability and transparency into relationships with your digital marketing vendors. Accountability and transparency are cornerstones of solid business practices, so even if you have the utmost trust and confidence in your vendors, you should still ensure that the relationship is as transparent as possible. Here are a few ideas for getting better accountability from each of your digital marketing vendorsRead post

  • How Negative Reviews Can Damage Online Business

    For a company that conducts its business primarily or only online, its internet reputation is the only reputation it has. Negative reviews can cost an online business thousands of missed customers in hardly any time at all. Here are some useful tips to help online businesses deal with negative reviews and take charge of their reputations online.Read post

  • Turning Millennial Car Shoppers into Buyers

    Millennials are moving into the car market in a significant way. So, what’s the best way to attract Millennials who are in the market for a car? The first step is to find them where they’re shopping. While Millennials use desktops, tablets and smartphones to car shop, they tend to prefer their phones. On Edmunds, 60% of Millennial visitors come through the mobile site. These mobile shoppers are more active during evening and weekend hours, i.e., the times when shoppers are out and about, suggesting that they may be using their phones on the dealer lot. Edmunds’ analyses reveal that mobile shoppers appear to be as serious about car buying as wired shoppers. Shoppers on both site types engage in the same key shopping activities, including reading reviews, researching pricing and viewing inventory. Further, Edmunds finds that mobile shoppers are increasingly likely to contact dealers. The volume of customers submitting traditional price request forms has more than doubled year over year for the past two years, thanks to growing mobile traffic and to optimizing the forms for mobile usage. New ways of contacting dealers are also proving popular with mobile shoppers.Read post