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DrivingSales University Scholarship Winners Update

We wanted to provide an update on our DSU Scholarship winners as they’ve reached the tail end of their curriculum and will soon receive their DSU Marketing Manager Certification.  Let’s be honest, it’s a big investment for any automotive professional to take several hours of their busy schedule per week to learn the latest marketing techniques.  So we asked them a few questions to discover what they’ve learned and implemented into their stores to directly increase traffic.  And find out if the time spent is worth the knowledge gained. Here’s what we found out…

Meet Shaun Kniffin who is receiving an Advanced Marketing Manager Certification in SEO from DrivingSales University.

Shaun is the Director of Marketing for the Germain stores owned and operated by Steve Germain in Columbus, OH, Ann Arbor, MI, and Naples and Sarasota, FL regions. Promoted from Director of eBusiness Development this year to this new role, he now oversees both Digital and Traditional Marketing. In 2012, Germain rose to #4 on Ward's Top 100 Internet Dealers. Shaun has been published in numerous publications and also serves on the Dominion Dealer Council and TrueCar Dealer Council. He is Executive Committee Member of the NCM Internet 20 Group.

Q&A

DSU: What's been the biggest "eye-opener" so far?  

Shaun: Thus far, the biggest eye opener has been the depth of understanding that is needed to perform serious SEO. The lessons were extremely in-depth in how proper SEO management really works.  In our dealer group, we find it necessary to outsource this activity.  I would find it very difficult to consider bringing this functionality in-house. However, in the same way a doctor doesn’t use the detailed application of what he/she learned in organic chemistry in their undergrad studies, the understanding the comes from those studies is key in applying technical problem solving is best served by really understanding how chemistry works.  I find striking similarities in understanding how SEO is performed and skills needed by a team of associates skilled in these duties in order to accomplish success in our digital strategies.

DSU: Have you been able to implement any SEO new practices into your store(s)? If so, what's been the outcome? 

Shaun: Recently, we implemented an important SEO review of some of our sites as it relates to the 404 redirects. We also began to tie more of our digital strategies together by understanding more of how they can work together to better optimize our back-links.  We also implemented some competitive analysis to see what we could deem from how well our competitors were optimizing their sites and use them in our strategies.  We are in the process of developing a marketing plan for our fixed operations for 2014 … something we have never done before.  I will be using many of the ideas taken from the course study. I have also seen how we can better tie our traditional advertising efforts to the multiple digital opportunities.

DSU: How would you rate the quality of the content? 

Overall, the quality and depth of the lessons has been remarkable. The speakers on the videos were very knowledgeable in their application of SEO and many of the common pitfalls of amateur or non-compliant SEO strategies were very revealing.

Meet Bill Simmons who is receiving a Marketing Manager Certification from DrivingSales University

Bill Simmons is the newly appointed E-Commerce Director for the Haley Auto Group in Richmond VA. Prior to this position, Bill was the General Manager of the Haley Toyota Certified Center for 8 ½ years. He is an industry veteran with 35 years of experience in all phases of dealership management.

Q&A

DSU: How applicable is the content in the courses to your job? 

Bill Simmons: Very applicable!. I have especially enjoyed learning more about advanced segment reporting in Google Analytics. In the day and age of “big data”, being able to create useful reports that help our dealerships from the mountain of data that GA provides is very useful.

DSU: What marketing changes have you made to increase traffic to your store(s)?

Bill Simmons: A lot of different items are in process. We have setup blogs for all of our stores websites, as creating content relevant to our customers will be a key in 2014. Our stores will have a greater emphasis on video also in the coming year, both from a dealership-branding standpoint and vehicle walk around videos for our websites.

DSU: How would you rate the quality of the instructors and their knowledge level?

Bill Simmons: It doesn’t get any better that learning Google Analytics from Avinash Kaushik, Google’s own data evangelist. I have followed his blog for years but being to take classes instructed by him is even better. This is a very complex topic that Avinash breaks down into very easy to understand lessons.

 

Meet Grant Gooley who has received his Marketing Manager Certification from DrivingSales University.

Grant is the Senior Marketing Director at AutoCanada with a strong background in digital media; including design, video and web development, Grants focus and success has been around building a digital culture within the group. On a weekly basis Grant is presenting to dealerships across Ontario to develop the ever so needed “Shift” in the automotive industry.

Q&A

DSU: How applicable is the content in the courses to your job?

Grant: DSU has been very applicable to what I do on a daily basis. The courses are extremely relevant, helping me in all the major components of Digital Marketing. 

DSU: What marketing changes have you made to increase traffic to your stores?

Grant: One of the courses on SEO has been very helpful already in my Marketing initiatives. I took some of the competitive analysis work sheets and put a plan together. This structured way of looking at SEO gave me the chance to really understand what I’m dealing with when it comes to our competition. Now it’s time to put a content strategy together using the results from the study.

DSU: How would you rate the quality of the instructors and their knowledge level?

Grant: It’s obvious the instructors are top notch when you realize their background. From founders of succeeding start ups to CEO’s of big companies, the instructors have the real life experience you want in a teacher. It’s refreshing to hear from people that actually have practiced what they are preaching.

DrivingSales University is the first to offer digital marketing manager training certification courses for dealership professionals, including a path to Online Marketing Certified Professional (OMCP) certification. Each of our scholarship winners have invested 35-50 hours in their education to receive their Digital Marketing Manager Certification in courses such as SEO, Website Conversion, Web Analytics, Social Media, PPC Mobile Marketing and more. To learn more about DrivingSales University Certification courses, click here.

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