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Larry Bruce

Larry Bruce Founder / President / CEO

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Over the past few months social media has taken on a life of its own both in and out of the Retail Automotive Industry. It’s been incredible to watch. Like a shiny new toy I have seen the blogs fill with internet managers talking about social media, the blogs I have posted about social media have gotten 5X the attention in comments than that of others, it seems many are scrambling to involved, as they should. In Fact I recently read an article that the new Mac OS, Snow Leopard is integrated Facebook address directly into its own address book as I am sure MS Outlook will soon follow suit. Your customers are tweeting, flickering and facebooking at a rapid pace and you need to keep up.

Unfortunately what I am not seeing a lot of is THE MESSAGE, at the heart of all this for the marketer is the message. What this comes down to is that social media is another communications channel. like email, voice, text, search and even your lot and sign you are communicating a message and looking for ways to match that message to the customers that you are communicating to. Each of customers that comes from these mediums have a certain disposition and worldview, RELEVANCY is still king and we need to beware not to confuse the media with the message; technology on its own is not persuasive.

I recently got this email from a dealership on Back to School Savings; luckily I have kids so this message kinda makes sense, when you find out that the dealership sends this message to everyone well that’s now a different story. Go even further and the fact that this is a Cadillac dealership, you then realize that a big portion of their customers don’t have kids or their kids are grown and out of the house. How many just said to themselves naa I don’t have kids in school this isn’t relevant to me? I am betting a great deal. How many opted out? Someone clearly dropped the ball here, there are so many different ways this would have been better.

back-to-shcool-email-1

Let’s start with the subject line “Back to School Service Savings from ABC Cadillac” (the names have been changed to protect the innocent) well what about for customers we know have kids “It’s time for School here are savings to keep your family safe on their way” or if you don’t know if the customer has kids or not “Schools back that means more kids and traffic… is your car ready”. Either one of these subject lines would have gotten a far better read and click through rate.

Now let’s review the content. Rather than a chalk board and apple which has nothing to do with the diving conditions during the school year why not a bus with kids crossing the road to board a school bus and a crossing guard. I found this one on Google images in less than a minute.

crossing-guard-keeping_ar110704027

Now the message:

Dear Larry,

Summer is in full swing, and we know the kids don't want to hear it, but school is just around the corner. Make sure your Venture is ready for all your family travel needs by taking advantage of these great Back-To-School Service savings today!

If school is just around the corner summer certainly is NOT in full swing, if anything its “winding down” and you have taken your summer vacations putting wear and tear on your tires and breaks…right?

The coupons here are good, but the detail of the offer (the FINE PRINT) at the bottom…please guys this is the epitome of not being transparent. Why not let the customer click on one of those coupons and get the details in a conversion path or Microsite? Then you may take even farther to ask the customer in the path is this an emergency repair or a check up? So the message why you want those capons… not so much and the detail surrounding it well the fine print speaks volumes (you obviously don’t want me to know). These are just a few things, there is so much wrong with this email they are too many to mention.

back-to-school-email-2

The moral of this blog post MESSAGE MATTERS and in today’s media rich world it’s the little things that matter most, BE Authentic, BE Genuine, BE Transparent but also BE Relevant or BE Ignored. I wonder if we are all chasing shiny new objects without thinking for the message that should go with it? Don’t get caught up in Web 2.0 technology, work to understand how each channel works and the motivations of the people that use them. A good message in any medium can be effective, and a bad message can’t cured by Web 2.0.

Your customers must be compelled to act, allow them the choice to segment themselves based on what interests them the most. If you don’t you will just blend in with the rest of the white noise and no one will hear what you have to say.

Hope this helps

chei scheifer
this is true - "taken on a life of its own both in and out of the Retail Automotive Industry" when i was at the cadillac store for a cadillac tail light conversion there are two people i can hear talking about this.

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