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There has been a lot of talk lately about the process that buyers go through before making their final decision to purchase a new or pre-owned vehicle from a dealership. Back in the old days of the car business it was as simple as the potential buyer hearing or seeing your ad on the radio or in a newspaper, getting in the car and driving to your dealership, test driving the car, negotiating a deal and ultimately diving off in their new car. While this is still a part of the car buying process a bigger piece has been thrown right smack in the middle of it all. This new trend referred to as the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT for short), relates to how buyers are now more than ever utilizing as many forms of media (digital, print, radio, television) to make their final decision. While the ZMOT theory relates to pretty much any industry and the process buyers undergo, it is even more important than ever when you consider the financial and emotional impact of buying a car.

Take a look at the chart below from a Google/Shopper Sciences study on the sources that buyers use in the car buying decision. According to this same study the average buyer visits nearly 18.2 sources when researching their next vehicle purchase.


So what does this tell us? The simple fact of the matter is that buyers are spending more time online to obtain as much information as they possibly can before making a buying decision. If the above numbers hold true it tells us that a dealership now has to focus their efforts on everything from search engine optimization, website design, 3rd party advertising sources, social media and reputation management and more to stay in front of potential buyers. Dealerships with poor search engine rankings, negative reviews, poorly designed websites and a disregard for the importance of social media are going to fall behind their competition of who understand this is the new way of marketing.  

At Liquid Motors we offer dealerships a consolidated approach to getting their hands around all aspects of their online marketing. By streamlining processes and speeding their time to market we are able to help them tackle the Zero Moment of Truth and increase their visibility across the multiple online channels that buyers are using when buying their next car.


Congratulations to top performer, Group 1 Automotive East Region, for claiming the #1 spot on the 2012 WardsAuto e-Dealer 100! Group 1 Automotive East Region, based in Danvers, MA, was an undisputed winner this year, boasting new Internet sales of 13,369 units and used Internet sales of 10,767, giving them an alarming total of 24,136 Internet sales units!

Only the savviest of dealers that excel at Internet – driven sales are ranked and recognized annually. This list serves as a mighty indicator of the growing success of dealerships harnessing the infinite power of the Internet.

As Group 1’s Internet Marketing provider, Liquid Motors is thrilled to see the East Region achieve such success, and we reach out to them with a tremendous pat on the back!

In case you didn’t know, April is National Car Care Month, a nationwide effort that focuses on the importance of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair. This awareness month helps drivers understand the benefits and importance of car care for safer roads, cleaner air, energy conservation, and consumer savings.
What a perfect opportunity for you and your dealership to do something nice for your customers and community……with the added benefit of maintaining and building customer loyalty for you! Take the time necessary to help your customers understand how certain repairs can add to their vehicle’s life, improve gas mileage and eliminate future, more expensive repairs.

Focus on one day, or celebrate all month. Draw a crowd by grilling hotdogs and burgers, provide ice cream and goodies. A bounce house will be sure to get you noticed and will keep kids occupied while their parents learn more about what you have to offer. Promote preventive maintenance by offering discounted oil changes with free multi-point inspections. Host free Safety Seat Inspections or have staff teach a “How to Perform Your Own Vehicle Safety Check” class. Offer free car washes with every service performed in the month of April. The ideas and opportunities are endless!

For more tips and ideas to make April a successful month, visit Please let us know how you and your dealership plan to recognize National Car Care Month!

I was trying to come up with a brilliant blog, and in my search of a topic to write about I came across this article, “It Drives Me Crazy! A Short Screed On The Stupidity Of Car Salesmen” by Becky Quick, that was recently printed in Fortune Magazine. After reading the article, I felt like I was transported back a decade or two. It goes to show that no matter how much we think the car business has changed, we are reminded, thanks here to Becky Quick, that maybe it hasn’t changed all that much. Although frustrated by salesmen at 5 different dealerships, Miss Quick still returned to purchase a vehicle from one of them due to the time crunch with her baby arriving soon and simply being “tired of shopping around”. So ultimately, the salesman got the sale and the dealership can continue to treat women poorly with the knowledge they will continue to get sales. Two steps forward three steps back. So what are the sales practices at your dealership?

I attended my first NADA this year, and what better place to do so than in Las Vegas! Being a true car guy at heart I was pretty excited about the convention. It was great to finally see some of the vendors that I had done business with over the past 15 years while I managed a dealership. I was really surprised to see how many opportunities for improvement are out there for dealers. Sometimes as dealers we have tools in our store but don’t understand the full functionalities of them, so we just get by with the basics. I know I personally, along with my former staff, are guilty as charged. I can assure you it was not because we did not want to get better, to be honest, we just did not know any different. I promise you, it would be in your best interest to get the necessary training so you can optimize the full benefit of your Internet tools!

If you have never been to NADA, you owe it to yourself to go at least one time. I would recommend you walk the entire show on day one, then go back the next 2 days to the companies that caught your eye and get more details. I can assure you, you will learn something new, I know I did!

We are headed to Vegas for NADA on Friday and it just so happens that NADA is on the same weekend as the Super Bowl. You know what that means….COMMERCIALS! Oh, and football of course. In case you haven’t seen this Honda commercial yet, it’s a must watch. Who doesn’t love “Ferris Buellers Day Off”??? I have many fond childhood memories of this movie and think Honda did it right with this one! Enjoy!

It seems like every few months something becomes the “buzz” and lately QR or Quick Response codes seem to be the leader. I get tons of questions, ideas and request from dealers to make sure they are implementing QR codes correctly.

There are endless ways to utilize QR codes in your marketing efforts that make perfect sense. Example you’re reading this blog and you have an interest in using QR codes in your efforts and want more information from Liquid Motors well I just happen to have the perfect code for you to scan:

Or maybe you want to get the coolest application for Facebook then again here is the perfect code:

Now that you have an idea on some basic uses for QR codes let me give you a scenario that is happening everyday and is the wrong way to use this technology.

Billy who on his way home from a long day at the job site saw a truck that caught his eye and quickly pulls off the service road to take a quick look. As a window shopper on your lot after business hours the only immediate information Billy can get is what he can see on the truck and window sticker/buyers guide details. Billy likes what he sees about the truck and since you do not print the price on your window stickers he is curious if it is in his price range and what other features are on the vehicle. More importantly he wants to show his wife the truck as soon as he gets home.

So let’s assume you are using QR codes technology how would you use it?

Click here to take survey

Billy scans the QR code on his phone excited to see more information he needs to make his decision and to his surprise he is directed to the home page of your dealer site. How many of you have been on your main web site on your phone? Most are virtually impossible to navigate or even read. Bottom line if you’re moving into the mobile marketing arena you better get a mobile web site. Yes this is the answer to question 3 of the survey, the specific vehicle details page on your mobile site is exactly where you want the customer to be taken too. Billy can now see the Internet price and all the details and pictures of the vehicle and is ready to run home and show his wife.

How is this possible you may ask? Having a web site that has vehicle specific URL’s that are in a format that is link friendly is critical to getting this type of behavior. If your web site company has told you that you can only direct a customer to your home page or any other static page you now know why. This is a very bad practice and you are better off not having the code on the car in the first place, why? Imagine you are standing at the truck like Billy is, you scan a code that does not take you to more information is takes you further away from the vehicle of interest. It would almost be like having every page on your web site re-direct every visitor to the home page before they could start searching, it just makes no sense.

Here is an example of a code that is not using a mobile site:

Now scan this vehicle that is using a mobile site:

Another area of questions revolves around where do I put my QR code? This is very easy to answer. Just don’t put them on your Buyers Guides! This is a federal document and the QR code may become part of the Buyers Guide if added to it. If you want to have these on your Buyers Guides I would recommend you talk to an attorney in your state regarding compliance.

QR codes can be a nice addition to your marketing efforts just remember the my #1 rule before you do anything, “Think like a consumer not a car dealer.” If it makes sense to consumers you will see the benefits.

Thank you for taking the time to read all of the Liquid Motors blogs, Facebook and Twitter postings we truly appreciate it and hope you are all getting something from them. Please post your comments and share away!

I heard about this company recently and laughed when I went to the website. I love how upfront and transparent they are and how they tell you prior to even getting a chance to scroll through the website that they DO NOT HAVE TECHNICAL SUPPORT and should you want it they DO NOT HAVE IT and if you require it then you SHOULD NOT ORDER IT. I know the capitalization I just used might be overkill but that is exactly how they have it on their website, in big bold letters, basically telling you to not buy their product but if you choose to you are on your own and good luck! I wonder how many people still buy the product without technical support. Do you think that technical support is that important that should a company NOT offer it that a customer would not buy the product? “>this company recently and laughed when I went to the website. I love how upfront and transparent they are and how they tell you prior to even getting a chance to scroll through the website that they DO NOT HAVE TECHNICAL SUPPORT and should you want it they DO NOT HAVE IT and if you require it then you SHOULD NOT ORDER IT. I know the capitalization I just used might be overkill but that is exactly how they have it on their website, in big bold letters, basically telling you to not buy their product but if you choose to you are on your own and good luck! I wonder how many people still buy the product without technical support. Do you think that technical support is that important that should a company NOT offer it that a customer would not buy the product?

I was browsing through the latest delivery of one of Dealer Communications eNewsletters when an article caught my eye – “Consumer Reports Index: Sentiment Plunges To Lowest Level Since December 2009”. Being a person who likes to look at surveys and statistics, I began to read through the article. The article contains survey data and analysis conducted by Consumer Reports around various categories including consumer outlook, financial troubles, employment, stress and purchase behavior. Besides being an interesting read, at least to me, the article also got me thinking about how this information could be used to help increase the marketing effectiveness of a business.

The overall findings in the Consumer Reports study are a bit depressing:
• Consumer sentiment dropped to 43.4 a 5.1 point drop in only one month – this indicates a more pessimistic consumer attitude toward their finances.
• Financial difficulties were reported 10 points higher than the previous month at 60.6 – indicating many more households are experiencing problems paying bills.
• The Employment Index fell to 49 another drop from the previous month and reportedly the largest monthly drop in 2 years.

So what got me thinking about marketing in the midst of all of these woeful numbers? By reading between the lines and looking at the secondary points within the article, you can find data on which categories are faring the best. While the overall consumer outlook is bad, the report indicates the most optimistic consumer groups are ages 18-34 and households with $100k or more income. Consumer retail behavior was actually up from the previous month despite the negative outlook. Vehicle purchases remained static month to month and forecast for new car purchases are expected to increase in following months. Looking at these points, it is possible to see where your marketing efforts and money might best be spent.

So how flexible are you in your marketing efforts? Are you able to review data such as this and make changes based on your analysis or are you locked into doing the same things month after month. I am not suggesting you should make a massive change to your philosophy based on a single article or report but imagine how much more efficient capitalizing on current situations would be. The phrase ‘throwing good money after bad’ comes to mind; being locked into committing time and money pursuing markets that are returning less and less results or are predicted to do so is counter-productive.

So take a look at this study and let us know what you think. How flexible are your marketing efforts and have you seen a return on investment from being flexible? If you wish to see the article in its original post, it can be found here: Consumer Reports

What would you think if you opened a mailer from a local dealership and you saw an offer for the new 2012 Chevrolet Malibu along with an offer for a discount on a haircut?? Would that seem strange to you? For most yes but for people that live in the Dallas area, specifically the suburb of McKinney might not. Why you ask? Because El Dorado Motors not only offers service to keep your vehicle in tip top shape but they also offer services to keep YOU, the customer looking your best. I saw this story yesterday and thought, “What a great idea!”. I love it when a dealership thinks outside of the box and offers their customers something other then the norm. I used to work with a dealer that offered pedicures in the service department so customers could get a pedicure while they waited on their car getting serviced. Another great idea! Its little things like these that make a dealer stand out. What can you do different to stand out??

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