Resources

With over 30 years of industry experience, we want to share effective marketing practices and actionable insights for your business.

Case Studies

Read our case studies to see how we have helped our partners.
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Browse through our selection of marketing guides.
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Blog

GSM's blog shares the latest industry insights and marketing trends.
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Videos

Watch some of our marketing tip videos to gain some valuable insight.
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Blog

7 min read

How to optimize your paid search strategy

By GSM on 10/7/20 11:04 AM

Any online advertiser can create a Paid Search campaign, but Paid Search success is only as strong as the strategy behind it. Below, GSM covers some of the top ways to strengthen your Paid Search campaigns across budgeting, audience targeting, and campaign structure.

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3 min read

The value of targeting Hispanic auto consumers

By GSM on 10/2/20 10:38 AM

Hispanic audiences are a critical demographic to target quite simply because this audience is the fastest-growing segment of the American population. Targeting this population of auto shoppers represents a massive source of untapped revenue for many dealerships.

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4 min read

Part 2: Reasons you missed a DMS customer to your competition

By GSM on 9/25/20 12:19 PM

If you missed part one of the series, click here. Part one covers common reasons for customer defection.

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3 min read

Part 1: Reasons you missed a DMS customer to your competition

By GSM on 9/25/20 12:05 PM

Your dealership’s CRM or DMS is full of thousands of hard-earned leads, but over time, it’s hard to keep them all engaged. You can do more with the customers in your DMS, rather than calling every 30 days or every few months. Luckily, there are many techniques you can apply to make sure your customers keep returning to your dealership and not a local competitor.

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2 min read

What is a Facebook Lookalike Audience?

By GSM on 9/17/20 3:09 PM

What are Lookalike Audiences?

Facebook creates Lookalike Audiences by using your own first-party data. It uses the customer information you have provided via a list upload, as well as  customers’ data from their Facebook (interests, likes, groups, etc.), to find similar customers to target with your ad content. Facebook identifies the common qualities shared between your customers and other Facebook users to create more qualified target audience(s).

Topics: Social Digital
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2 min read

What you need to know about Google's Customer Match

By GSM on 9/14/20 11:26 AM

What is Customer Match?

Customer Match is a Google audience targeting strategy. Google’s sophisticated technology allows advertisers to use their online and offline data to reach and re-engage their customers, and users who are similar to their customers, across Paid Search, Gmail or other email accounts, YouTube, and Display.

Topics: Digital
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2 min read

What are Google In-Market Audiences?

By GSM on 9/2/20 12:31 PM

Google In-Market Audiences help advertisers reach potential customers while they’re actively researching, browsing, or comparing the types of products and services you sell. In-Market audiences are available across the Google Display Network, Google Partner sites, and YouTube.

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3 min read

Avoid Wasted Ad Spend Using Google's Dayparting

By GSM on 8/26/20 12:57 PM

Is your dealership exhausting its daily budget early in the day by running ads 24/7? This is a common issue, but it can easily be fixed using Google’s dayparting feature. When your dealership is only open around 12 hours a day, there’s no need to keep your ads running around the clock—especially if you are reaching daily ad spend thresholds early in the day.

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5 min read

Why car sales sites aren’t the only options for used vehicle marketing

By GSM on 8/18/20 8:48 AM

Popular car sales websites are a great way to put your used inventory in front of in-market shoppers, but what if we told you there’s an even better way? Digital technology has become so advanced, it can help you target car shoppers in real time—like when they’re searching “Used Honda Civic” or “2018 Hyundai Elantra”. When you pair Digital with Direct or traditional marketing channels, you add more customer touch points that help influence a purchase.

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3 min read

Ten Benefits of AI in Digital Marketing (Part 2)

By GSM on 8/11/20 9:08 AM

Part 1 of GSM’s AI series covered the first five benefits that AI can bring to digital marketing including: enhanced personalization, dynamic pricing, improved customer service, PPC ad optimization, and SEO optimization.

Topics: Digital
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3 min read

Ten Benefits of AI in Digital Marketing (Part 1)

By GSM on 8/6/20 9:50 AM

AI, or Artificial Intelligence, is transforming the way businesses connect with consumers. It increases efficiencies, reduces wasted ad spend, and speeds up many different marketing processes to improve the customer experience and ultimately drive conversions.

Topics: Digital
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3 min read

The Benefits of DMS Retargeting

By GSM on 7/27/20 10:50 AM

DMS retargeting, also known CRM or database retargeting, offers many benefits to dealerships by retargeting the customers in your DMS and tracking their online activity. It relies on the data and previous customer interactions already stored in your DMS1 to deliver display ads tailored to customers’ unique interests and purchase behavior.

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5 min read

Automotive Marketing Strategies to Navigate the Current Market

By GSM on 7/21/20 10:25 AM

One thing is for certain, the auto industry has changed as a result of COVID-19.  However, despite the damage it caused, it forced an already resilient industry to further innovate for auto shoppers.

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4 min read

Changes You Need to Make to Your Messaging and Marketing During the Pandemic

By GSM on 5/4/20 10:20 AM

From shelter-in-place orders to widespread layoffs, the COVID-19 pandemic has been detrimental for many businesses. As a result, companies everywhere have paused their marketing and promotions.

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4 min read

[WEBINAR] Auto Marketing in a Dynamic Economy

By GSM on 4/30/20 12:17 PM

As the coronavirus loosens its grip on the economy, there’s no doubt that consumers will start flooding the market to get what they need or missed while sheltering in place.

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3 min read

Part 2: COVID-19 Marketing Tactics for Automotive

By GSM on 4/15/20 8:52 AM

GSM has been staying current with how the marketing landscape has changed due to COVID-19. From our research, we've uncovered the best channels and strategies to use until the pandemic blows over. These strategies will help you engage and connect with consumers until business returns to normal.

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3 min read

Part 1: Key Automotive Insights for COVID-19

By GSM on 4/13/20 1:45 PM

As consumer interests shift due to the effects of COVID-19, marketing strategies need to change too. In order to capture demand, your dealership needs to appear, engage, and convert consumers where they are spending their time—and that’s online.

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2 min read

5 Resources to Spread your Budget Farther During COVID-19

By GSM on 4/8/20 10:30 AM

The COVID-19 outbreak has taken its toll on the economy, prompting tech giants to get creative with how they can financially help businesses across all industries at scale.

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2 min read

3 Key Elements to Crisis Marketing

By GSM on 4/3/20 1:25 PM

When a crisis hits, your business needs to be ready to respond to consumers’ changing needs and buying behaviors.

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3 min read

Uncommon and Successful ways to Generate Social Media Leads

By GSM on 3/26/20 3:36 PM

Social media is a critical platform for digital marketing in today’s day and age. Not only does social media give you an active audience of followers to interact with, but it’s a great way to drive people to your website. While frequent posting is a basic way of generating leads via social media, there are also uncommon ways that drive leads too. 

Topics: Social
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3 min read

Understanding Inbound Vs. Outbound Marketing

By GSM on 3/25/20 11:34 AM

Inbound and outbound marketing are two of the most basic tactics for marketing your business. While outbound marketing is the more traditional tactic, these two distinct strategies work together to turn prospects into loyal customers. Here’s what you need to know about inbound vs. outbound marketing:

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3 min read

What is Paid Search Remarketing (RLSA)?

By GSM on 3/19/20 1:28 PM

The Paid Search landscape is continuing to evolve by diversifying keyword strategies to incorporate audiences. This has allowed businesses to reach more online consumers with ads that are contextually relevant to their search query, intent, location, and more.  

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3 min read

How to Select the Right Ad Extensions for Your Business

By GSM on 3/16/20 2:11 PM

Digital marketing is tricky enough without factoring in the finer details such as paid search ad extensions. However, ad extensions are not only simple to use, but they’re also free to add. Below we’ve outlined a guide to selecting the right ad extensions for your business:

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2 min read

GSM COVID-19 Response

By GSM on 3/12/20 4:42 PM

GSM continues to monitor reports by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) about the rapidly evolving developments with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The health and safety of our associates, customers, suppliers and our community is of utmost importance to us. As such, we believe it’s important to share what we are doing to respond to the outbreak.

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2 min read

Why You Should Use Triggered Marketing Communications

By GSM on 3/5/20 2:48 PM

Triggered communications, often in the form of email or a text message, are a great tactic for developing deeper relationships with your customers in all stages of the customer life cycle. You can welcome new customers or subscribers with a discount or incentive, celebrate a customer's birthday with a special offer, remind customers of upcoming or missed appointments, and much more. 

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2 min read

How Lookalike Audiences Help Targeting

By GSM on 3/2/20 11:40 AM

Prospecting and high-quality lead generation aren’t easy tasks. Throughout the process, it's common to encounter problems, including:

Topics: Conquest Digital
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5 min read

What is Account-Based Marketing (ABM)?

By GSM on 2/26/20 4:09 PM

Account-based marketing (ABM) is one of the most innovative and advanced marketing strategies out there. While this strategy isn’t brand new, it’s only now that the concept is gaining a lot of attention and businesses are embracing it for its power in growing ROI. Within the past three years, this tactic went from being relatively non-existent and unheard of to a popular B2B buzzword across the internet.

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4 min read

4 Ways to Tailor Your Marketing Efforts to Millennials

By GSM on 2/24/20 9:40 AM

The hype around marketing to Millennials is so abundant that it's on the verge of tiresome. But marketers who don't take this tactic seriously will hurt their brands for years to come.

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6 min read

What is the difference between Ad position and Ad Rank?

By GSM on 2/20/20 4:32 PM

How often do you use a search engine? If you’re like most people, then chances are it will be at least once a day. In fact, popular search engine Google receives an incredible average of 40,000 searches every single second – that’s 1.2 trillion searches every year1!

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2 min read

How Does Ad Rank Affect Your Cost-Per-Click (CPC)?

By GSM on 2/18/20 4:31 PM

Digital advertising isn’t quite as simple as it used to be. In order to establish an effective digital marketing campaign, you’ve got to know a little bit about the various factors that affect how your ad will fare amongst your competitors. Factors such as ad rank and cost-per-click are closely intertwined. To remain competitive online, you’ll need a deeper understanding of how they interact.

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6 min read

GSM's 2020 Marketing Predictions

By GSM on 2/13/20 9:45 AM

2020 is here and with that comes the typical, bold claims of what marketing trends and tech “deserve your attention” this year. But, let’s be realistic. There are many new, and exciting developments in the world of marketing that simply can’t be boiled down to one trend or a single buzzword.

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2 min read

What is DMS or CRM Retargeting?

By GSM on 2/12/20 3:53 PM

What is a CRM or DMS?
A CRM, or Customer Relationship Management, is software that collects and manages data associated with your customers. For auto dealers, this refers to a DMS or Dealership Management System. Your DMS is more than just digital storage for your customers’ contact information. It contains a wealth of data that can be used to create hyper-relevant, personalized, and targeted content.

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3 min read

The Importance of Volunteerism in the Workplace

By GSM on 2/3/20 10:19 AM

GSM’s culture revolves around family and giving back to the community. In fact, Family is one of our core values and we apply this mindset to our daily interactions with each other and with others outside of the organization.

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3 min read

Why you should hire people outside of your industry

By GSM on 1/28/20 1:47 PM

Companies commonly hire for traditional diversity, but diversity of experience and thought are also important for success.

When they hear the term "diversity," most people think of gender or race – an understandable tendency, given the importance of both elements. Meanwhile, concepts like diversity of experience and diversity of industry are largely forgotten. 

Companies often ignore the need to recruit individuals who might come in and change the way they operate simply because they want to preserve the status quo. But organizations cannot grow unless they bring in diverse viewpoints that promote innovation, bring in fresh perspectives, and improve decision-making. Business leaders must think differently about how they fill gaps in their companies, particularly because research from the ManpowerGroup suggests 45% of employers can't find employees with the necessary skills. 

The world is always evolving, and a workforce that encompasses all aspects of diversity is what sets the most successful companies apart. 

Skills to pay the bills

When there's an opening on a team, it's common for most candidates to have the skills necessary for the job. If all things are equal, hiring managers default to whichever candidate has the most relevant industry knowledge and experience. After all, they might reason, that's the kind of thing you simply can't teach. 

Wrong. 

It's often more valuable to consider candidates who have innate and transferable skills learned over time, such as leadership, being an agent of change, having a passion for learning new things and being a quick learner. It's relatively easy to teach a stellar candidate the industry knowledge he or she needs to function in a role. It's far more challenging – and takes a lot longer – to bring someone on board who has industry experience but lacks the innate leadership skills necessary to drive change. 

People who are new to an industry aren't as likely to feel constrained by the standard practices to which everyone else adheres. They'll apply the lessons learned in their previous positions to their new sector, which can lead to surprising and impressive results. These candidates view everything from a fresh perspective and ask challenging questions to seek an understanding, which enables them to serve as catalysts for change. Industry disruption doesn't often come from within — it comes from outsiders who see a new way of tackling longstanding problems. 

Granted, there are some potential downsides to hiring someone from a completely different industry. The learning curve can be longer, for instance. A smooth and well-planned onboarding process can overcome this hurdle, enabling new hires to make connections and soak up critical industry information. 

It can also be more challenging to maintain long-term engagement. Once the initial thrill and novelty of a new industry wear off, some individuals lose interest in learning or stop seeking out opportunities to apply their diverse experiences in different ways. 

It's also quite possible that existing employees will resent outsiders coming in and saying they're doing things wrong. Longtime employees may become more resistant to change, or they may shun newcomers and marginalize their ideas. It's important that current team members understand newcomers are not threats and that change isn't indicative of failure on anyone's part. 

How to hire (successfully) outside your industry

Interested in going beyond your comfort zone and hiring people outside your industry? The following tips can get you started.

To read our tips on hiring the best candidates outside of your industry, please view the complete article on Business.com: Why You Should Hire People From Outside Your Industry

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5 min read

Paid Search Extensions that Grow Clicks and Conversions

By GSM on 1/27/20 2:31 PM

Paid Search ads are basically sophisticated text ads that are triggered based on a user’s search query. While traditional Paid Search does not enlist flashy images, gifs, video, or audio to help grab viewers’ attention, there are ad extensions. With the help of Google, ad extensions play a key role in capturing attention and driving performance.

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3 min read

Why dealers need a mobile-first digital strategy

By GSM on 1/20/20 12:55 PM

Look around your dealership. What are your customers doing? Presumably, the majority of them are glued to their phones – checking social media, browsing the internet, or reading the news. Some may even be sending out a quick text or ending a call while still in the service drive.

As a matter of fact, 53% of the customers at your dealership are comparing prices for vehicles at other dealerships, and 40% are finding prices for your vehicles on their smartphones1. Not to mention, 25% of all automotive searches are parts, service, and maintenance related2. What does this mean? It means dealers need a strong mobile and digital strategy to show up for parts, service, and new car searches.

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2 min read

5 Ways to Increase Digital Ad Engagement

By GSM on 1/15/20 3:22 PM

Digital ads are everywhere, but how often do we engage with them? Figuring out how to increase digital ad engagement is the key to generating qualified leads without wasting money on dead end clicks. While digital ad styles continue to change, here are five current ways to increase digital ad engagement:

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3 min read

How Direct Mail Remains Effective in The Digital Age

By GSM on 1/9/20 2:11 PM

You’ve heard it time and time again: direct mail is dead. But as much as the recent technological advances may make you think no one reads snail mail anymore, the reality is that direct mail marketing is still incredibly effective. 

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7 min read

The Top Five Marketing Trends of 2019 - What Worked and What Didn't

By GSM on 1/6/20 3:20 PM

A 2019 Marketing 'Look Back'

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4 min read

Why New Doesn't Always Mean Better for Auto Industry Marketers

By GSM on 12/12/19 10:51 AM

Global advertising spend is expected to exceed half a trillion dollars for the fourth year in a row, and American brands are once again fueling that growth. The main difference this year is that U.S. companies are expected to spend more on digital advertising than traditional media, with digital predicted to account for 54.2% of total advertising.

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4 min read

Keeping Customers Coming Back Post-Purchase

By GSM on 11/12/19 10:45 AM

In the aftermath of a big purchase, customers want to feel confident about the value they’re getting. This means they still need service, support, information and more from the dealership.

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2 min read

[Webinar]: The Biggest Area of Growth for Automotive

By GSM on 10/25/19 10:05 AM

What's 'wrong' with the Paid Search example below? Hint: compare the search query "chevrolet silverado tires" with the search results.

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3 min read

Why it's an exciting time to join GSM

By GSM on 10/10/19 9:45 AM

Why does the Fall season always bring about a sense of energy, yet also reflection? Maybe it’s a sense of relief that Houston is finally experiencing temps dip below 90 degrees again? Or maybe it’s because this time of year pushes us to remember the excitement we felt as kids as we watch our own children go back to school to soak up all they can learn?

Topics: GSM Culture
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6 min read

3 Ways to Turn Casual Customers Into Brand Ambassadors

By GSM on 8/14/19 9:09 AM

For marketers, one challenge remains paramount: getting your message to stand out from the noise that consumers encounter daily. As brands continue to flood the market with their own unique messaging, marketing regulations are working to keep the public from growing weary.

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4 min read

Think Outside the Inbox (Part 3 of 3)

By GSM on 4/9/19 9:10 AM

Welcome back to GSM’s three-part series on email deliverability. In Part 1, we covered 'Who' should receive your email campaigns while Part 2 discussed 'How' an email makes it to the right inbox - from send to receive. Now, it’s time to take a closer look at 'What' should be included in your email to help it get opened and land in subscribers' inboxes.

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1 min read

Rock Star Client Shout Out

By GSM on 4/5/19 2:12 PM

 Every year, Toyota recognizes its top-performing dealerships with the prestigious President's Award. This award represents the highest honor a dealership can receive from Toyota and is awarded to dealerships that demonstrated a commitment to upholding Toyota's high standards for customer satisfaction.

Topics: GSM Culture
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4 min read

Think Outside The Inbox (Part 2 of 3)

By GSM on 4/4/19 9:48 AM

In part one of our email deliverability series, we covered the basics of 'Who' should receive your email campaigns. For part two, GSM will take a deeper-dive into 'How' an email travels from send to receive -and everything in between.

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2 min read

Lifecycle Offer Strategies for Fixed Ops

By GSM on 4/1/19 9:08 AM

With over 30 years in the biz, GSM knows tried and true methods for driving customer acquisition and retention. Follow along with us as we discuss the best offer strategies to use throughout the automotive lifecycle.

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3 min read

Think Outside the Inbox (Part 1 of 3)

By GSM on 3/27/19 9:44 AM

Ever wonder about the technical ins and outs of sending an email? Hint: it’s a lot more than just clicking 'Send'. At GSM, we manage email campaigns for every Tier in the automotive industry. So, we asked our digital gurus to help demystify the 'Who', 'How', and 'What' behind email. We put together this handy series on email deliverability to help you understand what goes on behind the scenes.

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5 min read

Targeted media for auto dealers

By GSM on 3/20/19 1:01 PM

Driving conversions (service visit, car sale) in your local market requires a complete understanding of how consumers shop for cars and how they are influenced by automotive advertising. Recent research from Nielsen shows that car shoppers start their path to purchase with two to three brands on average1. But, when car shoppers are ready to buy, they typically consider five brands - nearly twice as many cars as they did at the beginning of their journey2. This fact is HUGE for dealerships. Why? It’s simple – this means dealers have the unique opportunity to influence buying decisions very late in the game and that consumers are open to considering other brands3.

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4 min read

GSM's Year-End Events

By GSM on 12/19/18 8:50 AM

The end of the year is a hectic time for everyone - from the holidays to planning for the New Year. GSM has been busy, but we still find time to give back and have some fun along the way!

Take a look at our recent year-end events: 

Topics: GSM Culture
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3 min read

Stay in Your Lane - Smart Paid Search

By GSM on 12/17/18 7:20 AM

Manufacturers and dealer groups spend millions of dollars to drive search results for their brands and their regions. However, all too often, dealerships are bidding on the same terms- competing with their OEMs for visibility. For most dealerships, it’s hard to come close to competing with OEM ad dollars.

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2 min read

GSM Honored as a 2018 Houston Chronicle Top Workplace

By GSM on 11/7/18 2:09 PM

 Every year, The Houston Chronicle recognizes 150 of Houston's Top Workplaces. This year, GSM was chosen as one of Houston's top 150 workplaces out of 2,297 applicants. Companies are ranked based on criteria such as culture, family atmosphere, potential for advancement, flexibility, benefits and pay, leadership, teamwork, fun, values, and ethics. 

Topics: GSM Culture
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3 min read

Automotive News Recognizes Some of GSM's Rock Star Clients

By GSM on 10/31/18 3:26 PM

Successful marketing doesn’t stop at getting customers to a dealership’s doorstep. It encompasses the entire customer experience, including how a dealership treats its customers and its employees. It’s important to understand that a dealership’s employees are part of its brand – without them, the business fails.

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1 min read

Jersey Day at GSM

By GSM on 10/11/18 12:11 PM

At GSM, we love our sports teams - collegiate and professional. It's common to see associates supporting their favorite teams through festive jackets, shirts, hats, and office decor. To bring some of the rivalry and fun to the office, we celebrate College Colors Day and Jersey Day (we made this one up!).

Topics: GSM Culture
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3 min read

Traditional Media is Still Tried-and-True

By GSM on 10/2/18 12:42 PM

As it turns out, you can teach an old dog new tricks. Advanced printing, targeting, and automated marketing technologies have revolutionized the capabilities of old-fashioned marketing channels like direct mail. With these modern enhancements, traditional channels are now more effective than ever at driving conversions in a digitally saturated market.

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4 min read

The Direct Mail Checklist for Success

By GSM on 9/26/18 1:33 PM

Before you send off your next direct mail campaign, consider the following tips below. This checklist includes big-picture strategies that you can use in all of your direct mail campaigns to maximize your success.

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4 min read

Growing Sales with Front-End Mail

By GSM on 9/24/18 2:05 PM

How to energize vehicle sales with direct mail -
We get it; working in sales is not easy. It requires a lot of patience, positivity, repetition, and extensive knowledge of what you're selling. Luckily, you can include direct mail as a member of your sales team. With direct mail's help, you can energize vehicle sales or trade-ins and grow market share. But, before digging into more complex strategies, we need to cover the basics. 

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4 min read

Four Tips for Effectively Merchandising your Inventory

By GSM on 9/17/18 2:46 PM

Let’s talk about your inventory and a few small, yet effective, changes that can help move units. You may have some of the previous year’s models left in your new inventory, as well as some old age units you need to get off your lot. Below are suggestions that you can tailor to your dealership, your market, or to highlight the vehicles your customers are looking for now.

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3 min read

Own your local market with a joint content and SEO strategy

By GSM on 9/10/18 1:07 PM

Better Together - Content and SEO go together like peanut butter and jelly. Sure, they can exist independently of each other, but their value working together is greater than their separate efforts. Combining content and SEO into one cohesive approach builds a strong foundation for driving quality conversions for the long haul.

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1 min read

Child Advocates Back-To-School Drive

By GSM on 8/15/18 9:34 AM

 GSM frequently works with Child Advocates, a Houston-based company dedicated to "break[ing] the vicious cycle of child abuse" for the nearly 4,000 children in the Houston area who have experienced life-threatening abuse or neglect. The organization helps these children transition from foster care into safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible by providing both emotional and material support.

Topics: GSM Culture
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2 min read

Royal Moore Toyota Embraces Lifecycle Marketing

By GSM on 7/25/18 10:23 AM

For many dealerships like Hillsboro, Oregon’s Royal Moore Toyota, embracing innovations in marketing is extremely important. Dealerships are seeing that today’s auto shopping experience ‘overlaps’—from the technology consumers use to shop—to the personalized engagement they now prefer. Consumers demand a faster and more helpful customer experience—from start to finish.

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4 min read

GSM Launches New Toyota Life Cycle Marketing Solution, OCP+

By GSM on 7/19/18 3:45 PM

Big news from GSM
The automotive industry is a niche market, making it extremely competitive for marketing providers like GSM. This means these companies must quickly and continually adapt to any change in order to provide clients with innovative and effective solutions. To continue helping our Toyota clients look like rock stars, GSM has launched a new Life Cycle Marketing solution called OCP+ at the most competitive price. 

 

To learn more about OCP+, please follow the link below:

Learn More about OCP+

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7 min read

Why retention strategies need digital fixed ops marketing

By GSM on 6/18/18 1:12 PM

The industry-wide challenge--
Your service department provides more opportunities for sales and revenue than any other department; however, dealerships across the nation are losing customers left and right. This industry-wide problem is often addressed with customer-centric marketing and conquest marketing, but dealers shouldn't stop there. These strategies alone are not enough to tackle the issue head-on.

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6 min read

Mobile and Automotive Marketing

By GSM on 6/14/18 11:33 AM

Mobile marketing in the automotive life cycle
If you care about consumer engagement, you can’t ignore mobile. Mobile is arguably the most important part of a modern marketing mix because smartphones are indispensable to our way of life - constantly glued to our hands. Think, when is the last time you left anywhere without your phone? Just take a look around the next time you’re standing in line or, better yet, take a look at your dealership’s waiting area – what is everyone doing? They’re all preoccupied with their phones.

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2 min read

GSM Helps 'Dare To Care' Organization

By GSM on 6/7/18 1:35 PM

As part of The Friedkin Group, GSM values regularly giving back to the local community through volunteer opportunities or donations. Recently, our Louisville team volunteered at the Dare To Care Food Bank. This wonderful organization "leads [Kentucky's] community to feed the hungry and conquer the cycle of need. [Dare to Care] fulfill[s] this mission through innovative programs, efficient operations and by partnering with local food pantries, shelters, and kitchens to get food to people in need." 

Topics: GSM Culture
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3 min read

Effective Paid Search Pays Off

By GSM on 6/4/18 4:30 PM

Are you wasting budget on a poor Paid Search strategy? 
Paid Search is an extremely valuable channel, but only when it’s backed by a strategic approach. Dealerships across the nation are feeling pressure to invest in digital, but they are falling prey to providers that push for expensive and ineffective Paid Search strategies. It’s time to stop wasting money on a strategy that doesn't drive results.

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2 min read

Declined Service Marketing

By GSM on 5/30/18 3:06 PM

Keep your customers safe--
Declined service marketing should never be overlooked. It is a protective measure for consumers and dealerships alike. Failure to recommend a declined service repair could cost your dealership millions, or worse, it could cost a customer’s life. Informing customers of declined service repairs not only protects their safety, but it also prevents further damage to their vehicle and establishes trust with your dealership.

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10 min read

Influence Consumers' Buying Behavior

By GSM on 5/21/18 4:45 PM

To remain competitive, dealers need to align their marketing with the way buyers think, research, and purchase. You attract people to your dealership by being helpful, relevant, and personal(ized). These are the cornerstones to relationship marketing and to providing consumer value.

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2 min read

GSM's Cinco De Mayo Celebration

By GSM on 5/8/18 3:19 PM

Recently, GSM's Houston office celebrated Cinco de Mayo with a colorful in-office celebration. The party featured homemade guacamole, queso, and salsa competitions, a photo station, and themed games. However, while many enjoy this holiday for its tequila and taco-filled festivities, many do not know the origin of this historic day. We thought we'd share a little bit on the significance behind this celebration and show you how we celebrated.

Topics: GSM Culture
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1 min read

GSM's Associate Recognition Day

By GSM on 4/19/18 2:00 PM

Every year, The Friedkin Group recognizes the hard work and success of its associates by having an "Associate Recognition Day." Associates join in celebration of their accomplishments for the previous year with an off-campus or out-of-office event. 

Topics: GSM Culture
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[Infographic] The Omnichannel Digital Dealership

By GSM on 4/16/18 12:05 PM

There’s no doubt that the automotive consumer journey has changed as a result of emerging technologies and changing consumer preferences. Every generation is picking up new buying habits as digital and online tools make for a quicker and easier car shopping experience. From browse to buy, the pressure is on to meet the high expectations and high standards at each point in the automotive consumer journey.

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Steven Toyota Adopts Lifecycle Marketing

By GSM on 4/12/18 1:30 PM

Dealers in today’s marketplace must carefully choose strategies and solutions that will best serve their business. Virginia based dealership, Steven Toyota recently did just that and took new steps to be more responsive and improve communications with their customers. They adopted a dynamic, direct marketing strategy provided through GSM called Lifecycle Marketing powered by atom.

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GSM at The FIT company challenge

By GSM on 4/6/18 11:00 AM

For the second year in a row, GSM and other fellow Friedkin Group associates participated in the annual FIT company challenge, a 3-course fitness contest designed for all fitness levels, ages, and fitness styles. FIT Company's mission is simple, "To help [companies] thrive through fitness. [They] want to help companies be their best by creating the most productive, focused, energetic, happiest, and cohesive teams possible."

Topics: GSM Culture
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Why People Like Direct Mail

By GSM on 4/5/18 1:30 PM

Consumers remember and react better to print advertising; perhaps because our world has become so saturated with digital content causing ‘digital fatigue.’

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Understanding Omnichannel Marketing

By GSM on 4/2/18 3:20 PM

The Difference Between Omnichannel and Multichannel Marketing -

One of the biggest marketing challenges, especially in the automotive industry, is keeping clients’ interactions consistent across multiple channels. This 'omnichannel' strategy provides a consistent experience throughout the entire customer journey.

As technology and customer brand-interactions continue to evolve, dealerships will need to adopt an Omnichannel Marketing strategy in order to remain competitive.

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INFOGRAPHIC: MILLENNIALS + DIRECT MAIL

By GSM on 3/26/18 2:39 PM

In 2018, millennials are single-handedly the nation’s largest living generation with ages ranging from 21- 37. Why is this important for dealers and marketers alike? Because, this generation now holds the largest share of the American workforce and has the most spending power of any generation – ever! This year alone, millennials are projected to have a spending power of $3.39 trillion, providing dealers with endless opportunities to win big with this generation.

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GSM's annual chili cookout

By GSM on 3/2/18 10:42 AM

One of GSM's core values is 'FUN.' We try to incorporate social events into our work life whenever possible. We have a dedicated team, called Pulse, that helps GSM coordinate internal events as well as charitable outreach. At GSM, we pride ourselves on our family-like culture that we owe to our values and team building activities.

 

Topics: GSM Culture
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3 min read

Digital Dominates TV - Why you Need an Omnichannel Marketing Strategy

By GSM on 1/10/18 10:10 AM

TV is no longer the best and only answer to reaching your target market. 

Shifting consumer consumption habits are forcing advertisers to use an omnichannel approach to get their message heard. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Xbox, HBO Go, Apple TV– what do all of these have in common? Limited to no commercials.

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Pinpointing Prospects - How to Intelligently Increase Your Market Share

By GSM on 1/9/18 12:44 PM

It should come as no surprise that prospecting is a necessary evil in the automotive industry. Prospecting has become smarter, more accurate, and more accessible as more technology and communication channels continue to develop. The question is no longer why dealers should prospect, instead, it is how and where they should prospect. In a culture of immediacy, prospecting requires a constant understanding of what consumers want, expect, and need. Today, prospecting needs to be data-driven and data-based in order to provide instant and actionable insights into consumer purchasing behaviors. 

Dealerships have a continually changing availability for growing their revenue and market share. The preferred method is for a consumer to buy into the dealership’s brand with a new vehicle purchase and to continue the purchase cycle into the service lane. However, this isn’t always the case; often times, the source for a new service lead can provide less than a few hundred customers a month. What dealerships need is a consistent method for generating and retaining prospects throughout the purchase cycle. 

The largest area for opportunity lies within intelligently targeting consumers who already live in the dealer’s primary market area and who drive the targeted vehicle make that the dealership services. Dealerships have a large pool of data at their disposal in their DMS, and with their manufacturer, but it’s not the sole source to look to for prospects. Consumers who buy and sell privately, buy used third-party, or who move into the dealer’s primary marketing area (PMA) are all big opportunities that are often overlooked. 

Topics: Conquest
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Digital Marketing Transparency - Don't be Misled by False Promises

By GSM on 1/8/18 12:13 PM

Every business today, regardless of industry, relies on leads and new business to thrive. However, we find that some auto dealers fall prey to marketing partners that dazzle them with promises of sky-high performance metrics. Metrics are inflated for a wow-factor, leaving companies stuck in a contract without seeing the promised outcome. 

We find that some dealers are focused on finding new ways to stand out from the competition and unknowingly give in to slick agency pitches filled with misleading promises about tripling leads. What dealers need from a marketing partner is transparency, consultation, and actionable advice. If you find yourself facing a ‘too good to be true’ pitch - ask direct questions about how the company quantifies their data. What does the provider consider a lead? Can you see a breakdown of the data behind the metrics? Seek answers because not all leads are created equal. 

Debunk the junk: Fact or fiction?
You need a marketing partner, not just a provider. The process of driving leads is a priority for dealerships big and small. When it comes to leads, the expression “quality over quantity” could not ring more true. What does your digital marketing company or website provider count as a lead – a visit to the hours and directions page? There’s a chance your provider counts this page visit as a lead, backing it as customer intent to visit the dealership – however, the problem is that this is not a true lead. That web visitor may never step foot in your dealership or purchase anything from you either. 

A true lead should be tangible - a form submission, a phone call, or contact information (email, phone number). These customers are ready to buy, and more importantly, they are ready to buy from you. GSM focuses on quality of web leads over quantity. Any marketer can drive hundreds, even thousands, of leads to a website – but, that doesn’t mean those leads will convert to a sale or have high purchase intent. Driving quality leads is about being efficient in targeting and attracting consumers that are closer to purchase, to your website. 

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Customers are Killing Traditional Radio - The Rise of Connected Cars

By GSM on 1/5/18 9:29 AM

In the age of digital disruption, who really has control- the consumer, or the advertiser? Traditional radio ads are taking the back seat as tech-savvy consumers are skirting ads with subscription-based streaming services, and ad blocking internet radio apps. The desire for personalized content and an on-demand mentality is leading many consumers to pursue an ad free, drive time experience. Connected cars (4G wireless internet technology) and Bluetooth allow drivers to instantly stream their music, downloaded content, or news from their smartphones or car dashboard apps with little to no advertisements. 

Topics: Mobile Digital
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Why you Need an Annual Marketing Calendar

By GSM on 1/4/18 10:24 AM

The power dynamic between businesses and consumers has changed drastically with the rise of advanced content sharing platforms and digital technologies. To cut through the clutter and reach consumers effectively, dealers need to use the advancements in marketing to send relevant messages across all applicable channels.

Simple right? Managing aligned messaging across multiple channels, both traditional and digital, can be tricky and time-consuming. In GSM's years of managing dealership marketing, we have uncovered the secret to successful marketing across channels: an annual marketing calendar.

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3 min read

9 Steps For Better Data Privacy

By GSM on 1/3/18 1:00 PM

Customer information (name, address, email, phone number) is privileged information. When this information is inadequately secured, your company or dealership could be risking millions of dollars and your company’s reputation. Take the biggest retail hack in history as a lesson: Target. In 2013, 40 million credit card numbers, and 70 million addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses were stolen because employees did not follow an established data security procedure. Today, Target is still suffering the results of this breach, with gross expenses totaling $252 million and counting. 

It’s not just security breaches that we should be concerned about, but also the adherence to customer requests. If a customer requests that your dealership not contact him or her via phone, email, text or direct mail, it is your responsibility to adhere to those requests and share this information with your marketing agencies. Communicating this request to all marketing agencies is particularly important if communications are sent over multiple platforms because your reputation, and financial security, is at stake

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What to do During a Social Media Crisis

By GSM on 10/26/17 10:02 AM

During the digital age, social media can either make or break your brand. Word-of-mouth spreads faster than ever as customers have the power to share and create content with the click of a button. No matter what industry you are in, relationship management plays a key role in both your brand’s and company’s success. A healthy relationship with your customers is critical because at the end of the day, your brand is what your customers say it is. Knowing what to do when your brand hits the fan is important for salvaging your company’s reputation and success. 

What is a Social Media Crisis?
A social media crisis can be defined by three main criteria – information imbalance, material impact, and overwhelming negativity. When there is information imbalance, a company either knows less than the public on a situation, or just as much. This is important because it creates a power imbalance where customers know more, and can take control of the situation – they decide the fate of your brand. 

Material impact refers to the scope and size of the issue. If it is something that will have a material impact on the company – financial, company image, and reputation – then it is considered a material impact. Overwhelming negativity can also affect your brand. It can cause a “me-too bandwagon” effect where customers share or agree with similar negative experiences. This can cause potential clients to choose another brand over yours, or cause the issue to grow based on common disagreement. 

What to do when crisis strikes
Your first response, and any response to a social media crisis, is the most important. Unhappy customers will be waiting for it, they will have something to say about it, and they will share it. Below are a few tips to help you prepare for, or respond to, a social media crisis: 

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