Resources

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

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Blog

GSM's blog shares the latest industry insights and marketing trends.
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Watch some of our marketing tip videos to gain some valuable insight.
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Blog

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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2 min read

[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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2 min read

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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2 min read

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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2 min read

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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2 min read

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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2 min read

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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2 min read

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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2 min read

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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3 min read

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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3 min read

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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2 min read

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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3 min read

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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