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ZMOT, Big Data, Micro Moments and the Overthinking of Everything

Steve Stauning

Jr. Refresher
Mar 15, 2012
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Steve
As our friend Jeff Kershner so eloquently Tweeted last week:

“A few years ago everyone was going BONKERS over ZMOT and now going BONKERS over Micro-moments. It's like breaking up a turd into pellets.”

While I might have stated it differently, for 99.9% of companies out there his sentiments are 100% spot on!

If you’re the Chief Marketing Officer for an OEM, then by all means, dive as deeply as necessary into ZMOT, Big Data and Micro-Moments. But, if your workspace happens to be at the same address as the retail establishment where you manage digital marketing or oversee internet sales, and you waste more than a few minutes reading about Micro-Moments (like the weeks you wasted trying to perfect ZMOT or leverage Big Data for your store), then you don’t have a very good understanding of what actually drives your business.

When it comes to selling something at retail – whether a car or a sandwich – slicing up the consumer decision making processes into layers too thin to work with gets you nothing but confused – especially when you’re measuring things that you cannot control or even act upon. Time and budgets are finite; and you can only manage so much. Given this, why not focus on those activities that have more of a direct correlation to your business success?

Another way to put this: When everything is critical, then nothing is. (If you think becoming an expert at Micro-Moments is critically important for customer acquisition and retention, then how critically important is a clean restroom or a smiling receptionist? I would argue that a dirty restroom and a rude receptionist will lose you much more business than never having heard about Micro-Moments.)

If you’re an internet manager, it’s much better IMHO to focus your marketing and sales efforts on those things you can (1) Easily Measure; (2) Quickly Understand; and (3) Successfully Influence. For most of us, that means we need to set our sights on the boring and the routine and the effective.

For dealers, this means tedious things like ROI measurements, sales processes, and manager accountability. None of which you will learn about through ZMOT, Big Data or Micro-Moments.

Okay, now bring on the hateful retorts...
 
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joe.pistell

Uncle Joe
Apr 7, 2009
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Brilliant post Steve! I especially liked these 2 comments:

...If you’re an internet manager, it’s much better IMHO to focus your marketing and sales efforts on those things you can (1) Easily Measure; (2) Quickly Understand; and (3) Successfully Influence. For most of us, that means we need to set our sights on the boring and the routine and the effective.

For dealers, this means tedious things like ROI measurements, sales processes, and manager accountability. None of which you will learn about through ZMOT, Big Data or Micro-Moments
and...

When everything is critical, then nothing is.

I'd like to toss in a thought from my Dealer days:

Everything you do has to answer: "Does It Sell Cars? (DISC)" It's a great tool. I'd use it to score the work in front of me AND I'd use it to read and judge research (like ZMOT).
For me, DISC fell into 3 classes. Does it DISC?
  1. F*ck yea
  2. Kinda
  3. No.
The 'F*ck yea' always got done first. For example, if I had 2 jobs in front of me, like:
  • Reduce time to get cars online
  • create social media content
No contest. It's "Reduce time to get cars online" It's wonderfully simple and works! Try using it today. It helped me understand what needs to be done first.

For example, Use the DISC tool:
ROI measurements, sales processes, and manager accountability.
-vs-
ZMOT, Big Data or Micro-Moments

F*ck Yea winners (by rank):
  1. ROI measurements,
  2. sales processes,
  3. manager accountability.
Ranking Logic: ROI measurements are a score card. Without that, changing sales processes is just guess work. Plus, manager's need a score card to drive decision making. DISC everywhere and everything is dependent on ROI measurements.

Any vendor products you're considering? They'll have to answer "DISC"!!. If I came across anything that was hard to "see the DISC" (like ZMOT, Big Data or Micro-Moments) then I'd leave it for a sunday coffee read.

What guided my DISC rank?

IMO, buyers and sellers WANT to come together. BOTH have a job to do. Anything that helps my team or the shopper is a F*ck Yea win!

"Customers often buy things because they have a problem they would like to solve…. If you understand the job, how to improve the product becomes obvious.”
-Dr Clayton Christensen
Inventor of "Disruptive Innovation" and strategic consultant to the who's who list of CEOs

Great post, thnx!
Joe
 

Mark Dubis

Noob
May 6, 2016
1
1
1
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Mark
Steve, like you have said many times, dealers need to stop chasing "shiny object" vendor offerings. Technology and the web have created more transparency, but connecting with prospects in the local community and just beyond, is the best way to build a strong business clientele and many repeat customers. Consumers see all car dealers as the same. Unless a dealer implements a strong program to differentiate themsleves from the competition, the consumer will appear to be correct in their assumption.
 
Reactions: Steve Stauning

ed.brooks

Sr. Refresher
Jan 15, 2010
1,112
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Ed
As our friend Jeff Kershner so eloquently Tweeted last week:

“A few years ago everyone was going BONKERS over ZMOT and now going BONKERS over Micro-moments. It's like breaking up a turd into pellets.”

While I might have stated it differently, for 99.9% of companies out there his sentiments are 100% spot on!

If you’re the Chief Marketing Officer for an OEM, then by all means, dive as deeply as necessary into ZMOT, Big Data and Micro-Moments. But, if your workspace happens to be at the same address as the retail establishment where you manage digital marketing or oversee internet sales, and you waste more than a few minutes reading about Micro-Moments (like the weeks you wasted trying to perfect ZMOT or leverage Big Data for your store), then you don’t have a very good understanding of what actually drives your business.

When it comes to selling something at retail – whether a car or a sandwich – slicing up the consumer decision making processes into layers too thin to work with gets you nothing but confused – especially when you’re measuring things that you cannot control or even act upon. Time and budgets are finite; and you can only manage so much. Given this, why not focus on those activities that have more of a direct correlation to your business success?

Another way to put this: When everything is critical, then nothing is. (If you think becoming an expert at Micro-Moments is critically important for customer acquisition and retention, then how critically important is a clean restroom or a smiling receptionist? I would argue that a dirty restroom and a rude receptionist will lose you much more business than never having heard about Micro-Moments.)

If you’re an internet manager, it’s much better IMHO to focus your marketing and sales efforts on those things you can (1) Easily Measure; (2) Quickly Understand; and (3) Successfully Influence. For most of us, that means we need to set our sights on the boring and the routine and the effective.

For dealers, this means tedious things like ROI measurements, sales processes, and manager accountability. None of which you will learn about through ZMOT, Big Data or Micro-Moments.

Okay, now bring on the hateful retorts...
Steve @Stauning, you know I could never direct hateful retorts your way, but are you actually saying that dealers should only pay attention to the quick and the easy?

I have long argued that the ZMOT concept was too "dumbed down" to be fully applicable to the average consumer journey to a car purchase -
ZMOT is the Stupidest, Most Brilliant Idea Ever!

It doesn't take weeks worth of (wasted, in your opinion) time. You don't have to become an "expert" in micro-moments. But simply having a better understanding of consumer's journey's will give you a leg up. Reading "The 5 Auto Shopping Moments Every Brand Must Own" is a GREAT start.

Yes, a clean restroom is necessary. A smiling receptionist helps too! Yes, manager accountability and great sales processes are needed. Those are OPERATIONAL necessities.

A great working knowledge of the consumer journey -- and where you can gain and exert influence -- is a MARKETING necessity.

Many of today's automotive marketers are smart -- whip smart. They may need to look beyond the quick and easy to successfully dominate in their markets.
 
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Steve Stauning

Jr. Refresher
Mar 15, 2012
234
168
43
First Name
Steve
Not saying that at all, Ed. I'm saying that for MOST businesses - especially a car dealer - that it's easy to chase things like ZMOT, Big Data and Micro Moments to the detriment of those things that work - and are proven to work - at driving the business's SALES, REVENUE and PROFITS.

If a dealership has already got those bases covered, and they want to venture forth on their own into uncharted waters looking for an "advantage" then so be it.

With technology, it is impossible to hold a creative competitive advantage for very long.

This means that while some dealers wasted $3,500 per month to have a third party post cute cat pictures on their Facebook feed that NO ONE READ, smart dealers posted pics of customers buying cars that were shared everywhere. Today, these same smart dealers are using Facebook's hyper-accurate targeting to deliver relevant ads to real buyers. No need to overthink this. No ZMOT or Big Data required; just some simple ROI measurements and a little bit of the boring (read: effective) hard work mixed in.

Reading an article on Micro-Moments can certainly help a retailer understand their customer's journey. Going to eight conferences to learn about Micro-Moments and then making major changes to the business model to try and influence the uninfluence-able (or expensive to influence) parts of the journey is death by a thousand cuts.
 

ed.brooks

Sr. Refresher
Jan 15, 2010
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Ed
I agree that some dealers occasionally chase shiny objects @Stauning - the $3,500 spent on posting cat pictures on Facebook would be an example (although I fail to see what that has to do with ZMOT, Big Data or Micro-Moments). The clamor over Periscope would be another, "3 Reasons Why Periscope ISN'T an #AutoMarketing Game-Changer". But, again, that has nothing to do with ZMOT, Big Data or Micro-Moments, but it is a shiny object.

There are many ways that dealers are putting 'Big Data' to use today that actually do drive sales, revenue and profits. String Automotive's Dealer Positioning System is one example. vAuto's Provisioning system is another. Even the 'hyper-accurate targeting' from Facebook that you tout is driven by 'Big Data'.

Companies like Visible Customer and Dataium are working with dealers and vendors to make attribution clearer and more transparent -- because in complicated shopper journeys, ROI measurement isn't as simple as many think. This is an example of putting Micro Moments together with Big Data.

I get it - you hate buzzwords. I agree that dealers shouldn't chase objects. But ZMOT, Big Data and Micro Moments are, perhaps, the wrong boogeymen to fight. They have contributed much.
 
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Steve Stauning

Jr. Refresher
Mar 15, 2012
234
168
43
First Name
Steve
I agree that some dealers occasionally chase shiny objects @Stauning - the $3,500 spent on posting cat pictures on Facebook would be an example (although I fail to see what that has to do with ZMOT, Big Data or Micro-Moments). The clamor over Periscope would be another, "3 Reasons Why Periscope ISN'T an #AutoMarketing Game-Changer". But, again, that has nothing to do with ZMOT, Big Data or Micro-Moments, but it is a shiny object.

There are many ways that dealers are putting 'Big Data' to use today that actually do drive sales, revenue and profits. String Automotive's Dealer Positioning System is one example. vAuto's Provisioning system is another. Even the 'hyper-accurate targeting' from Facebook that you tout is driven by 'Big Data'.

Companies like Visible Customer and Dataium are working with dealers and vendors to make attribution clearer and more transparent -- because in complicated shopper journeys, ROI measurement isn't as simple as many think. This is an example of putting Micro Moments together with Big Data.

I get it - you hate buzzwords. I agree that dealers shouldn't chase objects. But ZMOT, Big Data and Micro Moments are, perhaps, the wrong boogeymen to fight. They have contributed much.
In what will be my last message on this (I simply do not have the time for Forum discussions - my apologies) let me see if I can explain this better (because it's not about buzzwords, it's about division of labor and effectiveness of that labor):
  1. There are ZERO marketers working at the average dealership. There are sales managers and internet managers and perhaps even someone with "Marketing" in their title, but I would argue that none of them are marketers in that none of them are making (or can afford to make) decisions based on their own analysis of Big Data or their determination of ZMOT or their own study of Micro-Moments. If they are, then they are "slicing a turd" as Kershner writes.
  2. Big Data, as you explained, is employed by others to help dealers make better decisions and sell more cars. NO ONE AT THE DEALERSHIP needs to even know what the words "Big Data" mean in order to use vAuto or Facebook Ads properly and effectively.
  3. Those Internet Sales Managers who fancy themselves as "marketers" (in my experience) are usually the least effective at the pesky basics like Appointments and Sales and even Employee Turnover. They're too busy reinventing what Dataium and vAuto and Facebook have already figured out for them.
  4. Only the largest groups (probably the Top 25 or so) can afford to maintain true marketers on their teams. Everyone else relies on others (like their Ad Agency or vAuto of Facebook or ...) and basic, boring measurements like ROI.
  5. Most of the largest groups, by the way, who spend time chasing the cool instead of the boring, LOST MARKET SHARE in 2015. Every dealer I know who gained share in 2015 was process-driven and focused on the customer experience (mostly in-store) and likely didn't utter the words "Big Data" even once in that time.
I look at it this way: Computers are critical to the success of a dealership in 2016 - no one would argue that. Does it pay for any dealership to (A) Try to build their own computers or (B) Try to write the software for these computers? No and No.

With Big Data, ZMOT and Micro-Moments it's the same thing. The average dealership manager has a cursory knowledge about how certain software works (like vAuto), but beyond that, we don't need him learning how to write the code.

Have a great week - I'm going to spend it cutting up my Micro-Moments.

(Oh, and I actually love buzzwords, because it keeps others busy chasing their shiny objects while I can continue to help clients grow organically, genuinely and for both the short and long term.)
 

ed.brooks

Sr. Refresher
Jan 15, 2010
1,112
659
113
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Ed
There are ZERO marketers working at the average dealership.
Only the largest groups (probably the Top 25 or so) can afford to maintain true marketers on their teams. .
As Tracy Myers pointed out on Facebook, he doesn't consider his dealerships average. He said, "My 3 main roles at my stores are: marketing, processes and customer experiences. Those are the most difficult things to hire someone to properly handle and arguably 3 of the most important tasks at a dealership. It's easy for me to hire talented folks to handle the typical dealership tasks."

So I might rephrase your statement, "There are ZERO marketers working at the average dealership. But there are some GREAT marketers working at truly successful dealerships."
 

joe.pistell

Uncle Joe
Apr 7, 2009
3,996
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Joe
Thnx Ed, a great Tracey Myers comment...
"My 3 main roles at my stores are: marketing, processes and customer experiences.
From my dealership CMO experiences, successful dealership marketing needs a deep understanding of processes & customer experiences.
 

Alexander Lau

Sr. Refresher
Feb 11, 2015
2,194
609
113
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Alex
There has been plenty of ZMOT, Micro-Moments talk from "industry experts" with very little benchmark and verifiable data provided. The concept and practice of using smart data (f*ck the name big data, it's stupid and misleading) is nothing new, it's just become much more granular with web performance (behavior) / user data capture.

Like any solution (in any industry), the results or outcomes need to be tested against your target demographic. I've said it before and I'll keep saying it, there is no red shiny button solution that will tackle ALL of a dealer's marketing or sales problems. Test, test and test some more.

As @Stauning has alluded, most dealers have ZERO qualified marketing resources in-house and that makes things even more difficult for them. Try to hire smart people to assist in product implementation and management or to help manage 3rd party services / products -- make sure those resources are smarter than you. Hold those resources accountable (endogenic and / or exogenic). Stick with what works; kill which doesn't.

IMO, there's really nothing to overthink, solutions either work or they don't. If you keep paying for systems that fail to work, well who's fault is that? There are thousands of dealers making this mistake, I see it in their CRM numbers / closing rates, ROI and sales numbers, etc.
 
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