Upcoming Car Events and Cars & Coffees For June in Boston

Here’s the list of upcoming car events and Cars & Coffees for the month of June. If you know of any other large car events this month, comment below and I’ll add them to the list.

McLaren Boston
McLaren Boston
Herb Chambers C&C
Herb Chambers C&C
Boston Cars & Coffee
Boston Cars and Coffee at Larz Anderson

In addition to Boston Cars & Coffee at Larz Anderson, there’s special events held at the museum each weekend. Here’s the four car events at Larz for the month of June.

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It’s an hour drive from Boston, but up in Portsmouth, New Hampshire there’s Seacoast Cars & Coffee on June 4th

Seacoast Cars and Coffee
Seacoast Cars and Coffee

For more information you can visit their website: http://www.seacoastcarsandcoffee.com

You can also check out their Facebook Page: Seacoast Cars & Coffee Facebook Page

As always, I’ll continue to update this article if any large car events pop up within the next few days and weeks.

Aston Martin of New England Showroom – Experiencing British Automotive Heritage

On May 13th, Aston Martin of New England held an open house/Cars & Coffee event at their dealership in Waltham, Massachusetts to help kick off the beginning of car season in Massachusetts. While I was there, I spent about an hour filming inside their showroom to create a video that would bring an appreciation to the craftsmanship and design of the cars made by the British automaker, along with the handful of German cars also on display. It was the best and most rewarding hour I’ve spent at a car event in a very long time.

Starting off, I want to say thanks to the people at Aston Martin of New England for allowing me to film in their showroom as the event was coming to a close and everyone started to leave. Being the only person surrounded by Aston Martins, vintage Porsche 911’s, and a new Lotus Evora 400, I was able to take in British automotive heritage. Aston Martins are more than just cars used by James Bond for over 40 years, they’re at the pinnacle of British luxury, design, and performance. These beautiful cars symbolize the very best of the automotive industry, bringing a sense of class, sophistication, and properness that only the British could offer.

The center of attention in the Aston Martin showroom is without a doubt the 1988 Vantage V8 Zagato, a car priced at $795k, and across the room near the window, the all new DB11. Two prime examples of Aston Martin staying true to their heritage. The time spent in that room made me appreciate the automaker even more, as for the first time in a dealership, I was able to film and understand why cars like Aston Martins are at the center of many people’s dreams. Instead of looking at a picture on the internet or watching a YouTube video, I was seeing and experiencing these cars through my own eyes, that can only be truly appreciated if you’re in complete solitude.

So without further ado, here’s the video from the Aston Martin of New England’s showroom. I hope you enjoy!

Upcoming Car Events and Cars & Coffees For April and May in Boston

Car season has officially begun in the Boston area! Here are the upcoming events in and around Boston for April and May!

Art of the Automobile
Art of the Automobile
McLaren Boston
McLaren Boston
Herb Chambers C&C
Herb Chambers C&C
Mercedes Benz of Burlington
Mercedes Benz of Burlington
Aston Martin of New England
Aston Martin of New England

In addition to these events, there’s also Boston Cars & Coffee held at Larz Anderson Auto Museum on May 20th!

The Larz Anderson lawn event schedule for 2017 can be found here: Larz Anderson Lawn Events 2017

Car season 2017 in Boston is going to be a great year! I’ll continue to update this article if anymore large car events pop up

Alfa Romeo Unveils The All New Stelvio – Everything We Want In An SUV

It’s finally here, the all new Alfa Romeo Stelvio. The fourth model the Italian automaker has brought to the United States in the past decade to reintroduce the brand to the New World. In true Italian style, Alfa Romeo has made it’s presence known even before walking through the door, as the Giulia hasn’t hit showrooms yet, but will very soon. The Stelvio introduces Alfa to the SUV market, and they’ve swung for the fences at their first at bat.

With the unveiling of the Stelvio Quadrifoglio, the generation of immediate buzz in the automotive world has been deafening, as the Italian SUV is set to be the fastest in its class at the Nurburgring. With a Ferrari powered V6 engine producing 505 horsepower, no one up to this point has produced a faster SUV, not including the Tesla Model X which is electric. Better yet, the Stelvio is capable of a 0-60 time of 3.9 seconds, which is faster than the Alfa Romeo 4C. Not even Porsche can boast that it produces the fastest SUV, as the Macan and Cayenne have met their match.

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More importantly than the performance is the styling. Alfa designed the Stelvio similar to the Giulia, which will only make it more attractive to new buyers. One of the biggest concerns with early renders of the Stelvio was it’s face, as it took on the appearance of the Giulietta. While the initial styling was up to par, had Alfa Romeo stuck with the design, it’s possible that early receptions wouldn’t have been positive.

Together, the Giulia and Stelvio give Alfa a chance to compete and even stand out in a very crowded market for both crossovers and small sports sedans. Also contrary to where the luxury market is heading, Alfa is promoting driving experience and performance while the Germans are fixated on driver assisting technologies. Right now, the Italians have an opportunity to change the landscape in the current automotive market, and reintroduce driving pleasure and fun behind the wheel. Needless to say, the Giulia and Stelvio’s appearances are distinct, and brings a new breath of fresh air into a very stale luxury performance segment.

The Stelvio is expected to hit showrooms sometime next year, and we can only hope that there are no delays, as Alfa Romeo pushed back the Giulia’s arrival to the US market multiple times. Over the next few months we should get a better idea of the true performance and craftsmanship, when car reviewers get behind the wheel.

The future looks bright for Alfa Romeo heading into 2017. The only dark clouds that linger is the reliability of the Giulia and Stelvio. If the Italians can hit a home run with these two models, not only will that ensure their survival in the US, but we’ll get bigger and better vehicles from the brand that understands what being a true car enthusiast is all about.

Porsche Commercial: Creating A Connection

What lacks from most automotive advertisements is emotion, passion, and a connection between the driver-to-be and the car. Vehicles are often more than just objects to people. For some, cars are a means of transportation, going from one destination to another, but for others, vehicles are a way of life. Some of you may ask, “How can there be such a relationship where the driver is completely engaged with the car?” Certain brands have built and engineered cars that make the driver feel as if they’re one with the car they own, and feeling very connected to the road through the twists and turns on a back country road. These machines grasp the imagination and excitement of drivers and kids of all ages.

Porsche’s commercial, presumably from 2005, pulls at the heartstrings of car enthusiasts. At one point or another in a person’s life, they looked out the window daydreaming of the sports car they’d own when they got older. No doubt that the Porsche 911 was on a poster in kids’ bedrooms, as even today, the 911 is an exotic car many only dream of owning. In a commercial that is primarily music with very limited dialogue, the kid is drawn in by the Porsche’s presence as it passes his school. He’s so captivated that immediately after school he rides his bike to the nearest Porsche dealership just to get a close up look at the new 911.

When he’s allowed to sit in the cabin, his emotions can easily be felt by the viewers. Even today as adults, we space out when we finally get to touch the car that’s been at the center of our dreams for years, or for one split second, we see ourselves driving it. Porsche’s commercial hits all the right notes that no doubt motivated people to buy the car immediately, or work harder to obtain their aspirations of owning a 911.

While there are a few funny moments when the kid asks for the salesman’s business card, or when he says he’ll see him again in 20 years, it still ties into the message, which is the connection to the car itself. Emotion and feeling are often the greatest motivators in life, yet car commercials of today don’t express what the consumer is feeling. Instead, it’s marketing the features of the car, or the add-ons that can be seen on most models in 2016, that’s taken precedence over what the consumer desires.

Owning a car should be fun, especially when consumers buy exactly what they wanted. A Porsche 911 is the car that enthusiasts want because it hugs the road, offers performance and luxury, and gives the owner many years of smiles and memories. These feelings haven’t died as some have suggested, including the Washington Post which had an article saying car culture is shrinking in the United States. Enthusiasts beg to differ as car shows and events are growing at a rapid rate across the country. Car enthusiasm isn’t dying, it’s being awoken.

Luxury car manufacturers are experiencing high volumes in sales, and for those who aren’t, it’s time to start reviving the emotion, joy, and excitement that once drew customers toward the brand. Instead of trying to be funny, or marketing your cars for what they aren’t, be real. Consumers are human beings with emotions, and their buying decisions are made through those emotions. Start appealing to the younger generations, get them excited for the vehicles you offer.

By not bringing your cars to life, you become like every other high volume seller. Bring back the emotion and appeal that has a lasting impact on consumers, and you’ll begin to see a loyal following that will continue to buy from your brand. Only then will you find the voice that speaks up amongst the rest on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Toyota YouTube Marketing: Redundancy In Advertisement

In the previous article of this mini-series where we take a look at Youtube marketing by car manufacturers, Hyundai was the center of attention, as their 15 second adverts gave no reason to consumers as to why they should buy a vehicle from the Korean automaker. Toyota now finds themselves in the BostonAutoBlog spotlight, magnifying Hyundai’s bland marketing campaign, by going one step further in advertising technology or features that all or most car manufacturers offer in today’s market. Toyota has always had a loyal following, but if their goal is to increase sales, they’re missing big in their recent onslaught of 15 second videos.

Before we analyze the video above; is this the state the automotive market is in right now, marketing pre-existing features that any car company offers? In this 15 second clip, LED headlights are the main focus, with the spokesman saying, “How do you make Camry’s headlights stand out even more? Skip ahead a few hours”. It sounds like a punchline to a corny joke, one which won’t break the ice if you’re at a table surrounded by strangers.

Most cars come with LED headlights or you can order them to modify the current car you own. Toyota’s LED’s can’t even hold a candle to three year old used Audis or BMWs which would be in the same price range as a new Camry. Worst of all, as a consumer, why would I be attracted to a Camry after watching this quick ad? Yes, by now we should all know Toyota’s reliability record, but there’s no need to start marketing features that buyers wouldn’t find relevant.

The corny jokes don’t end there, it continues with yet another quick ad. At this point, you have to wonder if the same marketing firm that worked with Hyundai, moved onto Toyota a few months later. Toyota’s are not known for their handling, and as someone who has driven a Rav4 in the past, you don’t feel very connected to the road. If great handling is the focus of the commercial, there needs to be actual footage, and not a guy playing with a toy car who then places it in the driveway.

While 15 second clips on Youtube are the norm for automakers now, less information about the vehicle being marketed is presented. Even though there’s a risk of viewers pressing the skip ad button, it would be better to extend these ads to 30 seconds to offer potential buyers selling points as to why they should buy a Rav4 or a Toyota Camry.

The last video worth highlighting, might just be the worst of them all. People who buy a Toyota Prius purchase them for one reason, it’s environmentally friendly. Toyota has been marketing the Prius like a race car, or during the Super Bowl, a getaway car. It’s time to go back to their roots and advertise the Prius for what it is. It’s not “agile”, it’s not “fun”, and it certainly doesn’t need racing decals as the car doesn’t deserve racing credentials.

What’s lacking in this commercial? Fuel efficiency. Isn’t that why people buy a Prius? What YouTube marketing has done is take common sense and a well thought out commercial out of the equation. There’s no selling points, no facts about what the car can do, no demonstration as to why it’s “agile”, and there are no legitimate reasons as to why I, or anyone else should buy one.

Hyundai and Toyota have made the ads that popup before watching a video cringe-worthy. These two manufacturers can offer better in terms of marketing to the masses, as their cars speak for themselves. Both their reliability ratings and customer satisfaction should be the main focal points of these ads, not the technology or features within the cars.

If Ford, Chrysler-Fiat, GM, Mazda, Kia, and Honda are watching, they should take notes. Hyundai and Toyota have left the door open for better YouTube advertising that grabs consumers’ attention, thoroughly goes over what their cars offer in terms of reliability, safety, and performance, and not worry about the technology within the vehicles. What is truly lacking in the automotive market is passion, emotion, and excitement.

We should get excited when we see your commercials. There should be a desire to want to drive and buy your vehicles. Every time your vehicle passes us by on the street, our first thought should be that great commercial you marketed that created an emotional connection. It’s time to start marketing your cars as if you love them as much as the consumer. Without passion, you become a Toyota who is trying to crack corny jokes, or Hyundai who is in an identity crisis as they’re not sure whether to brand themselves as a company that offers luxury vehicles, or a company that has reasonably priced cars for the middle class.

Hyundai YouTube Marketing: Right Idea, Poor Execution

YouTube has become a major component in digital marketing for car companies, as video content’s ability to grab consumers’ attentions is well worth the investment of money and time. Hyundai and Mazda are the two manufacturers who use YouTube advertising the most, and their short 15 to 30 seconds videos pop up on the screen before your video starts. While Mazda has been pushing a message that resonates with those who love driving, Hyundai on the other hand, has taken a different approach by pointing out the features their vehicles offer. Unfortunately, that marketing campaign swung and missed as they had the right idea, but executed poorly.

You’re probably familiar with these 15 second blurbs that Hyundai has been advertising for the past few months. With such a short window of time, there’s very little a spokesperson or influencer can say to entice consumers to do further research into the car and possibly buy it. No matter who was behind the wheel of the new Genesis, the lack of creativity, thought, and selling points is why this video, and the rest in the campaign, failed to get the reception the manufacturer was looking for. In this particular video, the woman is pointing out the touch screen navigation system that comes with the Hyundai Genesis. She further says that when she was shopping, she couldn’t find a car that offered this amount of technology standard.

While the target audience appears to be middle-aged women, the average female consumer would be aware that most cars come with the technology, and that Hyundai is not offering anything different from other manufacturers. In related videos, a panoramic sunroof and automatic rear lift gate are also noted in other 15 second videos, but again, BMW, Audi, and Mercedes Benz offer the same. The woman ends each video with a similar question, ‘Does your car have this feature’? In 2016, it’s very likely 50% or more of the viewers have at least one of these features in their car already, leaving each video valueless to the consumer.

Over the years, Hyundai has changed and evolved into a respectful car manufacturer. They’ve been named one of most reliable car companies on the market, they offer an array of models that target different types of consumers, and their cars have improved in quality and overall build each year. Their selling point should be quality, instead of the features they offer. Every car company in the 21st century has become the same as they all have similar safety and tech features, which is why Volvo, the standard barer for safety, had to completely change their marketing and advertising for the brand.

To be more effective. Hyundai should have made longer videos highlighting why their cars are better than Honda, Toyota, and Nissan. While they are extending the brand to become more high-end with the Genesis product line, pushing reliability should be the cornerstone of their advertising. Selling luxury is one thing, but selling durability and quality is quite another, which is needed in the automotive market with the endless amounts of recalls.

Hyundai’s biggest miss was the platform they decided to use for the ad campaign. Facebook would have been better as they could have targeted women, both single or married, with or without children, which would have received a better reception. By going the YouTube route, they’re reaching thousands of people who are already brand loyal with competitors or may already know that these features are available on many cars.

Hyundai’s vehicles speak for themselves. Their improvements are well noted by consumers, and the features they’ve put in their cars is icing on the cake. With longer videos, more in-depth looks at the car, and using other platforms for 15 second adverts, Hyundai will get the conversion rates they’re looking for.

Mike Cerra is a social media marketer in the automotive industry, serving the Boston area. If your dealership is in need of social media services, you can contact him at mikecerra26@hotmail.com.

Live Streaming and Video Content For Dealerships

Just over 10 years ago, a website by the name of YouTube was created, forever changing the Internet and the digital world as we know it today. Fast forward to 2016 and we now have live streaming apps: Facebook Live, Periscope, and Meerkat which all achieve the same goal; reaching followers and customers in realtime. While used by individuals and media for the most part, businesses in any sector can see results by going live, as they can answer questions and go in-depth on their products by showcasing and testing them for their followers to see. One industry that up to now refuses to take part in going live or using any native video content of their own, the automotive industry, could see massive growth in sales by posting videos to their social media platforms.

Car dealerships as a whole are very hesitant towards experimental marketing. Anything that strays from traditional marketing is often looked down upon as it’s immediately perceived to not work or could have a negative impact on the dealership’s reputation. Live streaming or video content that is created and further promoted on Facebook will be anything but negative, and in fact will yield positive results, more overall reach, and more engagement. Most importantly, by going live, you now show the audience that you’re in fact human instead of a company web bot.

Back in the 1990’s, car dealerships would have time slots on local television stations, usually 30 minutes. They’d have a salesman in front of cars discussing the price, performance specifications, and options that came with the model. Today in the 21st century, when video content can reach thousands of people without great expense, there’s dealerships who shy away from live streaming or recorded video altogether, with very few companies posting videos on YouTube at the very least.

While YouTube has the ability of going viral, your videos will not be targeted directly to consumers in your dealership’s area. With Facebook, you can promote to and target people within your region, state, and even city your dealership is located in. Whether you record live or not, your chances of going viral are much higher as your followers and customers can easily share, like, and comment.

In terms of specifics, you could do a weekly video discussing certain models, trim levels, and varying prices. Since cars have different features, engine types, and drivetrains, your content can help customers choose the car that fits their specific needs. Consumers who aren’t quite sure which car brand they should go with, would benefit greatly by your videos, especially if the model you’re reviewing is a rival to one of the brands they’re looking at. For example, you’re the General Manager of a Hyundai dealership and you want to increase sales of the Elantra GT. With a video taking an in-depth look at the Elantra GT, you could pry consumers away from buying a Honda Fit or Volkswagen Golf.

The possibilities are endless. There’s no need to hop on the YouTube train when you could go in a completely different direction and reach potential customers within minutes. With Facebook promotions, your videos are seen on people’s news feeds, rather than hoping an intrigued potential buyer searches on YouTube, with the possibility the video they watch isn’t from your dealership. Live streaming and videos is what the market responds to, and by not advertising and marketing in the year we live in, you’re setting yourself up for shrinking sales year after year.

Mike Cerra is a social media marketer in the automotive industry, serving the Boston area. If your dealership is in need of social media services, you can contact him at mikecerra26@hotmail.com.

The Most Important Aspect of SMM: Being Human

Oftentimes businesses of any size, big or small, make the biggest mistake in their social media marketing strategies. They fail to appear human, and in most cases resemble web bots spewing external links or emotionless posts across all social media platforms. Hard selling, irrelevant content, and lack of engagement with followers and potential customers is far too common among industries, leading to missed opportunities to snatch undecided consumers who haven’t made the commitment to buy into your product or service. In today’s marketplace, you have to be open, friendly, and willing build relationships with your customers and followers, or you’ll begin to see post by post that engagement and growth on social media will dwindle.

Being human on social media, is really all about having the same mindset or emotions as the consumer. If you’re selling a Subaru, you must know what owners of that brand do on a daily basis. Whether that’s hiking or off-roading, or taking on the very worst mother nature has to offer, Subaru owners want a dependable car that can get them out of any situation life throws at them behind the wheel. By not affectively communicating to these consumers, your voice will not be heard. You must create emotions behind what you’re selling. A Subaru owner looking to trade up from an older model, might be more enticed to buy a brand new Outback if you cater your marketing efforts to that person, or others like him or her. By speaking their language, both literally and emotionally, you’ll begin to see results as you’re no longer hard selling, but actually being informative.

As an owner of a Volvo S40, I wanted to join a group or fan page on social media to share my enthusiasm for my car. When I couldn’t find one, I created one myself. Within about six months I built a following of 250 Volvo S40 enthusiasts, organically. By being human, evoking the same emotions other S40 owners had, engagement numbers and total reach were much larger than the current following I had. Getting Likes, comments, and shares became easier by the day because the content was catered to those who love their car. Being human, and understanding where your customers or followers are coming from, is exactly what’s needed in social media marketing, and that’s my attitude when running my own accounts.

Stop using social media platforms as another stage to hard sell. While consumers are using Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and even Snapchat to make buying decisions, their influences are not from companies who hard sell or throw their products in the faces of consumers. Social media is your opportunity to build a community, a community of loyal consumers who will buy from your business for the rest of their lives. By not building your bridges now, consumers will find another path to being treated with value and catered to specifically. Your social media efforts today, will dictate where you are five to ten years down the road when digital marketing becomes the main focal point of a marketing strategy.

Mike Cerra is a social media marketer in the automotive industry, serving the Boston area. If your dealership is in need of social media services, you can contact him at mikecerra26@hotmail.com.

Car Dealerships: It’s Time to Revamp Your Social Media Marketing

Whether you’re a franchise or a privately owned car dealership, social media has to take precedence in your marketing strategy. Clearly, with the very existence of your social media pages, reaching out to followers, informing customers, or even selling cars on these platforms, has some importance to you. So why aren’t you taking social media marketing seriously, or if you are, why are you hiring people who have no sense of what it means to be an effective marketer? In any other industry, including the car selling business, no sales means an immediate firing or layoff, yet you still keep your social media manager, despite the low engagement rates.

Time and time again, I witness car dealerships’ Facebook pages being managed incorrectly. There’s no effort, no experimental marketing, no engagement, and very boring content that will be overlooked by the people who you’re trying to reach. The content that is shared is irrelevant to their dealership, the cars on their lot, and the audience they’re marketing to. Hard selling keeps potential customers away, and instead of informing people on the specials the dealership is offering that month, they infuse the status and post with “SALE SALE SALE!”. That’s not going to get people in your doors.

If you’re posting on a consistent basis and still not seeing results, the answer to your problems can be simple, as you’re not promoting your Facebook posts. How are people going to see your statuses if you’re not using the promotion tools Facebook has? There’s a chance that your existing followers will not be drawn into your content because they either recently purchased a vehicle from your dealership, or are currently not in the market just yet for a new car.

Now is the time to revamp your social media marketing strategy. With Facebook Live, you’re able to have live streaming events. Take an in-depth look at a particular model in your showroom, go through the features, tech and performance specifications, why the customer should buy that vehicle, and give the viewers alternatives in terms of trim level and prices. Maybe do a virtual tour of your dealership, to make a customer’s first time entering your dealership’s doors a comfortable experience. Since these videos stay on your timeline, there’s no need to create multiple videos of the same car, unless the content and information is different. By promoting these videos correctly, you’ll reach potential customers who are in the market for that specific vehicle or brand, and engagement should increase if you post videos regularly.

Instagram is another great social media marketing tool that is often misused. I’ve followed, and have been followed by dealerships who post nothing but non-native content. Photoshopped pictures that the brand provides is all that’s being posted, which then raises the following question; you’re a car dealership, don’t you have cars that you can take professional pictures of and then post on Instagram to get the maximum amount of likes possible? Even if you’re not willing to pay a photographer, isn’t there a current employee who is capable of taking pictures that, even if they’re not perfect, look better than fake photos of cars that aren’t even on your lot?

It all comes down to effort. Ho much time and energy are you willing to put forth to see results from social media marketing? You’re not going to see results overnight, which is why you need to be persistent in the content you provide. Some of you have over 100 cars on your lot and multiple models depending on the brand you’re selling, which means you have endless amounts of content to post and create. The automotive industry is probably the best and easiest business sector to create content for, especially if you have a passionate social media marketer behind the scenes.

The real issue at the end of the day is that the automotive industry as a whole is outdated and old. There’s not enough young people getting involved in the marketing and advertising department of dealerships, and as a result, car dealerships might just be the worst users of social media platforms. By not hiring young social media marketers, you’re going to miss out on an entire generation of consumers. Even older generations are hopping on the social media train, so by not effectively communicating to potential customers in your area, you’re missing out on sales and the ROI that you put into social media marketing.

Social media isn’t a get rich quick scheme. It’s a platform that you have to be committed to, similar to friendships and relationships, it’s a two-way street. By not posting consistently, your followers and or potential customers will not take you seriously and move on to another dealership. How bad do you want sales, and are you willing market tirelessly to see the results you’re looking for? The decision is yours, but realize that there are dealerships who are effectively marketing on social media, and they’re ready to take your business from you.

Mike Cerra is a social media marketer in the automotive industry, serving the Boston area. If your dealership is in need of social media services, you can contact him at mikecerra26@hotmail.com.