This is Kelly Klienman with dealership news. It’s our weekly podcast covering the who’s happening in the automotive industry.
Today we’re going back to the future with Chris Power-Gomez – we’re going to discuss an interesting offering to auto dealers which involves hyperlocal branding of a dealership, via hard copy in the form of a local magazine – designed to draw the surrounding Community to the dealership.
What does that mean? We’re going back to print folks…
DEALERSHIP NEWS: How you-doing Chris? Chris and I go back a few years. I will say that this is a very novel Concept. He’s been bringing it up to me over the course of the last year, and together we’ve been working on trying to congeal this particular concept and prototype several dealerships with it. But I’m going to leave it up to you to explain in-depth what we’re talking about here…
Tell us first how you got into the automotive industry – was it something you’ve had a life-long interest or did you just happen to stumble into it?
CHRIS POWER-GOMEZ: Well it’s definitely a lifelong interest. I’m a collector and love hot rods. I spent most of my life as a driver on the racing-side.
I have a thirty-five year career as a senior executive in creative services and Publishing. I decided with my retirement to put the two together and build a publishing enterprise called Autolife, Automobile Lifestyles – which goes toward how the automobile is part of today’s lifestyle. We’re the first to present lifestyles with an automobile focus. It’s a sub-sector of the present lifestyles trend.
DEALERSHIP NEWS: Take us a little bit deeper… how about an elevator pitch, everybody has one… but for the GM or president of the big dealer group who doesn’t know you, what would a 30-second elevator pitch sound like – and no reading from a script. 3 2 1 go
CHRIS POWER-GOMEZ: We’re presenting dealer book – It’s a new offering from Automobile Lifestyles. A special edition Autolife Magazine dedicated to your dealership from front cover the back. It’s distributed in your local community and dedicated to your dealership.
DEALERSHIP NEWS: That’s actually 30 seconds that was phenomenal. So let’s talk about a couple things first… what distinguishes you from the competition? We know that there’s newspaper’s out there, we know that there’s online, we know that there’s radio, Cable… so on and so forth. What are you basing the potential success of your magazine in the media mix for a dealership?
CHRIS POWER-GOMEZ: There’s no loss in the need for magazines. The local newspapers aren’t working, and now with the focus on a digital marketing there is a big gap with a building relationships with your local customer. Autolife is a local community magazine about how the automobile fits into people’s Lifestyles; now we have spun off the DealerBook which is dedicated to specific auto dealers. So in regard to competition there really isn’t any, because digital marketing has pushed out any local newspaper coverage in regard to automobile dealerships – this is an offer to dealerships to reach the local auto buying customer with a glossy magazine that talks about their dealership, both an advertising and editorial.
DEALERSHIP NEWS: I’ll tell you right now I just did a very scientific survey in the room and it turns out that Millennials, younger potential car buyers do actually on occasion read magazines more so than they do newspapers – which by the way is where a lot of dealers put their money.
Does the magazine also include an online component?
CHRIS POWER-GOMEZ: Yeah we’re supporting it was a mobile-optimized website dedicated to the dealership with the same content as the magazine.
DEALERSHIP NEWS: I’m interested in doing this… I don’t want to actually get into the pricing of it, but where are the opportunities for monetization? Let’s say I’m a local business, I like to get involved, I sort-of attached myself to the dealership… I’m a service provider – a body shop… or I’m a restaurant in the area. Will the magazine be 100% dealership or will there be ancillary advertising opportunities?
CHRIS POWER-GOMEZ: Well when I say the magazine is dedicated to a specific dealership, it is in-that the editorial and the ads will either be manufacturer or dealership specific.
Autolife at its core is about the lifestyles of the local residents. So it will include articles about the local restaurants, watering holes for car buyers and auto enthusiasts – weekend driving getaways, and some supporting material for aftermarket and service as well.
Each DealerBook is custom-designed with a distribution strategy for each dealership based on demographics and purchase habits. We also use those demographics to engage the dealership locally, and participate in the overall sense of community – so that the dealer is essentially the hub.
DEALERSHIP NEWS: Chris, explain your theory, based-on the old adage that members of a local community had a barber, etc., and a family bought their cars from the same car dealer for years, and so on and so forth… correct?
CHRIS POWER-GOMEZ: In the old-days, certainly from what I can remember; the car dealer was a very important part of a family and the community. You had your doctor, you had your accountant, and you had your friend/associate who was at the car dealership; and anytime there was a car purchased within the family that’s who you called – and we feel that’s missing now and the AutoLife DealerBook is a way to bring that back.
Autolife presents the lifestyles of the local residents. They’re going to read it. It’s going to be on the coffee table, it’s going to be in the local establishments and with an upgrade can we build a customized Direct Mail list and it goes into mailboxes of residents in the buying cycle.
DEALERSHIP NEWS: Yes,In my opinion it’s a way for a dealer to improve their reputation. Can you elaborate a little bit on that, how it would work is a tool for reputation management?
CHRIS POWER-GOMEZ: One of the things that we think is important is a dealership in many cases is a multi-generational business that the family has worked over generations to refine and make part of the community. It’s very important to the family that owns the dealership to be part of the community. Many times, in fact most times local residents don’t really know the foundation of that business… so one of the things that we that we push when writing the editorial, is let the community know about the foundation of this dealership and in the families behind. How the dealership literally is part of the fabric of this and how you could trust the dealer to handle perhaps the second largest financial transaction a family will ever make.
DEALERSHIP NEWS: Great Chris, where will DealerBook / Autolife be in 5 years; and what’s your long-term vision of the concept?
CHRIS POWER-GOMEZ: Well, Autolife in general is progressing rapidly both with online programs and the print programs. We’re picking-off communities across the country where Autolife will be embraced by the local residents. So the answer to your question is, we’ll continue adding communities to Autolife. Once communities are added the subsequent next piece would be the DealerBook – going into the dealerships directly. In five years I hope that we continue to march across the country.
DEALERSHIP NEWS: Love it Chris. This is Kelly Klienman – that was the quickie podcast from dealership news.com. I want I thank Chris Power-Gomez of DealerBook and Autolife for joining us.
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Chris Power Gomez