Richard Bustillo speaks at the 2015 Automotive Leadership Roundtable in Miami, Florida.
Richard Bustillo speaks at the 2015 Automotive Leadership Roundtable in Miami, Florida.
Richard Bustillo speaks at the 2014 Automotive Leadership Roundtable in Miami, Florida.
Publication: Automotive News
Date: January 27, 2014
Author: David Barkholz
Nine months ago, Sun Chevrolet Inc. in the Syracuse, N.Y., area created a business development center to handle Internet leads and phone calls for the Chevrolet store and two used-vehicle stores, said owner Todd Caputo. The center now has 14 employees, including a manager.
Caputo said he puts such a premium on fast and detailed responses to leads that two center employees now work from home on Sundays so prospects don’t have to wait until after the weekend to get the information they desire. Last year the Chevrolet store sold 575 new vehicles.
Internet leads get a response by e-mail within 15 minutes, including prices for vehicles identified by the prospect as well as three certified-used vehicles that might meet the sender’s needs, he said.
The store then has processes in place to contact the prospect up to five additional times by phone or e-mail to see if the dealership can assist the shopper, Bustillo said.
Bustillo said for the most part dealers have the software to aid them in following up with customers. But too many lack the discipline or processes to hold salespeople to account for contacting prospects promptly with relevant information.
He said dealerships in the large metropolitan areas, in particular, just have the old mind-set that showroom traffic will come regardless of the Internet.
Bustillo said: “They take it for granted. That’s good for us.”
Rick Case Honda increases conquest sales 4x with targeted video marketing strategy
73% of the 11 hours consumers spend online shopping for a car is spent comparing or cross-shopping vehicles. During this time, the average consumer will spend 2 hours performing searches
on the search engines and visit an average of 20 websites before selecting the dealership that will ultimately sell them their new vehicle.
For many dealerships, staying competitive in this environment is a big challenge. However, Rick Case Honda of Davie is not only staying competitive, they are thriving. In 2012, they
implemented a new targeted video marketing strategy designed to increase website traffic and capture more interest from customers driving competitive brands. Today, overall website traffic
is up 100% and their strategy is helping to drive 30,000 visitors a month to their dealership website and has increased Toyota trade-ins by over 400% year-over-year.
When many of us hear numbers like these, we immediately become skeptical. However, the success Rick Case Honda is having with targeted video marketing has been verified by a number
of sources and, to date, they are the only dealership in America to ever be featured in a case study by the world’s largest search engine. Rick Case Honda of Davie is one of the most celebrated dealerships in the country and for good reason. They have been the undisputed Honda champion in the Southeast every year since they opened in 2002. They are America’s largest Honda retail facility, with over 1,000 customers visiting their campus every day. They are the only Honda dealership to win the President’s Award five years in a row and they are currently ranked nationally in Honda’s top five for both sales volume and net profit. This is a high-performance dealership with a long history of excellence and innovation.
“Like it or not, we are in a world that is customer controlled”, says Richard Bustillo, General Manager for Rick Case Honda. “We spend a lot of money on traditional media trying to get customers into our dealership but no matter what we do, customers ultimately go to the Internet where they can consume information on their own terms. This used to frustrate me but now we use this to our advantage.”
A look at Rick Case Honda’s statistics validates Bustillo’s comments. Although 75% of their advertising budget is spent on traditional media like television and radio, 98% of website traffic
and 91% of the 3,000+ calls they receive every month come from a search engine request or from web-based sources that appear when a search is performed. “The strategy we use leverages what we know to be true about our customer’s behavior”, Bustillo continues. “First, we know over 90% of customers are going to shop on the Internet. They’re going to spend 10 to 12 hours online shopping and comparing vehicles and dealerships. Second, we know that in a 30 to 90-day buying cycle, in-market customers are going to do a lot more online than shop for cars. They are going to check the news, watch highlight reels, engage with friends on social media sites and do a lot of other things that have nothing to do with our dealership. Third, we know that customers respond much better to video than they do to text. They are two times more likely to watch something than read something and they are several times more likely to click on video versus text.”
“We knew that if we could find a way to use video where others were using text and find a way to target different types of videos to different audiences, we would have a home run. We expected to
see increases in website traffic and we got that. Unique users rose from ten thousand to eighteen thousand per month and total visits doubled, from approximately fifteen thousand per month to
a little over thirty-one thousand per month. However, what we didn’t expect was the impact this would have in terms of increasing activity with conquest customers. In the twelve months prior
to launching this strategy, we averaged 9 Toyota trades per month. Our average over the last 9 months is 43. That represents a 470 increase in conquest business from Toyota alone.”
The targeted video marketing strategy that Rick Case Honda is using is having a similar affect with other competitive makes as well. However, what is most impressive is the way the different
components of their overall strategy work together to drive results.
Richard Bustillo speaks at the 2013 AutoCon in Las Vegas, NV.
I’m a big fan of Columbo, the TV series starring Peter Falk. But, that’s not what I’m going to write about this week. Instead, I’m going to interview Richard Bustillo, who used YouTube TrueView ads to double the monthly trade-in vehicles at Rick Case Honda, resulting in a 12x return on investment.
Bustillo worked his way up in the dealer world, starting as a salesman. He sold 26 cars in his first month, making more money that month than he’d made the previous year. After working at several dealerships and boosting their performances, Bustillo was invited by auto industry pioneers, Rick and Rita Case to be the General Manager for Rick Case Honda.
Rick Case Honda has a 600,000 square-foot facility in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area that houses 1,500 new Hondas. The facility includes not only a showroom, but also a state-of-the-art collision center, a gas station, a County Clerk’s Office, and even a barber shop. Yet, Bustillo still saw opportunities to improve the store.
Since April 2008, Bustillo has helped Rick Case Honda generate record breaking sales, despite the tough economy. Much of this is attributed to an emphasis on cross-functional integration, on valued customer experiences, and on Bustillo’s push for Rick Case Honda to adopt better digital and video marketing strategies.
‘You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure it out’
In 2011, Bustillo attended the Automotive Leadership Roundtable, where he was exposed to a variety of digital marketing strategies. After returning from the trip, Bustillo started Rick Case Honda on a paid search strategy, before incorporating online video, reputation management, and social media. The marketing team soon found that video advertising converted four times as much as other advertising strategies.
After his early success, Bustillo was asked to speak at a number of automotive marketing conferences. He then met AJ LeBlanc, Managing Partner of Car-mercial.com, who told Bustillo about their unique and scalable video production offerings. Bustillo had already worked with a handful of video vendors and also produced video in-house, but realized Car-mercial.com’s video production capabilities were completely different, and offered an opportunity for growth.
In the fall of 2012, Bustillo and LeBlanc came up with the idea to create YouTube TrueView in-stream ads promoting the distinctive features of Honda to encourage trade-in. That same year, the 2012 Compete Google Automotive Shopping study discovered that 21 percent of vehicle shoppers find online video content about vehicle trade-ins useful for their research process.
After launching the TrueView ads, the dealership doubled the number of trade-ins from a competing make from 10 per month to 20 per month. Rick Case Honda was now earning an incremental $50,000+ for online videos that cost $0.20 – $0.30 per view. Monthly unique site visitors had also increased by over 18 percent. Bustillo says, “That’s targeted video that you can tie back and figure out ROI… You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure it out!”
‘We’re only scratching the surface’
Despite Bustillo’s continued success with digital, he recognizes that “we’re not where we want to be yet — we’re still evolving. There’s so much we can do and we’re only scratching the surface.”
Moving forward, Bustillo and LeBlanc are looking to test more online video ideas, including launching Spanish videos, and finding ways to integrate more video content onto the Rick Case Honda website.
Bustillo also emphasizes the importance of his website as a critical component in ensuring the success of his online video campaigns. He says, “It is important to make sure your website is user-friendly to make sure that when video pre-roll sends traffic to your site, users engage with your brand and then come to your store. It’s all interconnected.”
He adds, “You gotta look at it all the way down the road. When you integrate every department… everyone benefits from video pre-roll… If you only look at it from metrics such as views, that’s very short-sighted. You have to open your eyes and look at everything, so that you can see the full benefit of what you can accomplish.”
‘Oh, uh, a few more questions for my story, sir.’
Using my best impression of Columbo’s investigative style, I thanked Richard Bustillo for his interview and turned to leave – only to turn back at the last second as if I’d suddenly remembered something. Then I politely said, “Oh, uh, a few more questions for my story, sir.”
GJ: Can you tell us why you partnered with Car-mercial.com?
RB: It wasn’t difficult to realize that Video was the next evolution in internet marketing. We wanted to make sure we positioned ourselves with the best company in that space. We felt Car-Mercial produced OEM quality videos that could convert and they did.
GJ: After launching the ads, were you surprised that the dealership doubled the number of trade-ins from a competing make from 10 per month to 20 per month?
RB: I was very surprised. As a car dealer, we are always looking for ways to figure out our ROI. After a few months with Car-mercial.com, we started to notice that an increase in our conquest trades. That was track-able. Now we knew we had ROI.
GJ: Rick Case Honda is earning an incremental $50,000+ a month from online videos that cost only $0.20 to $0.30 per view. How many views do you typically need before you get a trade-in?
RB: When you take into consideration every dollar generated from a trade in (i.e. reconditioning, sale, etc.) we make that and more. What it costs to generate a trade in is another story. It depends on the time of month, the models we’re targeting and the Honda incentives, which varies.
GJ: How do you know monthly unique visitors to your site have also increased by over 18 percent?
RB: That information is based on Google Analytics. I know where everyone is coming from. It’s a simple and fantastic way to get your data.
GJ: Based on your initial success, what do you plan to do next?
RB: I am just figuring out this Video SEO and Pre-roll. Give me a couple of months and get back to me on that question.
Ruth’s car was stolen and she dreaded buying a new one. Edmunds.com gave her all the confidence she needed with car reviews, TMV pricing, and easy-to-use dealer quotes to buy a new Honda Civic from Rick Case Honda in Davie, Florida. This is her story.
April 11, 2013 — DAVIE, Florida – Richard Bustillo, General Manager of Rick Case Honda, the World’s Largest Full Line Honda Dealership, will be leading a panel discussion at the Automotive Leadership Roundtable (ALR) on Monday, April 15, 2013, at the Fontainebleau in Miami Beach, Florida. This is the second consecutive year Mr. Bustillo was selected to speak at ALR, an annual conference of leading automotive management executives.
Serving as General Manager of Rick Case Honda for the past five years, Richard Bustillo’s leadership of the dealership’s authorized Sales, Service and Parts operations has helped the Davie-based location earn American Honda’s highest honor, the President’s Award, on five consecutive occasions — the only Honda volume dealer in America to earn this distinction.
His strategies and tactics have propelled Rick Case Honda to set numerous sales records. They have also guided the Service Department to achieve best-in-class customer satisfaction scores, while cultivating a Genuine Honda Parts business that’s thrived throughout his tenure.
Now, Mr. Bustillo plans to share his some of his core management principles at Automotive Leadership Roundtable 2013. Amongst other topics – such as digital marketing and organizational leadership – Richard’s One Dealership Philosophy will be a main talking point.
“A cornerstone of the One Dealership Philosophy is ensuring all departments work together to provide each customer with a consistent experience — every time they visit. Regardless of if they’re interacting with Sales, Service or Parts departments, dealers must always deliver valuable experiential and transactional benefits to create loyal customers,” Mr. Bustillo began.
“It sounds simple, or maybe even obvious, in theory,” he continued. “But when you’re developing unique buying propositions at a strategic level for each department, and then implementing various tactics in a way that must function cohesively throughout a large operation, there are innumerable challenges that can derail the One Dealership approach before you even realize its’ benefits.”
While Mr. Bustillo is gracious for the prominent role he’s been selected to at ALR 2013, his main focus is on delivering useful, actionable thoughts to a peer group whom he deeply respects. “I admire the reputations and results that many of my fellow ALR guests and panelists have cultivated for themselves. I look forward to yet another humbling opportunity to learn from them, while sharing tips and insights myself that help ALR attendees gain useful industry knowledge.”
Since the World Wide Web first became available to the general public in the early 1990s, much has changed in this vast universe we call the Internet. I’ve had the opportunity to see many of these changes unfold and impact business first-hand.
Networks are faster, browsers are more powerful, and website design and functionality has become nearly boundless. Topping it all off, almost everyone owns at least one device they can use to access the Internet — and people who own and use multiple devices that access the internet are becoming more common each day.
A Benefit That Poses an Undeniable Challenge
This dramatic increase in Internet consumption by consumers has many implications for business. On one hand, more people with greater access to a robust web experience means our stores can be “open” and ready to serve all visitors 24/7. What business person doesn’t love that?
On the other hand, almost every business has recognized this increase in web consumption and launched a website — or 2, or 3, or 10.
This means we’re not only competing against other auto dealers for consumers’ attention, but in many ways, we’re also competing against every other website for attention from the same customers and prospects.
The overall effect is that consumer retention has gone down. With so much to discover and explore on the web, less and less gets remembered. And that’s just during the “surfing” aspect of web use.
Add the offers that Marketers flood the web with, and we now have a full-scale, 24/7 war on the Internet for the attention and business of US consumers.
So, how do you win?
Effectively Communicating Your Promises
With so much happening on the web, there’s one straightforward way to stand out and be remembered: your Brand.
In simplest terms, your “Brand” is the promise(s) your business makes to the public – and “Branding” is how you communicate what your business stands for. People easily forget your current special offer or latest commercial, but we don’t often forget what others – people and businesses alike – promise us.
But how do you extend those promises – your Brand – on the web, in order to be remembered and attract business?
Below are some examples of how we do it at Rick Case Honda.
(And no, I’m not just talking about placing your logo or color scheme on your site and calling it a day. I’m talking about extending your Brand promises to your website in a tangible manner that people can interact with and benefit from.)
Ease of Use, Information and Customer Satisfaction that Resonates with Our Audience
Note: Visit RickCaseHonda.com to experience these examples yourself.
1. Homepage – One of our Brand promises at Rick Case Honda is that we’ll quickly help people find what they need or want in order to buy, lease, service or accessorize a Honda. In almost all cases, our customers simply want to save money. We recognize this, and have designed our website to help them easily do it.
As a result, our Homepage clearly displays links to calculate fuel economy savings on new Hondas, a special offer trade-in program for current Honda drivers, a “Quick Quote” form, and Service and Parts specials in the main slideshow.
Our web visitors not only use this functionality to easily learn about the money they can save with us, but this easy functionality also helps create an experience with our Brand that’s hard for them to forget: “Rick Case Honda knows I want to save, and their website easily helps me do it.”
2. Navigation Menu – Another Brand promise we make at Rick Case Honda is that we provide you with information to help you make the smartest decision for your needs. In almost every section of the top navigation bar on our website, you’ll find links to information that helps customers research and learn about our Rick Case Honda and our products and services.
Of course, our Navigation Menu includes substantial information on our inventory and specials. But that’s standard in the auto industry — what’s not standard is our willingness to go above and beyond in terms of the information we’ve made available to our online audience.
3. Customer Reviews – At Rick Case Honda, our motto is “Treat every customer like we would our best friend”. That’s also the most important promise we make as a Brand.
We use our website to showcase the results of that Brand promise by including real customer reviews in the black background area on the bottom of every webpage. No matter if you’re looking for new or pre-owned Hondas, Service, or Parts, you’ll see what other customers say about their experience with Rick Case Honda.
Publishing real customer reviews isn’t exclusive to Rick Case Honda, but how we execute this strategy on our website to directly align with our most important Brand promise is — and that’s why it effectively helps remember our commitment to their satisfaction.
It’s Not Easy, But it’s Worth it
For the better part of a decade, we’ve worked long and hard to make our entire digital presence – including our website – the best it could be. One of our goals has always been to provide a Brand experience on our website that’s consistent with our offline, in-store customer experience.
There were, and still are, many challenges to conquering the Internet auto marketing universe. But understanding key branding principles and how to extend them to your website will help you achieve online success.
American Honda announced that Rick Case Honda Davie has earned the President’s Award for 2012. Rick Case Honda is the only one of the Top 10 Volume Dealers in the Country to receive the award an outstanding five years in a row.
The award is presented to Honda top-ranking dealerships across the country, based on their achievement of excellence in all areas of operation – customer service and satisfaction, sales, training, and facility. Only a few of the more than 1,000 Honda automobile dealerships won the President’s Award during 2012. The program award objectives are established annually to address the changing economic environment and to encourage dealerships to continually strive to achieve even higher levels of customer satisfaction.
“Since its inception in 1995, the President’s Award has been recognizing top dealers who are unwavering in their pursuit of excellence and customer care. The team members of Rick Case Honda have proven their dedication to their customers by achieving the rigorous standard established for this award,” said John Mendel. “We are extremely proud of the accomplishments of award-winning Rick Case Honda.”
Congratulations to Richard Bustillo and Team Members!