PureCars has had the pleasure of partnering with Wally Hamlin and his team at HPR Marketing Group for the past year. Working together, we help the auto industry thrive by driving successful outcomes for dealers around the country. I sat down with Wally recently to learn more about how partnering with PureCars has helped his agency and clients sell more cars and grow market share.
Thank you for sitting down with me today, Wally. To kick things off, tell me about yourself and your agency?
I’ve been in the automotive industry for well over 30 years, working in a multi-point dealership and now as owner of an automotive advertising agency. HPR has been serving auto dealers across the US for 20+ years now. As an agency that has worked with dealers through a recession, inventory fluctuations and now a pandemic, we know one things for sure: it’s all about adapting quickly to market changes. Ten years ago it was the norm to have the majority of your advertising budget devoted to traditional media (TV, Radio, Print, etc.); now with the way the market behaves, our dealers are allocating at least 70% of their budgets to digital. As a result, most of what our agency does pertains to the online marketplace.
At HPR, we do things different than most agencies. We are non-commission based, which means we are paid based on the amount of work we do, not what our clients spend. It’s helped us maintain long-term relationships with our clients, because our partnership is based on trust and having their best interest at the forefront of every recommendation we make. In fact, we have clients that we’ve been working with for over 15 years.
Our approach mirrors PureCars approach and has worked really well. A lot of companies don’t look at any research or any data to drive marketing. Our strategic, research-infused planning process provides the methodology needed to uncover critical insights and use them to our client’s advantage. But great execution is just the beginning. Our performance-centric philosophy means we are constantly analyzing and optimizing strategies to ensure our clients get the results they need. What we’ve done, and what you’ve [PureCars] done, which isn’t common, is mapping out what’s going to make money for the dealership and syncing up the messaging to get impressions in the right zip codes with the right messaging.
What challenges or pain points did you encounter before partnering with PureCars?
We realized that we needed a significant team behind us to keep up with the digital space that is growing and changing on a constant basis. The company we were using didn’t invest like PureCars does in staying ahead with technology.
The other piece that makes a big difference is how accessible your team is. If I call Mike [Ruhland], I’m getting a call back in 2 hours at most. We are constantly in touch with Mike and Brennan [Kahn]; it can be a weekend and they are always there for us. We needed someone who could teach us and keep us ahead of the curve, and PureCars does that.
There’s a lot of companies out there that claim all this magic stuff and it’s not; it’s hard work and that’s PureCars’ philosophy. It’s working together to collaborate and help the dealers connect the dots between marketing and ROI.
How has PureCars helped you achieve clients’ goals and overcome challenges?
We connected with PureCars and it was a great fit because the data tells us what to do every week. We were doing paid search on our own and went with another company that didn’t pay attention. PureCars helps our dealers grow. Every week we’re on the phone with our team making adjustments and using logic and data to drive decisions.
It’s not a one-sided deal, and your platform allows us to look at the data with a deeper dive on who’s selling what and where. You have to be in there every week looking at inventory levels to ensure you are spending your dollars wisely and helping drive results for the dealer.
What do you like most about PureCars technology?
The social media platform is very effective; paid search of course, and the SEAT program is very useful. We are getting ready to really expand our dealers service piece and your website ads that enable us to target people who are 12-13 months without service are really going to help with Fixed Ops. We have a lot of stores with strong fixed, but we’re going to be able to save them a lot of money with a more targeted approach to marketing.
A big part of the ROI [on fixed ops] is based on the reputation of the dealership, which a lot of people don’t understand. What we tell dealers is, ‘you have happy customers, that’s your earned ROI. Let us go after lost business and conquest to expand your ROI.’ That is where your platform is especially helpful.
What’s Next? How do you see your relationship with PureCars growing and evolving from here?
Well, we have a lot of great case studies with our dealers right now, which is proven results. I might add that the results aren’t just numbers that went up; they’re conversions and growth in actual sales.
At the end of the day we look at the cash register and bridge the data from PureCars to the dealer. As I said, we’ve built some nice case studies, so our next step is to get Mike to come out with us to help really get into some major dealer groups and take it to another level.