SpinCar is coming at you with another Dealer Spotlight, sharing best practices from some of our forward-thinking customers. This month we were happy to learn a little bit about the Barnett Auto Group from their Group Marketing Director, Michael Lopez.
We saw a 20% gain in website leads the month of rolling out SpinCar. Time on site and VDP Activity went through the roof as well. There’s definitely something to be said about UX and allowing our customers to control what experience they want to have with our vehicles.”Michael Lopez, Group Marketing Director, Barnett Auto Group
Unlike some automotive veterans, Lopez brings years of experience from outside of the industry to breathe new life into Barnett Auto Group’s marketing efforts. He got his start working for Hearst where he handled national accounts for automotive recruitment and retail. After Hearst, Michael moved to CDK Global where he supervised national accounts as a Digital Solutions Manager. This gave him the opportunity to build a strong relationship with Mr. Barnett, resulting in him bringing his expertise to the auto group as Group Marketing Director. His passion for automotive and helping people find their ideal vehicle made the move to the dealership side of things a no-brainer for Lopez.
The group, currently consisting of three dealerships (a Volkswagen store, a VW/Mazda store and a Ford/Lincoln store) got its start when Carl Barnett Sr., President of Barnett Auto Group, purchased his first dealership in Tulsa, OK in 1989. He added Paris Ford in 1999 and moved the group to Texas. In 2003, Mr. Barnett added Gorman McCracken VW Mazda, a dealership which has been serving the Longview, TX community since 1960, to the group. Just over two years ago, Onion Creek Volkswagen opened their doors in Austin, Texas. With over 200 employees between their three locations, the Barnett Auto Group loves serving the East Texas and Austin areas.
One of the things that sets Barnett Auto Group apart is that Carl Barnett is so open and available to his clientele. When he’s not traveling out of town, you can find him at one of his three stores. He takes pride in not being anonymous; his customers know that he’s there and available. They even added a coffee shop to their Onion Creek Volkswagen location because of Mr. Barnett’s firm belief that “anything can be discussed over coffee.”
Barnett Auto Group’s role in the community doesn’t end when a happy customer drives off the lot. They’re also very involved in the Austin Boys and Girls Club Foundation, an organization which supports and provides assistance to the 22 Austin area Boys and Girls Clubs. One of the events the Barnett group sponsors is the annual Duck Derby where members of the community ‘adopt’ over 10,000 rubber ducks. The ducks are launched into Lady Bird Lake and race towards a finish line, winning prizes for their adopters. This August’s winner really shows what good can come from a fundraiser like this. Not only did the derby raise thousands of dollars for the Austin Boys and Girls Club Foundation, but the winner of the grand prize, a brand new Jetta, was someone who really needed it. The winner, Hope Goldstein, had just moved to the Austin area and didn’t have a car. It was a true win-win!
Advertising in the automotive market can be very complex. From attribution models to customer flow paths, attributing ROI is constantly evolving. However, SpinCar helps us with the most basic and arguably most important indicator of ROI on our site – time spent on VDPs. Since implementing SpinCar with one of my stores we have already seen time spent on VDPs and interactions with VDPs increase. Im proud to say I use SpinCar across every store in my group and can proudly state that they will be one of my long-term partners.”Michael Lopez, Group Marketing Director, Barnett Auto Group