Cobaltians go for the gold

When describing his experiences with the Paralympics, longtime Cobalt employee Mark Bathum used these words to describe his fellow athletes and their attitude toward the endeavor, “It’s just what you do. You try to make a difference.”

Cobalt believes the same thing, a belief that manifests itself in many ways. For the next few months, Cobalt is sponsoring two Cobalt employees – Mark Bathum and Shane McSimov – in their efforts to do good.

Mark is realizing a goal he has had for 20 years, and started seriously trying for in 2008 – to race for the US Paralympics ski racing team. In 2010, in Vancouver, he will achieve that dream, but only after a lot of hard work and arduous training. Mark raced all last season to see how it would feel to do it. This year he’ll still be working, though remotely, while ramping up his ski training schedule in preparation for the big event. Cobalt will be following his efforts closely and supporting him in his bid!

Mark’s not the only one reaching out, though. Shane McSimov, another Cobalt employee, is organizing his own charity event in a very different way: a charity ping-pong game. Shane has challenged Scott Harrison, the founder of the organization charity: water to a $5000 ping-pong match in New York City, with the money going to build a well for a community that needs fresh water.

As Shane says, “A ping pong match in NYC can that save lives overseas and give clean drinking water to an entire community for 20 years; that’s a game worth playing.” The event will take place in early 2010, and will be streamed live on Ustream.com.

We’ll be writing more about Mark and Shane in the next couple months. Until then, keep updated on Mark’s progress on his website at www.markbathum.com, and you can donate to Shane’s ping-pong game by clicking here.

Cobalt is proud of both Shane and Mark for their efforts to give to something greater than themselves. As hard as we work, Cobalt also knows that when it comes to what really matters, it’s just what you do.

The Cobalt Group
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The Cobalt Group

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Two Cobalt Employees Lead the Way to Charity

Mark Bathum skiing“Its just what you do.”

When describing his experiences with the Paralympics, longtime Cobalt employee Mark Bathum used these words to describe his fellow athletes and their attitude toward the endeavor.  He finds the idea of giving up a piece of your own life to benefit the lives of others an inspiring and humbling act.

Cobalt believes the same thing, a belief that manifests itself in many ways. For the next few months, Cobalt is sponsoring two employees, Mark Bathum and Shane McSimov, in their efforts to do good.

Mark will be racing for the U.S. Paralympics ski racing team, a goal he has had for 20 years and started seriously trying for in 2008. In 2010 in Vancouver, he will achieve that dream, but only after a lot of hard work and arduous training. Mark raced all last season to see how it would feel to do it. This year he’ll still be working, though remotely, while ramping up his ski training schedule in preparation for the big event. Cobalt will be following his efforts closely and supporting him in his bid!

Shane McSimov, the second Cobalt sponsored employee, is organizing his own charity event in a very different way: a charity ping-pong game. Shane has challenged Scott Harrison, the founder of Charity Water, to a $5,000 ping-pong match in New York City with the money going to build a well for a community that needs fresh water.

As Shane says, “A ping pong match in New York City can save lives overseas and give clean drinking water to an entire community for 20 years. That’s a game worth playing.”

The event will take place in early 2010 and will be available live on Ustream.com.

We’ll be writing more about Mark and Shane over the next few months. Until then, you can keep updated on Mark’s progress on his website at markbathum.com; and you can donate to Shane’s ping-pong game here.

Cobalt is proud of both Shane and Mark for their efforts to give back to the world. At Cobalt, we work hard and know that when it comes to what really matters, “it’s just what you do.”

The Cobalt Group
www.cobalt.com
www.twitter.com/CobaltMarketing
www.youtube.com/cobaltlive
The Cobalt Group

VIDEO: Power of ‘Consumer Select’ Third Party Leads

Egon Smola, VP of Product and Business Development at Dealix, a division of Cobalt, talks about the power of third party leads that are “consumer select.”

The Cobalt Group
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Anna Zornosa of Dealix Wins WAAI Award

Anna Zornosa awardOn December 2, Dealix General Manager Anna Zornosa was one of three women honored for outstanding achievement in the automotive industry.  At the Women’s Automotive Association International (WAAI) annual awards dinner in Los Angeles, Zornosa was presented with the Professional Achievement Award by WAAI event chair Ellen McKoy and association President Jody Devere.

Robin Pisz, national interactive marketing manager for Lexus, and Theresa Haven, manager of the marketing communications campaign management division of Honda Motor Company, were also awarded at the same dinner. Previous recipients include Pamela Rodgers, Dealer Owner of Rodgers Chevrolet, Lynn Myers, General Manager of the Pontiac-GMC division at GM, and Bobbi Gaunt, the now-retired President of Ford Motor Company.

The Professional Achievement Award has been presented every year since 1997, to recognize women for their commitment, professionalism and success in the automotive industry.

“These women embody qualities well worthy of recognition, and Professional Achievement Awardwe are privileged to honor their achievements,” said  McKoy. “Not only are they successful and accomplished in their careers. They are also leaders in business and their communities, and serve as role models.”

Jody DeVere, WAAI President, had this to add: “We are so pleased to present these women with the Professional Achievement Award and congratulate them on this much-deserved honor.”

This is the second award Zornosa has received in 2009.  She was earlier recognized by TARGUSinfo with the 2009 Market Leadership Award. Both awards stem from the leadership role taken by Dealix for the creation of the Qualilty Pledge and Hassle Free Lead Retrun – innovations that have been embraced by Dealix’s customers, the nation’s franchised auto dealers.

Upon receiving the WAAI honor, Zornosa said “An award like this is really a recognition of the great work done by the whole Dealix Team. I am truly honored to be part of such a great group!”

Congratulations to Anna Zornosa for all her accomplishments in the automotive industry, and on receiving this well-deserved recognition!

The Cobalt Group
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The Cobalt Group

Why Now is Such an Exciting Time

Richard Rikess
Performance Improvement Consultant
Cobalt

For years I’ve asked dealers why they advertise in newspapers, radio, and on TV. I usually get the same answer, “because we always have,” or I hear “because it creates good traffic!” I typically follow up with the question, “how do you know?” That’s when I hear the crickets chirping. I will never tell a dealer to quit advertising with the traditional mediums, just show me the ROI! After all, if I spend $10K on a newspaper ad that runs through a weekend, shouldn’t I expect a nice return on that investment?

High performing dealers today are turning to online advertising to survive during these turbulent times. They must be able to measure all the effectiveness of their advertising and make quick, intelligent decisions on whether the ad is working or not. Digital marketing is one of the true silver bullets in advertising. Everything is measured and can be changed instantly. You want to push an old age unit, put it online with an attractive price. If that doesn’t work (and we will know within a day if it does or doesn’t), throw it on usedcars.com and just get rid of it then move on.

Automotive advertising companies that want to help their dealers need to learn how to partner with the store. They have to understand the dealer’s goals and integrate a complete advertising strategy. Everything that a dealership does offline should drive traffic online! Today a dealership can make a minimal investment in digital marketing, and for just a few thousand dollars they can have an advertising campaign in a box. All digital advertising should be designed to drive traffic, be it walk-in, phone-in or email leads.

Automotive advertising companies that want to help their dealers are thinking of new and creative ways to drive qualified traffic to the dealer. Technology can be overused in dealerships in so many ways today, do your sales consultants know how to do a proper meet and greet, can they take an inbound call on a sold vehicle and get the prospect excited to visit the store? We have to make sure that dealers understand that it’s time to go back to the blocking and tackling in the dealership, and as far as advertising goes, there are companies that are experts on how to drive qualified traffic to your dealership. It’s time to start listening to those experts and putting together the proper mix of traditional advertising and digital marketing!

The Cobalt Group
www.cobalt.com
www.twitter.com/CobaltMarketing
www.youtube.com/cobaltlive

The Cobalt Group

VIDEO: Building Dealership Marketing Strategies

John Holt, Cobalt CEO, talks to Dealer Digest Daily about how dealerships today need marketing experts who are thinking about mining data on customers as well as considering the bigger world of internet opportunity.  

The Cobalt Group
www.cobalt.com
www.twitter.com/CobaltMarketing
www.youtube.com/cobaltlive

The Cobalt Group

Cobalt Gives This Holiday Season

At Cobalt, signs of the season are cropping up everywhere. Potted poinsettias lined up in the lobby. Miniature pine trees in the hallway. Baked goods and candy shared in the kitchen and on desks. And a big tree, decorated with colorful tags and bright lights with a growing pile of childrens’ toys underneath.

The holiday season is here, and at Cobalt that means we give a little more, financially and otherwise. In a previous entry we talked about Cobalt’s involvement in Northwest Harvest. In December, Cobalt is working with Treehouse and Childhaven, “two Seattle-based charities that do enormously important work for children and families. Children are the most vulnerable members of our society and the economy has pushed many more Washington families towards hardship,” in the words of CEO John Holt.

Cobalt has worked with both organizations in past years. This year Cobalt is donating $10,000 each to both Treehouse and Childhaven, and also matching employee financial contributions up to an additional $5,000 through December 23rd.

Decorated Christmas trees stationed throughout the Lynnwood and Seattle offices give employees the opportunity to make a more personal contribution to a child in need. The trees, part of a toy drive also sponsored by Treehouse, are hung with colored tags which describe presents Seattle children have wished for. Employees can choose a tag and purchase the presents themselves, then bring them in and place them under the big tree in the lobby to be donated. This is one small gesture that will hopefully make the holiday that much brighter for a child.

“It’s a thin line between fortune and despair,” said John Holt, “and I believe we recognize and honor our good luck when we reach out a hand to another.”

At Cobalt, reaching out with gifts from the heart is just one more sign of the holiday season.

The Cobalt Group
www.cobalt.com
www.twitter.com/CobaltMarketing
www.youtube.com/cobaltlive

The Cobalt Group