Bluefire Mobile in Austin Scares Businesses With Spam Message

responsive-design

By Brian Pasch

Are you tired of getting spam in your inbox every day? The obvious spam emails are filtered out of my inbox, but there are still a number of emails that get through.  The ones I hate the most are the companies that think its ok to “purchase” email lists and mass mail companies with a quick scam.

There is another kind of marketer that figures out a pattern of email addresses, like firstname.lastname@company.com, and send a mass blast through your organization. There is a third company that trolls LinkedIn profiles, and pieces together email campaigns based on what they think are good prospects.

Lazy marketing tactics may seem like a way to build a new business, but it always backfires.  In this case it pissed off the CEO of one company Bluefire Mobile wanted to target.

mabel-email

Bluefire Mobile Emails

Today was a tipping point, so I’m calling out another company that has taken the low road to building a business.  Mabel Bastidas, is a former employee that left the company three years ago. According to her LinkedIn profile, Mabel was an Internet Marketing Manager for PCG Digital Marketing.

On April 17, 2014, Mabel was sent an email from Bluefire Mobile in Austin Texas, addressing her as an Internet Marketing Manager with a business address of New York.  The email to Mabel states that the PCG Digital Marketing website doesn’t navigate well and needs a responsive  design.

Trying to scare Mabel, the email uses the words “difficult to navigate” and “scroll extensively” when describing how the website works on mobile and tablet devices.

Mabel was never based in New York; she worked in our Ecuador office. Our website has a responsive design so this email had nothing to do with our specific website.  In fact, I think that this was a mass “spam” attempt to get people worried about their website and call the company for help.

Bluefire Mobile Email Texas

Interestingly, on April 12, 2014 Steve Murphy, a former employee of PCG, received the exact same email, but he was called an Digital Marketing Consultant, a title on his LinkedIn profile. His email also had a New York address, which is odd because our office is in Eatontown New Jersey.

Looks like a pattern here, and it reeks of bad practice.

DO EMAIL Marketing Ethics MATTER?

It looks like Bluefire Mobile bought or created a list, and is sending out emails to people who never indicated any interest in their company. In my opinion, the e-mails are not based on any analysis of my company website and I think that that are intended to generate fear.

Is this the type of company you would want to handle your online presence? You will have to make that decision yourself.

I am just tired of email scare tactics, like the old domain registration emails, that are flooding inboxes. What kind of strategy does Bluefire Mobile have in mind for next year?

Have You Been Spammed?

If you have received an email from Bluefire Mobile, forward me a copy please so I can try to figure out how they are building this list and take appropriate action.

Forward the email to: brian@pcgmailer.com

On the BlueFire Mobile website, the company lists their management and sales team, but there is no Jaime Ryan on the list of employees. The LinkedIn list of employees for Bluefire Design did NOT list Jaime Ryan as an employee either.  In fact many of the people on the management team cannot be found on LinkedIn.

I did however find a photo of their founder, Dan Monahan, who is obviously celebrating for some reason. His LinkedIn profile identifies him as the founder of Bluefire Design, which I guess is the parent company.

doug-monahan-bluefire-mobile-ceo

Related To Another Scam?

When I checked the address for this company that was listed on their website, another company name was shown on the directory listing called “MobileZapp“.  A Facebook search found this AMAZING Facebook page:

Blue Fire Mobile

It looks like this company has had a history of bad business practice. In fact, when I tried to find the management team listed on their website on LinkedIn, there were no matches on the company page. That is except for Doug Monahan with Twitter of @dougmonahan1.

The Attorney General in Texas would love to see how many business owners are being told their website is effectively “broken” via a mass email campaign, to people who never opted-in.

Please send me copies if you have been contacted via email please.

 

brianpaschnewheadshot

Brian

Brian Pasch, CEO

PCG Consulting

732.672.2356

Google

15 Questions Ask Before Accepting A Digital Marketing Manager Job

next-digital-marketing-manager
By Brian Pasch

shutterstock_87668950The responsibilities of an Automotive Digital Marketing Manager will vary from dealership to dealership. Regardless of the size of your company you work for, your future employer must outline the responsibilities of your job so that a clear job description is created.

Without a clear job description, it will be difficult for you to actively participate in your annual performance review. If a detailed job description is not presented, offer to create one based on the questions provided below.

15 Questions To Ask Before Accepting The Job

An accurate job description for an Automotive Digital Marketing Manager can be created by asking your future employer these 15 questions:

  1. What is my job title (more important in larger organizations)?
  2. Who is my direct manager?  What level in the organization is he/she? What experience does this person have with digital marketing?
  3. What are my areas of responsibility?  Ask for a detailed list or talk through them to make a list. For example, specific projects, campaigns, or programs that you will manage.
  4. How many employees will I have to manage (for larger organizations)?
  5. What vendors will I responsible for managing? Request a list or build one based in inspecting their current marketing budget.
  6. Will I have the ability to approve marketing investments? Up to what dollar amount?
  7. How will my performance be measured and who will evaluate my performance?
  8. If my performance tied to financial bonuses? If yes, what is the compensation plan?  How long will you guarantee this plan will not change?
  9. What reports am I expected to generate and how often? Does the organization want paper or electronic reports?
  10. What are my work hours in the office and work hours outside of the office?
  11. What are the travel requirements and travel reimbursement policy for this role?
  12. Do you have a flexible work from home policy?
  13. What technology is provided by company (cell phone, laptop, iPad)
  14. How much money per year will be allocated for continuing education, conferences, workshops?
  15. What are the benefits that come with this job (healthcare, 401K, profit sharing, life insurance, dental, etc.)?

Define Performance Metrics Before You Start

Your employer may not want to get into specifics on how your performance will be evaluated each year, but you will need to understand the goals that will be set for your work. By asking the above questions, your job description will accurately document the responsibilities that were communicated when you were hired.

Define the performance metrics that will be part of your annual review. Be as specific as possible, so that your expectations and those of the dealership executive team are in sync.

Each year your job description may need to be edited to reflect new opportunities, technologies, and responsibilities. Don’t ignore this step! Having an outdated job description does not help you or the business.

Understand The Leadership Structure and CURRENT BUDGET

Take time to understand the executive team structure at the dealership and whom you will report to. Does the executive team have the ability to mentor you in your career or will you be the only person on staff that understanding the technical nature of digital marketing?

An experienced Automotive Digital Marketing Manager doesn’t need much hand holding but a green pea will struggle to find success without competent internal support.

If your dealership works with an outside advertising agency, ask who will manage their engagement with the dealership. If you are going to be responsible for the marketing strategies and investments of the organization, you need to have an active role in creative direction for the business as well.

You will also need to ask who manages vendor partners such as website providers, e-commerce technology, chat services, SEO, SEM, and video marketing. Inquire if the company has a data warehouse for centralized reporting. Ask if there are documented Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for each vendor that was hired. The more you ask upfront the easier it will be to set realistic expectations for your boss.

A divided house will not stand, so make sure you understand all the line items on the marketing budget and ask who currently controls those investment decisions. It is not unlikely to find marketing investments that are “islands” of their own, controlled by an executive in the business.

For example, a friend of the owner manages the direct mail campaigns, and they often discuss strategy without anyone else from the company involved. Be respectful of existing relationships but don’t be afraid to discuss the importance of a centralized role for marketing decisions.

Help Me Enhance The List of Questions

So what did I miss?  What questions would you add to the list so that an accurate job description and compensation plan can be prepared and approved?

Let’s make sure you understand that these steps should be taken BEFORE you accept an Automotive Digital Marketing Manager role in a new auto dealership!

 

brianpaschnewheadshot

Brian

Brian Pasch, CEO

PCG Consulting

732.672.2356

Google

My First Impressions of Tokyo – April 2014

tokyo-fail

By Brian Pasch

Having completed a full day in Tokyo, my first time in Japan, I decided to share a few of my initial reactions of the city.  Connor and I will be in Japan for a full week. Tomorrow we will take the fast train to Hiroshima, and later in the week visit Kyoto before coming home. Connor wanted to go to either Japan or China on his Spring Break from High School, so we chose Japan.

The direct flight from Newark New Jersey on United was about 13.5 hours. When we landed Connor was very tired so our first day was nothing to brag about, since he slept the day away. However, today we had a good day in the city, visiting some popular spots using the Subway and taxis.

Since I have traveled around the world, I thought it might benefit others by sharing my first impressions of Tokyo.

  • It is very odd to see so many people wearing surgical masks. – I would say that 30-50% of the people walking around town, and 10-30% of the guests in the hotel are wearing white surgical masks.  I “googled” the reason and its a mix of being health cautious and being anonymous.  This was very hard for Connor to understand and made him feel very uncomfortable.  When you see so many masks on people it makes the people of Tokyo seem ice cold, regardless of their intent.
  • There are too many police, crossing guards, and government workers on the streets. – In the area of our hotel there are two police officers on every street intersection of any size. There is an over abundance of street crossing guards, safety officers, subway guards, and police in this city.  Many of these people carry wooden clubs; go figure!  For a US citizen, it almost feels like a Police State.  The irony is that people are so well behaved in this country, the police seem like over-kill in this situation.  In the end, its just creepy for me and Connor.
  • Subway Communications Are Repressed– I traveled on the Tokyo subways and no one on the trains said a peep.  It was like a library. Was I visiting a repressed society where everyone has their own private space?  Travel on a subway in Italy, and you will have foreign musicians playing songs for money, people chatting on phones, and people laughing with friends. There is no passion visible on Tokyo subways.
  • It’s not easy the exit the subways. – I know that this seem odd but I have traveled around the world and have used public transit in the biggest cities in the world. However, in Tokyo, it is not easy to get out of the subways.  The signage for English speaking visitors is not very clear.  We did eventually figure out a way to decode the signage but this city is not English friendly.

20140413_220345

  • The Food Is Not That Expensive – If you don’t eat in the Westernized hotels, food prices are very reasonable.  For example, a basket of friend chicken in our hotel (3 pieces) cost $27, which is very high. However, a full Sushi dinner and beer at a local restaurant can be purchased for $25.   I was warned that food prices were high but in fact, if you are willing to eat with the local people, you will find the prices very similar to the United States.
  • Americans are Welcome in Tokyo? – Outside of the hotel, there was no one that said a word to us on the streets, subways. taxis, bars, or in stores that we visited. There was a young lady that wanted to speak with me late on Saturday night when I was walking back to the hotel, but I think that was for a special reason. Tokyo, unlike cities in Europe seems to want to ignore American guests; maybe the language is too hard for them to communicate?

bfrian-connor-tokyo

Keep in mind that I have been to Singapore, where that country embraces and welcomes American visitors, so I am not just going through culture shock.

On a positive note, the hotel that we stayed at, The Capital Hotel Tokyu, was outstanding.  There were a number of great restaurants nearby as well as a Starbucks! There was also an Illy Cafe nearby, which was a great reminder of how much I miss Italy.

I hope that the other areas of Japan are a bit more welcoming, but I will write about the entire trip when I return. The best part of the experience is that Connor and I have a week alone, without any other distractions.  That in itself is priceless!

 

P.S.  Updates from Hiroshima and Kyoto

Here are a few more observations that are very positive about the Japanese culture, and I really liked Kyoto!

 

  • Japanese people seem much healthier than the general US population. More people are walking, riding bikes, and look in decent shape.  In fact, the parks are loaded with runners.
  • The streets are extremely clean and there are many people sweeping and washing the streets and sidewalks every day.
  • Litter is almost non-existent and this is a striking contrast to major US cities.
  • The restaurant prices for food are less than what I would pay in Europe, which makes the dollar seem stronger.
  • It was very hard to find a US based ATM (Visa) machine in the busy city of Kyoto.  So, get cash when you can because I had to walk 10 minutes to get to an ATM at a local post office in Kyoto.

 

brianpaschnewheadshot

Brian Brian Pasch, CEO

PCG Consulting

732.672.2356

Google

Nexteppe Dealers Were Upgraded To The Wrong Automotive Website Platform

upgrade-again
By Brian Pasch

nexteppe-logoThe New York based automotive website company known as Nexteppe, was acquired last November by Dealertrack Technologies; a deal that was under my radar screen.

This week I learned that some Nexteppe website customers were migrated to Dealertrack Technologies “Clickmotive” website technology, by April 1st, because the Nexteppe platform would not longer be supported.

If you don’t recall, Clickmotive was purchased by Dealertrack Technologies in 2012 for approximately 50 million dollars in cash.

If you are a former Nexteppe client and have had to move to Dealertrack’s Clickmotive technology, let me make a suggestion. Upgrade one more time, now.  I know that you just went through an upgrade, but you should not be on this dated platform.

Call your Dealertrack representative and ask them to move you to the latest Dealer.com website and digital marketing platform. Investing time and money to add content and optimize the Clickmotive technology will be a waste of time.

Let me be clear that I am not singling out ONE website platform as the best for all dealers.  What I am saying is that within the Dealertrack Technologies portfolio, there is only one superior website technology. The clear winner is Dealer.com.

Dealer.com is a TOP Automotive Website Platform

The latest Dealer.com platform is far superior to Dealertrack’s (Clickmotive) current offering, especially since the Clickmotive platform does not have a response/adaptive theme. It would be hard to prove that staying with Clickmotive technology is a smart choice for dealer’s in the Dealertrack family of companies.

Dealer.com was one of five companies that received the highest ratings in the 2014 Automotive Website Awards rankings.  Their backend interface for digital marketing management is the most integrated and best designed on the market today.

It is my predication that Dealertrack will eventually sunset the Clickmotive offering, so any investment in that technology is money wasted.  This is not the current official Dealertrack company line, it is my opinion. For dealers in this situation, I would recommend an immediate upgrade, even though you just went through this forced upgrade.

If this article was helpful, please share it on your social networks.

 

brianpaschnewheadshot

Brian

Brian Pasch, CEO

PCG Consulting

732.672.2356

Google

I Was Arrested in Rome Today

arrested

By Brian Pasch

I was arrested in Rome today.  I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong but I guess I’m not familiar with the business laws in Italy.

I was demonstrating our automotive dashboard software, ROI-BOT to a franchise dealer.  I showed him how our dashboard would give him insights into his online marketing investments, website traffic, and even send him a monthly scorecard on how his performance compared to known benchmarks.

Things got a little heated when I told the dealer that ROI-BOT would save him countless hours each month by reducing the time it takes to inspect vendor reports and refine his marketing strategy.

Things got out of hand when I suggested that ROI-BOT could save the dealership thousands of Euros each month by identifying marketing investments that were not producing more car sales.

I even told the dealer that he could master his online marketing data. The dealer said that this was impossible and picked up the phone.

He yelled “Digital marketing reports, website analytics, and Adwords spending was too complicated for dealers to understand.

When the police arrived and handcuffed me, I was shocked.  I was just telling the truth; ROI-BOT saves car dealers time and gives dealers insights that they never had before.

The ROI-BOT software gives dealers a 24×7 automotive marketing specialist that will alert them when it spots poor performance from any vendor partner or technology used in the dealership.

I was booked on a charge that translates in English to “Data Simplification and Optimization” and let go after two hours in a Roman jail cell.

When I got back to the hotel I was surprised to see a message on my cell phone.  It was the dealer, who apologized and asked for me to send him a contract.

It looks like he called a few dealers on the ROI-BOT reference list and found out my claims were true.

Another exciting day in Rome, and of course I wish all my colleagues a very happy April Fools Day.

brianpaschnewheadshot

Brian

Brian Pasch, CEO

PCG Consulting

732.672.2356

Google