Dealers honor their favorite vendors, technology providers, trainers, and finance companies in the 12th annual Dealers’ Choice Awards.
The Dealers’ Choice Awards program is back for the 12th year running — time again for dealers to reward their industry partners with national recognition. Sponsored by Auto Dealer Today, Dealers and dealer personnel vote for their favorite companies and identify the highest performers in a list of 34 categories. Auto Dealer Today is excited to announce that several categories have been added to the 2016 selection: Data Mining, Fixed Ops Training, Hiring and Recruitment, Special Finance Training, and Virtual BDC.
Company names must be entered manually by each voter. Providers were scored on the quality of the product or service itself, customer support and service, value, and whether the voters would recommend the company to another dealer. First-place Diamond, second-place Platinum, and third-place Gold honors are awarded to the top three providers who were rated above the average score in each category.
“We are so proud to once again have the honor of hosting this prestigious awards program,” says David Gesualdo, publisher of Auto Dealer Monthly. “Congratulations to all of this year’s winners and many thanks to everyone who took the time to recognize their favorite industry partners in 2016.”
The staff at Auto Dealer Today extends its gratitude to the dealers who participated and the partners who serve the automotive retail and finance industry all year long.
The Dealers’ Choice Awards are based on a survey that allows dealers and dealership personnel to vote for providers in 34 separate categories. Survey respondents are asked to cast votes only for providers with which they have first-hand knowledge and experience.
In addition to identifying their primary providers in each category, respondents must rate their providers in four areas: (1) the product or service provided, (2) customer support and service, (3) the overall value for dollars spent, and (4) whether the voter would recommend the provider to another dealer. The 2016 Dealers’ Choice Awards survey was open online from March 15, 2016 to April 15, 2016. Those who voted in at least five categories qualified to be entered in a random drawing for one of two Amazon Fire HDs.
When it was launched in 2005, the survey was set up as multiple-choice, with a list of companies under a category from which to choose, plus the option of a write-in vote for a company that wasn’t listed. Starting in 2012, there were no multiple-choice options; respondents have since had to write in their providers for each category in order to vote. While this process did create some extra work in matching up companies based on differences in how respondents identify their providers, this eliminated past concerns regarding write-in votes. In the auditing process, all votes were reviewed, scrutinized and cleansed for companies that received votes in the wrong categories.
As always, the sheer number of votes is not the deciding factor. What matters is quality, not quantity. Scores were totaled, averaged and weighted for each provider. Then the overall average vote across all categories was assigned a value of 100. Then the scores — including group averages and company scores — were adjusted accordingly relative to their position above or below the overall average.
Final placement is determined by raw scores. Ties can only happen if two nominees have the exact same raw score. The provider with the highest above-average score receives the Diamond award, followed by the Platinum award and the Gold award, respectively, provided their scores are above the group average.
Award – Digital Marketing
Diamond: Digital Air Strike (new for 2016)
Platinum: ELEAD1ONE (Gold in 2015)
Gold: eBizAutos (Diamond in 2015)
Digital Air Strike finished in first place for Digital Marketing, its first win in the category since 2013.
“It’s an incredible honor to receive the Diamond Award for Digital Marketing. We want to thank all the dealers who voted for us and are getting real value and ROI from our social media and lead response solutions,” says Alexi Venneri, co-founder and CEO of Digital Air Strike. “We are excited that we are able to help thousands of dealerships leverage the social sites to sell and service more vehicles every day.”
ELEAD1ONE took second place after earning Platinum in 2014 and Gold last year. eBizAutos, which took home the Diamond award and has notched a win in the category in every contest since 2013, fell to third place this year.
Earlier this year, the Dealer.com platform became the primary website platform for Cox Automotive, and all current VinSolutions website clients are being migrated to Dealer.com, which won the Gold award for 2016 after taking home the Diamond in the previous three contests.
“These awards recognize just a few of our tools that capitalize on digital technology to improve the customer experience and help our dealers better engage with today’s car shoppers,” says Wayne Pastore, senior vice president of Dealer.com, which also took home awards in three other categories.