Fact: 80-90% of shoppers going online before contacting a dealership.
Fact: A dealership’s online presence is now their most important marketing initiative.
Fact: Digital Marketing spending is now increasing as a portion of total marketing budgets.
Fact: Dealer Principles and GMs dread conversations about Digital Marketing.
SEO, SEM, Video Pre-roll, Adwords Analytics, Optimization, Rich Snippets and the names go on and on. It sends a chill down the spines of many dealerships upper management. To many it is like taking medicine. You know you have to take it, that it will help you in the long run but you are sure it is going to taste bad.
What I have found in my work is that the fear manifests itself into a few situations.
- There is no investment in training staff on Digital Marketing. They assign the job to someone (even if they may not be the most qualified) and hope that their efforts drive results.
- There is an investment in training for their team but the leaders themselves do not participate.
My question to these owners is the following: Why would owners be willing to spend money on something they do not understand or fully control?
My finding is that to many, the fear of engaging with Digital Marketing makes owners feel that they have to change the way they have run their business in the past and that in turn makes them feel obsolete.
There have been educational initiatives in the Automotive Digital Marketing Industry to help alleviate this problem but many times the education does more to complicate the fear. The presentations leaders sit through are not thought out to show how to bridge past experience to today. Instead the presenter may throw around the catch phrases or an abbreviation listed above, as if everyone is at their level of comfort with the topic.
How to make Automotive Digital Marketing Education more Effective
First: Dealership leaders must engage with someone who is willing to help make sense of this new advertising medium. This person or company must have the ability to bridge the gap of past knowledge to today’s tools.
What this graphic shows is how tools and strategies that were used in the past have a counterpart in today’s online medium. For example, in the past, a company may have advertised in the Yellow Pages. Today they would use Google My Business. Who is helping Dealers bridge this gap?
Let me share a story. My company was teaching an Automotive Digital Marketing workshop to a group of dealers. We were discussing Video Pre-Roll, which are the short video advertisements that are seen before you watch videos online. An older gentleman who is a very successful dealer pulled me aside to ask me more about Video Pre-Roll. I took the time to ask him if he used cable TV to run ads. He said, “Yes because people watch cable.” I said to him, “Video pre-roll is the way to run your ads to the people who watch their TV or video online. Could you see how this could be effective?”
He smiled and within minutes was telling everyone he was going to do video pre-roll because I was the first person to make him understand what it was in terms he understood. That to me is what Digital Marketing Education should do for the attendees. Bridge the gap from past to present. Not intimidate or confuse.
Secondly: Finding a curriculum or set of classes that have a unified digital vision. This is important because if an owner goes to an Automotive Digital Marketing Conference, they may run across workshops with differing viewpoint. For example one presenter may love Facebook advertising and another tells the audience it is a waste of time. What is the Dealer or GM to believe?
My advice is to look for specific educational workshops that are designed for the automotive industry, if possible. I would investigate their worth the same way an owner does their due diligence about hiring a new vendor. Check reviews, ask others you respect and then make sure you ask specific questions about how the educators will help you implement the training. Teaching something is one thing but not many help you implement the training.
Why is this important for Automotive Digital Marketing Education?
Online marketing is not going away. Dealers need to understand how to maximize their marketing dollars in this new medium. More importantly they have to understand the metrics they will be reviewing as well as how to manage the marketing roles and responsibilities of others in their company.
Finding the right educational courses and trainers can make the difference between long-term success for a company, or losing market share to competitors. There are a few options out there for this type of training in the automotive industry. Do your due diligence so you can invest in the right Automotive Digital Marketing Education for your team and then receive the help to use it correctly.