We have seen a movement where transparent reporting of vendor data has been a topic of much discussion. Privacy of Dealer data also was one of the main topics at a few conferences as well. A shorter sales process has been discussed but I think two very important topics should be in the forefront of any dealer’s strategy for 2015
Digital Marketing Education
Let’s focus on what I mean by Unified Marketing.
What I think is still a major failing of many dealers marketing strategies is the lack of communication between vendors who service different aspects of a dealer’s marketing. I have written about this previously, taking about Marketing Silos, but it still amazes me that dealers do not demand that their marketing partners sit at the same table to maximize their spends.
This is a fractured strategy that is inefficient for the marketing dollars and promotes wasted efforts on all sides. There are some dealers who are given the option of working with a single agency who can do both offline and online marketing but in my opinion those are very few in the automotive space.
One of the first questions I would ask a digital marketing vendor is, are they willing to work for your dealership, and not every dealer in your market? Do they offer brand exclusivity? How are they focusing on your dealership’s needs if they are also working for your competition down the block?
Next the dealer, or marketing manager must demand that all vendors speak to each other and are supporting each other, not bad mouthing each other. The goal should be to maximize the marketing dollars no matter what piece each vendor has in order to make the dealership successful and unify the marketing message across offline, online and on site.
Next let’s talk about Digital Marketing Education.
I know it is not something that many dealers invest in or feel is necessary. The lack of desire for this type of education may be spurred by an intimidation factor where lack of knowledge is stopping them from gaining the knowledge. What is imperative to understand is that unless the dealership’s team understands how to utilize the web to market themselves and the dealership they will continue to lose ground.
If dealership employees are not educating themselves, then how will they be able to monitor the marketing spend effectively? Some dealers are spending millions of dollars a year on online marketing with no understanding of what they should or are doing or if their vendor is doing a good job. “Why are you paying money and not understanding what results you are achieving?”
Make it a requirement when any vendor is hired that they will take the time to educate the dealership team on how best to use their product or service and how it integrates with the dealership’s overall marketing strategy.
Doing things just because that is always the way it has been done is not the right way to achieve success.
2015 should be the year of integrated vendor communication, reporting transparency and digital marketing education to know what a dealership’s marketing efforts are achieving.
Wishing you all a great end to 2014 and an even better 2015.