I was asked to speak recently to a group of automotive dealership management professionals and I asked the folks who set up the event, what they wanted the focus of the presentation to be. They said to speak about what I thought was important for 2015 for dealers.
I touched on three topics. First was Education and ongoing training. It is no longer acceptable that the leadership is allowing money to be spent without understanding its outcome. There needs to be consistent and ongoing training for themselves and their teams. I likened it to being on a sports team. There is constant practice and feedback so when the time to perform comes they are at their best. Competition is getting more intense, not less, so teams need to be prepared.
Secondly was unifying their marketing message. I have written about this before, “Marketing Silos are Killing Your Business”, so I explained that too much money is being spent each month to have different vendors doing work without speaking to each other.
Lastly I spoke about the need for getting a trusted advisor to review their current spend, mix of vendors and results. I proposed that many of the attendees had a lawyer on retainer, or even an accountant so why would they not get an advisor who would help them understand their marketing efforts. With marketing budgets being anywhere from $10,000 upwards of $100,000 a month, not having someone knowledgeable at the table to help hold vendors accountable seems inefficient. This concept seemed to be well received as many of the audience came to me after and asked to explain this.
Why do I need a Trusted Advisor?
It astonishes me that as leaders or top executives we feel ashamed to ask for help. The President of the United States has advisors because he cannot be an expert on everything. Top CEOs have a Board of Directors, chosen for their expertise to lend counsel to the CEO. Many successful people have a circle of trusted friends they can rely upon to help them where they are not strong.
My point was that many dealers have enough vendors doing work for them. They do not need more services but they do not have someone who is really making sense of the results. In many cases reports come in throughout the month, some vendors do not take time to review reports or their efforts, (“Here is your report. If you have any question, just call.”) and the person in charge is being pulled in so many directions they cannot find the time to attempt to make sense.
To touch on my previous point, many of these employees are not fully trained to really understand of all of these reports and their effect on the staff’s daily execution or goals. What I recommend is to hire someone who can sit at the table with management and be able to advise on marketing strategy, help hold vendors accountable as well as have this person or company then focus on the process to handle the customers who reach out to do business.
Why would you want to have this advisor or company on retainer? In my opinion, it would be one of the most cost effective ways to improve your business. You would have an outside voice that is not caught up in the daily politics of running the business. They would be able to look at data, not gut feelings to provide efficiencies. It would be more efficient to have this person on the payroll instead of hiring 2-3 people to do this type of work. Lastly it allows you to focus on the daily experience of delivering excellence.
Marketing is getting more competitive and expensive. Be it offline, online or on site marketing the landscape is changing rapidly and having a trusted advisor whose job it is to keep you current, get vendors performing and wring out more from what you are currently spending is a great investment for 2015. And for the record, I have had many advisors and coaches to help my company and I will continue to seek counsel.
Glenn Pasch is the current CEO of PCG Digital Marketing as well as a writer, National Speaker and part of the Educational staff for the Automotive Digital Marketing Certification courses. Come see Glenn at the PCG Booth 6509W at NADA in San Francisco.