September 17, 2018

Sometimes You Have to Lose to Win

Proving marketing results is challenging for vendors. The monthly reports they supply to dealers to show their worth are not always good news. But' that isn't necessarily bad.

Sometimes You Have to Lose to Win

Many consider Michael Jordan one of the greatest, if not THE greatest, basketball player who ever lived. He also made some thought-provoking statements. One I find really interesting and words from which we can all learn is this:

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.

It’s such a revealing commentary about how to win in life and in business. It certainly applies to our auto industry where the game of marketing is lost just as many times, if not more, than it is won.

Proving marketing results is challenging for vendors. The monthly reports they supply to dealers to show their worth are not always good news. But… that isn’t necessarily bad. As long as action is taken to correct the issues creating the problem. The most important thing is having the correct data. So, if the month looks like a loss, but you have good data as to WHY, that can actually be turned into a win.

In my experience, the reason why many dealers get so confused with reports is very simple: they don’t understand them. And, to further confuse matters, there is non-uniform reporting based on variables and models that don’t match. Think of it like a crime scene. A lot of different people witness the same event, yet all have different perspectives and recollections of it. Some don’t even know what happened. While there is truth in everyone’s story… sorting out that truth and figuring out the puzzle pieces is the hard part.

Working with several different vendors means you have several different modes of reporting. It’s like comparing apples to oranges to lemons and bananas. Your marketing director, Internet director, general manager or dealer must quickly and easily compare each marketing expense one-to-one, so as to effectively and knowledgeably judge what is working for your store – and what is causing you to lose the marketing game. The problem is that many don’t have time to decipher the Rubik’s Cube of reports they’ve been given, and most don’t know how to act upon it to make a difference and win the game.

Marketing is like a big (and expensive) game of Jenga. The tower is built, thought to be solid but, as pieces are removed, it gets more and more unstable. A great player knows which pieces to strategically remove while still keeping the tower stable. Poor players watch the tower crumble before them and lament because their opponent won. And the best players take their losses and use the lessons learnt to gain strength and win in the future.

Without a workable solution in place, or a data analytics hero on staff to figure all of this out, the data ends up being pretty meaningless. Today, it’s more important than ever to know and understand how your marketing efforts perform so that you can make accurate decisions and adjust your spend accordingly for the best ROI. You simply cannot let that data slip past you into a black hole. It is vital to have a workable way to capture and decrypt it all in a format you understand and can use to make smart marketing decisions, leading to increased profitability and sales.

Given the right information, in the right format, collectively you can make decisions wisely – based on knowing rather than guessing!

There’s nothing wrong with a vendor having a bad month for your dealership. It’s the opportunity to win that matters. But you only get this opportunity if you have the right data to learn from. Then you can adjust so as to win in the future.