Dealers need standards to resolve the mysteries of marketing.

BY CEO & Founder Steve White May 11

Are you ever frustrated by the inaccurate sourcing of sales? I’m sure that most of you do everything in your power to track (as accurately as possible) the customer car buying journey from the beginning to the actual sale.

However, there are so many variables along the way that dealers often either get confused or simply give up and assign credit to the “auto mall” or “big giant gorilla,” (sarcasm intended). The sad fact is that, for the most part, the only way most dealers can measure what marketing sources are working, and which aren’t, is through the myriad of sometimes biased or incomplete reports provided by their vendors, which they must wade through; or the (incomplete) data contained within their CRM.

Well, help is on the horizon, as technology companies know about this pain point and have developed solutions that give marketers greater and more accurate insight into which marketing sources influence their consumers – and which do not.

Progressive dealers jumped on these solutions, along with the largest media company in the world – Google – who created a solution for dealers and other businesses. However, there is a BIG problem which is summed up in the phrase, “The largest media company in the world.” Do you really want the largest media company in the world telling you what is influencing your sales – can you be sure this data isn’t skewed in their favor? I bet you can’t guess who the main sales influencer will always be… GOOGLE!

Just as many dealers are cynical about the real results and credit each vendor and marketing source claims in their reports, they should also be cynical about Google. Why? Because Google takes more of your money than most other marketing solutions – whether that’s directly or indirectly through a marketing partner.

I find dealers who try solutions to help clarify what is and is not working in their marketing realm – and who pay attention and act on that data — no more guessing, more knowing — realize they can extend that same marketing budget and, with the right data, achieve even greater results – without spending a penny more!

But, and here’s the danger; when the magic wears off and that comfort-zone of “I FINALLY know now” slips in, sometimes marketers decide that, while the data was great, and accurate, because they have taken the necessary steps to optimize their marketing, they no longer need the solution providing the visibility/knowledge.

Wait — That makes no sense.

That’s like deciding to stop measuring a salesperson’s performance, or the dealership’s sales numbers, or service department’s RO revenue, or upsells, or even the BDC’s appointment to show ratio; simply because you did it for a few months, it improved and then you decided you no longer need to measure it. Makes no sense, right?

The effectiveness of various marketing activities changes on a monthly, sometimes even weekly or daily basis. Something that’s performing this month may take a nosedive in days, weeks or a couple of months. Sitting on your laurels simply because you measured, analyzed and acted on data for a few months isn’t going to keep you going forward. In fact, it could easily start moving you in reverse.

Monitoring activity relative to marketing and sales is something that every business needs to do, including your dealership.

With margin compression in mind, failing to understand that measurement, analyzing data and taking action based on data insights are an ongoing, never-ending necessity can easily take a dealership back to the beginning. Resolving marketing mysteries requires a new standard. Your business performance depends on it.