Automotive Marketing Ecosystem
Dealers know that in 2021 their website is vital to their business and a first impression for the dealership that consumers use to research vehicles. The problem is that it causes dealers to focus on inventory publication, where they are comfortable, ignoring digital marketing as a whole. Over the past year, the commerce ecosystem has drastically shifted causing consumers to have different expectations as they move forward in any buying process. Companies like WalMart, Uber, Amazon, Apple, and even Carvana have made convenience the currency that matters most to today’s consumers.
15 years ago, customers visited 5 dealerships, now they visit less than half that. Visiting a showroom is no longer necessary to do your research and initial deal making, and consumers are taking advantage by utilizing the internet to its fullest capacity.
The issue that our current pandemic caused is for dealers to stay in their comfort zone more than ever before, where they push inventory and incentives - 0% for 72 months or no payments for 4 months does sound great. Because dealers are viewing their website through such a narrow lens, they are failing to understand how customers are shopping. By failing to evolve to this new shopping experience, dealerships are damaging their ability to be as profitable as they once were.
This negative impact extends beyond just what you consider “internet leads,” and can impact the foot traffic, or lack thereof, coming into your showroom. Today’s consumers are researching online - considering this statement - what would the perfect marketing mix look like?
In today’s automotive environment, having a digital marketing team in house is a must. Most dealerships that I talk to have one person that is responsible for the website, while another person takes care of digital advertising. Some groups have a third person responsible for their third party listings. These tasks may have been thrown at them and they most likely have another title such as General Manager, New Car Manager, Used Car Manager or even a BDC Manager. When talking with progressive dealerships that have a Marketing Director on staff, they tend to also be in charge of numerous other tasks such as IT, CO-OP reports, HR etc on top of being in charge of hundreds of thousands of dollars each month for marketing.
While reading this I would challenge anyone to think of a solution for this topic - my first thought would be something that could solve these issues would be very expensive and unrealistic for most. Majority would agree, and that solution would be more expensive to implement compared to continuing what everyone is currently doing.
What if I was to tell you that there is a way to spend less time and money on marketing so your dealership can spend that on people, process and profits. Crazy right? The goal is for your Marketing Director to actually be able to focus on marketing and be able to have a work life balance. Ask yourself would my dealership benefit from this shift?
Often we think about customer acquisition costs and where to improve, I challenge everyone to think about the employee acquisition costs and retaining them - what would be the more expensive of the two?
If you would like to discuss this almost mythical solution to every dealership's headaches and loss profits - my Team at AMG is here to lift the Atlas Stone off everyones back. We are on your side as a trusted Automotive Marketing Guru but ultimately our goal is to help the dealership get back to focusing on their people, process and profits.
Nate Durick | Marketing Director