Community

Share your automotive expertise

2 Write a Blog Post

Filed in: Marketing

The Apples and Oranges of Dealer Marketing

By Dennis Galbraith on Feb 21, 2013

The wealth of data being provided to dealers from their vendors is truly incredible. Twenty years ago, dealers thought it was amazing when I could show them cost-per-thousand numbers for their radio, TV, print, and outdoor advertising. Today the amount of marketing data available to a typical dealer has increased more than one-hundred fold.

This spawned a number of additional products available to dealers, from full business intelligence tools like our own DrivingSales Data to an array of dashboard products designed to organize the data. That's the good news. The bad news is some of these products are mixing apples and oranges. The purpose is to have valid, reliable information for decision making. Mixing incompatible data can lead to precisely inaccurate results that drive dealers in the wrong direction.

DrivingSales recently conducted a research project to uncover the true meaning and compatibility of vendor metrics. We found a wide range of cases where metrics with the same name do not mean the same thing from vendor to vendor. None of these vendors are necessarily wrong, but it is wrong to group their metrics together in a dashboard simply because they have the same label attached to them.

The complete report is available for dealers and vendors alike in the latest edition of Dealer Innovation Guide, http://drivingsalesinnovationguide.com. Over time, vendors will come together around standards and third parties, like Google Analytics, will provide apples to apples comparisons. Those provide everything from simple dashboards to complete business intelligence suites will understand which metrics can be aggregated and which cannot. Until then, more and more research like this will be need so dealers can know what to trust. 

Comments

Dennis, I couldn't agree with you more that our industry needs to create a lexicon of terms and definitions. For example, think of the word "leads". If website form submissions are "leads" then we could mix up job applications, finance applications, and sales leads. That of course makes no sense.

Inventory VDP and SRP views have a wide range of meanings, and third party classified sites seem to feel that they are defined differently by site.

So, as the industry moves toward data warehouses and business intelligence tools, a lexicon needs to be created. Sign me up if you plan to organize a committee on this project.

Feb 22, 2013

Glad you brought this up Dennis - it is something we have been struggling with in our Internet 20 Group as we discussed. Analytics are taken from one URL but we have a portal and 4 micro sites along with two OEM mandated sites. Marketing is mainly on the portal but the data is just from our Honda store. Some in our group have RVs too which can mess with the gross averages. F&I revenues is another bone of contention as to what is or is not included.

Some things just can't be split out when there is more than one roof top. Cost of Websites was another issue, some of us were dividing the cost between 5 URLs others were putting in the whole cost so the range was from $280 to $2800 for Website costs. Apples to Apples is tough, but we have to try to get it as close as possible. Love what you are doing Dennis - Love the Driving Sales Think Tank! We all benefit immensely!

Feb 22, 2013

Thank you Brian and Jon. Brian, we do need to work together on these things, and it's always a pleasure to do so with you.

Jon, you are pioneering something wonderful in the Internet 20 groups. I've enjoyed watching the progress of the groups and the growing profitability of the members. One of the wonderful aspects of the 20 group is that you do talk and you do uncover these things. There will always need to be a balance between time spent improving the inputs and time spent increasing profitability with the good findings coming from the outputs. Over time, the shift has been from the former to the latter. Members seem to be getting more from the groups each time they meet. Thank you for your pioneering leadership in this area.

Feb 23, 2013

Dennis, thank you. Analytics and data have become overwhelming and confusing for many dealers. On the one hand it is exciting to see information that was never before available. But on the other hand, it is increasingly difficult to organize, interpret and make use of the vast amount of information. It would help tremendously if there were benchmarks and agreed upon terms for what we're seeing across the spectrum.

Feb 23, 2013

Collecting the data is imperative to understanding the store's opportunities and shortcomings. It's hard to move forward without garnering the right data. You're right that there needs to be universal understanding of the data terms so everyone can measure the same logic. The most difficult part for dealers, however, is taking the data and actually enacting corporate structure/policies to improve their performances. That is the biggest gap in understanding. Data to directives.

Feb 24, 2013

Joe, few people understand that link form data to information to profitable action items the way you do. Some trainers and consultants fear data; it holds them accountable. The good ones realize the availability of a well constructed database allows them to do more for dealers and show credible results. As the need for people in math-oriented positions outstrips our education system's supply of them, it is a certainty that most dealership are not going to find all the talent they need in-house. Long live the out-sourced expert.

Feb 25, 2013

Tom, I don't want to oversell DrivingSalesData.com; the system we are building is much better than the system we have available today. However, dealers can access it for free. After putting dealership data into the system, you can see your data compared to the average of other dealers in the system, benchmarking.

The system is strictly for marketing strategy. The privacy policy is designed to protect dealers, and It does not collect data at the VIN, customer, lead, or employee level.

Feb 25, 2013

The wide array of interpretive analytics can be confusing at best. Morphing the data to quantifiable action plans can be even more so. When OEMs, Vendors and Dealership personnel quit trying to manipulate reporting to look good rather than be good changes can occur.
Thanks for a great post and sharing the link

Mar 26, 2013

Comments 1 - 8 of 8

You must be logged in to comment

Login Create an account

Add your comments:

   

Dennis Galbraith's Recent Posts

Related Posts

  • Consulting Conundrum: “You can do whatever you want, as long as…”

    Yes, this is opinion. However don't take it as fable. It’s the consistent vicious circle in consulting: do it all as long as it’s what is wanted at that moment, backed up by someone else, doesn’t bite back at the factory stance, mostly makes sense and when you can grab the proper attention. And don’t blink because all of that can change with one call or a visit from a nice set of pearly whites with a tan and a low-slung top. In a dramatically fluid world, all of that is a constant. Meeting with a dealer the other day, their factory (only) site has issues, their SEO/SEM isn’t close to completely transparent in work, reporting or results, their new CRM isn’t installed properly or completely and their sales team can’t seem to do their job. And the store is doing, what most would consider, fine. In less than five hours, a solution to every hole that was shot in their operation was provided, a path to resolution (in some cases multiple) was drawn out and improvement benchm...Read post

  • Natural Unselection (It Takes Time…)

    Yes, it is getting more and more difficult for business owners to make decisions today that will positively impact their business, especially in the arena of digital marketing. You might say “bull hooey” and protest that it has become easier. And you’d be half fright… Nothing is more frustrating to a business owner that not understanding something that should otherwise be “easy” to do so. That’s where misguided trust and blind recommendations become so darn appealing. Attend a 20 Group and you just might be amazed as to how eloquent an otherwise inept presenter can be. We live in a world of regurgitated content, many times so prolific that anyone can claim it to be theirs. Car dealers and executive management, typically, know what has been and possibly what is happening now.  They’re still overwhelmingly blind to what is going to happen, even though it’s in front of their eyes. And smartphones. However, the chasm that exists does so simply because the dots aren’...Read post

  • What Tough Times Have Taught Us About Digital

    Money. Lots of it! Tons and tons and tons of it! So much that for the first time, we're witnessing dealers that have been hands-on since 2008 starting to slip away a little from the stores and enjoy "away" time again. And that's great. Until, at least, you think about the last seven years again. If "Digital" has taught us anything, it has demonstrated that small can become bigger faster, the big ones often look like Swiss cheese and that up and down markets don't care about much besides presence. After the last fourteen years around the Automotive Web and six and a half in dealerships, what is striking is that digital has shown ambivalence and opportunity at undeniable levels. And most still ignore the power and upside. Making money can make us stupid. Even with sales up 3% so far in 2014 and last year's finish around 8% over 2012 (our average client was up over 30% last year and tracking again), there still is a strong desire not to change anything. And most of what we see is sti...Read post

  • Don't just Capture the Leads in a Different Way. Get More.

    Website chat is viewed by many dealers to be an alternative method of communication, as it should be. There are some who view it as a lead generation tool and they can look at numbers to show that they're getting more leads, but to truly test their results that must take a closer look. Properly positioned and managed chat on dealer websites can definitely be great for getting more leads. However, there are passive services out there, the ones that are pretty much contact forms with different branding, that are not generating more leads. They're simply capturing the leads from people who would have used a different method of contact whether there was chat on the website or not. As we detailed on a post we titled, "A Great Automotive Chat Solution Will Increase Leads", one of the primary goals of website chat should be to give more of your website visitors a reason to make contact with you and become a lead as a result. Reports from any chat provider will show you how many leads th...Read post

  • What Is a Customer’s Location Data Worth?

    Geo-targeting and geo-fencing technology has been around for many years. Some social networks use it and provide businesses with ways to show customers offers and specials based on their current location. However, for the most part, these are application-specific. An individual would need to download an app, join a social network and opt-in for push notifications from the service to receive any ads on their phones. That may all be changing. On July 24, according to an ABC News article Verizon Wireless became the first wireless carrier to launch a rewards program. While on the surface, it would seem that they are just joining the thousands of businesses across the country in rewarding customers for using their service, Verizon’s program has a different goal altogether…. collecting consumer location data for advertising purposes. This, in itself, is also not new. Verizon launched Verizon Selects in 2012, which is an opt-in program that uses subscriber surfing and location data to ...Read post

  • 4 Phrases Your Online Shoppers DON'T Want to Hear

    Have you ever sat down at a restaurant, looked at the menu, decided what you wanted to eat, and then as soon as the waiter comes by to take your order he tells you that the restaurant ran out of the main ingredient in your favorite dish on the menu? That’s strike one - you expected them to have the food they advertise on the menu. You’re not happy, but you decide there are other things you might be hungry for, so you look again and find something that you can tolerate. Meanwhile, you’ve ordered drinks. However, the drinks are taking a very long time to get to your table. You see the waiter near the adjacent tables, and someone who came in after you already has their food. Strike two - you don’t feel like priority. You try to flag down the waiter, but now you’ve waited way too long and you’re hungry, and pissed off, so you tell the waiter that you’d like to leave. It’s strike three - your patience is gone from waiting too long, and you’re out of there. Just like th...Read post

  • Tim James, VP of Sales with Flick Fusion, to Present "Video Marketing Tips, Trends, & Practical Uses" at Digital Dealer 17

    Urbandale, IA--August 25th, 2014--Flick Fusion, the industry's leading video marketing provider, announced today that Tim James, Vice President of Sales with Flick Fusion, will present "Video Marketing Tips, Trends & Practical Uses" at the upcoming Digital Dealer Conference & Exposition in Las Vegas, NV. Auto dealer sales and Internet marketing staff are encouraged to attend and will learn multiple strategies that can be used to design an effective video marketing plan that will increase traffic, conversion and sales.   "Dealers can get overwhelmed when creating a video marketing strategy, so I always recommend a walk, don't run, approach at first," said James. "It's important to realize that one size does not fit all and how essential it is to keep your video marketing strategy aligned with your store's current processes."   In his presentation, James will review the current trends in video marketing, what type of videos are best for engaging and influencing in-market...Read post

  • Finalists Announced for the DrivingSales 2014 Dealer Best Idea Award

    Award recognizes the most innovative auto dealership strategies of 2014; finalists are Cathy Nesbit and Alyssa Safty, Harry Robinson Buick GMC; Bryan Armstrong, VW SouthTowne; Shelly Hebert, Glenmore Audi; Erich Gail, Cardinale Automotive Group; Robert Karbaum, Weins Canada Inc. / Don Valley North Toyota   Salt Lake City, Utah – August 25, 2014 – DrivingSales announced that five auto dealer professionals have been selected as finalists for the 2014 DrivingSales Dealer Best Idea Award, which recognizes the most innovative auto dealership strategies of 2014. The finalists will compete onstage for the award, as well as for $10,000 in cash and prizes, at the 2014 DrivingSales Executive Summit (DSES), held Sunday, October 12th through Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 at the Bellagio Las Vegas.  This year’s award is sponsored by Cobalt.   The DSES, which had record attendance in 2013 and has sold out every year since inception, is unique in the industry because auto dealers determine...Read post