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

  • Conquesting 2.0: Attract Cross-Shoppers With Search Remarketing to Capture More Sales

    Once a qualified buyer browses your website and leaves to check out your competition, what tactics do you have in place to bring her back to choose your model? My most successful dealers have addressed this opportunity by combining two tactics that have been proven to drive increases in return website visits by cross-shoppers using mobile devices and PCs. Put simply, we’re running search ads in a new way that’s actually getting a response to help our dealers meet their sales goals consistently. Read post

  • Mobile Click-to-Call vs. Tap-to-Text: Controversial or Complementary?

    A July 2014 Automotive News article sang the praises of phone calls over email and form leads, citing faster responses and ease of use via mobile. What it didn't point out, though, is that text-based, one-to-one messaging is worthy of a verse or two as well.Read post

  • Do Your Salespeople Spend Too Much Time Managing Software...Instead of Selling?

    The fact is, lead generation is an expensive business and having the right tools to manage this investment and deliver the most qualified leads to your dealership is paramount to your success. When it comes to mining your database and working your in-market customers, you have two choices: use your internal team to run and manage all aspects of it (self-service) or outsource many of the functions to a service provider who does most of the heavy lifting (full service).  Self-service options demand the installation of comprehensive software that requires training and hands-on daily interaction to be effective, while a full service provider will take over the day-to-day tasks (i.e., database management, developing marketing materials, mailings, e-mails, etc.) and, instead, deliver qualified leads to your sales force. Both approaches have their pros and cons. Full disclosure, I currently work for a full service provider, but I also spent eight years as VP of Sales and Marketing for a la...Read post

  • DSES: Can You Feel Me Or Is It The Customer Experience?

    DrivingSales Executive Summit 2014 is officially in the books. It was a sold out event once again that enveloped the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas for the better part of three days. Planned was a (digital) star-studded keynote speaker list plus some of the finest breakout speakers, many dealers, for those in attendance. Here's some highlights form the event from IM@CS' perspective: Day One Just as last year, there was a Canadian Breakout Session housing some of the top companies from our neighbors to the north along with some powerful presenters including Grant Gooley and Jeremy Wyant. Jay Radke and Brent Wees definitely brought the "eh" for a second time. Rumor is that next year will be bigger and better (and DSES will NOT be during Canadian Thanksgiving!). After Emcee Charlie Vogelheim’s grandiose welcome of the attendees, DrivingSales' founder Jared Hamilton managed a uniquely powerful opening recognizing a few members of the car dealer community from stage for thie personal tr...Read post

  • Proactive PR & the NFL?

    While I love to be active myself, I certainly could not call myself a big fan of watching and keeping up with sports. It seems, however, that you cannot turn on a television, read a newspaper or use any social media recently without hearing about continuous misdeeds and wrongdoings of NFL players. I’m sure that you’ve seen them as well. So this is not designed to rehash, recap or discuss any of these controversies. Much of the attention and negative PR has been directed towards those players involved, as well as the NFL itself, as can be expected. Due to the ongoing controversy, sponsors have distanced themselves and some have even disassociated themselves with the league. One sponsor, however, seems to be taking a slightly different approach to the controversy… Verizon.   Let’s face it. Regardless of any controversy, football is not only uber-popular in America, but also big business. It brings massive exposure to its partners and sponsors. Just as in the real world, howe...Read post

  • "Going Viral" is a Dream, Not a Goal

    Over the years, I've worked with some of the best social media marketers in our industry. I've seen some posts that have hit incredible numbers on social media sites that were seen by tens, even hundreds of thousands of people. They were all memorable, not because the content was so incredibly awesome but because "going viral" on the internet is so hard. In fact, it's not just hard. It's what most would consider to be a fluke. It's for this reason that I want to warn dealers about the concept of going viral. Reference.com says that going viral is something "pertaining to or involving the spreading of information and opinions about a product or service from person to person, especially on the Internet or in e-mails." It sounds awesome! Wouldn't every dealer love for their messages on their website, blog, YouTube channel, or social media profiles to go viral and get spread from person to person in bulk? Unfortunately, it's not something that can be easily manufactured. I'm not going...Read post

  • Are You Available When Your Customers Are?

    The internet has changed our world. The concept of "business hours" has been turned on its head. People are buying things online at 2 in the morning. They're researching vehicles after the kids are in bed. They're planning out how to drop off their vehicle in your service department and still get to work on time at 4am. When they have questions, are you there for them? Chances are that you do not have a receptionist there to answer questions by phone overnight. A contact form or email simply won't fulfill all of their needs in the timely manner they expect. This is where 24-hour chat comes into play. In the example above, we described the person who wants to know about your service department and how she'll get to work. This isn't a hypothetical. It actually happens. We see chats all the time inquiring about hours and transportation. If you're not there to answer their questions, you're missing out on potential business. She can't wait until 7am to decide where to drop off her car ...Read post

  • Social Media Engagement is a Two-Way Street

    The most amazing part about the internet and social media is that it has opened up communication between people and businesses that was never possible before. We now have the ability to talk to our customers and for them to talk to us in an interactive fashion, allowing for clear lines of engagement that can be both public and private. For car dealers, this has translated into an incredible way for them to broadcast their messages and get feedback in real time. On Facebook, people can like, comment on, or share their posts when they appreciate them... and even when they do not. The world is completely different than it was a decade ago when the most powerful method of online communication, the email, was still relegated to being private. This all means that dealers can receive interaction, but it also means that they're required to deliver interaction right back at their customers. Every day, we see dealers who are not taking advantage of this. People will comment on their Facebook...Read post