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

  • Holiday Travel Marketing Guide

    The holiday travel season is in full swing, with an expected 90% of travelers opting for a road trip over air travel. What does this mean for your dealership? Now is the time to prep your customer’s vehicles for their holiday journeys. Here are three easy ways you can keep your dealership top-of-mind, build brand recognition, and drive additional service business to your store. Remind Customers of Maintenance This idea is probably a no brainer, but I want to make sure to state it. Deliver a communication to customers about needed maintenance on their vehicle before holiday travel. Think about offering a Holiday Road Trip Service Package, wherein your team would perform and check all vehicle elements to ensure they arrive at their destination safely and without hassle. Offer Assistance The holidays bring about a lot of busy work and things to keep straight, which means, your customers may forget some key elements when hitting the road this holiday. Remind them of the manufacturer’...Read post

  • LotLinx...Does It Measure Up To The Hype

    LotLinx has exploded in 2014 right when the progressive dealers started to migrate away from form submissions to VDP's to establish ROI. LotLinx deeplinks your new and used inventory to 3rd party partners and routes the VDP click thru to your VDP thus bypassing 3rd party VDP's and form submissions. Uncovered are concerns about Lotlinx reporting issues and inconsistent daily referral resulting in a unusual spike monthly. Can LotLinx resolve this and turn this good tool into a great tool as toutedRead post

  • 4 Tip and Tricks to Drive Engagement On Your Dealership Website

    We recently completed a usability study with REAL in-market car shoppers to determine how they engage with inventory on dealer websites while researching their next purchase. Participants in the study were recruited from the local Seattle area and consisted of people currently in-market for a new vehicle. The goal was simple— to find out directly from the mouths and mouses of real shoppers what makes car shoppers click when browsing your vehicle details pages (VDPs) and vehicle search results pages (VSRs).Read post

    By Cobalt on November 25, 2014

  • How To Maximize Your Dealership Black Friday Sales

    It's the holiday season, that means one thing, you only have a few weeks left to hit your year end sales quotas. While this turns into a very stressful time for many dealerships, it doesn't have to be this way; so put away your Grinch costume and use that shiny little device (smartphones) all you customers have to turn your inventory into perfectly wrapped presents that constantly keep driving off your lot. Everyone's Online According to PunchTab 90% of consumers plan to shop online this holiday season,and with consumers spending more than 15 hours per week researching on their smartphones capturing capturing your customers pre-purchase is essential to ultimately gaining their business.   You want to capture all these customers as they look for vehicles don't you?   Step 1: Simplify Their Search Shoppers make store visits after searching, and if they find all the information they are looking for they are 75% more likely to visit the store.   Take control of how your custom...Read post

  • Content Marketing Strategy: How to Create a Winning Company Blog

    Content marketing, in general, can provide many valuable benefits. It can help create and maintain a brand presence; assist in search engine optimization; and position executives as thought leaders. It can also serve as a valuable source of information for both customers and potential customers.   There are many types of content marketing. Technically speaking, everything your business creates and publishes is content marketing. This can include such items as marketing pieces, videos, blog articles, articles published in trade magazines, social media posts -- you name it. If your audience sees it, chances are that it’s content marketing.   While most businesses understand the importance of content marketing, many get stuck when trying to make it an ongoing reality. Think of it as an extreme case of writer’s block. Someone is tasked to create this “content” but they don’t know what to create on a regular and ongoing basis. Some companies create comprehensive content ma...Read post

  • New Google transparency requirements hold 3rd party partners more accountable for AdWords Mgmt fees

    Google is introducing two new requirements aimed at increasing transparency and accountability of third-party partners. Starting in November, agencies and other third-party firms and individuals that manage Google advertising for customers will need to conform to new third-party policies. The current policy mandates that third-parties disclose Ad Words media costs, clicks, and impressions at the account level. Now all management fees must be disclosed on invoices and be itemized to show the net cost of the Google portion separate from any management fees or mark-up. The days of ‘black box’ digital advertising packages appears to be coming to a close. Black box refers the idea that you pay your digital vendor or agency a monthly amount to provide a host of online services and they ‘optimize’ it among various digital elements such as paid search through Google and Bing, retargeting ads, banner ads, in banner video, search retargeting, or any of a host of other types of digital advertising. While there are positive points to this approach, it has also presented an opportunity for vendors to provide less than full disclosure regarding the ‘third-party’ fees they are actually charging to manage these services.Read post

  • "Selling" at the Zero-Moment-of-Truth

    As an industry, we often activate a vast array of tools...shiny widgets....and systems in which to be effective to the modern consumer….. HOWEVER....do our systems: Target - Communicate – Integrate together; As-One; in order to ensure Buyers are delivered at the ‘Zero Moment’ through a direct-path to OUR specific Stores? Websites? Telephones? As Dealers = "WE reserve the right, to Market OUR Brands, OUR Stores, OUR Inventory - with a single and direct connection to OUR stores, everytime!" Automotive News | Dealers > Best Practices ( Nov. 24, 2014 ) Cardinale Group makeover flexes digital Muscle http://www.autonews.com/article/20141124/RETAIL07/311249996/cardinale-group-makeover-flexes-digital-muscle   ...Read post

  • Does your dealership catch customers at zero moment of truth?

    As Digital Dealers we should all be familiar with the Google’s study that shows the behavior of a current ZMOT Auto buyer: – The majority of shoppers for automobiles are quite thoughtful – starting the process about 2-3 months before. Still, 14% of shoppers actually report spending less than a week on the decision making process. – Auto shoppers use on average 18.2 different sources of information – from TV, news articles, online, family, etc. to finally form their decision. – 97% of auto shoppers will be influenced by ZMOT-style advertising. Marketers should be thinking about how to use ZMOT to drive shoppers right into the dealership. – 71% of auto buyers used a search engine to help find a dealership At ZMOT we have proven that a dealership group that embraces digital marketing focused on targeting zero moment of truth buyers with systems that Target - Communicate – Integrate together as one in order to ensure Buyers are delivered at the "Zero Moment" throu...Read post