Community

Share your automotive expertise

2 Write a Blog Post

Filed in: None

Can Great Data + Great Buying Experience = Great Sales?

By Keith Shetterly on Feb 28, 2012

I've been involved in the TrueCar discussions for months now, sometimes prominently.  And the idea of protecting the dealers'--nay the industry's--data has become very, very important to me.  Thank you, Jim Ziegler, for goading us to pay attention to these issues.

However, lately I've taken to also looking at these points:  Is the "Data Horse" already out of the barn?  Data genie out of the bottle?  Data under the bridge?  Maybe, maybe not.  

And even if we can still just lock all vendors out of the dealers' data . . . well, what ramifications does that have for our business?  Should we just pull that plug with possibly as much ignorance in stopping the practice as we have had during it's birth and growth (when we, admittedly, weren't paying any attention)?  Are there strong and business-REQUIRED positives which we don't even know about that will die without that information?  And hurt dealers' business?  It is very hard to tell just where the data goes in all this, how much is sourced back at the dealer, how much is sourced downstream, and how much is sourced in ways we just don't know about at all.  That's our fault, being taken advantage of by vendors because we weren't paying attention.

Thinking it through, then, it seems to me that dealer data used only to provide buyers--and not giving those buyers a better buying experience!--is doomed to fail.  Call that model what we've seen from TrueCar.  So, forgetting all the emotional errata on that for few moments, I think that "better buying" experience is just what TC left out.  They focused on the "negotiation" but not the sale and used stereotypes to position themselves with consumers as their advocate--I have pointed out many times  that I believe that Painter's anti-dealer position blinded him to who TC's real customers are (dealers!!), so those stereotypes are Cheap & EZ Marketing 101 for those who make that mistake from their own prejudices.

However, these negative car-buying stereotypes exist today, and people are still experiencing them.  Or saying they are.  Cases in point are a couple of articles I read this week about the horrible buying experience some women still have with dealerships, and also sometimes men (one is by Becky Quick at Fortune, and see another in Forbes). Whether this is really still a rampant problem or not, it's a rampant STEREOTYPE.  I've compared the need for Painter's ouster from TC as the same issue that Nixon had--no matter what you thought of the president, politically he Had To Go.

Well, WE are our own "Nixon" here on the buying experience issue, and we can't remove ourselves from the seat in the middle.  We CAN, however, pursue a modern buying method that serves the dealer's bottom line, modernizes the sales staff and processes, and delivers a great experience for the buyers.  Make any bad sales process "resign like Nixon", and right NOW.

On top of that, we have controversies over Google's March 1, 2012 privacy changes, the Whitehouse wanting data privacy standards, and the EPIC/FTC fight about privacy and Google.  We need to know how our own data in our own industry can be protected and put to use for the dealers.

We don't need to focus on the past ("When you let your past go, just make sure it doesn't run ahead into your future." - Keith Shetterly) or we just drag along our own stereotypes.  

IF the data aggregators information could be turned into a positive for the dealers, providing great buyers, and then the dealers can provide a great buying experience, THAT is modernization.  Great Dealer Evolution, not Painter's Dealer Cataclysm.

Is there a vendor out there to do this?  I perceive that Criss Castle, Ralph Paglia, and myself have recently made the point in Jim Ziegler's TrueCar Blog that data use on BEHALF of the dealers for dealer success is certainly a possibility.  A great pro-dealer cause, if you will, especially if the "data horse is really out of the barn."

Who is that vendor that will rise up and make great and fair money for themselves and dealers while promoting--and helping to provide--that great modern buying experience for both men and women shoppers?  Is there one?  Can there be one?

I don't know.  But I know we need one.

 

by Keith Shetterly, Copyright 2012
All Rights Reserved www.keithshetterly.com
keithshetterly@gmail.com

Comments

Well put Keith. After all the wsrehousing of Data IS important but the utilization of it is wisdom (O.K. slight rip-off on a great quote re: knowledge vs. wisdom).

Feb 28, 2012

Comments 1 - 1 of 0

You must be logged in to comment

Login Create an account

Add your comments:

   

Keith Shetterly's Recent Posts

Related Posts

  • Announcing Finalists for DSES Dealer Best Idea Content

    This contest is a highlight for many attendees and you won't want to miss it this year. It's inspiring to watch 5 progress dealership executives compete head-to-head on forward thinking ideas they've implemented to sell more cars. We can't wait to see the results each finalists has produced for their store...the dealer panel will have a tough time deciding on a winner.Read post

  • Understanding the Data ‘Deep Dive’ that Drives Dealer Decisions

    Check your email. There’s probably a report or two that has hit your inbox since yesterday that was filed away in a “to do” folder of some sort. The digital age has given us access to so much data and so many reports from the vendors that help us advertise our dealerships that it can be a full-time job simply deciphering it all. It isn’t just the time allotted that causes challenges, either. Much of the data we’re given requires concentrated exploration in order to find those hidden gems that can guide a dealership’s marketing path. We know it’s important, but making sense of it all can be too time-consuming. The good news is that most dealers are in the same boat. They’re all getting too many reports that are too big, too confusing, or both. As easy as it is to file the reports away for “light reading” over the weekend, it’s important to perform regular deep dives into the data in order to make the most educated decisions about your advertising spend. Knowin...Read post

  • Data Breaches: Why Dealers Should Be Concerned

    Earlier this month, the New York Times reported that a crime ring in Russia has “amassed the largest known collection of Internet credentials, including 1.2 billion user name and password combinations and more than 500 million email addresses.” The newspaper quoted data security expert Alex Holden, founder of Hold Security, as warning that hackers “targeted any website they could get, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to very small websites.” In the last year, we have seen more data stolen from retailers than ever before. It seems as if every week we’re hearing of yet another company that might have compromised our personal data. While the Times reports that this crime ring seems to be using this data to simply hijack email and social media accounts, it does acknowledge that the sale of personal information, including Social Security numbers and other personal information, would be much more lucrative. Dealers may think that car dealers are less likely to be targeted by...Read post

  • Random Acts of Generosity Can Build Loyalty

    Finding a lost earring in the jewelry box, discovering the old autographed Tom Seaver baseball card when you clean out the attic, and learning that the shirt you are about to pay retail for is discounted, are all pleasant surprises.  How about walking into your bank and having the ATM talk with you and then give you a gift for being a customer?  Could that surprise highlight your day?  Such was the case during a special July day at four TD Canada Trust branches, according to this article.  Many customers received a $20 bill, but for some customers, the trip to the bank was much more rewarding. One lucky customer landed an opportunity to throw out the first pitch at a baseball game. And another got to take a trip out of the country to visit a sick family member. You shouldn’t need to go far to hear a “thank you” when you visit the bank, the grocery store or your favorite neighborhood restaurant.  But when was the last time you were thanked in an unexpected way?   Your de...Read post

  • How to Properly Promote Yelp in Your Dealership

    What is your dealership doing in store to drive traffic and attention to your Yelp listing? There are many ways to ensure your customers know that your dealership has an active presence on Yelp and to encourage them to share their feedback. Read post

    By Cobalt on August 20, 2014

  • Manufacturers’ Lists To Connect With Your Next Sale

    Using the information from a manufacturer’s list, a good automated marketing solution can create personalized campaigns for individual customers. You control what you want the solution to look for. Want to run targeted ads based on vehicle purchase date? Last maintenance appointment? Vehicle model? It is possible to create campaigns based on almost anything, and the marketing automation solution sorts out which messages would be most relevant to which customers.Read post

  • The Power of Digital Persuasion

    Say this for J.D. Power: They know the digital space, and few organizations have the credibility to report on the digital trends that impact the likes of Ford, GM, Toyota and others. They boast strong analysts who know brand-level automotive marketing and digital topics, and can communicate their findings in a concise and compelling way. Take their most recent study, the J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Automotive Media and Marketing Report. The organization claims that it “provides a comprehensive strategic perspective on the factors that influence new-vehicle purchases, as well as attitudinal, lifestyle, recreational and media consumption behaviors.”  That pretty much means – I think – that it reports on what most influences car buyers to sign on the line. This year’s study includes digital media habits, from search to display, social and more.  To read the summary for yourself (do so), click here.  The study is based on a nationwide survey of 31,200 principal drivers of purchased ...Read post

  • New to Special Finance? Or looking to do more? Check out our new eBook with DealerStrong!

    We've collaborated with the executives at DealerStrong to put together a new eBook for you about working in Special Finance, all with the goal of helping you to SELL MORE CARS!® The guide will walk you through the three pillars of a successful special finance (SF) operation to get you off to a fast start. Read post