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In the car business, we often look to increase sales while decreasing spend. We're a budget-conscious industry, so that normally means spending less money and doing things manually. In many cases, that's fine. In some instances, the money saved by doing things manually actually costs a dealership more in the way of time spent.
Time is money. We've all heard the idiom. It's very true, particularly when it comes to automotive digital marketing. It's very easy for dealers to fall into the trap of cutting costs for the sake of cutting costs, but when does the cost savings actually start costing you money?
In our segment of the industry, the easy example is to look at Craigslist, eBay Motors, and social media as places where dealers can post inventory manually. It's not hard but it does take time. Obviously, we like those examples because they fall in line with our inventory posting tools, but they're just a handful amongst dozens of examples of tasks that dealers can do on their own but probably shouldn't.
There's an easy way of calculating the true cost of time. It's not just a matter of taking an hourly wage times the amount of time spent. You have to take into account the loss of productivity that can be spent on more lucrative tasks other than uploading photos and putting together text for an eBay Motors ad.
Once you understand how much time-money is being spent on a service, it's important to consider the other factors as well. Consistency can be an issue, particularly with repetitive and constant endeavors like posting to Craigslist. It's not a matter of feeding in the inventory like you would with AutoTrader. On Craigslist, adding vehicles manually can be a tedious process, one that internet managers can often push to the wayside when they get busy.
Another issue to consider is that quality can deteriorate over time, particularly on the tedious tasks that we've discussed. Humans have a tendency to rush through things they don't enjoy doing and posting to these third-party sites definitely qualifies as something that people don't enjoy. Tools, on the other hand, never get bored. They stay consistent with the posting style and keep the quality level steadily high.
It's important to be aware of the ROI on all of your services and products, but don't forget about the time factor when replacing them with in-house activities.