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Outsourcing automotive technology services is a vast occurrence across the automotive digital marketing space. The reasons vary, but the majority of reasons surround two main points: knowledge and time. The majority of dealerships do not think they have the knowledge and expertise to market to their online customers and they do not think they have the time to manage their online marketing system. After all, both reasons help define outsourcing (insert link for outsourcing).
(Both are serious points that will be discussed in future postings. However, the bottom line is that you fail your business not to take the time to continuously learn not only the technical aspects of the internet, but also to learn internet marketing strategies.
Back to the point of my post…)
Do not rely solely on your vendor to provide the necessary goods and services without proper reporting and innovation. That's right, innovation.
Plenty of people will tell you that we need to monitor our vendors and make sure they tell us what they do, like a parent shaking their finger at their child saying, "you better do this or...". Similar to a child, the vendor listens to the periodic scolding while the customer rants and raves only to continue business as usual. A good percentage of the time the dealer does not fully know what he/she needs and thus is put off by the vendor's confusing double-talk.
Herein lies the problem, the dealer does not educate himself (or herself) enough regarding online advancements and innovation to fully capture emerging online business models.
To the dealer principals and general managers reading this post, "Did you obtain your franchise rights by only mastering the front end of the store?" Probably not. I am sure you had to master sales AND service (along with plenty of other roles). And now, you have directors and managers handling those duties for you. You are not an expert at f&i or know all the details of your new models or know how to fix every model.
But you do know how to manage people, set the strategy for your business based on the market and look forward. You set the pace, you define the business, you look to the future.
Business development center managers/directors, E-commerce managers/directors, Internet sales managers/directors, whatever your title is... Your mindset should not be any different.
Learn proper internet strategies so you can move your business forward.
Your automotive technology services vendors should not be held to any different of a standard.
We all have been guilty of this at one time or another. We recently fell victim to not properly educating ourselves on certain internet practices.
We outsourced certain components of our search engine marketing. In the beginning, we were riding hide and excited with our results. Month after month unique visitors increased, conversion rates climbed and closing ratios grew. We thought we could do better and studied some of these "successful" techniques on our own. Months went by and we still did well. As time went on, however, we learned of various techniques our vendor was not performing and did not even know. Sure enough our numbers eventually started to turn (and in some cases nose dived). At the end of the day this cost us all not just money, but time.
The reason dealers must learn is not because "the economy is bad" or "the sky is failing" or "I better get serious about this internet thing."
The reason is very simple… Innovate or go out of business. Learn new strategies to push your business forward.