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Brian Pasch

Brian Pasch CEO

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Cultivating The Ideal Automotive Digital Marketing Manager

By Brian Pasch dmm-600px

As digital marketing and social media investments become a larger percentage of dealer operating budgets, some operators are considering hiring an internal Digital Marketing Manager (DMM).  Many of the mid-sized automotive groups and most of the larger auto groups already have this position in place.

However, finding the right person to fit this newly minted role can be a challenge:  

  • What does the job description for a Digital Marketing Manager look like?  
  • What should the Digital Marketing Manager be doing each day? week? month?
  • How does a Dealer Principal hire for a position that requires skills that they most likely don't understand? 
  • What personality traits make the ideal DMM?
  • How will the General Manager inspect the work of the Digital Marketing Manager and mentor them to enrich their career?
  • What does the pay plan for a DMM look like?

Defining The Role and Work Plan

You may be a Digital Marketing Manager or have this role in your organization.  I'm working on a new project and would love to start a conversation based on the questions listed above.  I am confident that many members of DrivingSales will be interested in the responses from dealers who have tackled these challenges or who are starting down this path.

Related to this discussion is employee retention for this specialized role.  Dealers may find it challenging to keep the DMM challenged so they are not scooped away from a local competitor.  This happens with good sales professionals and managers however there few competent automotive Digital Marketing Managers on the market today. 

Their Own Island

For many Digital Marketing Managers they are the only person in the organization that understands the complexity of their job responsibilities. They may at times feel alone, unsupported, and unfairly criticized.   As Google changes on a dime, so must these marketing professionals adapt.  

How can dealers bridge this gap to leverage the experience of the management team with the new tools brough to the table for a DMM? 

Please share your thoughts on the questions I posed in this article below. If you have any supporting documents, share the links.   Please share this article on your social networks to expand to conversation to other automotive professionals. 


Brian Pasch, CEO
PCG Consulting

Stephen Murphy
Here are the 5 key areas I believe every DMM should focus on (in no particular order): 1. Digital vendor selection + management: Understand the language they speak, set clear goals + objectives, and make sure all vendors are working together for best results. 2. Content Marketing: Creation and upkeep of online assets, develop content strategy, developing new content via blogs, video, downloads and more. 3. Local: Optimize for local seo, manage social platforms, manage online review collection + sharing. 4. Sales enablement: Work with BDC + Sales manager to develop email templates, drip programs, and provide sales with the tools they need to move leads down the funnel. 5. ROI Driven Reporting: Put systems in place to monitor performance, show how digital affects bottom line, alignment with monthly sales goals and objectives. Both granular reporting (direct manager) and high level (GM).
Timothy Martell
Having lived this, I have some really strong feelings on the matter. Bottom line, dealer's don't really need or want this position, and maybe they're right. When I was the Digital Marketing Manager for a New England auto group, I was in charge of all online based items including all marketing, reputation, customer service, process, lead management and accountability for 2 Nissan stores, a Toyota store and a Jaguar store. At its peak, my department cost the company (payroll, training, advertising tools like AutoTrader, etc) about $750,000 annually. This produced about $110 million in gross sales and about $3.3 million in net profit for those stores. Understand that is the gross and net attributed to our department. Now, while that was a tremendous win, the path to make that happen was a horrible and constant war with personnel who didn't understand (or want to) digital marketing. The "hate the internet guy(s)/gal(s)" is a common theme in auto-retail - i realize its not a problem everywhere - but it still represents a majority stance from the auto retail entrenched. And at the end of the day, they might not be wrong! Did my staff and I provide solid ROI - absolutely. But as a vendor I can provide those same stores the exact level of service that I and my staff as employee's provided for less than $250,000 and no FICA, FUDA, SUDA, sick-days, benefits, 401k, HR issues, etc. The real answer isn't to make up dealership positions with titles that care no empowerment and provide no path to accountability. The answer is for GM's, GSM's, Sales Managers, Service Managers, and Parts Managers - ANYONE who has ANY say in marketing spend to be required to learn at least enough to hold vendors accountable. Dealer's have more than enough 6 figure salaries walking around to get the job done - they don't need another! And at the end of the day why do dealers do any of it? Why do we need BDC's? Because we don't want to hold sales people accountable and train them. Why do we need Digital Marketing Managers? Because we don't want to hold management accountable to learn their craft. If they can learn to spot a paint job on a used car trade in in bright summer sun when the customer says "no its never been in an accident," they can learn to spot a digital snake oil salesmen. If they can learn to read a financial statement, understand pump-in, pump-out, zip code analysis, reg data, trends in seasonality and its effect on auction prices, they can learn to look at a vendors digital analysis and know if its a load of BS or valuable reporting that can guide intelligent marketing decisions. Enough is enough. Dealers don't need to spend more or empower laziness, they just need real vendors to come to the table and actually deliver on the value we promised in the first place - and maybe do just a little bit of homework.
Chip Dorman
Everydealer who doesn't have a Digital Marketing Manager in charge of all their marketing and CRM, should watch Moneyball. Then watch it again. Then go find a Theo Epstein of their own and teach them the car business.
Noel Gautier
Hi, I am a digital marketing manager for a 5 franchise auto group in southern california and was curious what the average median salary for this position is?
Lindsey Stuart
I'm not sure how a Sales Manager, GM, GSM or Internet Manager could possibly ever have the time to manage all of the vendors and game-changers that exist in the world of marketing and advertising. I'm not a big fan of exclusively digital marketing directors. Dealerships need to make sure that all of their creative is consistent across all various media and advertisements. Ditto that to their offers and promotions most of the time as well. There is just no way someone could manage multiple salespeople or departments and manage all of the advertising plus the digital.

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