Have you ever sat at your desk with your palm against your forehead, trying to put together the same old marketing you do month after month? You are not alone. It can be easy to place your vendors on autopilot and follow the OEM's sales and specials – sliding into an auto loop approach to your overall marketing strategy. Whether that's simply adding spend with one Vendor, adding a vendor's product, or hiring a new vendor to create the digital assets. It's getting stuck in this hamster wheel vendor auto-loop that can get you off track. With the mindset of "here's another month behind us." The goal and strategy is, and remains, to connect the dots between all of your vendors, building continuity in your digital marketing efforts. If you are experiencing "marketing fatigue," it is best to take a step back, re-focus, and get to work.
Your Vendor Cannot Do What You Do Not Ask. Connect the Dots First. Approach Your Vendor With A Clear Business Strategy.
Sounds simple, no? But the truth is so many dealers do not take the time to read their vendors reports or, worse, take the time to strategize with them. And make no mistake, it's not that the vendors are unwilling to do so, either. Vendors want you to be involved, trust me – they do. So while it is the Vendor's responsibility to run the best ad campaign possible, it's your responsibility as the dealer to effectively communicate your breakpoints, business goals, clearly present your dealers brand. Anyone can send out an email blast, create ad campaigns, or POP Marketing. But not everyone can create successful ad campaigns.
One of the best things you can do for your dealership is to connect the dots on all of the reporting you have and outline the following items:
- Total Leads (phone calls, form fills, chats, texts, etc.) from each lead source.
- Total Leads sold per each source.
- Days to close for each source (for multiple leads within a profile, take the averages for days to close; i.e., if the lead comes in and it takes 90 days to close after multiple inquiries, use the averages for those leads).
-Cost of each lead source (this is not to talk about "acquisition costs" either. That's another article).
Once you have gathered this data, outline it on a whiteboard (or a report), which will give you a better picture of the primary traffic source for leads. The next step is to then review your OEM defector reports. That is understanding which areas in your PMA you are losing the most amount of sales too. More importantly, what is your market share cap not just with your PMA, but as an OEM. With this information – that is "lead source data", it's time to work with your vendors.
Having a conversation with the facts (data) and a clear business goal will offer a much better strategy meeting with your Vendor. The idea that instead of simply focusing on a month-end report, you are now digging into areas of opportunity based on a clearly laid out approach. That is creating ad campaigns for areas of opportunity. At which point, the Vendor should take the time to review the sales data and other OEM data to better understand your market. Building ad campaigns that are not generic or detached from your buyer.
It is meetings – strategized like the above – that can reignite your passion, and more importantly, your interest in taking a different approach to your marketing strategy. The stronger your results are, the more likely you are to keep pushing along. Not to mention, it's these trials and errors that build success. I would rather lose two thousand on a campaign – explaining it to the owner that ad did not perform one month, owning my mistake with humbleness than continue trudging along with a vendor who gets average results.
Bottom Line: this is not saying "forgo" or "remove" all of your vendors, and go into a new strategy blind-folded. This is offering the idea that instead of remaining on auto-pilot, take the time to understand what is working and what your areas of opportunity are. Chances are there are strategies or ads that your competition is not doing. It's those ads that will not just get back on the map, but get you the much-needed market share in your PMA.
Are you ready to break the cycle, take a risk, and make it happen? Do yourself a favor and work with your vendors!