3rd Party Leads vs Search

DrivingSales Publisher
If given the choice between search marketing or buying 3rd party leads where do you invest your budget? Search fans claim higher quality lower cost opportunities. 3rd party lead loyalists tout their scalability, easy to execute nature and proven ROI. Where do you stand? How do you rank them and how do you allocate budget between them?
Bart Wilson
Right now I would spend my money on 3rd party leads. In my mind I believe you are getting people further on in the buying cycle. I will say that I think the quality of 3rd party leads has diminished, however.
Jared Hamilton
My opinion is that it really depends on the dealershsip. If you are looking for immediate results PPC or 3rd party leads are the way to go because you call your provider and launch a new campaign or buy more leads... its that simple and you have more customers. The thing is if you don't have a solid vendor provider, or an in house expert to manage the campaigns or landing pages PPC will not be executed properly. In that case I would lean towards leads. Long term, despite the arguments on each side of the fence I firmly believe in casting the widest net possible but tracking every source and constantly making adjustments to maximize ROI. You will get some efficiencies from search that will be much better than what you can get from 3rd party leads. However, 3rd party vendors with national media spends and 3rd party affiliations will always reach customers you couldnt have otherwise connected with. They both have a place in the budget.
Sandy Cranberry
I believe BOTH are equally important and should be used at the same time. Studies done by RL Polk and JD Power came out this year proving the following: It comes down to knowing your buyer types. There are 3 buyer types (Loyalists, Defectors and First time buyers) and each goes to different places for their information. Each visits atleast 3 different sources for information. *People visit your website for inventory *3rd pary sites for unbiased info *OEM sites for rebate info and to learn about features If you cut out 3rd party leads all together, you are losing those shoppers who are on those outside sites (like Edmunds and KBB) looking at unbiased information. Not only is that a lot of people you lose out on but these are the people you could be turning into life-long customers. PPC will give you some low hanging fruit and easier sales, mostly because you will be working with Loyalists who typically always buy the same brand or from your dealership. However, PPC will
Paul Rushing
One thing that I was able to see from third party leads that could not be accomplished with PPC is saving opportunities. Walk outs from floor traffic would research pricing online after working with a sales person in the store. Almost daily I was getting one to four leads a day from third party providers that had been worked as floor traffic. Of course there was a lot to be said for the lack of process in the store, but with that being said we got a second shot at them.
Jared Hamilton
There is something to be said about third party validation. There are so many advantages to search, but paul is right on with the value of leads too. Having a third party site point to you and say that you are the place to do business is a great help to putting deals together. Not to mention the fact that it is so simple to get more leads... just make a phone call to your rep and order how ever many customers you want. It doesnt get much easier than that.

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