Who Has Final Say On Your Marketing Budget?

Derrick Woolfson

Every dealer operates differently. Who has the final say for your dealer's marketing budget? 

Devin Howell-Shiplack

From what I've come across, anyone from the Dealer Principle, General Manager, down to the Marketing Manager have their own allocations on how they allocate their marketing spend. In my opinion, it all comes down to the amount of control the DP & GM's give to their departments to try out new products or initiatives, or keep the status quo. Cost based vs. free to see how the product will benefit the dealership prior to commitment also allows for flexibility of growth and ultimately sell more vehicles without having to battle the internal hierarchy of shifting budgets on a whim.  

Derrick Woolfson

In my previous experience, any and all budget ideas had to be approved through the GM, which meant the budget got cut mid-month if sales were down, which of course was counter-intuitive. It made it quite difficult to track a trend report because the AD Budget was never consistent. That and the dealer counted *all* costs as "marketing costs" such as the  CRM, etc which meant the "actual" marketing budget got that much smaller. 

Devin Howell-Shiplack

For sure. Marketing is traditionally seen as a cost centre, when it should be on the asset side of the balance sheet. Even if sales are down, marketing at down-turns will give any dealership a competitive advantage as the knee-jerk reaction is to cut all promotion spending.

What other things have been counted in a marketing budget that you've experienced that is widely used across the dealership and isn't a specific function?

Mark Rask

dealer principal 

Derrick Woolfson

@Devin, I have seen the CRM in the marketing budget along with third pary vendors for video, etc. All of which is an "operations" expense, not a marketing budget. That and another issue is that despite the fact that Service used the CRM and/or other 3rd party vendors the entire bill was coming out of the sales gross, which meant that the managers got paid less - when you add up the total costs from the various vendors (that are not marketing) it can put a dent in their pay! 

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