CDK's purchase of Auto/Mate may create a major disruption in the dealer management system (DMS) industry. Here is our take. DOWNLOAD
We hem. We haw. We decide. We buy. We go. Then what? First, let’s go back to the start. What is the education budget of your dealership? There is likely a marketing budget, a maintenance budget and even a coffee budget (especially if you’re a high-line store). Where is your education budget? How much is spent on outside support and consulting away from a vendor rep or “consulting” reseller that simply pushes products and trains on them specifically?
Sure, it is important to take care of your image, your facility and your customers. However today, more than ever, the investment made in dealership staff is more important than the payroll investment and on par with any other expense or cost center. The number one thing that can move a business forward is typically forgotten, let alone budgeted for.
So the dealer, general manager, marketing or Internet manager make it to a conference. Once everyone is happily back in the nest, 30-95% of what is learned is lost or not executed on (delayed loss). $2,000-3,000 is spent to have one to two people there; however sustainment investment typically runs about 5-10 times what the event does. Where’s the investment to ensure the information, implementation and platform for success? $10,000 will usually be spent in a flash to simply appease the manufacturer’s rep with some local newspaper advertising to push the new model, where’s the $10,000 over six months to keep the dealership staff on the leading edge?
Information is great, fantastic, liberating and exciting. However the actual implementation and sustainment is more so and the other benefit is you actually get to see the results rather than simply reminiscing “remember back at that conference when the guy (or gal) talked about doing that new thing” and then getting back to doing things the way you…always have.
The cost of the information is practically zero. Yes, some companies and publishers in the industry charge you for webinars with expert speakers but where’s the follow up and how do you actually do what they’re talking about. The cost of implementation is significantly higher but it’s the only way to get the results.
Don’t go to the conferences if you won’t back it up with the real investment. Don’t send your staff to get information that, with about five minutes of searching on Google, is otherwise available within the confines of your dealership. And don’t send your Internet director for the “amazing networking events”. Get the rubber to meet the road by attending, considering, spending, measuring*, reviewing and reinvesting.
*measuring that involves using a proprietary dashboard rather than an unbiased third party is typically a short-sighted move.
The greatest reward any dealer will receive from their digital marketing is no different than any other investment, like a facility upgrade or a redo of the fixed operations department. It causes people to work and think in fresh ways, generating better results.
Invest in the best assets you have and make those efforts ongoing. Replace "I liked that conference a lot and will likely go again, especially if I can fit in a couple rounds" with "I can't believe the growth we've had from doing what the speakers taught us about and am already booked for next year".
See you at the conferences!
Best Practices: Professional Insight, Powerful Results
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