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From: Jared Hamilton
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The Best Marketing Technologies: Proprietary, White Label, or Partnerships

Technology

There are advantages and disadvantages to building proprietary, unique automotive internet marketing software. When TK started building Connect, we knew what we were getting into and thankfully the development and testing have fallen directly in line with our expectations.

Is it really better to build? The other options - white label and partnerships - have advantages of their own. As we move forward with our next batch of projects, I wanted to tap into the Driving Sales community and find out what dealers and other vendors prefer and why.

Building a platform, whether it's for websites, SEO, PPC, social media, or whatever, allows for complete control and fully automotive integration. It can be expensive and time-consuming, but having control gives vendors the ability to customize as they see fit.

Using white labeled products is the most common technique used by vendors. Granted, very few people know this - that's the point of white labeling. To take a pre-existing product, wrap it in a shell that hides the origin, and sell it as its own product is the way that most vendors go with at least half of their offerings. We have avoided this over the years, but if there are advantages, I would love to hear them.

Building partnerships with niche-leaders is our preferred way of doing things with anything that we do not build ourselves. Raven Tools, for example, is the best in the industry when it comes to SEO and social integration, and we proudly partner with them. Janrain is another rising star in social media and we will (hopefully) be bringing their high-dollar product to dealers at a much more affordable cost.

With these things in mind, where do you stand? What do you want your vendors to do? Build? White label? Partner? The advantages and disadvantages are numerous for each style, but in the end it really comes down to delivery. Which method brings the best products at the right price to car dealers?

Thoughs?

Joey Abna
I think build it in house and partnerships have the most long term value. I think white label does a disservice to your clients and can lead to problems down the road. However, I do think there is a place for white label in a few certain situations. For example if you are an seo consultant and you are offering seo services using tools like Raven for example I think it is fine to offer the customer reports, charts, data ect branded as the consultant. I would encourage you to develop the products that you have the talent and resources to build in house and partner with other providers when someone else can do it better or more efficiently. Have you guys thought about bringing the inventory management in house? Homenet does a good job but you have to work within their parameters as well. If you brought it in house could you make it better for your customers?

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