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Jared Hamilton
From: Jared Hamilton
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Jon Lamb

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You Shouldn't Buy Your Suits at Walmart

92c733d19a4346ba1606b9eacd17dd14.jpg?t=1There's nothing wrong with shopping at the local supercenter. The convenience of getting toilet paper, bananas, a video camera, and a package of socks for the kids all in the same place saves time and often saves money as well. However, there are lines that shouldn't be crossed. If you're looking for something as important as a suit, you probably want to go to a place that specializes in them.

That's why it concerns me when I hear from dealers who are marketing to their customer database or even to conquest lists through their one-stop-shop providers like CRM companies. I'm not trying to start a way with any of these companies, but it simply doesn't make sense to perform one of the most important and detail-driven marketing practices through systems that simply aren't designed to handle them.

Yes, many other companies throw in loyalty or conquest marketing into their tool set because they can, but that does not mean that it will be effective. There is an art and a science to appending and cleansing a database that should be handled by specialists just as there is a quality factor inherent to the art and science of tailoring a good suit. Loyalty marketing takes strategy. Conquest marketing requires a strong plan. Neither can be done appropriately through website or CRM automation tools. Doing so is checking off the box rather than taking advantage of the full potential.

Your database can be turned into gold for both sales and service. However, trying to do it with add-on tools is just as bad as trying to fill your business wardrobe from the same place that you buy cereal. Can you get a suit at Walmart? Sure you can. Of course, a suit is supposed to make you look great and stand out. If your wardrobe came from a blue light special, chances are you'll stand out in it for all the wrong reasons.

Marketing to a database must be handled with care and through the level of expertise that can only be achieved through specialists. Don't mark it off as "done" just because you have some drip marketing emails hitting a bunch of spam filters in your database. Make it work by putting real effort into grabbing the low hanging fruit that your database can be.

Mark Dubis
At this point it's probably no secret that a dealership's Achilles Heel is marketing. 95% of dealers are really lacking in this area. When it comes to sales skills they are great. Once the customer is on the lot the sales team can do an awesome job most of the time and the result is thousands of happy customers. To your point they need professional guidance to establish a long term brand building and loyalty enhancement strategy to differentiate them in the market. To your point cookie cutter solutions treat some symptoms but do not address the cure that dealers need to succeed in the long run.

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