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What started off as a debate turned into one of the most eye-opening discussions of my career. A friend of mine who run marketing at an online corporate giant was interviewing me about my recent decision to purchase several of their products. The topic of conversions came up and the fireworks started: what was considered a conversion in the automotive industry?
His contention was that conversions can only be sales, that leads by themselves weren't enough to qualify as a web conversion. He went so far as to say that a good dealer website should be able to SELL cars directly and that people should just be coming in to finalize paperwork and pick up their vehicle (or even better, have it all delivered to their house or work).
I won that part of the debate - leads are conversions in today's world because so few people will buy cars without driving them first. I explained the necessity of building excitement and taking ownership during the drive, that people might be willing to plop over a couple of hundred dollars for a tablet sight-unseen but that even a new car is challenging to sell without a visit to the dealership, let alone a used car.
He relented, but only after pointing me towards the lack of a Chief Conversion Officer at dealerships. Despite being something that is more easily translated in direct online sales rather than lead generation, there are things that we can learn from the concept.
This infographic by Monetate details the job and its responsibilities. Click to enlarge.
What can the automotive industry learn from it?