Have you ever been to a restaurant and had terrible service? I’d guess the answer to that question is yes. Now, did that terrible service sway your opinion on going back to that restaurant? Again, I’m assuming the answer to that question is, in fact, yes. This premise is carried over every service industry, so why would automotive digital marketing be any different? As automotive marketers, it is our job to provide our clients with results and the highest standard of service. As a dealer, it is your job to find an agency willing to provide you with that highest standard of service. Here are a few tips on what to look out for when it comes to finding the agency to fit your servicing needs – from the day you sign them on, to years down the line.
Landing on the agency that’s right for you — “Are you saying there’s a chance?”
So, you’ve been approached for weeks (and in most cases, more likely months) by the same agency account executive who has spent hours researching your dealership and everything that comes along with that — your competitors, your target market, your current marketing initiatives, getting to know you and your fellow managers (down to the days you’re at the dealership to your favorite lunch spots), and you have finally decided to listen to what they have to say. Once you’ve made the decision to give them a shot, there are a few things to look for when it comes to the service after the sale. Are they reporting on a weekly basis about how the campaign is doing? Are they working with your staff to ensure employees know what’s running and can properly handle the incoming leads? This is where you’ll see if you can trust this new agency and see how they would handle an entire account. And, although email is the norm these days, you want to see the AE at your store working with your dealership and staff – that’s the dedication from an agency partner that’ll help put your dealership above the rest.
Receiving what was promised – The proof is in the pudding.
Here is where you can see if what was promised by the agency will actually come to fruition. And I’m not talking only in terms of more leads, more sales, more service appointments – it goes deeper than that. So often after an AE or agency spends all that time schmoozing to land the account, they make the mistake of thinking the hard part is over and their job is done. They tend to turn the work over to the account manager assigned to the new account and they’re on to the next big thing. While we understand the account manager is a very integral part of servicing the client, it is also integral for the AE to stay involved, come up with fresh ideas, and make it a point to get to your dealership to continue the relationship building process with all the dealership’s employees. It’s getting to know the employees who are in the dealership, knowing the ins-and-outs to see what is and isn’t working at the dealership level. Your staff should feel comfortable sharing information with your agency. Your AE’s job is to make your job a bit easier and that means diving a bit deeper than the service level marketing. A strong agency partner will get right in there with your BDC department and see what’s going on. Everything from monitoring the CRM to listening to phone call recordings to see how every lead is handled. It’s that kind of TLC that will make your dealership a success. As a dealer, you need to keep this in mind – it’s easy to find an agency, but finding the right agency is a different story.
Relationship Building – Did we just become best friends?
In my ten years of working in the communications industry, and six of those years most recently spent in automotive marketing, it is the account manager position that stands out as the heart of all client-agency relationships. These are the people dedicated to making sure everything goes smoothly with the day-to-day marketing efforts for your dealership. They are constantly emailing and chatting with you and your managers at the store discussing what’s on the advertising schedule, getting approvals, talking about what the competitors are doing, and the list goes on and on. The account manager is the person really making it all happen behind the scenes. A liaison between the AE and all departments back at the agency, as well as the point person for all vendor and media outreach. Servicing an account becomes the account manager’s most important responsibility and finding one that can juggle a ton of projects for various clients, while keeping everything on schedule, and still being personable to the clients can be no easy task. Similar to the AE on your account, you become close to these people after talking to them almost every day, so it’s important you can trust them. They are true multi-taskers and you want a solid account manager on your account.
As an automotive advertising agency, it’s our job to build, maintain, and grow our relationships with our clients, vendors, and media reps – after all, the core of marketing stems from communication. If we can’t communicate to our clients, how are we going to communicate our clients’ message to their audience? As a dealer, just think about that when you’re on the hunt for a new agency partner. Can you trust them? Do you believe what they’re saying? Can you see yourself working closely with this person? You’re in control here, so you want to choose the best fit for you and your dealership.
When you’re deciding on dinner tonight, just take a moment to think about where you choose and why. Moving past the food, thinking about how you feel when you’re greeted at the door, welcomed by your waiter, and serviced throughout the night. As a marketing professional, I try to always pay attention to little things like this outside of my automotive world. As a dealer, you’re paying a lot of money to an agency for their advertising efforts so choose wisely and be picky.
Keep in mind every agency is different. Not every advertising partner puts account management as a priority. From BDC support to compliance trained designers and automotive specialized account managers, D2D knows the importance of good customer service. Download our 2019 Comparison Checklist to see how your current agency stacks up. If you have any questions regarding your current account management with your agency, or D2D’s account management, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Diana began her marketing career more than 12 years ago, starting in public relations, and moving to automotive marketing in 2013. Her extensive background of account management, mixed with her knowledge and experience of digital and traditional marketing, allows her to manage clients and staff effectively and efficiently.