As automotive marketers, we get asked this question a lot and at first glance, you would think it’s a no brainer to use your website provider for your digital marketing. They already manage many aspects of your online presence and offer many of the automotive digital marketing solutions you would get from an agency. So why not use them for your digital marketing to trim down on multiple vendors?
While we are all about making our dealership manager’s lives easier, it’s important to remember that website providers are just that, website providers. They started branching out into digital marketing when they noticed their dealership clients needing those services and asking for vendor suggestions. So, of course, they said, “we can do that!” and then put together a couple programs to make it happen, and dealers ate it up because it was an easy solution. No need to go looking for another vendor when we can use our web provider. So, these web providers ran with it. And while I’m usually all about one stop shopping, as a dealer there are a few things you should be weary of before jumping on the web provider band wagon when considering them for your digital advertising.
Most automotive website providers are huge companies with dealer accounts throughout the US, all varying brands ranging from Chevrolet to Kia to Mercedes Benz. They have a library of creative to pull from each month and apply it to your website, and in-turn, will apply it to the digital marketing campaigns you sign on to. This library of generic creative leaves you susceptible to having the exact same creative your competitor down the street is using. Your offers are plugged into a cookie cutter layout and you’ll most likely be limited on the number of sales and service offers and specials you advertise. As automotive marketers, it’s our job to tailor your creative to your dealership and adjust accordingly throughout the month. Custom creative that can be customized to your dealership is important to set your dealership apart from your competitors. The day-to-day activities and operations of your dealership are constantly changing, and your marketing efforts should be prepared to do the same.
Long Turnaround Times
Working with a website provider, you’re going to see an average turnaround time for creative and campaign launches to run anywhere from 24 -48 hours. Once you gather your sales and service offers for the month and get them over to your website provider, you now might need to wait two days for these to be posted to your website and even longer for them to be implemented in your digital campaigns. The longer it takes for your campaigns to go live, the more time your competitors have to gain on your market share. You know how competitive it is out there when it comes to the automotive sales, why take the chance of delayed turnaround times also working against you?
When you work with a digital marketing agency, you are assigned an account manager and digital campaign manager, whose sole responsibilities are to get your campaigns live, in a timely manner. If the OEM comes out with a program enhancement that allows you to lower a price, all adjustments are made almost instantaneously across your website and across all current digital campaigns – SEM, retargeting, Facebook, Geo-tracking, etc. It’s important to stay consistent across all platforms and your designated account management team is there to make that happen.
Generalized Digital Campaigns
As mentioned earlier, there’s something to be said about customized creative. That same ideology stretches across your digital campaigns. All dealerships are not created equal and the same goes for a dealership’s market. A dealer located in Idaho is very different from a dealer located in the NY-Metro area. While a 20-mile radius for a digital campaign for a Montana dealer might work, a dealer in northern NJ most likely wouldn’t need to cast that wide of a net to capture their target audience. Northern NJ is much more densely populated and your spend just won’t stretch the distance it might out in the Midwest. In fact, you might hit NYC by going out 20 miles, which you most likely would like to stay out of as a NJ dealership.
Large companies who work with dealers across the country have set parameters they pull from when implementing new digital campaigns, which just won’t work for dealers located in the NY-Metro area. The market for each dealer in this area is extremely specific and needs to be drilled down on a case by case basis.
Dashboard vs Google Analytics
Dashboards became all the rage a few years back for companies like web providers to present their marketing results to dealers. Let’s face it, dealers and all who work at the dealership are all wearing multiple hats so any help they can get to have something removed from their plate is appreciated. While a dashboard centralizes all metrics into one place, it also allows the company behind the dashboard to pick and choose what metrics funnel into it. As a dealer, you should be asking your digital vendors to present their reporting through Google analytics. Google analytics is the holy grail to automotive marketers and should be the same for a dealer. It allows you to track all important metrics, covering all aspects of your marketing efforts. All digital campaigns being run by any vendor can be funneled through here and all reporting should be pulled from here for reporting purposes.
At Digital to Dealer Direct, we forego the fancy dashboard, and compile all reporting by pulling and analyzing data straight from Google analytics. All results are explained to our dealers and we’re happy to show dealers how to pull the same metrics on their own from Google analytics. Transparency is key to building a solid working relationship and we’re committed to our dealers being confident in the services and reporting we provide.
If you’re thinking about a new automotive digital marketing provider and would like more information on how Digital to Dealer can help you navigate through the digital marketing selection process, give us a call at 877-958-4524 or contact us today!
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.
For more information on how D2D can help, feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org