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Oh Good! Another OEM Mandated Digital Partnership program horror Story

yagoparamo

Sr. Refresher
Dec 30, 2009
1,901
493
113
First Name
Yago
Ford Motor Co.’s Ford and Lincoln National Dealer Councils are elected by dealers in the regions they represent. FordDirect is a joint venture that was started in 2000 by dealers, and to this day, dealers retain voting control. Additionally, our Dealer Advisory Board is made up of a cross segment of dealers across the country who are passionate about digital, and are dedicated to helping all Ford and Lincoln dealers sell more cars and trucks. Daniel, we welcome your input and would like to invite you to join our DealerConnection Elite pilot to provide feedback on enhancing our websites. We will also reach out to you today regarding your search spend through the Digital Advertising Solution. What we’ve done with other dealers who have successful independent search campaigns is create “swim lanes” to maximize effectiveness and ensure that we do not compete over search terms. Again, we appreciate the dialogue and look forward to working with you.
J,

Is Ford Direct owned by Ford or is it a private separate company?
 
Reactions: 1 person

Todd Caputo

Getting Refreshed
Feb 9, 2012
78
62
18
First Name
Todd
This is real simple...do not take the factory's money (EBE, SFE, IMR etc...etc....) Than you may do as you please it is still your business. If you choose to use the factories money than you must use their vendors. I have been through this with GM. I can see why they mandate things. Many dealers are not savvy digitally so they need the factory guidance and support (right or wrong). In the case of most people in this forum we are not the norm and thats why we are here. I have chosen not to take the factory money so we have our own website (non cobalt) and we have our own vendor for PPC. What I do not like is the fact that since I do not participate in the digital programs my inventory does not show up on the factory websites. I think this hurts the consumer more than anything else because they are getting bad information. Its almost like food stamps....you can only buy what the food stamps given to you will pay for..
 
Reactions: 2 people

yagoparamo

Sr. Refresher
Dec 30, 2009
1,901
493
113
First Name
Yago
This is real simple...do not take the factory's money (EBE, SFE, IMR etc...etc....) Than you may do as you please it is still your business. If you choose to use the factories money than you must use their vendors. I have been through this with GM. I can see why they mandate things. Many dealers are not savvy digitally so they need the factory guidance and support (right or wrong). In the case of most people in this forum we are not the norm and thats why we are here. I have chosen not to take the factory money so we have our own website (non cobalt) and we have our own vendor for PPC. What I do not like is the fact that since I do not participate in the digital programs my inventory does not show up on the factory websites. I think this hurts the consumer more than anything else because they are getting bad information. Its almost like food stamps....you can only buy what the food stamps given to you will pay for..
Todd,

I like that you compare this to food stamps... :)

I think a major misunderstanding is that Ford Direct is the same as Ford.
 

NickCybela

Refresher
Jul 30, 2009
103
14
18
First Name
Nick
It's interesting you mentioned the Chrysler program. We haven't found the same success as you-- do you have a trick or contact? Our most recent correspondence was a very interesting e-mail that said:

"...These won’t be approved. Chrysler has a strict policy for not allowing lead generating code on the Brand Websites. The reason for this is that they are tracking all lead activity on the websites and since your tool is not integrated with ours we are unable to track..."

In other words, even though we have a product that's generating a ton of leads and are willing to share that information so they can show that it's working; we aren't allowed to put it on our site because it's not integrated directly with their system (which, let's face it, is a built in functionality of Dealer.com because they already track all incoming leads).
 

Daniel J. Mondello

Refresher
Oct 17, 2011
181
49
28
First Name
Dan
It's interesting you mentioned the Chrysler program. We haven't found the same success as you-- do you have a trick or contact? Our most recent correspondence was a very interesting e-mail that said:

"...These won’t be approved. Chrysler has a strict policy for not allowing lead generating code on the Brand Websites. The reason for this is that they are tracking all lead activity on the websites and since your tool is not integrated with ours we are unable to track..."

In other words, even though we have a product that's generating a ton of leads and are willing to share that information so they can show that it's working; we aren't allowed to put it on our site because it's not integrated directly with their system (which, let's face it, is a built in functionality of Dealer.com because they already track all incoming leads).
PM ME I'll share my Chrysler Digital Partner recommendation with you
 
Reactions: 1 person
Feb 27, 2014
1
0
0
First Name
Alex
Daniel-I certainly feel your pain, and I am on the vendor side. Every time an OEM forces a dealer to use one company specifically, all it does is interfere with the current marketing/advertising plan the dealership has in place. I have experienced that with several Ford clients already, and luckily we are able to work around it. We are a newer Certified Partner with Chrysler, and I see the type of services many of the providers offer and as you know, they are poor quality services and dealers feel compelled with using them because they are being forced down their throats.

Many of my dealers in the and around the Boston area are always asking how can we get around this very situation. My answer is always this: Contact the provider, ask them about the strategy they are using. Have them use the "free" money to advertise in areas you would not usually advertise in. It is house money, so use it differently, target areas you wouldn't typically target. This allows you to continue using the vendors you choose while not interrupting the strategies you have in place with them. I have had several dealers use this strategy in the past and have a Ford dealer working on a similar solution with the new Ford Direct/Dealer.com SEM money. While not a perfect solution, it may provide some benefit.

Hope this helps at least a little. Good luck!
AB
 

Eley Duke

Sr. Refresher
Nov 30, 2009
471
252
93
First Name
Eley
This is real simple...do not take the factory's money (EBE, SFE, IMR etc...etc....) Than you may do as you please it is still your business. If you choose to use the factories money than you must use their vendors. I have been through this with GM. I can see why they mandate things. Many dealers are not savvy digitally so they need the factory guidance and support (right or wrong). In the case of most people in this forum we are not the norm and thats why we are here. I have chosen not to take the factory money so we have our own website (non cobalt) and we have our own vendor for PPC. What I do not like is the fact that since I do not participate in the digital programs my inventory does not show up on the factory websites. I think this hurts the consumer more than anything else because they are getting bad information. Its almost like food stamps....you can only buy what the food stamps given to you will pay for..
Todd, this may be easier said than done for majority of GM dealers. As you said there are many dealers who are behind the times digitally. A lot of dealers are ahead of the game digitally but may also depend on the programs to be profitable. 2 years ago I heard that Atkinson asked how many GM dealers were profitable, the answer was majority, I can't remember the exact figure, but maybe 68%. Then it was asked if they took EBE and SFE away, the answer dropped to less than 50%. Clearly an issue. I agree on the aggravating demands GM places on us, but if we can enroll in a program and hit the marks, and there is money to gain, we are going to do it. There are ways to work around some of the issues. What concerns me for the future is if you do not participate in some of the programs what will the backlash be?