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Which ad source gets credit for the sale?

Jeff Kershner

Founder
May 1, 2005
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1,340
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Jeff
Which ad source gets credit for the sale?

Our industry loves to credit the sale to the originating ad source that provided the first in lead. Our CRM's have promoted this behavior.

Which ad source receives credit for the sale at your dealership? Why?
 
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Reactions: ed.brooks
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jon.berna

D.R. Truth
Nov 14, 2011
165
207
First Name
Jon
This question really drives at the heart of a large marketing attribution problem in automotive.

Although the fist source that contacts the dealership is the one that they use, this is really a last touch attribution model when you consider the trail of advertising that influenced that contact to the dealership (phone, showroom and internet lead).

The real challenge is the following:
  1. If a customer first hears a radio ad for your dealership
  2. Drives by and sees your billboard
  3. Goes on cars.com and sees your inventory
  4. Clicks a paid search ad and views a VDP on your website and leaves the site
  5. Gets re-targetted and looks again and leaves the site
  6. Finally sees your television commercial then walks into the store.
Which source from the above gets credit? My answer is equal attribution or multi-touch attribution. You also have to consider multi device usage.

The ability to track online and offline behavior is very challenging and one that none of the current CRMs in auto offer a solution to. Any lead-side customer gate or widgety approach to this won't work. Anything that requires the dealership to manually submit ad schedules or ask the customer won't work.

The best idea I have is a post transaction required web based customer action that can retroactively match to their previous website engagement. However, since the majority of integration points in the customer path to the sale are in closed systems and each dealership is so very different from the next I see this as a problem that will persist for years to come.

Great conversation Jeff!
 
Oct 28, 2012
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Chris K
My personal feelings on this is that it's impossible to do attribute on a 1:1 level. We as people who do marketing like to see those results because it makes us feel justified or happy or whatever.

It's literally like Stuart from Mad TV

The fact that the CRM's and lead providers and promoting this behavior is retarded. It makes everything that much harder to deal with. Instead of looking at the mix and making sure that we are in front of enough people enough of the time. We spend our time jumping from dashboard to dashboard fielding vendor objections.

Ugh...
 
Nov 10, 2015
14
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John
Really an amazing question considering all of the different influencers.
Do we ask the customer - will they even know?
How do we get inside of the customers mind to understand what really moves them?
We have tried a few different things, increasing spends in specific areas of marketing to see if they increase (or decrease sales) - this has been almost impossible to run a controlled test because of the way the manufacturer's deliver their media.
In the end we have come to the position that it all matters - every channel COULD be an influencer - and our job is to drive media as agressively (and cost effectively) as possible across every touch point and channel we can reach our target audience.
 

ed.brooks

Boss
Jan 15, 2010
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Ed
Our current CRM structures don't allow for a real world analysis of consumer behavior leading up to an automobile purchase - a high involvement purchase.

According to Google's ZMOT, consumers are utilizing 18+ sources of information leading up to a vehicle purchase - each with varying degrees of influence. It's way too simplistic to think that any one source deserves the "credit" for the sale.
 
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Alex.Lemoing

Lot Lizard
Jul 15, 2013
47
17
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Alexandre
The source that drives the most profitability is your "message". No matter how much your spend in advertising, no matter how many third party leads you are getting, if your dealership's general message and showroom atmosphere is crap, you will not sell anything because the customers are not wanting to deal with you.
Of course, a boost of marketing and visibility is always welcome and recommended, but at the end of the day, your sales force attitude drives traffic and converts sales. Word of mouth and referrals are your most powerful allies.
 
Feb 25, 2016
1
1
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John
I know it's hard to believe but enterprise marketing decisions are made every day based on the single source lead attribution model, be it first or last. Mr. Vendor, your fate is in my hands. I pick the wrong one too often and watch your ad budget get wacked. Moronic isn't it?

The customer is an elusive little Manx. I can yell multi channel influencers, consumer behavior, digital imprint, engagement metrics, etc., but until someone figures out how catch all that and put it in a CRM report it's all I can do to get them to listen. Management likes their reporting neat and tidy and CRM vendors are right there to provide single lead closing ratios.

So you see, in my world it is a very important decision, first... or last?
 
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Reactions: John Washam
Nov 10, 2015
14
1
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John
Absolutely agreed.
And the hard part is to turn our legacy sales team into customer relationship experts to explain programs (and new features) to our customers.
That for me is the "last..."
 

Jeff Kershner

Founder
May 1, 2005
3,778
1,340
Awards
2
First Name
Jeff
I know it's hard to believe but enterprise marketing decisions are made every day based on the single source lead attribution model, be it first or last. Mr. Vendor, your fate is in my hands. I pick the wrong one too often and watch your ad budget get wacked. Moronic isn't it?
So we all agree that 98% of the time, no SINGLE ad source should receive credit for the SALE!
We all agree that the structure of our Industry CRM's and their corresponding reports that attribute a sale to 1 ad source (first in or last in, no matter) is potentially causing dealers to make bad decisions on where they should be spending their marketing dollars.

"Experience" has been the buzzword across the industry conferences and media outlets for the last few years. "Attribution" will be the buzzword to replace it in 2016-17. With the eruption of so many marketing channels and devices, the inability to accurately track marketing to sales attribution; assigning credit to a marketing touchpoint, has never been more complicated. Yet most dealers still overlook the need for a skilled marketing director or coordinator. I have yet to see a CRM that goes much further than reporting one ad source per customer lead or insisting the choice of ad source by drop-down menu when manually entering a new customer opportunity.

The goal of attribution is to assess the value of each marketing touchpoint so you can spend your marketing budget more effectively.

What are some ideas you/we can share with the Refresh community OR how have you been tracking your marketing attribution, past assigning a single ad source to the sale?
 
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