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Discussion in 'Websites, SEO, SEM, Display, Social, Marketing' started by Daniel J. Mondello, Jan 9, 2014.
Double edge sword
I got my start on the vendor side selling websites and I know where you're coming from, Daniel. However, the one thing that seems to be a constant in regards to Dealer Websites is the compression of the price dealers are willing to pay. (What's the average price these days? $600-$1000 a month?) While I'll agree with you in respect to wanting "experts" are you willing to pay for them?
I do want to say that we have some awesome vendors out there in the website world that can do awesome things on a budget though.
Being able to build a website is definitely not a prerequisite to success. That's why I have a web developer on my team. I spend my time reading case studies, reading books and just plain studying the psychology of internet conversions. I work with a team on how to implement those changes properly. Each person an expert in their specialization, while having a working knowledge of many.
This is how many industries and companies work. Only an extremely rare few can be complete experts in multiple fields.
Movies and Plays bring in experts in whatever the movie is about to make sure they are doing the best they can to represent that time period, animal, etc.
Big companies bring in Operations Managers to analyze the processes.
Your store brought in a Internet Sales expert to handle Internet Sales.
I don't doubt that you have a great understanding of many fields of marketing, but I would bet that you are lacking in some parts. That's why you align yourself with companies/vendors that will help fill in the gaps.
As for paying for performance, there are a few that do it, and some that would even entertain the thought. Heck, you could probably convince me to even do it. However, you are going to have to start tracking your calls in Google Analytics, which you don't see very often, and you would have to have your website set up for it.
I think this is getting off topic a little bit… the OP is talking about how car dealerships put their money in the hands of people that are not really aware of the industry. IE Automotive Digital Marketing
Not going to name names here, but the suggestions that we get from our soon to be ex marketing partners are “soo 2009” and their practices haven’t adapted with the ever evolving internet. Also, they are applying practices that may work for other industries, but definitely not the automotive industry.
Dealerships trust their money with these companies because, to put it lightly, they’re clueless. The reports that they’re given are modded to hell to make the person viewing it feel “well these numbers are higher and this arrow is going up, so it must be good!”
Just be careful who you guys trust for a “Automotive Digital Marketing Professional” because that term is being tossed around now more than a beach ball at a Nickleback concert
A large part of success in this business is the edge that you can have over your geographical competition. More often than not, that edge is determined by:
a) your understanding of the par set by your competition;
b) your ability to measure the results/effectiveness of your own marketing campaign;
c) your ability to make changes in accordance with letters a and b above.
Ergo, yes, I would say that having staff with the capabilities to make these changes in real time is a necessary tool for success. In a digital atmosphere, whether you like it or not, that means having an understanding of script languages. Otherwise, you're stuck in the waiting game of either having a conversation with your out-source marketing/consulting partner to request them to make changes on your behalf, or having a conversation with your CMS provider to put in a ticket for custom work--and either option probably won't be ready for you within a week. In this business, where numbers are measured months at a time, a week can make the difference of being below-, at- or above par with your competition.
Couldn't Have Said it Better Myself
To me, a company that offers digital marketing services, who's staff offer automotive marketing advice but don't know how to build the components necessary to render such marketing, is like saying, "I can write you a New York Times bestseller novel, but I don't know how to use a keyboard or pen."
Having a basic understanding of the language or tool that renders the very marketing in which one claims expertise is as necessary as using a hammer to build a house. To do anything else is to command, "Do as I say, not as I do," to your clients.
Seriously, does anyone believe that dealerships have unproductive internet departments because they don't have a code geek on staff? I can assure you that after 40 years in the car business, this is the least of their problems. It is, and has always been, about selling cars and making money.
Yes, actually, I do. I understand that you have tenure in this industry, but with all due respect, allow me to elaborate on my counter-opinion. Blockbuster was our neighborhood movie rental/purchase store for decades. They failed to adopt a strong and convenient internet presence and were therefor ousted by mail and streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon.com, etc. Nobody twenty years ago would have assumed that people would be doing all their film viewing via streaming over the internet. It was unfathomable because of bandwidth constraints and server capacities. Now, it's the number one source of film viewing. What makes you think that car shoppers won't be making--or haven't already made--the same adjustment?
Nowadays, when somebody has a question or is looking for a product, their first method of approach is an internet search--because they can do it from work, home, the train, wherever, without having to travel to a dealership and physically subject themselves to the face-to-face pressure of a salesman in a showroom... yet. Obviously that becomes a necessary step in the car buying process. But the information available and its presentation through its dealership's website can and will make the difference of their visiting that dealership. Billboard ads are nice, but a customer can't shop inventory just by looking at one. A website, however, is exactly where that happens. So if you're saying that there is no importance in the search result ranking of my dealership's website when somebody is looking for a "Ford F-150 Boston MA" in Google, then you're subjecting yourself to the way of Blockbuster.
Yes, this industry IS about selling cars and making money. The means by which people are doing that are changing, and if dealers aren't privy to such change, they'll be eating the digital dust of dealers who DO have on-staff coders and marketers who can invest the proper time in competition research and SEO/SEM domination. In my possibly naive and inexperienced opinion, it's simply a necessary step in the future of car buying.
Doug says, "...adding a geek ignores the mission critical performance challenges managers face everyday".
Richard says, "...our team creates a better web experience. Our KPIs are more visitors and more ups per web visitor, ergo more sales."
Richard, I believe y'all aren't fully aware of how rare you team is. There are 20,000+ car dealers in the USA and I bet your team is one of 30 similar teams.
This means, you and your team are "not scalable", therefore the Hulu/AMNZ "category killer" analogy can't materialize. Dealer management is upto their armpits in chaos and are NOT equipped to recruit, interview, manage, train, score geeks. Hell... they have a very hard time finding anyone new to be a car sales rep (a business they know intently)