I had an interesting conversation with a consultant this last week at NADA that I'd like to share with the rest of you and get your feedback.
His take was 3rd party providers are on their way out and SEO/SEM will replace them entirely. While I agree SEO/SEM plays a vital role in an internet department's marketing plan, I don't believe it should be the whole plan. Neither should the entire budget go to the 3rd parties. Rather it's a combined effort with both aspects to return an adequate ROI. It all goes back to good process and management.
Further, I would say a store with poor process will continue to struggle to ROI their spend with SEO/SEM as the source of the leads is not the problem. The problem lies in a dealership who doesn't know how to handle an internet customer. In my mind, this is what will spell the difference between the winners and losers over the next 5 years.
So what do you think? Are 3rd Party Providers a relic of our past?