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Who is in charge of your dealership's marketing?  Not just your online marketing - your dealership marketing.  Do you have an ad agency, an outsourced marketing company, an in-house marketing director, or are you like many dealers who put the responsibility on someone who already has a job...not marketing?.  Whether that's your Internet Manager during down time from answering leads and hitting his own numbers, or even your GM who has some marketing experience but isn't trained as such and has a just a few other priorities.

In my experience, most SMB's have someone in charge of marketing for their company.  I've used a local dry cleaner with an in-house marketing manager.  And I'm not talking levels of education here...I'm talking designation and dedication, which does not include an internet sales guy who moonlights as an online marketing expert. 

I don't know many dealers who have someone in charge of handling messaging, branding, media buying, reporting and accountability for ROI.  That is the job of a marketing director.

Perhaps the keyword here is "company".  Do the people in your dealership consider themselves working for a company rather than a "dealership"?   A company that makes millions of dollars and has a staff of sometimes hundreds.  Does your Internet Marketing Manager with the $10k online ad budget REALLY care about your service or parts department, or is he spending all of his money on leads for the sales department?  Is he aware that 45%+ search engine leads can be fixed-op-related?

The point - your dealership, no matter how large or small, needs a designated person in charge of your branding, marketing, advertising, media relations, social networking, oversight of SEO, SEM, reputation management, media buying, etc. etc.  I recommend someone with some type of degree in marketing and at least 5 years experience in the work place.  I assure you they will be busy, they will take charge over the direction of your company, work with your vendors on a cohesive plan, and be the point of accountability.  And you?  You will sleep better at night.

Tags: Dealership, advertising, buying, marketing, media, online, sem, seo, social

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You can also utilize full service companies like VinSolutions. VinSolutions has an entire Marketing & Retention office strictly dedicated to helping dealers with their marketing and advertising efforts. We take on everything from traditional targeted marketing to improving your digital presence. The beauty is that we do all of the leg work for you and we have transparent/measurable results. Here are the types of communication we offer for our dealers; SEO, SEM, Social Media Management, Targeted Direct Mail, Live Calls, Targeted Emails, E-Newsletters, Web Banners, POP material, etc. When you deal with companies that are fully integrated, it helps dealers reduce their number of vendors which will make everyone's day to day operations run smoother.
James, are you saying VinSolutions has traditional advertising capabilities? Meaning you guys create the branding, messaging and creative for Radio, Print and Television advertising? And you do the media buying on top of that?

So the dealer then has no need for their ad agency?
VinSolutions has built as a full service agency. We represent over 100 years of experience in automotive marketing – both traditional and digital. Our team has worked with 75 of the top 100 dealer groups in the United States and Canada and all of the major OEM’s. On the traditional side we do TV, Radio, Ad buys, Live Calls, Mailers (we offer runs as small as 10 pieces to full saturation pieces). On the digital side, we are currently building and managing web sites, SEO, SEM and Social Media for over 400 customers. I would be happy to do a full analysis of any dealers digital presence / traditional marketing to show them how and what we would do for their store to help them Find, Sell and Keep more customers profitably.
James, I'm sure everyone appreciates the plug for your company. I'm not sure you answered my question however.

Does VinSolutions offer services which entail building messaging/creatives for traditional media (radio, print, television) while also providing media buying capability for those mediums?
As mentioned above, yes, we supply messaging/creative for traditional meda (radio, print, television) while also providing media buying capabilities for those meduims.
Great. So back to the topic of the post - would you like to share who your company works with inside the dealership? Someone that manages and is accountable for the branding / marketing / advertising for the dealership as a whole.
I recommend outsourcing this type of work to an experienced advertising/marketing firm, and not just because I run one. Automotive advertising is a lot more than just IDing your demo and putting together a commercial. Good traditional advertising is the result of market research that can confirm to a dealership how much to spend on any specific medium (TV, radio, Internet) w/o wasting money.

I guess my answer will be two fold. I am the Marketing and e-commerce manager at our dealership and I oversee all the messaging, social media marketing and advertising. I do however use resources such as Vinsolutions for help in creating our message as well as look and feel for our ads, website and in-store displays. My position is new at this dealership and I agree that for a dealership to truly have a focused message and consistent marketing message there needs to be a "point man" for lack of a better term. I think for many dealers this is a new type of thinking. There needs to be a break from the "old" way of marketing in the car business. I have to support James on this one and say that whether a dealership has a dedicated Marketing Manager or not, Vinsolutions marketing department is top notch and will provide a turn key marketing operation for a great value.
Thanks Craig. I could not agree more. So as the Marketing Manager, do you oversee the dealership's traditional campaigns as well as the website? Are you signing off on messaging and creative production for all mediums including their Radio, Print and TV (assuming you do so)?
The easy answer is, yes. We are backing away from radio, print and TV as marketing mediums. We feel that it is a good choice for large companies like Ford and GM however the ROI is far too low for the targeted market that we need to get in the door. I would rather target 1000 customers that are in equity with a tailored message via email, phone, and mail rather than 100,000 people who are in no position to buy. We use radio and TV only for special events like fairground sales, etc. I find that our CRM provides us a wealth of information that we use for direct marketing, something that wasn’t possible in the paper and pencil days; It will even look up the customers Facebook page for us! I think with the new media on the web and smart phones we are going to see a drastic change in the next 10 years. Dealers can no longer rest on their laurels, we have to catch up or we will be left behind.


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