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An Announcement from Ron Burgundy About Car Dealerships

Dave Hollander, Cobalt Online Marketing Manager
by Dave Hollander, Cobalt Online Marketing Manager

"Ladies and gentleman, can I please have your attention? I’ve just been handed an urgent and horrifying news story. And I need all of you to stop what you’re doing, and listen."

- Ron Burgundy, Channel 4 News Team

This just in. The common KPI is dead. The age-old standard of automotive marketing performance measurement is gone.

Normally, a scotch-guzzling, mustache-wielding, cannonballing anchorman garbed in tighty reddies and an uncomfortably untied terrycloth robe is not the first thing you think of when you think “credible source.” But hear him out on this one. Or hear me out. I drink half as much scotch, shave semi-regularly and usually remember to tie my robe. OK--- that doesn’t exactly scream “reliability” either. I can already see that this argument is going to need a credibility boost.

Here Lies the KPI

eMarketer, an independent market research company specializing in digital marketing insights and trends, dared to dive into the tangled web of dealer success metrics in their 2013 report, Automotive KPIs: Traditional Metrics Still Carry Clout. What they found was that the key performance indicators (KPIs) that dealers continue to rely most upon when tracking advertising performance are not so key after all. eMarketer’s stats and stance are outlined in the new eBook, Automotive Moneyball – The Best Kept Secret to Knocking Your Digita.... It strips down a few of the most common automotive KPIs in more detail. But the gist of the argument is this:

Missing Metrics

Let’s use CTR as an example. According to eMarketer’s report, “the CTR remains the KPI most often used to judge the effectiveness of a campaign.” But eMarketer goes on to explain that the CTR is in fact “a microscopic number, reflecting a minuscule amount of consumer activity.” Despite being one of the most valued metrics, the CTR represents just a mere fraction of shopper activity when viewed in relation to the modern auto consumer’s onslaught of online activities.

In short— when it comes to clicks, the irony is thick. Clicks are not alone. Leads, site visits and VDP views all have value— as do inventory searches and hours & directions lookups. They just can’t tell the whole story when viewed in isolation. No single number can.

The implication is that automakers and dealers can get a better understanding of the return on their marketing investment by layering combinations of once-isolated metrics into trends, or patterns, in shopping behavior. The predictive potential of these patterns is further boosted when they can be linked directly to purchase information and layered with demographic data. Buyer personas soon emerge. And these personas can be used to target prospects with more precision and confidence.

60% of the Time, It Work’s Every Time

Let’s call it what it is— analytics is a real pain in the assessment. And asking any one number to summarize the impact of your advertising is asking too much of an individual metric. A single KPI is simply incomplete— a pint-sized, partial picture of the multi-channel, multi-device shoppers they represent.

Burgundy’s boy, self-professed ladies man Brian Fantana, is almost as gifted at uttering nonsense as his Channel 4 News Team counterpart. But strangely, he may have been on to something when he offered one of the funniest success metric proclamations ever. His declaration is absurdly funny. It’s also just plain old absurd. So too is any attempt at simplifying performance measurement into a single, solitary, end-all-be-all metric that can conclusively define advertising success.

Killing the common KPI isn’t the death of analytics. It’s the rebirth. The KPI is survived by a new breed of behavioral buying patterns. How do you identify these predictive patterns and leverage them?

Register for the webinar, The Dealership Metrics that Win Championships –  to find out how you can take your dealership metrics to the postseason. Here’s hoping your next campaign performs better with shoppers than Sex Panther does with the ladies.

So… what do you think? Am I just trying to grab headlines, or is the KPI, as we once knew it, dead?

Automotive Moneyball Webinar

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When it comes to measuring your advertising performance, the only numbers you care about are the ones that have been proven to lead to a sale. Which KPI’s belong in your starting lineup? How can you make sure your ads are served to the right shoppers, in the right channel, at the right time, every time? Register today to find out!
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About the Author

Dave Hollander, Cobalt Online Marketing Manager Dave Hollander still regrets selling his first car, a '89 Jeep Wrangler named Mallory, dubbed in honor of Mallory Keaton, his childhood crush and the one that got away when Family Ties was cancelled the same year his Jeep was born. Mallory's top got stuck down one summer. The Jeep's. Not the girl's. But that's no excuse. Mallory, if you're out there... it wasn't you. It was him. Dave is a Sr Marketing Communications Manager at Cobalt. He joined the Marketing & Communications team in April 2012 and helped launch Cobalt's video marketing. He now partners with Cobaltians far smarter than him to offer actionable insights to dealers through content marketing. Previously, as an Email Marketing Specialist at Cobalt, Dave was responsible for designing dealership email marketing strategies and campaigns, partnering with dealers to drive owner and in-market visibility, leads and sales within an integrated marketing strategy. Dave earned his B.A. in Philosophy from Colgate University and a M.A. in Interactive Media from Elon University. He'd love to hear from you. Give him a shout at, or @DavidIHollander.

Views: 345

Tags: KPI, advertising, analysis, automotive, dealership, marketing, metrics, moneyball


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Comment by Tim Elliott on September 5, 2014 at 12:15pm

*SP-"hanging on to a" deprecating asset ...Phat Phingers ...

Comment by Tim Elliott on September 5, 2014 at 12:13pm

"the only numbers you care about are the ones that have been proven to lead to a sale. Which KPI’s" ? 

.....there is only 3 reason a Used car does not sell in 60 days.....New 120...

1. No one is searching for it....(desirability) ..Scarcity 

2. I'm not priced competitively...(not the cheapest) or still adjusting prices every 30 days..OMG!

3. Improper on-line merchandising..(lack of photo's, video, (both indexed), pricing, syndication,Reviews, unresponsive website (make it easy for me to shop WITHOUT having to contact you or share my info). 

I'm still amazed that some still cling to the comfort of the past, believing there is an "A$$ for every seat" thinking having on to a deprecating asset for 3-6 months....A car for sale is an asset that either makes a profit or doesn' 60 days....Stock the ones that make money....don't stock those that don't.Y

KPI ?....Scarcity and VDP activity. 

Cheers ! 


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