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I was brought into a discussion today with a dealer who is considering hiring a new digital marketing agency. This is a common occurrence within the automotive community since I offer my advice regarding vendors, products, and services to dealership executives seeking a third party opinion.
This conversation was interesting in that the agency the dealer principal was entertaining was the same agency that works for their #1 competitor. This was a multi-franchise store and their competitor had many of the same brands.
What I was trying to imagine was what this digital agency would "pitch" to the dealer principal when on some levels they would be competing with themselves. Is there a practical "Chinese Wall" in an ad agency that confidential information or new strategies would not be overheard or seen by another internal account management team? I doubt it.
Think of paid search for example. It is not uncommon that dealers independently bid on a common base of keywords. So in some sense, everyone is using SOME of each other's strategy without any direct knowledge.
However, innovative conquest strategies, effective video pre-roll scripts, and clever retargeting are definitely not common. Landing page testing and perfecting a brand's "calls to action" for a local market takes time to develop.
So how can one agency work both sides of the conquest game? Who wins? Does the second dealer get all the R&D benefits for the local market? Is there such an advantage?
Now keep in mind that there is precedent that OEM's mandate one platform or search provider for certain aspects of digital marketing but should you be hiring the same full service agency that your #1 competitor is using? Should that agency even offer to work for the top competitor to their current client(s)?
What say you?
Brian Pasch, CEO
PCG Digital Marketing
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