Professional Community for Car Dealers, Automotive Marketers and Sales Managers
I just got back from a 20 Group meeting and the more I speak to dealer principals the more I am excited about being in the automotive industry. I am very excited about helping dealer principals lead their business in digital marketing and social media strategies. That's right, dealer principals as leaders.
Having the privilege to educate and share my passion for digital marketing to hundreds of dealers each year, it is clear to me that many dealer principals cannot effectively lead their digital marketing strategies and inspect their advertising investments.
They would like to but they don't know the right questions to ask.
All of the dealers in attendance at this meeting said that they would like more leads from their main website because those leads convert the best. Yet NONE of the dealers could recite any important data points about their website:
For many of these dealers, they are investing thousands of dollars each month to maintain and market their website. Some advanced dealers may also be adding fresh content, videos, photos, and specials to "improve" the website experience. Yet in spite of these significant investments, they had no clear report on their desk to say whether these investments were moving the needle. Increased visitors? Reduced bounce rate? More leads?
None of the dealers had ever tested and measured the impact of changing their home page design. Frankly, they did not know that they could ask for those types of test. None had tested different landing page designs for their pay-per-click advertising campaigns.
Larry Bruce has been like John the Baptist on this topic, as he has been trying to get dealers to do more with what traffic they are already getting. A/B Testing and conversion is surely a timely message from Larry Bruce which can save dealers significant money if they invest in education and testing in 2011.
Ironically, the dealer principal proudly admitted to testing different radio, TV, and print ads to find the right message that worked. Yet, when it came to digital marketing they never thought they could test that medium as well. The good news is that they can.
I'm not sharing this story to put down dealer principals. I'm writing to challenge the automotive industry and dealer principals to make 2011 the year of empowerment. A year where investments in education are a priority because dealer principals see the importance of leading and INSPECTING their digital marketing investments.
If dealer principals can't inspect the work of their eCommerce team, vendors, and automotive advertising partners they can not effectively leverage the opportunities that the Internet and social media offer. If dealer principals can't speak the language associated with SEO, SEM, IRM, and social media they will not feel confident in vendor meetings.
In 2011 PCG Digital Marketing is committing significant resources to dealer education. The commitment starts with the 2011 Digital Marketing Strategies Conference, (DMSC) February 1-3rd in the Napa Valley. Dealers and dealership employees who admit that they need to learn more to lead, have registered. Where do you stand?
At this conference, attendees will be empowered to lead their dealership with effective digital marketing and social media strategies. The curriculum, speakers, and educational format will deliver solutions and processes to take back to the dealership that will move the needle in 2011. The conference diet is high protein and no junk carbs.
I find it ironic that a dealer will try a new "advertising" idea (shiny object) for $1,000 and yet they won't INVEST $1,000 to send an employee to the DMSC who manages hundreds of thousands of dollars of advertising and marketing. It's odd that dealers use an excuse that the beginning of the month "is a busy time to be out of the dealership" like they don't control workload and have backup resources in case someone is sick.
When I inspect a Google Adwords campaign for a dealer, it is not uncommon that in 75% of dealers I can save them thousands of dollars a year in wasted clicks or improved conversion. Why wouldn't a dealership want this as an internal skill?
When I inspect a dealership website, it is not uncommon that 85% of website are not tagged properly for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Why wouldn't a dealership want this as an internal skill?
That will change when dealer principals decide to lead ALL profit centers in their business. That gap is getting wider and I hope that we can provide the education and resources to close the gap between the haves and have-nots.
I hope dealer principals and eCommerce directors reading this article will be inspired to take action and meet me in Napa Valley to start a year of digital marketing leadership at your dealership.
If you can't make Napa, we hope to see you at our next conference April 16-18th in Orlando prior to the 10th Digital Dealer Conference.
The conference website is: www.automotivemarketingbootcamp.com
Digital Marketing Strategies Conference Information
If you can make it to Napa, here are two links to get you started.
Anyone attending NADA will be taken on Friday morning from Napa to San Francisco by 11:00 am. If you are not attending NADA, you can connect back in SFO locally when our bus drops everyone back at the convention center.