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Third party Vendors are waking up to their worst nightmare. The party is almost over and we're turning the lights on. They are in denial reminiscent of 'Newspaper Advertising' a few decades ago. Newspaper was the juggernaut, dominant, over-bearing, dictating, necessary, and way over-priced. At the end of the Newspaper Era, they were screaming they were still effective and still relevant as they could no longer prove heir worth or justify their extravagant high-prices. The Newspaper Advertising moguls were sucked down into the tarpits wheezing their last wheezy gasps, still proclaiming their relevance.

NOW - The Paradigm is shifting again. The third-party vendors can no longer justify their rdiculous high prices and can't document any real results. They're No Longer selling results, they can't. They don't have them to show. So they misdirect with VDPs and SRPs and QRXs instead of showing us real business. AND, they tell the dealers if you're not selling, it's your employees fault.

WHAT CHANGED? Well several things changed.

FIRST OF ALL, the consumers changed. Dealers websites are smarter and more reactive. VDPs need to become stickier and conversion is 'king'.

SECONDLY, Mobile Happened! Consumers are engaging on handhelds and tablets and devices other than desktops. They are able to USE Google and other avenues to directly connect with the dealers. Real time transactions favor the dealerships, not the vendors.

THIRDLY, Dealers became educated in dealing with the modern consumer and they don't feel hostility on our Websites. CHAT is huge for conversion.

AND FOURTH, The "CLICK TO CALL" Google option puts them in touch with us immediately. It's probably one of the greatest things that's happening to fuel the shift. TEXT MARKETING and PERSONALIZED VIDEOS from the Dealerships are humanizing our efforts. People still like to deal with people. ONLY the Vendors see advantages to dehumanizing the processes. We are NOT DEVO.

THE CRM Companies that own website development will inherit the business. They become the DASHBOARD that controls the Dealers' Marketing... Adwords, Social Media Strategies, Everything the Dealership does to market. The CRM creates it, coordinates with the website, and measures and adjusts the campaigns. THE CRM companies allow the dealer to run their campaigns without all of the slander and defamation the vendors use to bring us down and make themselves look like the saviour from us. Reputation will be better and profits will increase.

I have always advocated a CRM-Driven Culture in the Dealerships, now the worm is turning and the third-party vendors are scrambling like Newspaper executives did several decades ago. I doubt they'll go extinct totally, but their value in our marketing plans will become second-tier and optional.

The revolutions here and they are screaming bloody murder because they all see it coming. Ask your CRM Provider and others, the CRMs are gearing up to take over the marketing. I just wrote this article/blog a half hour ago and it's already viral. Three CRM Companies and Website Vendors have already, in just a half hour, asked me for the permission to reprint and distribute at the convention.

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There is no doubt that the combination of consumers adopting social networks and mobile devices, along with the effectiveness of spam filters has changed the landscape around automotive CRM practices... and those that are effective versus those that are a waste of time.

Well said, Jim. You're absolutely right. And it's those systems with integrated websites AND CRMs that will be able to leverage the new methods to engaged customer communication that will come out ahead.

Thanks Joe and Ralph, this trend is going to roll through the industry. AND I know the vendors affected are telling dealers that without them you will go out of business and you'll never sell a car again-ever without us. Party's over!


Could not agree more! We recently said good bye to (2) big 3rd Party almost (6) months ago and we did not have a decrease in leads; in fact our dealer website has been closing at over a 25% close on dealer website leads. Much more of it credited to our text marketing, online chat and quick response to our customers. 

Both 3rd Party vendors indicate the "VDP's" etc... show us how many times directions to our dealership is clicked on, etc..... Yet in the end they are unable to give me some proof of customer "A" came in with a "" flyer and is looking at buying "X" car. Their main selling point is being able to show your inventory to the mainstream but then again; what good is your inventory to a person over 300 miles away? It would be practical but not at the high rates that they want to charge. Make less Super Bowl Ads.

Also, True Cars has been hitting hard with the "pay only for the ones you sell" platform. Our CRM provider is effective and works in combination with our website. We have many items to improve but I see the future being your own site, video, video and video content and smart effective text marketing taking over. Generation "Y" expects immediate reaction to their inquiries; the winner will be the ones that can react quicker and with effective content to offer their customers. 

Interesting... ZMOTAUTO!

Nicely shared Jim. Thank You

I'm reading as you about continued trends with Dealers utilizing CRMs to better 'organically' retain their data bases as established revenue vs. a few others allocating 100% of monetary and human resource time in 'non-organic' traditional marketing. We Dealers are so rich in established customer data to organically grow our Service, Parts and Accessory business silos if the marketing is personalized & tactful in its frequency. And yes, establishing customer pay loyalty in fixed ops with the 'right-mix' of pre-owned inventory and franchised new, bingo. Gross Profits generated in our Fixed operation's Departments@73% with retained cash paying customers, annually provide GP contributions that is '10X' above vehicle's GProfit, purchased by him/her. Hopefully, as dealer, he/she has enough mechanical working bays to germinate the incredible revenue streams.

I never understood why many peers, as a Dealer, spend monthly Thousand$ attempting to cultivate a market place for their Service and Parts depts and witness 2% redemption on the 'coupons'. Alternative and/or addition to the prior for '10X' GPs-- Nurture, Develop, Personalize via appointments & reminders, retain your wealth generation via the Data (respected customers). Premium and proven CRMs in our marketplace are branded and 'Good', because as Jim and Ralph know, "CRMs are only as good as its users'. 

Even it is your auto industry or something else, online marketing is the most important to all. CRM is the most vital one to make a good customer relationship as well as keeping the complete data of a customer throughout the customer lifecycle. For managing all these there are special IT department of every company. Check out how the IT department is important for an industry: Good content Mr. Ziegler! It is a good topic to discuss on.


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