Professional Community for Car Dealers, Marketing, Advertising and Sales Leaders
Over the last few years it seems as though the number of digital marketing vendors has increased 10 fold, especially the automotive ones. By nature, I can imagine that the number of soliciting calls and randoms walking through your doors has increased by that amount PLUS some. They'll offer to do a free analysis, tell you where you're doing awesome and where you're not and then tell you that they do it better, faster, more customized, and maybe even cheaper (or whatever their unique selling proposition is). Let's face it, changing digital vendors can be a pain, especially when every day counts and nobody wants to lose traction even for a second.
I once was told by an industry veteran that there are really two things that would get him to consider changing his digital partner:
1. They would have to show/explain something that they had never heard or seen before. A new bright shiny toy, tool, gadget, gizmo, or simply a concept that was really different.
2. Their current digital vendor would have had to royally screw up somewhere.
I'm curious to hear from the rest of the community - dealers, marketers, industry wizards...what is it that makes you NOT want to hang up, hit delete, or shoo them out of your office? I'd appreciate the feedback!
I think it depends on the product, and the product cycle. Some are 'happy' because it's 'good enough', like you mentioned. Others prefer to be on the cutting edge, and want the product that sells the most cars with strong ROI.
Some have no clue what their ROI really is...
Agree with your point of the product and product cycle. To me, the real issue is that hardly any vendor, and more importantly the vendor's sales members, know what the dealer is looking for from an ROI definition viewpoint, and therefore fall flat to most dealers. If any product/solution was built with real ROI included, and the sales team had the ability to deliver, then that would be an interesting story. There are a few companies that are starting to do this, and they are on the upswing in the market.
I think you're on the right train of thought. But I can't wait for a vendor to royally screw up. Really progressive vendors can become "average" with time, complacency, and lack of reinvestment. And you wouldn't keep an "average" vendor if others could do better.
Further, the vendor community is a critical part of the continuing education flow in our business. We can read about the bleeding edge in some blog or industry pub, but we don't have the resources to execute at that level. So we wait for bleeding-edge concepts become merely cutting-edge executables with an ROI that makes sense from a 3rd party we can trust.
The challenge is the balance with the rest of our efforts. So many sales pitches end with "you can afford it with just a couple more car deals every month." We know that's a huge red flag and we just can't get that point across for some reason. So we endure a brutal follow-up schedule and hope to avoid the rep at the next conference.
Anyway, good topic. I look forward to watching the thread...
The success of any offering has a number of variables so true ROI is really unknown until the product or service is attempted. Variables include:
1. Can the offering be segregated from a results standpoint to give a true ROI? (Most Can't) Does not mean that it is not effective or does not work but most cars and services are sold because of a multiple of reasons, not just one.
2. Can the offering measure true ROI? (Sales tied back to the offering directly)
3. Will it work if dealership personnel are indifferent to using it? (Many a product has been sold that might be perfectly fine but for whatever reason the personnel at the dealership either cannot or will not use the offering).
4. What is the learning curve? One of the reasons #3 is an issue. There are some great offerings that take an advanced degree to master.
5. How good is the training and support behind the offering? This can be all over the board.
6. Is there a short contract or trial period? The vendor needs at least a few months to prove whether the concept works or not but on the other hand does not need a year to show some form of ROI.
7. All those that I forgot or do not even know to mention. Sometimes with an offering we don't know what we don't know, especially if the technology is new.
So in almost all cases the sales rep of a product or service discusses ROI in "potential" whether they want to admit it or not. There are many variables that really determine "ROI". My suggestion is if it sounds good and is worth the initial investment in time and money then give it a shot for a few months. The offering will need to prove itself on it's own merits.
In our experience dealers will try something new with the promise of better results. In most cases they come right back after a few months.
Unfortunately there is so much hype and vaporware out there that dealers are reluctant to change what they are doing. They've been burned before.