Automotive Digital Marketing

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Are your advertising dollars well spent?

In fixed ops we constantly worry whether or not we are getting a return on every one of our ad dollars. Every manufacturer tracks it. Every ad vendor tracks it. And when we spend the money and don't get an immediate return, we start to fret.

Here is the rub.

Customers don't make a connection with an ad. Customers don't make a connection with an offering or a  "service reminder", they make a connection with a person. Your Advisor.

Bed, Bath and Beyond sends a coupon every week. I don't need to go there every week. When I do go there, I go with a coupon. If I were the marketing manager for their organization it would be easy to determine the value of advertising.

Advertising keeps your name name in front of the Customer, namely me.
But, when I do go to BB&B, I want to be treated like a person, not a number, not an ad campaign respondent.

That's where the effectiveness of marketing becomes a reality.

If you can get them in and you can't take care of them when they get there, no amount of advertising dollars will be enough.

When I need to have service, sure, I'll pull the coupons out of the glove box, look through the paper and read my home mailer to see if there is a deal worth investigating. And when I show up, you can bet the advertising dollar you spent to get me in your service drive was worth it...I'm ready to buy!

But treat me like I'm not important, greet me with "Do you have an appointment" instead of a smile and a handshake, ignore my request for personal service, interrogate me instead of asking questions, keep me in the dark while waiting for an update, make me call you for information instead of the other way around, talk to me in a condescending manner, don't tell me about what other service(s) might be important to maintain my vehicle, fail to go over my repair with me when I pick up my vehicle, give me grunts and one word answers instead of explanations and recommendations, and frown at me instead of smiling, and see how much your advertising dollar is worth.

Not much.

Views: 428

Tags: DealerPro, adviser, advisor, buchholz, fixed, leonard, operations, phone, profit, profitability, More…sales, service, skills, training


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Comment by Leonard Buchholz on May 25, 2012 at 9:46am

Thanks for the syndication Stephen! Marketing is the tool to attract a Customer, the Service is what captures and keeps them! 

PS. Forwarded your link to the DealerPro staff. 

Comment by Stephen Jackson on May 25, 2012 at 7:05am


We at ActivEngage featured this post on our weekly round-up of the top auto blogs and news stories:  

We think it's important to see marketing as a way to bring opportunities to your door. Don't neglect the value of great customer service. Excellent post!

Comment by Leonard Buchholz on May 22, 2012 at 9:37pm

Totally agree Michael. Why bring them in if your personnel are not trained. Thanks for the comment.


Comment by Tom Gorham on May 22, 2012 at 3:19pm

Marc, I really like your statement, "if you didn't issue the coupon take it!!!"  You might be thinking along the lines, "I should have issued that coupon, it just brought me a new customer."  Now, upsell and treat them in a way that will make them return.

Comment by Michael Gordon on May 22, 2012 at 2:36pm

It does not matter how good your advertising is if you don't train your personnel how to address the customer.  Sounds like management is spending the time to develop good advertising, but not preparing their personnel to receive the customer.  When performing the training focus on overall philosophy and attitude instead specifice situations.

Comment by Leonard Buchholz on May 22, 2012 at 11:01am

Thanks Jason. 

Great point Aj. Spend the money to get them in and then treat them in an unprofessional manner is a sure-fire way to make sure they don't come back. 

Thanks Marc. Yep, it is about attitude. 

Comment by Marc Bodner on May 22, 2012 at 8:49am

I see great signs of improvement in dealerships I use and dealerships I visit.  Part of my product line is service based so I hang out in a lot of service drives and customer lounges listening.

Most of the attitudes in the post derived from past years when there was only 1 Ford store or 1 Toyota store in a reasonably sized market.  When the beer is bad but you're the only bar in town . . . .  Can't get away with that today when there are so many same line competitive rooftops in a market.

Coupons bring in business and even if you didn't issue the coupon take it!!!  Get a new customer, treat them with the same respect and intelligence you would expect, and you'll get them for life.  Good post.

Comment by Aj Maida on May 22, 2012 at 8:42am

This post and Ralph's response brings up an interesting and continual complaint of mine. The OEM or the DMA sends out service coupons without letting myself (the marketing person) or the service Director know. So the customer comes in and we have a confused look. STOP IT!!!! One of the first things we have done is to train our front line personnel to smile and acknowledge the coupon with a great we can save you some money today. Let them know that you want to "save" them money ...then upsell them. If you don't act as if then they will leave if they leave then you have no chance to sell them anything else. NOW OR IN THE FUTURE. They will be standing in line with Vickie at a competitors establishment. It doesn't take much folks. If your hourly rate is $92.00 then just .5 hr = $46.00 X 10 Ro's per week X 52 weeks that's an extra $25,000 gross a year and we all know there is a lot more then a half hours work under that hood? Smile for the coupon!!!!

Comment by Jason Lewis on May 22, 2012 at 8:31am

"....give me grunts and one word answers instead of explanations and recommendations...."

Now that's funny!

Comment by Leonard Buchholz on May 22, 2012 at 7:34am

Thanks Jim and Tom. 

Totally true Ralph. Why is it that in our industry we seem to have more than our fair share of "confrontational advisors"? True Professionals know that Customers are us...and if we don't like it, what are the odds that the person coming into our Dealership will like it even less?

Thanks Vicki. Like you, I vote with my feet. 

Thanks Stephen. Yep, the real work begins after they arrive at your Dealership.

Yes Diane, it is about how we value our Customers. Thanks for the feedback.

Nancy! Thanks! You have "some mad blogging skills" yourself!

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