Automotive Digital Marketing

The other day I was listening to a presentation by another automotive vendor about automotive digital marketing when a question came up. “What sort of lead volume changes happen when dealers switch to your platform?”

The standard reply is, “They go up!” Of course, the next question was already on the tip of my tongue, which was, “Can you show us examples, case studies, or simply the numbers that show that your platform increased leads from automotive digital marketing?”

I never had the opportunity to ask the question because the standard answer didn’t come out of the presenter’s mouth. Instead, it was a quick redirection about how he would have to look into some of the analytics to get a better understanding of how to answer that question. That there were more important things to consider about their platform that really had nothing to do with leads.

This was new to me. I understand that form submissions have been on the decline for a while and that more people are either contacting the dealership in other ways or not contacting them at all before coming in to buy a vehicle, but shouldn’t a relative increase in leads from one provider switching to the next to be expected? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that lead generation is the only important part of any automotive digital marketing platform, but it’s definitely nothing that should be dismissed.

The problem is that the overall presentation was great and I can see why a dealer would not push for a direct answer to the lead question. This is a problem. Today’s car dealership is infinitely more tech-savvy than just a few years ago. Tech-savvy people are joining the industry. Those who have been in the industry for a while have learned everything imaginable about modern car shopping and advanced digital marketing. There’s no longer a need (if there ever really was one) to try to convince dealers that this metric or that KPI is more important than the things we know work.

It hasn’t changed that dramatically. For websites, you need more traffic. You need the website itself to take the additional traffic and generate as many leads as possible. Then, you need the BDC, internet department, and sales department to take those leads and turn them into sales. The process is basically the same today as it was five years ago. Just because the technology is different doesn’t mean that more traffic, leads, and sales mean more success for dealers. Unfortunately, we’re seeing way too often when vendors are looking at everything other than traffic, leads, and sales to determine the success level of their products and services.

All of this really is simple. You do understand the digital marketing game. I know this by the sheer fact that you’re reading this post right now. Don’t let a vendor tell you that your goals are invalid or that they know better than you do about how to sell cars. This is your business. Not everyone is tech-savvy or has taken the time to educate themselves about this stuff, but you have.