Showing posts with label Vendors. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vendors. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Marketing Your Automotive Dealership is NOT that Hard to Do

Recently, I traveled to New Mexico to consult with a dealership about their marketing strategy.  The conversation went a bit like this:

DeliveryMaxx: “What are you currently doing with advertising today?”

Dealership: “We are doing print (newspaper), TV, Radio, and I have a billboard two exits down.”

DeliveryMaxx: “How is that working for you?”

Dealership: “I can’t really put an ROI on it, but I think it is branding us.”

DeliveryMaxx: “In a perfect world, what would you like your marketing and advertising do for you?”  

Dealership: “We want it to brand us, talk about our customer service, and help us sell more cars?”  

DeliveryMaxx: “At least you know what you want it to do for you.  Now, is that strategy working?”  

Dealership: “I’m not sure.  That is what we have always done.  I do know this.  We are spending a lot of money for this advertising, and I can’t measure the results.”

 As a marketer, I see a lot of marketing and advertising spends, but the strategy is all too often ambiguous at best.  There is nothing wrong with traditional advertising.  However, in today’s climate businesses have to maximize their advertising spend.  Is your marketing and advertising accomplishing your goal?

 Before we talk about strategy, let’s use the traditional billboard advertising medium and see if that is providing the best return for your automotive dealership.  The cost to design and produce a billboard averages $ 900 to $ 5,000 depending on the content and who creates the advertising piece.  For a 4-week cycle (marketing companies charge this way because they get an extra month of fees) your cost will range from $ 900 to $ 5,000 for city and interstate signs.  Many of our major highways command as much as upwards of $ 10,000 per cycle (4-weeks).  DeliveryMaxx’s offices are in Dallas, Texas and a recent price quote I received for signage on Loop 635 (LBJ or Lyndon B. Johnson Highway) was for $13,600 per cycle and an additional 25% during December.


 What is Your ROI for this Ad?  What are you trying to say?

 I am not advocating vacating your traditional media spend.  In fact, Ford and General Motors allocate 70% of their advertising dollars worldwide to traditional media.  However, dealerships must have a precise strategy especially during cost-cutting initiatives.  Too often, I see strategies that are the equivalent of throwing ideas into a fan and seeing what sticks on the wall.

Do your marketing meetings produce results like this?

 Marketing and Advertising your automotive dealership is relatively easy to do.  Motivating the consumers’ actions take some well thought out strategy. 

First, you need to identify where the eyes of your consumers are looking.  According to JD Power & Associates Automotive internet Roundtable nearly 80% of all vehicle buyers consult the internet before making a purchase.  That means, you should move more of your dollars to Digital Marketing or Social Media versus traditional forms of advertising.

Second, what is the goal or consumer behavior that you are trying to accomplish?  When considering what type of vehicle the consumer is going to purchase they research published online reviews, blogs, friends and family via Facebook, Google plus, & twitter, and then dealership websites (generally in that order).  Ultimately, your goal is to entice the customer to view your website or visit your dealership.  So how do you influence the consumer to give you a chance to sell them a vehicle?

You have to have a plan.  Social Media is not going away.  It is too convenient and immediate for the consumer.  Sites may change, but the medium is here to stay.  Therefore, how do you talk to potential customers?  There are hundreds of Social Media Sites that resonate on the worldwide web.  Sites such as Pinterest demographics are 97% women.  LinkedIn is dominated by the workforce.  Facebook has replaced many phone conversations.  FourSquare is the new GPS.  YouTube has replaced MTV.  Google Plus is the new business card.



 For centuries, businesses have become great their customers have advertised for them.  In the past, it was by word of mouth at a family gathering.  Now, Social Media has made it acceptable for society to share anything from what you had for breakfast to where you went last night.  People will actually take a picture of food and show it to the world.  This is no different for your business.


 The Math is Simple!

The average Facebook user has 245 friends.

If you sold 200 vehicles in a month and your customer showed off their vehicle on Facebook, you would be branded to 49,000 new potential consumers a month.  That’s just Facebook!  Don’t forget about the other sites as well as online reviews.

Now, think about this.  If 1% of those customers were interested in your dealership because of the positive message that was sent by your client, you would have an additional 490 opportunities for a new sale.

The above photo of this happy family from Southwest KIA Dallas was put as their public image on Facebook for the world to see immediate after they purchased their vehicle.  In one hour, the photo received 15 “Likes” and 10 comments.  If each of the Facebook users who “Liked” and “commented” on the photo also had 245 friends then that one sale would have REACHED 6,370 people. Remember, this family also reviewed the dealership online, and their family portrait went to hundreds of other Social Media sites.  In short, they became a virtual billboard for Southwest KIA.

Marketing your dealership is not that hard to do.  You just have to have a great product, excellent customer service, and a strong strategy to share your message.

For more information on Social Media Marketing, Online Reputation Management, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Local Search Engine Optimization (LSEO), and Customer Loyalty & Retention, please visit DeliveryMaxx.

















Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Cultivating Success in Your Automotive Dealership

Before we can discuss success we have to define success.  Too often, I travel to businesses especially automotive dealerships and am disappointed that success eludes their dealership.  After spending a few hours talking with staff members from various departments the same element is usually missing from the formula of “success”.

These dealerships have poor employee retention.  The employees feel overworked, and underpaid.  Morale is at an all-time low, and loyalty to the company is non-existent.  Even worse, is that nobody seems to have the answer as to how to turn the organization around.

I also travel to great companies, and have been afforded the opportunity to learn from great business and political leaders.  A common trait that all great businesses and leaders have is that they are able to motivate teams to strive and accomplish goals which have been established.  For more information on Leaders and Leadership visit: Automotive Leadership at its Finest

Definition of Success

Success is reading a desired result or organizational desired end-point in some sort of assumed development.

Now that you have read the definition, why do we have successful dealerships, and failing dealerships?  Why do we have successful employees, and unsuccessful employees?  Utilizing the assumption that nobody wants to fail, I will discuss the missing ingredient failing dealerships all have in common.  In addition to providing the “secret sauce of success”, I will first dispel myths of achieving success in the dealership.  Once this is explained, we will then establish a plan to help you cultivate success in your automotive dealership.

Myths for Achieving Success

        I.            You must manage, develop, invent, or implement an entirely new concept to achieve success.  It is true that we read, hear, and use new concepts.  Yes, it is popular to sensationalize famous entrepreneurs because they were the first to practice their craft.  However, most successful organizations are successful because they utilize sound business practices and common sense.  Henry Ford did not invent the automobile.  He learned how to make it more affordable by using efficient production methods to create success for Ford Motor Company.

      II.            To achieve success, you must not deviate from your plan.  Challenges and obstacles are a fact of business, and ultimately organizational success.  Every great war the United States has participated in there were battles that were lost.  This adversity is great for success because without failure, mistakes, or checked egos learning would not be able to take place.  The proper statement would be to not to lose focus of your goal.

    III.            Success is the calculation of Risk/Reward.  Great leaders of successful organizations are very calculated.  They seem like they are the best or most lucky gamblers, but this is not entirely true.  A successful organization or successful leader stacks the deck in their favor.  They play with their own marked cards.  They identify the outcome before the action takes place.  That’s right, they have researched and methodically identified the desired result and understand how to overcome challenges before they happen.

    IV.            An organization is successful because of their leader.  A leader will receive many accolades when they have achieved the goals of the organization as well as criticism when results are missed.  Just pay attention to the CEO at the end of each quarter for publically traded companies.  Successful organizations require great leaders, but true successful organizations have countless number of supporters.  Have you ever heard that there is no “I” in “TEAM”?

      V.            Success is all work and no play.  Organizations that do not have team members who are having fun will fail.  Sure, there should be rules and procedures created to combat chaos.  However, an unmotivated employee will be a short sided employee.

    VI.            The definition of the organizations success is defined by leadership.  Unless you are not dependent on anyone’s responsibilities then you will be sadly mistaken to buy into this myth.  A successful organization depends on the weakest link in the company.

  VII.            If your organization looks successful then it will be successful.  We have all heard that if you “dress for success” you will achieve it.  However, there is another saying that “it is better to be considered a fool then to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”  Would anybody think the Big Mac was any good without the secret sauce?  KFC’s chicken would be like everyone else’s if Colonel Sanders didn’t mix the right ingredients.  The same is true for your organization.  You can have a beautiful state-of-the-art dealership, and not be able to sell a vehicle.

VIII.            Successful organizations make everyone happy.  Success can never be satisfied; it always craves more.  Successful organizations are always striving for more success, and once they stop their competition will pass them.

Cultivating success in the dealership

If you have spent any time in the automotive industry you have probably been part of several organizations.  Many sales, service, and finance personnel tend to change organizations more often than they visit the dentist and some change at the same frequency as they get their haircut. By reading this piece, you are either validating yourself because you are running a successful dealership or you are looking for ways to improve.

 The “secret sauce” to cultivating success in the dealership is to identify the desired end result and proper motivation helping others reach those goals.

Steps to Cultivating Success in the Dealership

1.       Identify, understand, respect, and explain the cross-functional dynamics of the dealership.  The reason this is the first step listed is because most individuals reading this are charged with changing the culture or outcome of the dealership.  The dealership is made up of Service, Sales, Finance, Operations, Marketing, Maintenance, Logistics, Advertising, Information Technology, Human Resource, Business Development, Vendor Relations, and Accounting.  Without the needs of each department being met the dealership will not maximize its fullest potential of success.  Most dealerships that perform poorly have management that fails to respect the functions of each of these departments.  This translates into poor management, and breeds a culture of distrust, apathy, and isolationist departmental attitudes.  For example, if a dealerships IT Department (In most cases the IT Guy) doesn’t understand the necessity of faster internet speed for the Finance Department then customer service can suffer ultimately hurting potential revenue for the dealership.  During any new hire, the goals of the organization and orientation of each department is essential for cultivating success in the dealership.  A sad fact is that most managers in the dealership completely understand the dynamics of each department, and why those departments are needed for the overall goal of the dealership.

2.       Establish, and communicate clear measurable goals, both short-term & long-term, for each department and the organization in its entirety.  A dealership that has established these goals early in its infancy is more likely to be successful than a dealership that has to change due to lack of results.  However, most dealerships have not realized their full potential and change management to move closer to the desired outcome.  Therefore this is the second step to cultivating success in the dealership.  If leadership accepts step number one then step number two is very easy to accomplish.  However, there are a few key points when trying to accomplish step number two.

First, establish a clear measurable short-term goal for each department.  A short-term goal can be managed and measured by a superior allowing the subordinate to plan accordingly to meeting these established goals.  Short-term for senior management (Owner/Operator, CEO, CFO, CMO, COO, GM, etc.) is quarterly and short-term for middle management (GSM, Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, Service Director, Marketing Director, Business Development, HR Director, etc.) is monthly while frontline managers (Sales Manager, Service Manager, Advertising Director, etc.) have weekly short-term goals.  Frontline Employees (Sales, Service, Maintenance, etc.) should have daily short-term goals.

In addition to short-term goals for each department, establish the measureable result of a short-term goal for the entire organization and communicate the effectiveness of each department’s importance in reaching the goal.

Second, identify clear measurable long-term goals.  These are goals that have been extrapolated from a combination of meeting short-term goals.  For example, a short-term goal for the CFO may be to find $30,000 a quarter in savings for a dealership.  The long-term goal would extrapolate into $ 120,000 measured at the end of the fiscal year.

Using the example of a long-term goal for the CFO is sure to communicate the effects and importance of reaching this goal throughout all departments.  Identify why saving $120,000 a year in current expenses will help each department.  Establish a cross-talking culture with all departments.

3.       Establish complete “buy-in” and clear reasonable expectations.  Teamwork is not always about building a consensus.  The success of the company does depend on building a great team, but a leader sets the direction and the team needs to be able to effectively work together to accomplish the objective.  If you have strong communication explaining the importance of the goal, and how everyone is needed to reach these goals then managing these expectations will be easier.  It will also be easier to “coach-up” or “coach-out” an employee that will not “buy-in” to the organizational goals.  Be sure to establish clear reasonable expectations.  If expectations are set too low, the company will never have the opportunity to reach complete success, and if they are too high failure will become the norm.

4.       Motivate, celebrate, and communicate reaching the goals.  I could write an entire blog about motivation.  Proper motivation is key or the “secret sauce” for cultivating success.  Some are motivated financially and others are motivated by more responsibility.  Really, it comes down to how the employee feels their contribution is valued within the organization.  This step requires managers to manage.  They must always inspect what they expect.  However, good coaching is vital to success.  When celebrating the successes the cake should fit the goal.  You do not reward a salesman the top parking spot for being the top salesman of the week.  However, this might be a great reward for the month.

5.       Create vendor partners.  You rely on vendors to provide you with particular service or products.  Educate the vendors about the goals of your organization, and expect them to adhere to step number three.  A good vendor truly cares about the success of your organization because without your organization winning they should not win either.  Therefore, they are your employees and have a responsibility to help your dealership reach their goals.

6.       Empower and hold accountable a culture of success.  Foster great ideas with your employees and vendors.  However, expect a plan of action and provide the support for the great ideas.  In the end, measure these results and hold the champion accountable for the innovative idea.

7.       Set customers’ expectations from the start.  The customer is not always right.  If they were, then every company would be out of business.  Running a dealership at the whim of the customer will never lead to profits.  However, the customer is always the customer and the goal is to win those Customers for Life!  It is important to understand, listen, and empathize to see things from their point of view.  If the expectations are firmly set from the start they will be satisfied at the end.  Build a strong customer loyalty & retention program.

8.       Let the world know that you are a successful dealership.  Today, if you are not utilizing social media, you are missing over 75% of the market.  This is where all of the eyes are.  Online Reputation is important to your dealership because that is where everyone is talking about your industry.  Social Media Marketing is where you can reach your potential customers or employees.  If you are not established correctly on the internet through Search Engine Optimization then people will not be able to find you.

If cultivating success were easy, then all dealerships would be successful.  It is no different than raising a child or building a house.  You have to have a strong foundation, and continue to maintain it. 

DeliveryMaxx, the industry leader in Automotive Social Media Marketing (SMM) has perfected the science of maximizing the exposure for automotive dealers on the Internet. Utilizing our proprietary software and years of expertise, we can increase your market share and brand exposure through portals such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr and more. We have revolutionized Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Local Search Engine Optimization (LSEO) and Online Reputation Management (ORM).

 In today’s marketplace it is vital to have command over your public Brand Image while acquiring and retaining customers. DeliveryMaxx helps you dominate the World Wide Web utilizing your customers as Social Media Billboards which increases your brand share as well as turning a “one-time customer” into a "Customer For Life".