You have to believe the automotive industry has changed
The complete change in marketing for auto dealers in the past few years really is enough to make one’s head spin. There has always been a sink or swim attitude within the car biz, and that has continued with managers now expected to be experts in social media, SEO, SEM and Google Analytics. There is, for the most part, a slap dash attitude towards online marketing. For those in high places it can be an intimidating and often difficult task to ask for help.
Many managers I speak to whilst on my travels find relief in telling me that they learned a lot, or are looking forward to learning a lot more about online marketing. But they often wait until after the TOAST presentations, when the room has cleared, to talk candidly about their shortcomings. I recently joked with a couple of managers from BC that there is an “AA feel” to proceedings, of course nowhere near as serious. But the similar “we need help, but we just don’t know where to start” phrase is something I have heard across Canada when it comes to online marketing. In addition to this, there is pressure from above to make results tangible and highly visible. That, I believe, is wherein lies the problem.
In olden times, spending on an ad could be justified with an audible radio advertisement or star-burst-filled, three-to-choose-Canada-day-special center spread in a local rag. Such expenditures cannot be so similarly justified online: Adword campaigns, Blogs and well-written web content are of the utmost importance. They also cost money and time to produce effectively. But the results cannot be seen or heard on completion of their design or implementation. They cannot be “paraded” at a Saturday morning meeting with the promise of “making the phone ring.” They are more effective than that, and they are ongoing. And success can be measured.
Online marketing can be measured with incredibly accurate tools such as Google Analytics or even something as simple as the “back end” of one’s own website provider. But for upper management, the attitude should be changing: you have to believe that online marketing works. It is difficult to quantify and measure, and it is certainly more difficult to see and hear, but it is there, and it is the most cost-effective means of marketing to ever exist. But you have to believe.
Written by Stuart Bendall
Director of Training
After a colorful career path including the British military, adventure training and hospitality Stuart has found a niche in the Automotive Sales industry, after eight years 'on the sales floor' and in internet sales Director of Training, Strathcom media was a natural and successful progression.