There is no shortage of choice in today’s world and automotive marketing companies are no different. The options for a new vendor can be overwhelming because many of them offer similar services. The key difference is that the quality of the product is not the same.
When starting any new business relationship, it is important to understand your new marketing vendor and their offerings. The best way to do that is to ask specific questions about their strategy, products and innovation. Below are some questions that should be on your radar if you’re vetting a new agency.
1. Which metrics are you using to measure success? Knowing which metrics your vendor measures for success is must before entering into a contract. Too often, marketers rely on vanity metrics like impressions, likes or click-through rate (CTR). These numbers are flashy but do little to report on actual active shoppers or vehicles sold.
2. What type of audience do you target? Targeting a quality audience is crucial for your marketing efforts to be effective. When you ask your marketing vendor what type of audience they target, you want to hear something along the lines of proprietary and first-party. Otherwise, you’re vulnerable to changes in ad platforms or third-party cookies.
3. How is the ad creative customized and updated? The best marketing campaigns have dynamic elements that make them fit each individual shopper. Once you are sure your marketing vendor uses a first-party audience, you’ll want to know if the ad creative they deliver is dynamic and custom – across all platforms.
Not only is creative that matches the shopper important, but you also need to know that their campaigns update daily so that you don’t spend money on vehicles that are no longer on your lot.
4. Do you adjust ad spend allocations based on market fluctuation? Now, more than ever, it's important that your marketing partner keeps an eye on your ad spend. With inventory changing daily, you’ll want to be assured that your dollars are going to the right units and platforms. Not only do you not want to spend on units that you sold, but you also want to make sure that money goes to the units that need help, not the ones flying off the shelf.
5. What percentage of ad spend do you place on new vs used vehicles? This is a problem that we see happen time and time again. Some marketing vendors promise a certain Cost per VDP but then spend disproportionately on used vehicles. Spending more money on used vehicles helps them keep their Cost per VDP low but it doesn’t always align with their client’s goals.
6. Which VINs did they to move? In today’s digital age, vin-level attribution is possible - and you should want it. This is the data that helps you make crucial decisions for your dealership.
If you’re looking to partner with a marketing agency, they should be able to tell you what VINs they helped move, how many VDPs they drove and so much more. Ideally, they can provide you with 24/7 personal access to a platform that shows you this information whenever you want to see it.
7. What steps are they taking to help with inventory shortages? Perhaps the most relevant question for your marketing vendor is about what they’re doing to help with inventory issues. While they can’t ramp up production or fix part shortages, they should be able to arm you with data that will help you become even savvier about the current market.
With the right real-time data, your marketing vendor should help you increase your gross profit, trade other dealerships for units and sell vehicles that have been sitting on your lot for a long time.
While there are plenty of choices for agencies, auto dealerships need to have a solid, straightforward relationship with their marketing vendor. Asking these seven questions can help set you up for success in a new partnership.
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