Visit AutoLoop at NADA Booth #4239 in New Orleans from Jan. 26-29!

The Cost of Using Multiple Marketing Companies

By John Bottone

One cost-cutting strategy that should be considered by every dealership is to reduce or eliminate overlap in vendor services. Utilizing multiple marketing vendors, all with overlapping services and all communicating with your customers, is not a good strategy.

This type of overlap can cost thousands of dollars each month. And, perhaps more importantly, it leads to a frustrated customer base inundated with redundant and mixed messages. Attempting to manage and integrate multiple marketing vendors also creates inefficiencies in dealership operations. Many dealers I know are working with 2, 3, or even 4 (or more) vendors, all of whom are communicating in some way with their customers using multiple, uncoordinated messages. This type of overlap can cost thousands of dollars each month.

Imagine a scenario in which a customer receives a postcard offering a special financing rate for a luxury sports car on Monday, an email announcing a new line of mid-range sedans at a different financing rate on Tuesday, and a text offering a discounted oil change on an SUV the consumer sold over a year ago on Wednesday, all from the same dealer. What is the likely result of such an uncoordinated assault of messages? The customer is likely to feel confused and anonymous. It’s blindingly obvious that the dealer doesn’t know the customer or their preferences at all.

With a well-synchronized marketing strategy, the dealer will have gathered data beforehand regarding what kind of vehicles will likely interest the shopper. If the shopper is a current customer, the dealer will know the exact vehicle the shopper currently owns, and which channel of communication they prefer; be it email, text, or phone. Armed with this information, all of the messages the consumer receives -- from the type of vehicle, to financing offers, service, and available amenities -- will be consistent and on point.  Instead of feeling confused and unimportant, the customer will feel well informed and taken care of.  

A single-source vendor with proven expertise in each field of communication is a safe way to ensure proper coordination. Real customer engagement begins with focused and timely communications, combined with a clear, dealer-branded presence.

There are a number of companies offering a single-line service. Many provide only one specific method of retention, generation, or marketing to customers. However, no single method of communication is most effective for all consumers, and all methods have their unique advantages and disadvantages. A blend of communication methods is by far the most effective and generates the best results. The use of voice, SMS, email, and direct mail equips a dealership with flexible marketing based exclusively on a customer’s needs and current situation. Working with one vendor who understands your vision and knows what best fits your needs is much better than attempting to get five different vendors on the same page to meet your marketing goals.

A well-coordinated approach empowers your customers to make the right decisions about their vehicle purchase and service needs when given the right information at the right time. It enhances engagement with your customers for all their sales and service needs and facilitates a highly profitable and effective Sell-Service-Repeat cycle. This leads to more sales, increased revenue, and happy, loyal customers.