When it comes to digital marketing, the desire to try and save as much money as possible may be costing you way more than you think.
Dealers may be tempted to try save a few bucks by using readily available non-specialized resources. This article highlights five common mistakes made by those trying to pinch pennies.
- “As I am unfamiliar with online marketing, I will hire an inexperienced and affordable candidate who will manage it.“
This happens to be a growing trend. We’ve come across many dealerships attempting to build their own in-house marketing team using candidates with little or no operational experience or background. Digital marketing success is comprised of two components: 10% strategy and planning, and 90% operational execution. A newly minted university marketing graduate will master the 10%. As for the 90%, it’s trial and error. I know from experience: when I obtained my Bachelor’s Degree in marketing, I thought I knew it all. My first real job brought me down a peg or two…
My advice would be to proceed with caution as the digital marketing industry can change on a dime. The candidate you hire will require lots of training and supervision, while your own managerial skill-set is usually more in line with your duties as a manager of the sales, after-sales service and parts departments.
- “I’ll appoint my Sales Manager or one of the sales representatives who knows his way around computers as Online Marketing Manager.“
Online marketing and sales are in conjoined not parallel universes. Online marketing generates leads and sales staff are busy selling. However, the processes required to meet their respective objectives are completely different! Salespeople have only one goal: make as many sales and as much profit as possible while providing an exceptional experience to each and every customer. The online marketing manager must generate a maximum number of visitors interested in the products while delivering an online marketing experience that will move the customer to contacting a salesperson, without knowing who this online visitor is or what he/she wants.
This is the step where the art of analyzing user browsers and converting them into customers comes into play. This step is also where the gap between the salesperson and online marketing manager skills is the widest. Dealership management need to grasp this concept. The organizational behaviour concepts that consist of making sure to have the right candidate in the right job in order that they may excel are extremely important. Online marketing is a complex mathematical concept which requires a very specific skill set. How many of you would like their manager or salesperson spending 70% of their time trying to understand the fundamentals of digital marketing? None of you would! In the meantime, we need to optimize our customer acquisition channels to their full potential over the next decade.
- “I am unfamiliar with online marketing, therefore I hire experts that work with many dealerships, including those of my competitors and I supervise this activity without actually knowing what’s really going on.“
There are dozens of digital marketing companies that master Internet marketing and analytics. Buyer beware! Are you capable of making an informed decision when evaluating exactly what a given online marketing company brings to the table? Are they the real deal or just making a sales pitch?
As a manager, do you possess the technical knowledge that will allow you to formulate an informed opinion when your Internet marketing campaign has morphed into an artificial intelligence device more sophisticated than postdoctoral engineering training? Is doing the same thing as your competitors and peers really the road to success or is it just a way to buy time instead of addressing an ongoing issue?
- Social media… Let’s talk about it! “Anything that has to do with social media is contracted to a company that promised to produce two monthly publications.“
For this aspect of online marketing, I lean towards an in-house resource. The social media environment continues to grow in complexity and requires a continuous presence with a direct tie to your operations. Social media publications vary in form, from marketing to recognition and even hiring. Communicational presence is continuous, making an external solution extremely complicated. If your package consists of two external monthly communications and an influx of negative comments erupts in the middle of the night, who manages it? I agree that this isn’t a common occurrence, but what’s at stake is very real!
A bit of advice, the best social media candidates often carry the title of public relations manager. Extremely versatile, they can produce press releases that have a real impact, thought-provoking blogs, take inspiring pictures and manage your social media activity.
If you still prefer to go with an external resource, why not ask that they set up shop in your facility when working on your account, as well as providing a crisis management service? As far as your personnel management duties are concerned, it’s much easier to manage your reputation and published material when the resource is just a few feet away.
- “My IT person is a genius; he manages my website, online publicity campaigns as well as my dealership’s social media.“
The world’s best vehicle technician isn’t the best salesperson and vice-versa! The person who manages your IT system or set up your website may be extremely competent, but this doesn’t guarantee they’ll be successful in every discipline. Your dealership hires salespeople, service consultants, office staff, technicians…They all work in a dealership, but their skills don’t necessarily transfer. This is also the case for the Web! Although many people improvise as Jack-of-all-trades, none of them are specialists in every field. As is the case for your operational structure, success comes from building a team that complement each other, communicate efficiently and are all striving to make your business stand out from the competition and succeed.
Instead of wasting hundreds of hours searching for that all-illusive perfect candidate who does it all, why not find a marketing project manager with enough knowledge of the industry to apply critical thinking when required while possessing a flair for communications. Make them responsible for optimizing your online marketing and give them enough latitude to identify the ideal strategic partnerships, whether for outsourcing (publicity, Internet, analytics, IT, programming), or direct hiring (social media and public relations). A competent program manager will act as a conduit and facilitator between marketing, sales, after-sales service, and the company’s overall vision and mission, through the delivery of a consistent message. You’ll now be armed with a Marketing VP and a coalition driven to succeed!