by Anna Halloran
How Do I Know My Agency is Getting the Job Done?
It’s a slow day. You’re looking at an empty showroom, and even though your sales team is working the phones you feel like something just isn’t working. Maybe panic sets in a bit. After all, you have people to pay and vehicles to sell. Could it be your marketing agency isn’t doing enough?
Before you fire your marketing agency, take a moment and breathe. Partnering with an agency can feel like a leap of faith. Questions like: “Do they have my best interests at heart?” “Is it worth the money I’m spending?” and “How will I know it’s working?” all come to mind, especially if you’re having a slow month. But before you fire (or hire) your agency, you’ll want to look at the big picture.
Data is everything.
It’s especially easy on a slow day or month to feel like your marketing agency isn’t doing enough, but what are the numbers telling you? Some key KPIs to look at are:
- VDP (vehicle detail page) views
- Website Traffic
- Store Ups
How do these numbers compare to this time last year? Examining data points like these deliver a clearer picture when it comes to what is or isn’t working. For example, If your VDP views, website traffic, and store ups are up YoY, then looking at your closing ratio is a good start. If your website traffic is up but your ups and sales are down, you might be looking at a conversion issue. If this is the case, you’ll want to have a conversation with your agency. Work with them to determine some new goals and KPIs you would like to prioritize in the next couple of months. If those goals aren’t being met then it might be time to find a new marketing partner.
The keys to a successful agency-dealership relationship are communication and trust. There are going to be bad months due to outliers and unexpected events (hello pandemic!). But your agency should be able to look at the data and understand what isn’t working and why. If they can’t do that, you have your answer.
Ok, but what if we’re in a rut?
Sometimes it can feel like your agency is just feeding you the same options over and over again, and while consistency is an important piece of any strategy, it shouldn’t be the entire strategy. Here at CBC it’s our firm belief that your marketing agency should always be looking for the next best thing to put you ahead of your competition. When I say next best thing, I don’t necessarily mean spending more money or adding another marketing channel to your investment. It’s about carefully analyzing the information and deciding where your advertising budget is best spent.
Take the current pandemic for example. Our first mission when the pandemic hit was to examine each marketing channel in markets across the US to determine whether media consumption habits were changing. From there CBC Team members worked to find out which media consumers were switching to. For many of our clients, we did not necessarily change their spend levels, but where they spent. Thus, while other dealerships were shutting down their marketing efforts or staying stagnant, CBC clients gained market share, resulting in a total of (as of this writing) 34 different store records for volume or gross since March, 2020!
If you’re working with an agency and you find that things just aren’t moving in the direction you want, have a frank conversation with them. The best way to achieve success here is to be working toward the same thing. Whether you want to be number one in the state, the country, or just increase sales by 10% YoY, it’s important to set specific goals for you and your agency to work with. Let them know the changes you’re making on your side to increase sales (whether that’s hiring more people, moving to a non-commission sales team, etc.) Your agency in turn should be able to lay out a plan which will help bring more customers to the dealership.
I’m pretty sure I need to switch marketing partners. What should I look for in a marketing agency?
There are a lot of agencies out there, which means there’s definitely one for you. But which one? Take your time researching. Does that agency have experience in automotive? Do they stamp out the same plan for every dealership that crosses their threshold? Are they fully transparent about where every dollar is going?
The best advice we can give is to look for an agency with honesty, experience, and ingenuity. You want an agency that is creative enough to look at your dealership and your market and create a tailor-made marketing plan. Having experience in the automotive industry is key. It means they’re going to understand the ins and outs of balancing your brand as a dealership and the brand you’re selling. It also means they’re going to be on top of OEM compliance, which let’s be honest, changes pretty frequently. You also want an agency that is transparent; one that is going to take you through everything step by step and make sure you understand it all. Choose an agency that has repeatedly helped their dealerships grow and has maintained solid relationships over long periods of time. I might know a pretty good one… (hint, you’re on their website!).
It may seem easy for me to plug CBC because I’m part of the CBC Team, but the truth is with well over 100 dealership rooftops and 38 years in the business, CBC delivers some serious power. Just ask our #1 clients! 😉
If it’s time for you to talk about making a switch in your dealership or group’s marketing, let’s have a conversation.