Five Strategies To Improve Operating Efficiency in 2024 - PCG Digital

I’m looking forward to the new opportunities which 2024 will present to my company; change is good and being flexible has allowed me to pivot and stay relevant with my clients. I’m also energized to support the auto dealers, technology companies, and OEMs which I partner with each year to create better business outcomes.

I have written over 100 articles this year, and as I reflect on the top ideas to carry forward into 2024, I decided to create an action plan for dealership executives who are looking for the next leg up on their competitors.


Data-Driven Marketing in a Post-Cookie World

Your customer data is holding you back from maximum profitability. Every time a dealer send an email or direct mail piece to a consumer about a vehicle they no longer own, they lose credibility. Repeated communications that are ill-timed or inaccurate degrade customer loyalty and yet as an industry we little to fix the accuracy of our customer data.

We need to move from being content with historical data to demanding living, enhanced, actionable data.

When dealers test the accuracy and quality of the data in their DMS platforms, they will be shocked. Sadly, most dealers know their DMS data is outdated, but they don’t have a plan to address the gap in business intelligence. To be fair, DMS providers have never made it easy to manage and update customer data.

Over 25% of customers can't be reached by email. Over 40% of the vehicle ownership records in the DMS have changed. Less than 20% of customers pick up dealership phone calls on the first attempt. This is a multi-million dollar gap in operational effectiveness.

25% +

Customers Can’t Be Reached by Email

40% +

Of Ownership Records in the DNS Have Changed

- 20%

Customers Pick Up Dealership Phone Calls

Managing customer data using a Customer Data Platform (CDP) is not a gimmick, a fad, or a buzzword. Anyone who truly understands the power of clean, robust customer data will never dismiss investments to create “living” records for each consumer who transacts with the dealership in sales and service.

The 70-Page Research Report is Free to Download!

Dealers can start their CDP education by downloading my CDP research report which I published this year. After reading the report, dealership managers can schedule a free consultation so I can direct them to CDP vendors based on their business needs. I will also be published a follow-up to this report in Q1 of 2024.

I don’t sell CDP platforms, but I can help dealers and dealer groups accelerate their onboarding and data activation. There are many great companies helping dealers succeed including Client Command , Outsell , Orbee , Fullpath and Tealium. My goal is to help dealers find the right partner that can grow with their business and support new revenue opportunities.


Make It Easy For Customers To Pick Up Your Calls

Dealers make thousands of phone calls a month, yet less than 20% of those calls will be picked up on the first attempt. Dealers know that the faster they can start a phone conversation with a shopper, the better their chances to sell them a vehicle. Yet, most outbound calls that consumers receive DO NOT have the dealer’s name (i.e., caller id).

Pew Research found that only 19% of adults will pick up a call that is an unknown caller. TransUnion found that 87% of consumers would be more willing to answer a call from their dealership if the dealer’s name was displayed on their phone.

Sadly, most dealership calls appear on the consumer's cell phone as an unknown number and the city of where the call originated.

In 2024, I am encouraging dealers to join with me to document the LIFT in connection rates and IMPROVEMENT in lead close rates when Caller Name Optimization (CNO) and Branded Call Display (BCD) is implemented on all outbound phone lines. Dealers can request a quote for the Trusted Call Solutions program and be activated within two weeks of sign-up.

This one strategy could be the #1 change in sales effectiveness for 2024 because you will speak with in-market shoppers faster, and important conversations will not be missed. Questions? Message me on LinkedIn.


Audit Your Marketing Spend and Strategy

This may appear to be an “old” idea, but knowing what is working and what is not working, regarding your marketing strategy, is never a waste of time. Thankfully, most dealers are not paying two companies to do the same task, but I still find some cases when I do an audit with my team of marketing experts.

Marketing automation platforms, while impressive in capabilities, often make it hard for dealers to measure whether their marketing is working to achieve business goals. Complicating matters even more is the lack of support for Google Analytics (GA4) which is the new standard for measuring online engagement and conversions.

If your dealership has inspected the ROI on all your marketing investments, congratulations! If you need a second set of eyes on the data with some frank assessments of effectiveness, then schedule a free audit with the team at PCG Digital.


Test Third-Party Audiences

The number of consumers who visit your dealership website to shop for a vehicle will number in the thousands per month. However, your website traffic represents a small percentage of the active shoppers in your local market. Retargeting campaigns are one of the strategies dealers use to keep their name in front of consumers, but what about the thousands of LOCAL shoppers who never visit their website?

Dealers need to test third-party audiences, regardless of whether they have a CDP in place, to fill gaps in marketing and deliverability.

While there are many vendors selling “in-market” shoppers, many of these lists are modeled or look-alike audiences without providing any individual contact data. There is a growing number of companies who offer advanced data targeting which allows you to build LOCAL audiences and then activate them through your own marketing agency or through a managed service.

The Active Shopper Network is a Tier 3 Identity Resolution Platform

One company that I have been testing with my clients is called Client Command, and I have been impressed with the power of their patent for the Active Shopper Network®.

If you are going to NADA, here is an offer that you can’t pass up, especially if you need to move cars! Experience Client Command®’s Audience Builder at booth #6412N during NADA. Gain access to a 30,000 person audience FREE at the show. Not going to the show? Lock-in a time with Client Command’s team today and receive your free audience on this page!

2024 will be the Year of the Audience for Advanced Dealer Groups

Dealers should be testing multiple data partners who can fill gaps in marketing intelligence, especially local shoppers that never visit the dealer’s website but are actively shopping on marketplace websites and competitor websites.

Three dealer examples of AXLE website technology


Invest in an Intentional Used Car Acquisition Strategy

Dealers need a new strategy to acquire local used cars without having to go through an auction platform. Many dealers have banners on their websites that offer to buy cars from online shoppers, but that is an accidental sales strategy.

A strategy that features a dedicated microsite and a custom branded URL powered by the highest converting trade software is creating a stir in the automotive world.

Some of my most demanding clients and dealer groups (C. Harper, Wyler, Keating, Crown, and Hudson) have turned to the AXLE platform to connect with local consumers who want to sell their vehicle. You can see some of the stats below and then ask Derek White for a private demo. Dedicated website experiences, like and, are making the process easy for consumers and profitable for dealers.

Sample performance use cases from dealers using AXLE technology and coordinated marketing

A dedicated AXLE website is fast, efficient, and free from code BLOAT that so many OEM websites have, slowing down the consumer experience. Fast, effective trade processing with integrated communications have changed the rules and and increased the profitability opportunities by using consumer direct trade campaigns.

I encourage dealers to book a demo and see how fast you can be up and running with a 100% customized buying center website.

One Last Suggestion: Upgrade Your Skills

As fast as automotive retail is changing, staff training and certifications are more important than ever. In 2024, I will be announcing new mentoring and certification programs (online and live training) for dealership employees on these topics:

  • Google Analytics (GA4)
  • Social Media Advertising
  • Google Advertising
  • Internet Sales and Lead Management
  • Applications for AI in Sales and Service
  • First-party data management and CDPs

So if you would like to get more information on training programs in 2024, shoot me an email: The online classes will start in February and lead up to the Digital Marketing Strategies Conference (DMSC) in June for live training.


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