A question for General Managers in dealerships each month: Do you understand your marketing budget is delivering?

There is a lot of money being spent each month on advertising and technology, vendor call after vendor call, and still there is confusion as to where the budget is being spent, how much should be spent, and what results you are getting.

When PCG Digital onboards a new client, we are confronted with these concerns of past vendor relationships. I believe these concerns were caused by deficiencies in two areas: client education and vendor communication. What I believe will alleviate these concerns is data as the guiding force partnered with education to understand what the data is telling you.

So as a General Manager, how do you get back on track? How should you be involved with your marketing spend? My suggestions are to have a discussion with your internal and external marketing team to review these three things:

What are we trying to accomplish with each of your marketing campaigns?

Don’t be general. Be specific. Break you marketing down into the targeted campaigns you’re running so you can easily measure your success. Every campaign you launch should have a specific target audience, a spend associated with it, and a consumer action you’re trying to trigger.

What is the best channel for this campaign?

What channel does your target audience spend their time on? Radio? TV? YouTube? Facebook? Instagram? TikTock? You must be present in any channel with a specific campaign built for that channel based on cost in your area. By having these discussions both sides are educating each other on what may work in their market.
So, we pivoted to Social Media. We could use Facebook ads, YouTube PreRoll ads to begin an awareness campaign to share specific creatives (images and messages) targeted to this age group or in some cases parents of these groups. This generated the result we were looking for our client. My point here is that two-way communication alongside targeted data to deliver the campaign will have both sides involved with the marketing strategy and General Managers will feel more in control.

What are the results we are looking for?

All marketing campaigns are not designed the same. For some ads on Social Media, views of the video are the metric we measure for success. For others, it will be form fills or clicks to a specific landing page. Knowing what metrics we are measuring will help reduce any stress.

Too often, the answer to this question is “leads”. But remember, not every person who sees your marketing is ready to purchase today. If only a small percent of people are ready to buy a car today, then your marketing has to be an ongoing presence, moving them through a funnel until they are ready to contact you.

By reviewing the data and discussing how to adjust your marketing, effectiveness will improve.

If you are unsure how to answer the question, take a breath and understand you have to get to the answer. If your vendor partner will not participate or pushes you away, then I would question if you have the right partner in the first place.

Follow these three steps and I guarantee your marketing spend will no longer be lost. It will be a part of your daily business and you’ll be surprised how liberating it is.

When you hear the question, “Do you know where your marketing budget is?” you can confidently answer... “Hell yes I do!”

If you are interested, PCG Digital has a series of online training classes designed for the general manager and the marketing manager. 

Feel free to head over to my latest podcast, listen in as Bob Lanham, Head of Automotive Retail for Facebook, and I share thoughts on what dealer businesses are missing or misunderstanding about Facebook Marketing.

Glenn Pasch
Glenn Pasch
Glenn Pasch is a Partner and CEO of PCG Digital. Glenn continues to author articles for multiple industry publications, blogs and forums as well as continuing his writing online at www.glennpasch.com.
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