The Data Dilemma

Imagine this: You’re the digital marketing manager at a busy dealership, and you’ve just wrapped up a month-long promotional campaign. The sales team is eager to see the results, and you’re ready to dive into the data. This campaign included targeted Google PPC ads, social media promotions, email blasts to your customer database, local radio spots, direct mailers with special offers, and eye-catching showroom events. You also invested in exposure through AutoTrader and CarGurus, optimized your OEM website presence, and engaged potential buyers through live chat on your dealership’s website.

But as you start compiling reports from Google Analytics, CRM systems, and various ad platforms, you realize that what should be a straightforward task is turning into a complex, time-consuming ordeal.

You spend hours extracting, cleaning, and formatting data from different sources, only to find discrepancies and gaps that make it difficult to get a clear picture of your campaign’s performance. Frustration mounts as you sift through conflicting numbers, trying to make sense of what went right and what went wrong. You can’t help but feel overwhelmed, questioning how something so essential can be this complicated.

As you work late into the evening, the frustration intensifies. You know your dealership’s success depends on making data-driven decisions, but too many third-party marketing tools and the lack of clear, reliable information (and all the tedious manual work that you’re doing to nail down “what’s happening”) leaves you anxious and uncertain. As you try to tie the numbers together, you can’t help but notice two thoughts you keep having: You’re probably wasting money somewhere, and it shouldn’t be this hard to figure out where.

Unfortunately, this situation resonates with many dealers because they deal with it every month. Many dealerships out there waste a significant portion of their marketing budget every month due to these common, yet overlooked problems. Identifying and addressing these sources of waste is crucial for ensuring you have accurate data reporting to improve your team’s return on investment (ROI). Tapping into new growth channels that can put meaningful gross profit back in your pocket.

Here are the ones we see most often – and how you can start to address them with your team.

Sources of Marketing Waste

We work with hundreds of dealers to help them understand what’s going on inside their marketing. These are the common sources of marketing waste we see most often:

Unclear, Manually-Compiled Internal Reporting

Challenges: Compiling data from diverse sources such as Google Analytics, CRM systems, and external marketing tools is labor-intensive and fraught with potential for errors. Data must be extracted, cleaned, and formatted, consuming significant time and resources.

Impact: The complexity and time required for manual reporting result in infrequent and sometimes unreliable reports. This leads to decisions based on outdated or inaccurate data, which can significantly impair the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.

Lack of Visibility into Lead Follow-Up

Challenges: High-quality leads are often not maximized due to insufficient follow-up. Many leads are touched only once, if at all, which squanders opportunities to convert interested customers.

Management Challenges: Without clear data reporting on how leads are being managed, it’s difficult to track progress through the sales funnel or ensure consistent follow-up. This results in lost sales and diminished ROI.

Common Mistakes: Dealerships may fail to promptly engage leads, use generic communication, or neglect to personalize interactions, further reducing lead conversion rates.

Unproductive Marketing Channels (And an Inability to Measure Them)

Challenges: Channels like Google PPC and social media ads can create instant reach and awareness for a dealership, but can quickly drain budgets if not closely monitored. Letting a PPC campaign run unchecked can lead to high costs, low returns, and an unpleasantly high bill with little to show for it at the end of the month.

Measurement Barriers: The difficulties in performance tracking of numerous simultaneous campaigns can overwhelm small marketing teams. When relying on agencies, the authenticity and accuracy of reported data can be uncertain, making it hard to assess true performance.

No Visibility into Organic Search/SEO

Challenges: High competition in the automotive sector makes it difficult to secure a strong presence in search results. Dealerships often struggle with optimizing image-heavy websites, which are common in the automotive industry, for speed and responsiveness.

Local SEO Importance: Since most car purchases are local, effective local SEO is critical but challenging to implement due to the need for precise and extensive optimization.

Marketing Team Staffing

Hiring Difficulties: Filling roles like Digital Marketing Manager is challenging, often leaving gaps in expertise within the marketing team.

Operational Impact: These staffing challenges force team members to wear multiple hats, leading to a focus on data handling over strategic activities. This not only stifles creativity but also hinders the team’s ability to derive actionable insights from the data they collect.

Mitigating Marketing Waste

Dealerships looking to curb marketing waste have several options: They can expand their teams to include more specialized roles, place greater emphasis on improving marketing reporting and metrics, or adopt technological solutions along with external support to simplify data tracking. Each strategy offers potential benefits, but the practicality of each varies significantly depending on the dealership’s circumstances.

Expanding the marketing team or enhancing internal reporting processes can be unrealistic for many dealers. These approaches often require substantial budget increases and can demand a level of expertise or bandwidth that many dealerships simply do not have. Additionally, even with more data and better reports, the fundamental issue of effectively analyzing and acting on that data remains a challenge.

For many dealerships, the most feasible and effective solution lies in adopting a technology-based solution. Such platforms can automate data aggregation and analysis, offering clear, actionable insights without the need for extensive staffing or deep expertise in data handling. This approach not only conserves resources but also allows dealerships to focus more on strategy and less on the mechanics of data management, making it an appealing option for those looking to enhance their marketing efficiency.

Choosing the Right Solution

When selecting a marketing technology solution, dealerships should prioritize these essential features to ensure they invest in a system that truly enhances their marketing efforts:

Smart Buying Questions:

Final Thoughts – Turning Wastes Into Wins

Marketing campaigns that get immediate results are exciting. But there’s just as much benefit in finding and addressing the sources of marketing waste in your marketing process today. By looking in the right places, you and your team can turn those sources of marketing waste into a competitive advantage by alleviating the stress and time-consuming efforts it takes moving between multiple reporting tools. Now you know exactly where to look and how to transform your marketing efforts for maximum ROI.

Vistadash Your Ultimate Marketing Intelligence Platform

Vistadash is the marketing intelligence platforms dealers utilize to make smarter decisions about their marketing spend. Vistadash configures your analytics and ensures you’re receiving lead source data in a clean, efficient ways through:

By integrating Vistadash into your dealership’s operations, you can eliminate the guesswork, reduce marketing waste, and focus on what drives your business forward.