Do what everyone else is doing, get what everyone else is getting.
New cars are a fungible resource, and every Ford dealer has access to the same new F-150s as every other Ford dealer. Having to sell the same products can make market differentiation a difficult enough problem without combining automotive’s favorite drug: co-op.
I have long been a critic of the current incentivized co-op system, which often forces dealers into cookie-cutter, ineffective solutions. This system has led to a lack of marketing innovation among vendors and in dealerships. It has fooled us into thinking that getting half our wasted spend back is better than effectively using all of it for a much greater return on investment.
Identify key areas in which your dealership is spending its returnable dollars, see if you can spend that money other places and don’t shy away from investing in solutions outside of your manufacturer’s programs for foundational digital programs. No vendor can serve multiple clients in the same area equally well; gains have to come from somewhere.
Stop doing what everyone else is doing, try new things and rise above the pack.
GA4 Is Coming, and It’s a Chance to Change Our Industry
With the upcoming Google Analytics 4 Standards Council, we have a chance to ensure every automotive vendor agrees to be measured by the same yardstick. With dealers and vendors working together on the standardization of events across all categories of digital marketing, we can compare apples to apples between our website providers, chat providers, trade, digital retailing tools and all our other plug-ins, bolt-ons, and other various soon to be revealed wastes-of-money.
Your Vendor’s Future Is Your Future
You need to talk with your vendor about their plans for the future, as their future is directly tied to your own. We all know the tragedies of some great companies in our industry who just couldn’t seem to scale or were just one buy-out away from completely changing. Will they be joining an OEM program and taking on thousands of new dealers? Have they recently been purchased or are they looking for investors? Will your “exclusive” market still be exclusive under the new CEO’s vision?
Talk to your vendors about their company’s plans and how you may fit in that future, and reward the vendors that will be in your corner along the way.