Best PracticesDealership Marketing

8 Essential Attributes Dealer Marketing Pros Need

Whether you call him/her a Digital Marketing Manager, Web Presence Manager, or something else, you need someone at your dealership to manage the marketing efforts of your partners, vendors, and agencies. 

Dealers, if you’re not actively managing the efforts of your vendors with some level of in-house oversight, you’re probably being taken for a seriously expensive and round-about ride.

Further more, if you are incapable of appraising the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of your marketing due to a lack of on-site digital marketing guru it is very likely that other, more progressive, dealers are getting the upper hand and are eating your lunch.

I know this because I have been on the losing team and, more recently, a winning one.

Professionals from dealerships around the country often reach out to me for recommendations on who they should work with whether it be a vendor, agency, or even a service provider. They ask questions like, “Should we hire them or avoid them like the plague? What do you think about the work XXXXX is doing? What was your experience working with XXXXX?”

Although the questions dealerships ask varies, my response to them always the same: who at the dealership is going to be responsible for managing that agency or vendor? Who do you have on staff that can hold their feet to the fire?

At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter what outside company you employ to aid you with your marketing. The difference maker is always going to be the person on your staff  that you appoint to manage your vendors, agencies, and service providers effectiveness and value-add.

So before you reach out to someone like me or sign a contract the first question you need to ask yourself is: Who can I have Manage our outsider marketing efforts and what skills do they need to have to ensure we get the best results and ROI?

Here are 8 Essential Attributes Your Dealership’s Marketing Professional Needs:


1. Advanced Understanding of Google Analytics

If they do not know how to use Google Analytics they do not know how to properly evaluate your website vendor(s), the results of SEO work, SEM campaigns, email marketing, and any other website traffic related you are currently paying for. They should know how to build reports, be able to set up conversion goals, install CRM Lead values, and know how to evaluate areas of website improvement directly from the analytics.

It is IMPOSSIBLE to hold outside digital vendors and marketing agencies accountable without an in-depth knowledge of Google Analytics possessed by a member of the dealership’s staff. You know you’ve selected the right person when you observe them spending about 35% of their work week in GA.

2. Advanced CRM Data-Mining, Opportunity Management, and Email Marketing Skills

In my professional opinion your dealership marketing professional should be spending no fewer than 25% of their time studying the CRM.

The ability to find good prospects, building compelling email copy, and sending out a business-driven email broadcast is one of the most valuable skills an automotive marketing professional can have. Knowing how to develop a good workflow and recognizing your best internet lead sources is essential in building an effective game plan that attracts customers to your dealership with the absolute goal of selling more cars.

[highlight color=”#F0F0F0″ font=”black”]”The ability to find good prospects, building compelling email copy, and sending out a business-driven email broadcast is one of the most valuable skills an automotive marketing professional can have.”[/highlight]

Without a total understanding of the CRM, specifically in regards to identifying internet lead sources, their closing ratios, and lead quality, you have no way of understanding the true ROI of your internet marketing partners.

3. Attention to Detail and Drive to Ensure The Full Resolution of Problems

The dealership’s marketing pro needs to have an intense commitment to trouble shooting problems, reporting and tracking them, and most importantly seeing their resolution through to completion.

They should be expected to identify issues whether it be with the store’s Google Business Page, CRM, Website(s), or other – and they need to be expected and trusted to find solutions and work with all parties involved to resolve issues. If you have any doubts that your dealership’s marketing pro is irresponsible, then without question you have found the wrong person for the job.

4. Ability Develop and Manage Vendor and Service Provider Relationships

The Digital Marketing professional at your dealership needs to know how to manage and maintain the relationship between the dealership and those you’ve hired to market the dealership. They need to know how to report vendor marketing failure to the vendor, build documentation, and push vendors to improve products and strategies to better accommodate the goals of the dealership.

[highlight color=”#F0F0F0″ font=”black”]“They need to know how to report vendor marketing failure to the vendor, build documentation, and push vendors to improve products”.[/highlight]

This person should always be up-to-date on current digital marketing trends (not just the one’s being adopted by dealers) and should know how to sniff out bullshit products and vendors.

The dealership’s marketing pro should be expected to spend approximately two hours each day reviewing strategies and reports with their vendors and service providers.

5. Experience Building Webpages using intermediate-level HTML and CSS

I’m not suggesting that your Marketing Manager needs to be able to build a website from scratch but they should be able to build a basic website page that is attractive, compelling and constructed using text, tables, hyperlinks, and images.

Anyone relying 100% on a WYSIWYG editor or copies and pastes directly from Microsoft Word does not actually know how to build a page. If they can’t build a solid webpage they should not be responsible for overseeing your digital marketing.

6. Automotive SEM/PPC Management

Everyone knows that PPC and SEM is one of the most immediate ways to grow your internet traffic, but just because you can get more traffic doesn’t mean you’re making more sales.

Your on-site marketing pro should have experience building and managing SEM campaigns. If they’ve never built an actual campaign they will not know: how to evaluate what reasonable cost-per-click is, how much budget to allocate per campaign, which campaigns are successful and cost-effective, and which are just wasting money.

They should also be familiar with what a good Click Through Rate (CTR) is. They should also know how to identify and evaluate Adwords/Bing campaigns in their website analytics and what your users are doing once they’re on the website from an SEM ad. They should know which negative keywords should be used for each campaign and, if they are not in immediate control of the account, they should be reviewing negative keyword lists with the vendor who is.

7. Current SEO Best Practices

Your marketing pro needs to understand all current SEO best practices. They should know how to optimize a page for increased organic ranking by implementing clean code, utilize correct ALT and TITLE HTML tags, and most importantly, they should know how to write compelling content that is designed to, not only increase organic page ranking, but actually be useful and relevant to readers.

If you are paying an outside provider to manage your SEO your marketing pro needs to be capable of evaluating the execution of SEO best practices and evaluate organic page ranking increases, as well as, decreases.

8. Must Be Crazy About Cars

Dealership life is not for everyone. When selecting someone to manage your digital marketing efforts make certain they are truly passionate about cars. I’ve always felt that no one can effectively market what they do not believe in.

For this reason, I feel that it is very important to find someone who is completely crazy about cars, has had some dealership or automotive related job experience and is a true automotive enthusiast. Is it possible to do this job without being a car nut? Sure. But do you want someone who is dedicated to going through the motions, or someone dedicated to kicking the crap out of your competitors?

You want someone who loves cars and dealership life or at the absolute minimum, understands cars and dealership life.

Are there more attributes that could be included in this list? Absolutely! However I primarily wrote this article to raise awareness that dealerships need to employ someone who can watch over their vendors. For this reason, I chose to focus on what I consider to be the core competencies of a true Dealership Marketing Manager.

What do you think? Did I miss one? Agree or Disagree? Let me know in the comments…

Dan Mondello is a true “Car Guy” – his first word (as a baby) was “Vehicle” and while in college Dan worked part time as a Corvette Restorat...