Best PracticesDealership Marketing

What the Baltimore Ravens Can Teach You About Your Dealership’s Marketing


Another football season comes to an end with the crowning of a Super Bowl champion. Are the Baltimore Ravens the most talented team in the NFL?

Maybe… or maybe not.

Love them or hate them, what the Ravens are is a unified team. Separate units of offense, defense and special teams that worked together to accomplish a goal. Each unit focused on their individual objectives, while at the same time, focused on putting the next unit in position to help influence a win.

A high-performing dealership is similar to a championship football team, with individual units or profit centers working as a unified team to deliver a win; an exceptional consumer experience that results in vehicle, service, parts and accessoriessales.

As consumers interact with profit centers within your dealership, their in-store journey is far from linear. There is a beginning in-store interaction that might be in sales, parts or service; but not a defined path towards the next profit center. Each consumer’s in-store journey takes a slightly different path with a different destination, time frame and points of influence. For a successful automotive consumer journey, profit centers must be unified just like the three phases — offense, defense & special teams — of a Super Bowl champion.

But what happens when profit centers are compartmentalized; looking to pad their own stats instead of winning as a team? How many dealerships have loyal sales customers that never visit their service department; or loyal service customers that never set foot on their showroom floor?

Sadly… too many!

Becoming a unified championshipteam begins with each profit center acknowledging their co-dependency. Working together instead of individually has a substantially greater influence on consumer behavior; and adjusting in-store processes to reflect multiple points or channels of influence creates wins for each profit center and the dealership as a whole.

Escorting a customer from the service waiting room to the showroom floor for coffee creates an influence channel with the sales department. A salesperson showing the customer accessories on a vehicle creates an influence channel for the parts department. This unified profit center approach helps high-performing dealers deliver an exceptional consumer experience and increased dealership profits.

unified profit center approach is not just an in-store best practice, but is also a best practice when it comes to your dealership marketing. Just as a consumer’s journey through a dealership is non-linear, a consumer’s digital journey is even more complex, often with no clear path.

A high-performing dealership will translate its unified profit center processes into a unified, multichannel marketing approach. According to Cobalt’s multichannel eBook:

“Rather than turning on different channels at different times in a neat cascading order, high-performing dealerships are ever-present. However, whenever, and wherever the modern consumer chooses to find them, they will be on and active through a compelling mix of media: email, search engine rankings, advertising, reviews, website, etc.”

There’s research that backs-up the multichannel marketing strategy that these top-performing dealership have deployed. Cobalt’s latest eBook also states:

“According to Aberdeen’s July 2012 Customer Experience study; businesses who engaged in multichannel marketing saw growth in key performance improvements across the board, such as: a 6.8% increase in customer retention, a 5.1% increase in customer lifetime value, and a 4.0% increase in customer satisfaction.”

In football terms, that means a serious uptick in roaring fans for you.

While you may never get to experience the thrill of winning a Super Bowl, you can experience the thrill of beating your competition through multichannel marketing; an experience that many high-performing dealerships are experiencing daily.

If you were coaching in the 2013 Marketing Super Bowl, what advice would you give your players?


Steve is Cobalt’s Sr. Manager of Performance Improvement Consulting (and arm-chair quarterback), bringing over 22 years of dealership operations and...
  • Q
  • February 6, 2013
Excellent post, Steve!