As a complete Noob to the vendor world, I am constantly afforded the opportunity to learn new and amazing things… sometimes on an hourly basis. Talk about a One-Eighty: 15 years in the dealership, then to one of the most progressive automotive software solutions provider in the industry. When I’m lucky enough to get invited to a meeting, I have to admit that half the time, I have no idea what the hell they are talking about! I’m still learning the language.
Complimenting my new friend Joe Mescher (@joemescher) the other day on his article discussing the Google Cookie Monster, I think we both got that “hmmm…. that might make a good snippet” look. I’m a huge fan of Joe’s writing and won’t pretend to be able to add much depth to any conversation about digital marketing from the vendor side, but let me know if this sounds at all familiar in your store:
After seeing a few discussions over in the forums, I (my dealership’s E-Commerce Manager or ISM) get an idea. I do some research, and I get excited! I dig-in and really do my homework, and I am convinced that, for about $5000 a month, and with very little effort, I can completely own share of voice with a display campaign in my market. I CAN’T WAIT to get in front of the GM!! I set a meeting. I get-up a little earlier… dress a little nicer… stop at Dunkin and bring-in a Box O’ Joe, and when it’s time, I proudly Release The Hounds with:
“I’ve found a new display product that will make it easy for us to develop a contextual display campaign across the Google ad network while helping us build a pixel pool for those high-ROI re-marketing campaigns.”
In all likelihood, what my Dealer just heard:
(that’s Charlie Brown’s Teacher for the You Tube impaired)
GM says, “How much?”
I say, “Only about $5000 a month!”
GM, after forcibly pushing his eyeballs back in his socket and and wiping-up the coffee he just spit all over his table, politely says, “Uh, yeah. Good work. Lemme mull that over a bit and get back to you.” (This is a very polite GM).
So what was the problem? Was it my research? No. Solid. Is the dealership out of money? Nope. Solid. Maybe the GM just doesn’t like me? Doubt it, I seem to be his go-to for a lot of stuff. Maybe the GM just doesn’t get it? That must be it.
“These guys just don’t get it!” The mantra of a many a frustrated ISM….
But I have news for you: your dealer may actually get it. But he doesn’t understand your language. Like the noob in the midst of vendor genius, your Dealer spent most of his career with a certain “language” that is both comfortable and familiar. Newsflash: your Dealer is not going to learn your language. It’s your job to learn his/hers. And your paycheck reflects your ability to master this language.
The point is, if you can make your Dealer understand your point on his/her terms, you’ve done your job. To do this, you need to understand their world; step 1, their language.
Back to our example. We’re talking about advertising, right? My dealer spends A LOT of money on advertising, so he should know something about advertising… So what does he know?
Well, we’ve done a lot of TV and radio advertising, so he probably understands a little about “Reach” and “Frequency” and has an understood value surrounding those campaign numbers. So maybe if I can describe the Google Ad Network in terms of Reach (how many will see the ad) and Frequency (how often my ads will be seen), my guy can begin to make a valid value comparison in his mind. Next, ad-in the idea that instead of these “commercials” appearing on the evening news, or the game on Sunday, these ads will appear on websites where the context of the site matches the context of your ads; we have cars to sell, the people seeing these ads are interested in cars. I now let my GM know that this new product does all of this in about 5 clicks so we won’t have to pay the agency to produce these ads like radio and TV ads, and now perhaps he starts to see the light.
Am I really saying anything different above then in the first example? Nope — just used another language: translated Digital Speak into Dealer Speak.
Dealers do a lot of print advertising too. Would it make sense for ISM’s to be able to translate dollars-per-column-inch to CTR to SRP to VDP’s?
Of course, some Dealers do get it, many of which are readers of this blog. I imagine a few can hold a Digital Speak conversation with their ISM or even their Vendor Rep without the need of a translator. But I’m really wondering how many of the “new” breed of ISM and E-Comm Managers have taken the time to learn the language of their predecessors.
Are you multi-lingual?.