Cars, People & Websites

In the business of digital marketing, most conversations seem to surround Cars, People and Websites. We’re all trying to match the right cars, with the right people, and using various web sites or web technologies to match buyers and sellers. I would venture to say, mostly we’re thinking about cars…and why shouldn’t we? If you’re in the car business, it is likely because you have a passion for cars. We’re always thinking about how to keep the right balance of the right cars. We use inventory management software, or our DMS, to keep track of the cars we have, and if we’re lucky the systems are easy to use and the data is correct. Before the internet-age, inventory systems were primarily about keeping track of our cars for accounting purposes, since we manually created our print display and classifieds ads. Today dealers have the burden of making sure that their online inventories are perfect. Not just making sure that we have kept track of every car, but that the descriptions are complete, marketing content is contained, 24+ photographs are captured, and that this data is properly sprayed out to the websites we desire. Maybe may collect all of this data ourselves, maybe a third-party helps us, but either way we need strong online inventories. If we removed all of the other distractions for an internet manager or general manager, just maintaining solid and complete online inventories can be a big enough headache.
But how often are we, at the same time, thinking about the people who may be interested in these cars? What do I mean? You know, the shoppers to our sites or showrooms, the data that is contained in our CRM, lead management system, etc. Generally, we think about the People in a separate sense. Sure, we’ve got tons of leads (we hope), plenty of shoppers, tire kickers, be-backs, never-backs, the people we need to keep selling our Cars. A great marketing speaker once posed the question to an audience, “What single item do you need to start a business?”. Answer varied…”an idea!”, “money”, “a product!”, nope. The answer was…A Customer. Of course, once we have someone will to open their wallets to us, we now have a business. We all see lots of car shoppers, and it is our job to correctly match the vehicle to the shopper.
The problem is…most of the online systems out there, don’t do a good job of connecting our Cars to the People! What cars have a lot of people interested in them? What cars don’t? Which vehicles am I receiving heavy price objections? What aged vehicles have gotten very few leads? In addition, how often and I flipping back and forth between inventory management and lead management systems, copying and pasting photos into emails, etc.
But we haven’t yet talked about how we use websites to attract People to our Cars? What websites attract the most People to our Cars? What cars sell best on which Websites? In order to take the right holistic approach to web marketing, we must have good business intelligence and system integration to help us connect People who shop on Websites and find our Cars.
Once you begin to step out of the day-to-day weeds, and look at your overall merchandising plan, you can begin to use the information available to you to make better decisions. You need to decide what are the right vehicles to stock to match the needs of your buyers, and what websites you need to market your vehicles on, to properly match them to your unique inventory.


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