Attribution? Some Dealers Still Don’t Even Track Leads and Sales!
There’s been a push for over a year among some automotive digital marketers to shift dealers’ focus away from traditional return-on-investment measurements (like leads, calls and sales) toward something called multi-touch attribution.
While this isn’t an article about the various attribution models being pitched by everyone from Google to your website provider, I do understand it would be helpful if I gave a very brief and basic overview of the multi-touch attribution argument most often being presented today.
Basically, multi-touch attribution provides insight into the (mostly) online journey for some of the buyers and shoppers in your market. Its intent is to convince you because some percentage of your buyers visited a given website during their journey, this website deserves some credit for the sale; even if the website never generated a call or a lead (or was even the last source visited by the buyer before they arrived on your lot).
Feel free to debate the merits of this avant-garde approach on your own time; I’m here to discuss basic tracking and measuring of those crusty old leads and sales.
Internet Sales 101
No offense… but let me state I truly cannot believe I’m writing about this in 2019.
However, I worked with several new clients over the past few months, and (as I always do) I asked in advance for some very simple tracking reports showing the previous month’s performance and their year-to-date results for both their lead-focused digital marketing vendors and those who manage their internet sales prospects (salespeople and BDC agents).
What I received from more than one store was startling. A few (unrelated) dealers provided me “reporting” that lacked actual valid measurement. Without basic reporting, there was no way for me or anyone else to make decisions on their digital marketing budgets or their personnel. Yet, these dealerships had certainly been making such decisions for years based on this worthless data.
There is a litmus test I use for digital marketing vendors that’s worked well for my clients who employ it. Simply put, if it’s not crystal clear from the reporting whether you should increase your budget, decrease your budget, or hold your budget steady for a given digital marketing provider, then you should cancel that vendor and use this money to buy billboards on bus benches. At least that way you can see your ads when you drive around town.
It’s Not Rocket Science; But, it is Math
Wait, if I’m tracking the wrong stuff, what should I be tracking?
For every digital marketing vendor you employ, you should (at the very least) track and measure the following:
Likewise, you should use these same basic measurements (save for the Cost as a Percentage of Gross), as well as Appointments Shown and Sold, when determining the effectiveness of your team’s performance.
Anything less than these measurements and you’re simply flying blind. You have no idea whether to spend more or less with a vendor; or whether or not to give a certain BDC agent more or fewer leads each month. Additionally, you have no idea which employees are properly working their opportunities, following your processes, or even making their phone calls.
It’s Not Even Close to Complicated
Once you begin properly tracking the performance of your digital marketing vendors and those tasked with responding to/selling these prospects, you should create some minimum standards and some goals so you can decide where you’re missing the most opportunities.
For most dealers, the following objectives are a good place to start:
Sounds Simple, Right?
Actually, it is quite simple – and a great way to manage your business with much less effort than you’re expending today.
For those dealers who believe they’ve got these metrics covered and they’re hitting at or near the top; I say, excellent, you’re ready to launch headfirst into multi-touch attribution.
For the rest of you, I recommend you dive into the data you have (or can easily generate), pull out the metrics that matter, track and measure these over time, and start holding vendors and your team accountable to helping you grow via digital marketing.
Or, you could always just move this budget to your bus bench billboards’ campaign. Again, at least that way you can see your marketing dollars at work.