Regarding the Trend Towards "Super Vendors"

Heart SurgeonThis is as much a question that I would love answered as it is a personal opinion that I'm posting on my own behalf. News of yesterday's big buyout of ClickMotive has many in the industry stirring up old (and new) feelings that the industry is heading towards one-stop-shops as a preferred choice.

Disclaimer: I work for KPA. With over 3,000 clients, we may be considered one of the "super vendors" in some circles, but the internet marketing division has always taken pride in being specialists at what we do best rather than being a single point of all things digital. The views expressed in this article are my own.

With that out of the way, I have to ask about the motivations that dealers have when it comes to going with the large vendors. I understand that there is ease when it comes to accounting, that calling and discussing multiple problems with a single point of contact is appealing, and that integration between technologies is considered a plus. What I don't understand is the idea that putting all or most aspects of internet marketing into the hands of a "general practitioner" is considered appropriate.

You may love your doctor, but you wouldn't want him or her to perform your heart surgery. It takes specialized training to be cardiac surgeon. While that's an extreme example used to make a point, it rings true in the complex world of internet marketing. Search engine optimization is best left to specialists, not general practitioners who work with thousands of clients all vying for the same basic keywords. Social media requires an understanding of the market, the demographic, and the personality of the dealership and cannot be guided by general principles built on a one-size-fits-all concept. CRM is extremely complex. Website design, inventory presentation, lead conversion optimization, and mobile marketing are all equally complex.

So now, the question: Do you believe in the general store concept or a diverse range of specialists?

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Comment by Jason Curnyn on October 8, 2012 at 10:28am
I have noticed this trend also. I believe that firms like autotrader are buying up firms to lessen competition and gain a competitive advantage. There is advantages with firms like autotrader in that their products are "networked" in a sense. Vauto allows better marketing data within the listing platform while vinsolutions is trying to offer a complete suite of products from crm to direct mail. While it is easier to get one bill and have one point of contact, I agree that the degree of specialization is diluted with this approach. Great Post!

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