| The why and how of choosing the right advertising partner for your dealership
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The why and how of choosing the right advertising partner for your dealership

Choosing multiple agencies over a single one for digital advertising is a legitimate question that decision makers at dealerships across north America often grapple with. After all, it’s in the dealer principal’s best interests to test out different agencies and decide – based on performance – who gets the larger share of their advertising budget for good, if not the whole of it.

No doubt their intentions are in the right place. However, the challenge is that all agencies are not equal. Some of the bigger ones have the business will and deep pockets needed to continually invest in improving their automation tools and backend technologies while most others are smaller and lack the wherewithal to evolve at the same fast pace as the overall digital marketing industry is currently witnessing.

Then, there’s the focus on client’s strategy. Each client is unique – even if they are two dealerships in the same town associated with the same automaker – and, therefore, no one-size-fits-all approach is ever highly successful. If an agency doesn’t have the right team, tech, tools and industry-partnerships to back their clients, they may suggest superficial digital strategies that may deliver on some fluffy metrics but never meet clients’ ‘real’ expectations, i.e., selling more cars.

Challenges pre-campaign launch
Another common problem is that decision makers at dealerships are very busy and may not be able to get deeply-involved in discussions to vet the correct digital advertising strategies that align with their business goals – right at the outset.

“This leads to agencies dictating the best path forward. We have been showing multiple clients how their campaigns are not doing full justice to the inventory in-stock or not at the level of efficiency that automation brings to the table. It’s often a no-brainer to switch over right away after we have shown them our benchmarks and numbers,” says Benoit Laforce, General Manager – Advertising, TRFFK.

Now imagine having to go over multiple such interactions if a dealer did decide to go ahead and hire multiple agencies. And if they’re hard pressed for time, then there’s a bigger risk that the right goals are not selected before launch.

“And what if you want to design a marketing grand slam? How will you ever bring so many different teams to collaborate and ensure consistency of language and branding month after month? There’s a lot of moving parts where anything can go wrong,” adds Laforce.

Another aspect is managing multiple contracts and tracking invoices monthly – a very time-consuming process.

Challenges post-campaign launch
Keeping track of monthly follow-ups isn’t easy. A dealer only has so many hours in a day and cannot be at multiple places during the start of a month when there are dozens of crucial priorities to take care of.

And if it so happens that some of these monthly connects are missed, how would they be able to identify what’s working and what’s not and do a course correct? Would they be able to notice if one agency’s campaigns ended up working against the other’s? That’s like doing a big disservice to one’s own business.

According to Laforce, scaling up or down across any one channel or campaign is that much easier when you have a single point of contact.

“Working with one agency will ensure that every dollar spent is working for you. It is easier to strategize with one point of contact and devise cohesive, multi-channel strategies and see the leads and performance across all of them on a single dashboard.

“It will also help you save on multiple agency fees and payments. More often than not, you also get to leverage your larger spending power with one agency to negotiate better terms and lower management fees,” he says.

Finally, a dealer needs to ask himself if they just need another vendor or a strategic, capable & trusted partner instead. Someone who has their back irrespective of missing monthly connects to go over their data and strategy. A competent team that can deploy the most suitable budgets across your media mix along with campaign strategies that deliver results in your location and setup is the single biggest key to digital success.

One may still choose to go with a multi-pronged approach. Chances of their success from the latter are the same as winning a lottery jackpot.

— Sparsh Sharma – Digital Strategist Manager, TRFFK