This post is inspired by a blog post (CLICK THIS LINK) written more than 3 years ago, titled, “We need to Re-Position and Re-Name The Internet Department,” on AutomotiveDigitalMarketing.com, but the subject matter is more relevant than ever. An “Internet Sales department” will, sadly, no longer be sufficient for car dealerships going forward. That day is coming sooner rather than later.
As online consumer usage has grown, the size of the staff working to capitalize on that increased usage has remained relatively stagnant. There will continue to be the need for appointment setters responding to leads via email and phone, business development coordinators to make lease retention, unsold showroom and service follow-up calls. However, there is also enough work in marketing a dealership online to occupy one person (or an entire staff) on a full-time basis in a DIGITAL MARKETING DEPARTMENT without that person having the burden or responsibility of setting appointments or selling cars. Most dealerships assign this role to the Internet Sales department, who are then forced to split their time performing both their original role (calling leads and selling cars) and this new added role of online marketing and keeping up with the latest trends. As a result, most of the time you will both see a drop-off in sales productivity and see a valiant but usually inconsistent attempt at marketing the dealership - limiting yourself in both areas.
Just to name a few of the responsibilities this department could cover better, simply because they can dedicate a full-time effort, rather than a part-time one:
- Updating the dealership website(s) on a daily basis.
- Monitoring and reacting faster to ongoing changes to Google algorithms affecting search presence,
- Overseeing the online Review Site (Reputation) Management for the dealership
- Growing Social Networks with big SEO power that can’t be ignored (Google+ and Pinterest), added to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Tumblr, FourSquare and many others
- Publishing more often to your Company Blog
- Reaching out and learning about new best practices across the online Digital Automotive community on sites like:
My favorite analogy to describe the role of the department is to think about your hand. You have 5 fingers - each of them represents a profit center of the dealership (New, Used, F&I, Service, Parts). All 5 are connected to a palm, which ties everything together and makes each finger that much more powerful. The palm is the DIGITAL MARKETING DEPARTMENT. Fingers + Palm = Hand, which can accomplish much more than any one finger or two fingers can.
Compensation would have to be largely salary-based, with specific goal bonuses for # of check-ins in a certain time period, minimum number of outbound posts, volume of inbound engagements, number of quality post views and other measuring tools currently available that would show increase in reach, popularity and brand awareness.
What are your thoughts about this idea?