Vendors vs. Partners: How to Find Marketing Experts for Your Dealership

Vendors vs. Partners: How to Find Marketing Experts for Your Dealership

The word ‘partner’ gets used a lot in marketing, but every business that provides you services doesn’t necessarily fit under that umbrella. Every dealership will work with dozens of vendors and (ideally) one or two marketing partners at a time. 

You know you need software to grow your business – things like customer relationship management (CRM), website hosting, inventory management are all necessary investments. But your CRM or website provider isn’t able to provide recommendations for other areas of your business. 

That’s where a marketing partner comes in. 

Marketing partners use all of those tools vendors provide to help you meet your dealership’s short- and long-term marketing goals. Partners are an extension of your business, not a subscription service

Set Clear Expectations and Goals

To use a football analogy: A marketing partner is focused on winning the season – not just one game. And even people like me (who know nothing about football) recognize a winning season comes with ups and downs. 

This marketing partner should be focused on improving after every game. A “failed” campaign is their opportunity to improve in the future. 

And this can’t happen if you put a football player on a basketball court. 

The analogy is losing steam, but my point is that you want a marketing partner who is an expert in its field. Let your traditional agency manage any TV, radio or print placements you might make, and find a digital agency to manage the online marketing for your store. 

If you do intend to work with multiple agency partners, be clear about your expectations for each one.

It can be tempting to work with two agencies who provide the same services and see which one comes out on top, but this can also create competition that drives up the price on your own ads.

Both Facebook and Google ads run by an ad auction system. The auction selects the best ads to run based on the ads’ maximum bids and ad performance. You don’t want to have two numbers in this auction because you can bid yourself up.

It’s enough work to compete with the other dealerships in your area and Tier 1 marketing – don’t make it harder than it has to be!  

Raise the Bar on Your Digital Marketing

A full-service marketing partner isn’t the right fit for every dealership, but for those who don’t have time to manage the intricacies of a long-term marketing plan themselves, it’s a worthwhile investment

If you’re in the process of searching for a marketing partner, try not to rush. It’s one thing to impulse purchase little things, but the investment you’re going to make with a marketing partner is a big decision. 

Find someone who will push you to raise the bar. 

We put together a list of questions to ask an agency before choosing to work with them. Use these questions to help suss out the potential partner’s areas of expertise. And of course, use them to vet 9 Clouds when you’re ready to pursue a partnership with automotive marketing experts.

download the checklist