3 Questions for Choosing Your Next Digital Marketing Vendor

As the Automotive industry continues to evolve, dealerships continue to face an ever-growing number of options when it comes to the vendors who manage their Digital Marketing. While some marketing strategies and vendor mix are dictated by manufacturer co-op programs, others are driven purely by word of mouth, 20 groups or personal recommendations. Some dealerships prefer the “one-stop-shop,” while others prefer a “checks and balances” strategy.

Regardless of where you fall in the spectrum, we’re still talking about advertising, historically a top four expenditure on your financial statement. As we close the chapter on 2021 and look into 2022, there will undoubtedly be new challenges and opportunities. Digital marketing has - and will remain - a challenge for some dealerships and an opportunity for others. As a result, you may find yourself preparing to make a change in the new year.

If you’re thinking about change when it comes to your vendor mix, it’s important to ask three key questions that will help you make the best decision for your dealership and bottom line.

1 What is the fee structure? Fee structures typically fall into two buckets: fixed-rate or percentage-based. Fixed-rate fee structures guarantee your ability to forecast costs and allow you to increase your budget without increasing fees. A percentage-based fee structure may make sense when your budget is limited, but as you choose to expand your message and increase budget, your fees go up. Less of your actual dollar gets spent on campaigns. Fixed-rate fee structures tend to be more dealer-friendly while percentage-based fee structures are more vendor-friendly.
2 What is the vendor known for? In today’s day and age, nearly every vendor will provide claim after claim touting their ability to cover nearly every aspect of your digital marketing strategy. While this might be true for some, most of the seasoned vendors started by focusing on one or two capabilities and doing at least one thing very well. And that’s OK. Understand where your prospect thrives and don’t be afraid to hire them for that one thing. A “jack of all trades, master of none” will not help you sell more cars or make you more money.
3 How is their customer service? When asked how I feel about a vendor, my first reaction is almost always to consider how my interactions have been over the years. Do I get a dedicated account manager who helps facilitate support tickets and provide recommendations week-to-week? Are requests for analytics or data met with push back or is the relationship built on transparency? Vendors are almost always filled with talented people, but not everyone is a dealer-first advocate. Find the vendor who puts you first.

Making the decision to move on can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Identify the priority items that matter to your dealership, find the vendor(s) that best meet those needs, and ask the right questions. 

How DHG Can Help

DHG Dealerships: With DHG Dealerships, you gain a collaboration with professionals who have a comprehensive understanding of all facets of dealerships operations. By integrating our tax, performance and growth, risk and technology services, we are able to provide dealerships of every size the services and strategies to help you drive profitability, reduce risk and increase efficiencies. Please let us know how we can put our dealership insight, technical knowledge and future-focused approach to work for you.

DHG Dealerships’ Digital Solutions: Our dedicated digital marketing advisory services use software, financial data and benchmarks from unbiased sources to provide dealer clients with strategies that will make them more efficient with both their time and capital. We focus on SEO/SEM, web analytics, content marketing, conversion rate optimization, social media marketing, vendor selection and more.

We also invite you to click here to learn why Forbes named DHG one of America’s Best Tax and Accounting Firms.


Tyler Rauch
Senior Manager, Dealerships
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