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When times get tougher and profit margins get thinner, many dealerships are tempted by anything that promises to kick their marketing into gear and bring in more sales. And that is exactly what so many automotive marketing consultants promise to do. Higher conversions, more traffic, more sales, more profit. But those in the auto business also know the value of taking everything with a grain of salt, especially almost-too-good-to-be-true promises from self-proclaimed experts. So if you’re thinking about hiring an automotive marketing consultant for your dealership, don’t give up on the idea entirely, just review the following ‘grains of salt,’ we’ve provided below.
A marketing consultant might not have the time, skill, or inclination to really align themselves with your businesses goals. They may have one set of advice they know how to give, one recipe for success that has worked for them, and may not be willing or able to change that recipe to fit the way you want to do business. Marketing is rarely that formulaic, and an automotive marketing consultant who doesn’t take the time to understand your business is useless. You wouldn’t take relationship advice from someone who didn’t care about your happiness. Don’t take business advice from someone who isn’t invested in your success.
Secondly, a marketing consultant may not have incentive to succeed. Because they work on a contract basis, once the marketing project that the consultant was brought in to do succeeds, they are out of a job. This results in many marketing consultants spending more of their time trying to get more projects than actually helping the company grow. Many business owners have complained that less work gets done with an automotive marketing consultant because they’re always trying to tack on more and more projects to the original.
Alternatively, it might not be a problem with a consultant. Suppose you found an excellent automotive marketing consultant that you trust, there are certainly a good few out there, after all. The issue could be that your business may not be ready for a consultant.
Consultants aren’t cheap – and if they are, they’re probably not very good. Rather than wasting your money, the best bet is to give marketing “the old college try.” Basically, try everything in your power, read everything, hire young college grads with big ideas, look to your data, and strengthen your internal marketing department before reaching out for help. If making it a number one priority and trying your all doesn’t solve the problem, then, and only then, should it be given to a consultant.
Think of it like building a home. The danger of hiring a consultant before your business is ready is the same as hiring an electrician to wire your home before you’ve even built the foundation. If the electrician has to build the foundation and the house before they can do the job they were hired for, it’s going to take a lot more time and cost you a lot more money.
You should only hire a consultant if you meet the following qualifications:
1. You’ve already tried everything in your power – and some things beyond that too.
2. You have only a few, solid objectives that you know can be accomplished.
3. You know the core of your business strategy but are flexible when it comes to tactics.
4. You have the time and ability to supervise or monitor the consultant’s activities.
But if you are ready, and you have a consultant you trust, we won’t stop you. In fact, we also have some good information on what to do once you’ve reached that point.
Make sure you find the right consultant. A referral is best, from someone you can trust and who can show you the success they achieved with the help of the automotive marketing consultant. If you don’t know anyone who can give you a good place to start, checking the consultant’s reviews or testimonials from other clients can help – especially if you follow up on those testimonials or ask for references.
Some of the best advice we can give is to ask the right questions. Before you hire anyone, make sure to ask these two questions, at least.
“Can you give me an example of how you launched a product identical — or almost identical — to mine?”
“What steps did you take to execute and how successful was the result?”
There you have it. Our best, and most condensed, advice on what to do if you are thinking about hiring an automotive marketing consultant.
Want to get more info on automotive marketing without having someone relentlessly sell to you? Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or give us a call (866) 529-3555.