By Nuan Openshaw-Dion
The beginning of a new year is always an inspiring time for me. While I’m always focused on continuous improvement, there’s something about flipping the calendar that makes the new possibilities and opportunities ahead more exciting than ever. It’s a great time to reflect and set an intention for the year ahead.
I’ve been thinking about what our amazing team at Dealer.com achieved in 2021. We’ve been relentlessly working hard for our dealers, helping them market themselves more easily and effectively. That work has taken many forms, including maintaining excellence in our customer support teams, expanding our marketing channels, and updating products like Automotive Marketing Platform powered by VinSolutions and Page Designer—targeted at making our platform even better, faster, and easier to use.
We’ve also continued to embrace the rapid evolution of car buying with investments into a more flexible, digital buying process. Dealer.com’s Accelerate My Deal is an integral part of Cox Automotive Digital Retailing, a solution for dealers who want to own every purchase path, meeting consumers based on their buying preferences.
And yet, though we’ve made so much great progress on behalf of our dealers, there is so much left to do! I’ve been thinking a lot about to how to tackle the work ahead, and one common theme keeps rising to the top for me: premium consumer experiences.
The Dealer.com team shares the goal of making every experience a consumer has with a dealer—whether online, in-store, or both—an outstanding one. In today’s retail environment, those standout experiences separate the winning dealerships from the stagnant ones.
With that in mind, I’m challenging my team and my dealership partners to do everything with a singular focus: make this the year of the premium consumer experience. Here are a few key action items I’m encouraging my team and my dealer partners to take to help us all get there.
Implement Tools and Processes that Make Your Work Easier
I’m challenging my team to find and implement tools that help them complete critical projects faster and better, and I’m challenging our dealers to do the same. Think about the various digital marketing tools you use. When is the last time you critically evaluated your processes for using those tools? Have new enhancements been released that could make your job easier if you made small process changes?
As I mentioned, we’ve made some meaningful enhancements to our foundational tools this year. We’ve launched a new Page Designer that makes designing your dealership website more intuitive, expanded channels in Automotive Marketing Platform to make your marketing more cohesive and effective, and aligned and integrated Accelerate My Deal and Cox Automotive Digital Retailing to make deal workflows even smoother. If you haven’t updated your processes to incorporate these new capabilities, you’re missing out on opportunities to improve—and on opportunities to deliver the best possible consumer experiences.
Prioritize Data and Meaningful Integrations
You probably know by now that reliable consumer data is critical to success, not only for automotive digital marketing but also for overall dealership profitability. The right data enables you to generate more automobile leads by personalizing every touchpoint a consumer has with your dealership, from a display ad to deal making. In 2022, I’m challenging everyone to keep the value of consumer data in focus.
For us at Dealer.com, that means taking advantage of the breadth and depth of the Cox Automotive data network, which includes insights from two out of three U.S. car buyers (2020 Cox Automotive Car Buyer Journey). For your dealerships, it means making sure you’re set up to successfully act on all the data and insights in your systems.
You must have meaningful integrations to make data actionable. And it’s not just about integrations between marketing and sales tools (though of course those are important). You have to think about the data and system integrations between all your dealership departments. When marketing, sales, service, and operations are all in sync, you win. My team at Dealer.com is continuing to stay close to our peers at VinSolutions, Xtime, and Dealertrack DMS to continue bringing your dealership departments and data closer together.
Evaluate the Value of Your Partnerships
There’s no way around it—the right tools and the right data are critical to providing premium consumer experiences. But there’s a third critical element: the right people. Without the right people, even the very best tools and data will fall short.
As you launch your 2022 marketing plans, I encourage you to take note of the role your marketing partners play. Are they making your job easier and acting as a true partner in your success? Or are they little more than technical support?
At Dealer.com, true, meaningful partnership with our dealerships is at the core of our business. Your success is our success. With the right people behind premium consumer experiences, we all win.
I couldn’t end a post about reflection and inspiration without saying how immensely grateful we are for our dealer clients. I continue to be personally inspired by your resilience, creativity, and success, and we couldn’t be more excited to continue to drive success together in 2022.