Today’s Automotive News Webinar on statistics, analytics and accountability was amazing.  Seeing the attendee mix would be interesting, how many dealers, OEM, service providers, consultants logged into the absolutely fantastic session.  But no matter who listened in, it’s all about the execution.

One very important point (albeit not surprising) that came out of Avinash’s talk was that globally, he’s personally aware of two OEMs that are using the analytics and data to evaluate their branding online and determine where their marketing and reach is going.  Another item of note was the persistence to tear apart and analyze the 2% of conversion rather than the 98% that’s not and figure out how to invite or entice them.

With all of the advertising agencies, website vendors and other service providers to the auto industry that touch online marketing, it’s amazing that our sites, especially retail, are poor compared with other industries.  Contextual advertising, dynamic landing pages and multiple URLs (and yes, micro-sites) are some of the tools that can be used to better engage consumers on the front end.  At the end of the day, cars are still not sold online.  They are sold by people ‘taking the ups’ at dealerships.  As our marketing gets better, the whole experience must get better.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to chat at length with a well-respected consultant for one of the big dealership providers.  While we did spend some time talking about issues at the OEM level, most of our post-JD Power/Digital Dealer exchange was spent on what’s not being done at retail.  What reasons are we giving to people who want to buy cars to actually buy from us?  Why are we still asking "what time can you make it down here to take a test drive today?".  We have to provide a better experience from go.  We can no longer afford do to things the same way we have for decades.

The definition of insanity, according to Albert Einstein, is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.  Marketers, advertisers, manufacturers, dealers: quit acting insane.

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