Change or get left behind

blog2_IMAGE_Change_or_get_left_behindiAuto Analytics recently sat down with an Atlanta-area automobile industry  veteran, Steve Mader, the principle of Southtowne Motor Group. He was kind enough to share some of his tips on how to grow your business. One point he made crystal clear was that you have to be willing to change or you will get left behind.

In an article from Automobile News, they quote data from the National Automobile Dealers Association which shows a decline in the number of single-store and small-chain owners over the last decade. It’s a clear case of “grow or go.” They mention how the changing landscape makes it harder and harder for single store – often generational stores – to remain competitive.

Much of the automobile industry is known for being a ‘generational business’ – handed down from one generation to the next. One of the things that is often handed down is the way of operating the business. This may work if the marketplace never changes, but it does. In our conversation with Mader, he focused on what dealers have to do in the current environment to reach their buyers, given the shifts in how buyers consume information.

The average car buyer is a lot more informed these days. They have more resources at their fingertips and consume more and more of their information on their smart devices than ever before. As a result, dealers have to think differently about how to target their buyers, when to reach them and with what offer and vehicle. This is why dealer ad budgets are being diverted into digital. Digital advertising allows dealers to connect with the right buyers at the right time with the right message.

Mader also found that using analytics-based tools such as MarketScope helped Southtowne Motor Group grow their business. “The use of this type of advanced software can help dealers control their backyards then go beyond it to generate more business,” Mader said.  Using MarketScope, he knew how he was performing relative to his top competitors and how his incentives compared to theirs.  This informed where he should allocate his advertising dollars, when to pull back spending, and which models to focus on.

Advertising is an active sport in the automobile industry – it is not a “set and forget” exercise. Because market dynamics change every month, effective advertising requires continuous planning, monitoring and adjusting to ensure it is delivering the best results for your business. The last thing dealers want or need is to waste their advertising dollars, spending beyond the point of diminishing returns.

Mader’s message was very clear. Dealers need to:

  • Think beyond what they’ve done in years past
  • Rely on comprehensive data and analytics to help guide their advertising decisions
  • Reach their buyers through the right channels, with an increasing emphasis on targeting
  • Go beyond their backyards to drive incremental business


Mader’s advice is part of ad planning best practices. This recipe will increase in sales, eliminate advertising waste, and improve business processes and performance. And ensure your dealership thrives and does not get left behind.