Halloween is approaching so we decided to have a little fun with some classic horror flicks to debunk the myth that analyzing the performance of your dealership data has to be scary. Here are a few lessons learned from the screenplays and directors who have successfully made us jump from our couches over the years.
LESSON ONE: THE KILLER IS NEVER DEAD, SO ALWAYS WATCH YOUR BACK
ANNIE IN FRIDAY THE 13TH BELIEVED SHE HAD WON
Never ever believe you've conquered your market. The minute you stop looking for more, your logic will begin to slip.
Some of our most successful dealerships began viewing their data differently because of their success. Growing market share consistently over time requires you to look for areas of opportunity in niche, laser targeted areas of your PMA. Watch your back by digging into those areas and find more. You should always have 9 targeted zones for variable ops growth. 3 for onbrand market share, 3 for conquesting 3 for used.
LESSON TWO: BE READY FOR THE SURPRISE
UNANSWERED QUESTIONS CAN MAKE YOU FEEL VULNERABLE AND OPEN FOR ATTACK
Statistics, trends, percentages, indexes, are often spouted out during a meeting with an element of surprise. Data presented in "gotcha" mode can be scary. Whether presented to support a specific OEM initiative, a vendor trying to steer you toward additional spend or unseat a current partner or a newly introduced "guru" who has been put on a pedestal to enlighten your entire staff, data shouldn't be used to support a knee-jerk reaction. If you flinch, you lose.
Train yourself to spot the "gotcha" moments by daily digesting the trends in your performance. By focusing your energies on long term trends in the data, and merely watching the weekly trends you'll build up a tolerance to sensationalism and regain confidence in your decisions. Knowing the facts you'll sleep sound, even if you're being taunted. Our suggested facts to know...Q/Q & Y/Y Growth in Unique Visitors, Aggregated Customer Response Points, and Sales as shown above.
LESSON THREE: GET OUT OF YOUR OWN HEAD
DEDUCTIVE REASONING CAN BE CORRUPTED THROUGH MIND GAMES
It's a known tactic to distract, divert and hone in on one poor metric in order to convolute and confuse a dealer into frenzy of fear. A particularly favorite storyline, "Mr. Dealer, Do you know your bounce rate?" The implication is that you've chosen the wrong vendors and/or spent too much money to drive traffic to your web site. The further implication is that all of that traffic that bounces from your web site is lost forever.
Dissect your data into the answers you need. 1) What is my bounce rate by source of traffic (or in context)? 2) How can we better position the underperforming combinations (better landing pages and more clear calls to action)? Pick three each month, make them better and watch the metrics improve. Use your analysis to simplify the problem rather than engage in fear tactics and you will clear away the questions in your head.
Dealers utlitize business intelligence software (such as the String Dealer Positioning System) and vendor neutral consultants to simplify these assessments. If you follow the story in the data, the cat and mouse game ends.
Everyone has a vested interest in controlling your mind and many will go to great lenghts to sway your opinion. Facts protect you from the mind games and keep you focused on solving the most urgent problem. Most often the mystery will be solved without a dramatic who dunnit, or crime solving chase. The data will lead you to a better plan and a better process.
It's a fast paced industry, but we've engaged too long in the excuse, "I wish I knew the answers, so that I can act." At String Automotive, we spend each day coming along side our dealers with accurate, vendor neutral insight. When you make deccisions with a data-driven mindset, you no longer feel like you are waiting to wake from the nightmare. Operationalizing your advertising and marketing efforts brings you peace of mind.
So, this Halloween, grab some popcorn and leave the surprises and scare tactics to the big screen.