If you're like most general managers, sales managers, eCommerce directors, and internet managers at car dealerships, you have no shortage of reports to go over on a regular basis. Vendors are sending reports. The OEMs are sending reports. The district is sending reports. Sometimes they say the same things. Sometimes they can even contradict each other. It can be a mess.

As we continue to expand our exploration into the various products vendors are offering to to car dealerships, we have been extremely interested in finding the right way for dealers to simplify all of these reports that they're getting. We've seen several that do a very good job at making it easier for dealers to read reports and compare data more easily, but there has always been a gap. It's one thing to consolidate the numbers, data, and reports to make them easier to understand, but then what? Just because it's easier doesn't mean it's more effective.

We had to ask ourselves what we were really wanting to see out of all of the data. Report consolidation was nice but not necessarily very useful. Dealers still had to look at the numbers in the right light and distinguish between different ones telling them to do different things. Then there are the reports that didn't really say anything useful at all. These are the reports that point to no clear actions. With no actions to be made as a result of the reports, they became useless.

Then, we started looking at dashboards. We explored ones in and out of the automotive industry. They were often more attractive and intuitive than the simple report consolidation tools, but they still lacked the ability to actually guide a dealership's advertising decisions They could point to trends, but without seeing the whole picture, dealers were still having difficulties finding the path that was supposed to be made clear through the dashboard.

That's when we met with the team at String Automotive. They brought a concept to us that we had seen done well in other industries but never in automotive. They consolidated the data into a nice dashboard just like so many others, but they took it a step further to make the data actionable. This was it. This was the missing piece we knew we wanted but that we simply hadn't seen before. String had already built it.

Their Dealer Positioning System is designed to make sense of the data and convert it into actual recommendations on how dealers could advertise better. It looks at data from multiple sources including Google Analytics, Polk, Experian, and Dataium to give dealers a better picture of how their market is flowing. Then, they decipher the image that the data paints to present the dealer with tangible recommendations.

The most important part of what they're doing for dealers is that they have no horse in the advertising race. It's easy for a PPC company to tell a dealer to spend more on PPC. It's more reliable to hear the recommendations about the various marketing and advertising activities from a company that looks at the trends and finds the sweet spots. Our business is not about spending more, though some would like us to think so. It's about spending better. It's about making sure that the way the dealership positions their advertising is in line with the most lucrative path that the data illuminates.

Reports are fine. Dashboards can be great. Once a dealer starts receiving information about the actions they should take, the data takes a life of its own and starts pushing the dealer towards increased success.

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