For the last several years, dealers have had to endure the box of website vendor choices closing in on them. Many of the OEMs have adopted either mandated or recommended website providers. Some of the larger dealer groups are doing the same thing. The thinking is that they will save money with bulk deals and they'll be able to control quality and compliance by going down this road.

The problem is that aggressive dealers want to do more with their websites than they can accomplish with a mandated site. Some complain. A handful fight it, even defying the OEMs at their peril of being removed from the corporate website. This isn't going to change any time soon because the majority of dealers accept the mandates and don't really think twice about it. For those who want more, they are annoyed by the lack of choices and the quality of the solutions.

This isn't a bad thing. In fact, a savvy dealership can turn it into a very good thing. This is where Octane powered by Dealer Authority comes into play.

If everyone is given the same basic website platform, it's like giving everyone the same car to drive in a race. Those who don't really care too much will accept the vehicle as it is and run the race as best they can. Those who want to get aggressive will shoot for whatever advantage they can find. That means improving the conversion rate on the website itself and driving more traffic to it through superior SEO, PPC, social media marketing, and buzz marketing.

The fact that the base of every website is pretty much the same means that those who "supercharge" their websites with products like Octane can have an advantage while staying completely compliant with the OEM. It isn't the base of the website that makes the difference. After all, getting shoppers to the inventory is the primary goal. The more people you get to your inventory, the more leads you'll get and sales you'll make. Website marketing enhancement products like Octane aren't cheap. In many cases, they can cost more than the website itself. However, the benefits of ranking #1 in search engines and driving more traffic through other venues is unquestionable. Given the same basic platform, those who enhance their base are the ones who will get the most out of it.

When everyone starts the same, it's the modifications you make to your base website platform that can make the difference. While most still don't like the mandates, there's the silver lining of knowing that yours is enhanced to perform better than any of your competitors' websites.

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  • Some people might slap me for saying this, but I do not support all the backlash about OEM mandated websites nor do I believe that the website technology is inferior. Are these OEM-mandated sites the absolute best platforms on the market? Maybe not, but that doesn't mean they have to hold the dealer back.

    Dealers should let their OEMs and their OEM mandated providers do whatever the hell they want with whatever budget the dealer has to or wants to put into it. This does not stop them from going out and doing their own thing. All they have to do is cover the costs and meet OEM compliancy and if done effectively the ROI will be there a hundred fold.

    The challenge for dealers is taking the time to determine what they want to accomplish and then finding the right partners to do this with. I speak about this in my recent post on LinkedIn Pulse about industry consolidation and on my blog in reference to the Cox Automotive acquisition of Dealertrack

    I have no doubt that Dealer Octane offers a cost-effective way for dealers to take advantage of this mediocrity of which you speak. And as you suggest the "aggressive" dealers will give it a whirl.

    I started working for 3 Birds Marketing a few months ago and am charged up about the impact their solutions have on dealers. With a minimum investment, a well-oiled dealership can save a lot of time and money growing their business while improving their bottom line with the customer demand and retention marketing solutions offered by 3 Birds, regardless of which website platform the dealer is on.

    Raise the Bar!

    • It's funny that you commented on this one, Ryan, because I have an article coming out on DealerRefresh if accepted that echoes the same exact sentiment. I only wish the article had been approved before your comment so you don't think I'm stealing your thunder. :)

    • Well I wouldn't see it that way but thank you. You and I have shared a lot of the same sentiment over the years I think. 

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