Leadership

Should You DIY or Outsource Your Video Marketing?

By: Tim James

So you’ve decided it’s time to differentiate your dealership from the competition, and that video is the way to do it. Your next probable question is, do you produce, distribute and market the videos yourself, or outsource some, if not all of these functions?

The answer to this question is, it depends. We’ve got dealers who are successfully doing both. In my experience there are three factors to consider when making this decision.

1) Motivation

If your decision to implement video marketing was arrived at rather reluctantly, then you should probably outsource. Motivation requires passion. It requires an understanding of the rewards that will be reaped from putting your time and effort towards this undertaking. It requires buy-in and excitement from your staff. It requires commitment.

I’ve talked to many dealers who spend time waffling over whether they should go the DIY video route. Here’s what I ask them: If not you, who? If not now, when?

Video is not a trend. Remember the music video, “Video Killed the Radio Star?” The actual song was released nearly two years before the music video debuted on MTV in 1981. Hardly anyone heard of the song, but once the video aired, the song became a huge hit. That was 35 years ago. Online marketing video is here to stay, and it’s just a matter of time before it kills the static Vehicle Details Page (VDP).

2) Internal Resources

The second factor to consider is what your internal resources are. Even if you’re highly motivated to launch a video marketing program, someone has to take responsibility. Someone has to take ownership to make sure it’s successful. Someone has to learn how to shoot videos, how to get the videos on the right touch-points and how to measure whether the program is successful or not.

The ‘pros’ of producing videos internally are that you already have staff at your disposal. With an established process, inventory videos should take less than 24 hours to upload.

In addition to inventory videos, it’s important to create value proposition videos, customer testimonial videos and service videos. Internal employees are in a better position to spontaneously capture a glowing customer testimonial video, and may have a better handle on how to sell your dealership’s unique value proposition than an outside entity.

However, when analyzing internal resources, be brutally honest. Are your current employees already struggling to keep up with what’s on their plate? If they are, adding new processes may be too much of a burden.

It’s possible to split the responsibilities between internal and external resources. If your in-house staff is currently tasked with taking inventory photos, it’s not much of a stretch to task them instead with shooting a walk around video. Photos can be easily extracted from video, so there is no need to do both. If you use a lot services company to take your photos, task them with shooting a video in addition to taking your photos.

If you decide to use internal resources, distribution and marketing are two important areas to be addressed. Who will be tasked with ensuring that your videos appear not just on your website, but distributed to as many touch points as possible; including third-party auto shopping sites and social media channels?

Who will be in charge of incorporating video into your digital ad and/or email marketing campaigns? Who will be in charge of collecting viewer data and using that data to increase the relevancy of your videos? Meaning, it’s important to ensure that the right video is shown to the right car shopper at the right time.

Another question to ask when evaluating internal resources is what the turnover rate is in your dealership. Are you confident that your Internet Manager or the staff in that department will be with your dealership for a long time? A potential pitfall of producing videos internally is that you’ll have to constantly train new staff.

3) Dealership Volume

Last but not least, volume is another factor to consider. How many units does your dealership move per month? The greater inventory turnover there is, the greater time investment involved and the greater commitment there must be to the video marketing process.

The good news is, a successful video marketing program will increase your overall sales volume, but for some dealers this can present its own challenges. Kia of Puyallup in Washington saw a nine percent uptick in sales after implementing a video marketing program. How many more units can you handle moving per month?

Now, is everything as clear as mud? Good! The fact is, only you can decide what’s best for your dealership. It’s easy to get excited about the idea of video marketing and want to do it yourself. But it’s important to be able to objectively analyze your motivation level, internal resources and overall volume.

I’ve seen too many instances where dealership salespeople will produce a few videos, upload them to YouTube and don’t see any increase in leads or sales. The dealer points to these paltry efforts and claims that videos don’t work.

Well, of course that level of effort doesn’t work! Producing a few videos is nowhere near the same thing as having a comprehensive video marketing program. It’s like deciding that you want to go into space so you build a shuttle in your backyard. Without an actual space program, with testing, logistics, a launch pad and experts to tell you when and where to go, you’re not likely to get very far.

Outsourcing some (or all) of your video process may involve investing a little more in your merchandising budget than you currently spend, but the end results will be well worth the investment.

No matter which direction you choose to go, the important thing is that you start now — Not next week or even tomorrow. You can start slowly if you need to, but you must start in order to find the process that works best for you and your dealership. The end will justify the means.

Don’t Let Your “House Of Cards” Get Knocked Down By Your Competition

by Tim James

“We work too hard to come within arm’s reach of the prize only to have our hands cut off just before we seize it. For those of us climbing to the top of the food chain, there is but one rule – hunt or be hunted.” – Frank Underwood, as played by Kevin Spacey in the Netflix television series, House of Cards.

This quote epitomizes the struggle that car dealers face daily – whether they are trying to close a deal, struggling with a vendor or battling their competitors. However, that quote also contains valuable advice. To succeed in this industry – whether you’re a dealer or a vendor – you face daily challenges throughout every aspect of your business. These range from acquiring new business, to providing exceptional customer service, to the day- to-day management of your employees. You must not stall your efforts before you reach your prize, as there is always someone breathing down your neck just waiting to snatch it before you can.

There are a lot of pieces that comprise the puzzle that, when completed, leads to success. Company culture, efficient processes, training, and customer loyalty, are some of the foundations that no business can survive without. Dealers rely on their managers, managers rely on their employees. One weak link can wreak havoc within an organization and result in a lost sale, a lost (valuable) employee, or worse – a lost customer.

If you’ve ever built a house of cards in real life, you know that they take patience, a steady hand, a strategy and that every card is dependent on the other. Just like building a house of cards, all of these things are necessary to succeed. And each level in the house needs to be sturdy and well thought out. For, if they’re not, the house will fail to reach the height it is capable of and will probably come crashing down for you to rebuild.

The first level will always be your staff – from the dealer to the porter. They are the foundation. Each subsequent level comprises of an additional component from administration, service, marketing, technology, and sales. And each of these components brings something to your table to assist you in climbing to the top of the food chain in our industry. It is important to have a strategy, have patience and put any plans in place with a steady hand. Failure in any of these areas could very well prevent your organization from achieving its full potential.

Pay attention to trends. Don’t be afraid to take risks. Watch what your competition is doing, but don’t chase after shiny new objects just because your competition is doing it. Your success isn’t dependent on you doing the same things that your competition is doing, it’s dependent on you going above and beyond your competition, creating an entirely higher standard of expectation for your prospects and your customers. This is the effort required to become the best, and equally required to stay the best, and keep your house of cards from falling down.