What is the True Value of Your OEM's Digital Marketing?

By Ted Ings, Executive Director

Just like any other vendor, your OEM is continuously asking you to sign up for marketing programs through their third-party firms.

Before you do take the time to sign up for one of their many marketing initiatives it is best to take a hard look at the program. Understanding what if anything it can do for you and your dealership.


Knowing that anytime you do a co-marketing program, it is more or less marketing the OEM, not the dealership itself. In which case, dealers have to ask themselves do they want to spend money pushing the customer to the OEM site versus their dealer site. The purpose of this article is to understand better how the OEM marketing campaigns can be affecting the dealer's bottom line and what you can do to change that.

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The true cost of using an OEM Vendor. How to manage the impact on the dealer level. Are the OEM’s impacting the dealer's profits? What is the true cost of doing business with the OEM?

Let’s face it. We like everything to be simple and easy. And if we can offload some of the marketing efforts - as they can be cumbersome - to the OEM and make money what is not to love, right? Well, for starters before you sign up for the next OEM marketing campaign be sure to read the fine print.

Look to see exactly what the program has to offer for your store. Where in many cases, the OEM does not provide your dealership the list of customers they mail too or call. If that is the case, your money might be better spent doing your own internal campaign in which case you would then get the customers information. Allowing you to do additional follow-up and marketing after the campaign has ended. Another critical aspect to consider when working on a third party project or an OEM marketing campaign is to ensure that you are tracking the results.

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One of the best ways to do so is by using tracking lines. By having a tracking line on the marketing campaign - with the OEM - is it will allow you to see the impact it has had on your sales. In addition to whether or not customers have called into the store. Namely, whether or not the OEM campaign had an influence on your sales.

OEM program customer lists: The customer just purchased last year. Less than five percent of the list is eligible. No emails. And bad phone numbers?

It is not uncommon for your OEM factory representative to offer your Dealer Principal or General Manager the value in their prospect lists.

Those lists, however, for the most part, are not a viable means for the dealership to use when increasing sales. In many cases, the OEM list is comprised of customers who purchased within the last year or so to which the OEM factory reps would often say “well perhaps they have a family member that wants to purchase a vehicle,” and while that might be true - not all of the customers on the list purchased their vehicle at that dealership. That said, for the dealer to spend a lot of time for a list with less than a one percent return - using the OEM program - does not quite make sense. Nor is it cost effective.


Instead of spending your valuable time calling a list of customers who just purchased a vehicle is best to use your CRM. Have your manager create a list of customers who have purchased within the last three or so years. In addition to calling customers that have recently purchased using a “referral program,” which can also benefit the customer, too. In doing so, you will have a much better chance of not just increasing our business but also saving yourself time. Time that can be used to increase your sales.


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How to work with your OEM’s Digital Marketing Team: Make the most out of your programs. Do you use your OEM Marketing Packages? Does your OEM representative explain the program?

This is not to offer that all of your OEM’s digital marketing programs are bad. What this does offer is that it is best for your dealership to review what the program encompasses. Understanding what if anything it can do to assist your dealership increase sales. So before you either cancel or select to partake in an OEM marketing campaign take the time to reach out to your OEM representative. Making sure they take the time to explain the programs and what they have to offer.


The OEM also tends to post-marketing concepts and program memos on their online portals, which is also just as important to check out for up to date information. You can also achieve results by simply managing your CRM - working on gaining referrals, mailers, and social campaigns to name a few.

Knowing that it is best for your dealership to make sure that all points of contact are referred back to the dealership. In doing so, not only will your customer have a better experience, but your sales can and will increase.