First off, a dealership needs to keep an eye on their market share of both new and used cars. This should be done in at least two ways; against similar brand franchised dealers in their market and against all franchised dealers in their market.
Normally, a dealership looks at their numbers month to month and makes their decisions based on those numbers. That may be the way you do it, but it’s not taking into account the overall market conditions. I see it all the time, a dealership sells 20 more cars in one month than in the previous month and they crow about their great success. I look at the market as a whole and see that even though they sold 20 more cars than the previous month, they actually lost market share because their competitors sold proportionately more cars and took more advantage of the up-tick in market conditions.
On the same note, I have often seen a dealership slip 20 cars in a month and have them bemoan their bad fortunes. Again, I look at the market and see that they actually gained market share that month because their competition proportionately lost more than they did…resulting in a market share gain by the dealer.
Once this type of monitoring is in place (using AutoCount or Cross Sell), the dealer in now in a position to correctly measure the effectiveness of their marketing efforts. Yes, it still comes down to the dollars and cents from increased sales, but a dealer doesn’t have the ability to produce buyers our of thin air. A dealer can only take as big a piece of the pie as they can and the size of the pie is determined by the market, not the dealership.
Being consistent and efficient in direct marketing requires that a dealer hook up with an entity that utilizes behavioral data. Good behavioral data is derived from a monthly monitoring of the activity of households and individuals to determine whether they are in a car shopping mode or not. Marketing only to those who are in the shopping mode is where the real efficiency lies. Those people in the shopping mode don’t buy a car in any given month, but the odds are that they will during the next few months. So, continually keeping your marketing message in front of them during this time is crucial for a dealership to capture the largest portion of the pie possible.