June 13, 2011
Members of KainAutomotive on Vendor Best Practices
In March, Outsell Marketing Associate, Amanda Meuwissen, began a discussion on KainAutomotive about “Vendor Saturation”. The responses were opinionated and sometimes heated, bringing up some important points in looking at what dealers really want from their vendors.
The original prompt for the discussion was as follows:
The automotive industry is not short on vendors for dealership needs, everything from website creation and support to mobile marketing campaigns are readily offered. Most vendors focus on one area, maybe a couple, and offer those services only, meaning a dealership has to go to several different places to get everything they want.
Would you prefer a single vendor for your dealership that offers everything (chat, email marketing, video, website, mobile, great reporting and analytics, etc.) or do you prefer utilizing multiple vendors to get the best out of each individual service?
If you are using multiple vendors, even if one company might offer, for example, website building and online chat, but you only use them for the website and have a different company run your chat program, what is it about a particular service that makes it better than another and worth paying an additional vender for even if the first vendor offers multiple products?
At first the responses that came in seemed fairly clean-cut. Jason Manning, Desk Manager for O’Donnell Chevrolet Buick, pointed out that more vendors mean more competition, which leads to better pricing and better products. His opinion was that companies with specializations in a single product would normally do a better job because they could focus all of their attention and innovation on that single product.
Steve Stauning, Founder of pladoogle, LLC, added to the point, “The do-it-all companies I’ve seen in automotive are a lot like the first Fax-Printer-Scanner-Copiers that came out on the market ten years ago: They could not do any of these things well!”
Those first responders to the discussion seemed to agree that larger companies trying to do it all had trouble offering any one good thing, and should focus on improving the products they already offer rather than adding anything new.
Later additions to the discussion disagreed.