Dealership Digital Marketing: In-House or Agency?

28 February

Dealership Digital Marketing: In-House or Agency?

Dealership Digital Marketing | THAT Agency

You're not driving as many quality leads as you used to, and your struggling to prove the ROI for your dealership's digital marketing.  Whether you're currently with a digital marketing agency or you handle your digital presence in-house, it might be time to switch things up.  This is a common problem dealerships face when revamping their digital strategy in order to increase lead volume and ultimately conversion rates.  Below we've outlined some common pros and cons for choosing to hire an in-house professional or a digital marketing agency that specializes in generating higher quality leads for car dealerships. 

In-House Pros

  • Product and Process Expertise

When it comes to your cars, your salesmen know them inside out and backwards.  For this reason, you might choose to hire an in-house digital marketing specialist.  They have extensive knowledge of the vehicles you offer as well as the process in which your dealership sells them.  This can come in handy during your busy season when you need to keep online inventories updated and accurate.

  • Control

This is usually a big one for most people.  Hiring internally allows you to have complete control over your digital marketing efforts to ensure they encapsulate your dealership’s vision.  You won’t have to worry about someone at an agency toying with your ad campaign budget or switching around specials.  If you have an issue with what is going on digitally, you can walk down the hall and fix it.

  • Ease of Asset Access

Another great thing about hiring in-house, is the fact that everything you need is right at your fingertips.  With an agency, pictures, videos, documents, logos, and anything else involved with content creation must be coordinated before the project starts.  When your in-house digital marketer thinks of an idea that was better than the existing one, there is relatively little to no hassle gathering assets to make changes. 


In-House Cons

  • Limited Digital Knowledge

While there are many advantages to hiring an in-house digital marketer, there are also many setbacks you might encounter.  First, there are multiple aspects to a fully functional digital marketing strategy that must be accounted for (social media marketing and PPC just to name two).  If you only have one or two people working on your digital marketing, there will definitely be built up stress due to lack of knowledge in certain areas resulting in less effective digital marketing. 

  • Expensive

When we look at the financial aspect of things, you will spend more money if you hire in-house instead of if you hire a digital agency.  Hiring in-house means you’re adding another salary to your payroll.  You need to be able to support that expert’s lifestyle and if you can’t, no one will want to work for you.  Not only this, but if you only hire one expert, you’re adding on opportunity costs to what you could have achieved by hiring a full team of digital marketing specialists.

  • Tunnel-Visioned Salespeople

Many times, in-house experts aren’t up to date on the most effective techniques on selling over the internet.  A lot of salespeople are focused too much on the sale than the customer’s buying journey and results in the loss of a sale.  Your dealership’s sales strategy will translate seamlessly into your digital marketing efforts, which is nowadays usually the first impression you make on potential buyers.  Focusing too much on the sale can make your dealership seem unapproachable and unlikeable in the eyes of customers.  


Agency Pros

  • Digital Experts

 On the other hand, when you hire a digital marketing agency you get a team that is well versed in all aspects of digital marketing.  Activities such as social media marketing and paid search advertising will be taken care of by experts making sure your accounts and digital brand identity remain strong.  Agencies will cover every aspect of your digital marketing efforts if you hire them to do so, and you can focus on managing what goes on in your dealership. 

  • Goal Oriented and Success Driven

One of the best things about going with an agency is the fact that they don’t succeed unless you do.  In order for them to continue to have work to do, they need to perform and deliver results driven by success.  An agency doesn’t have the same emotional connection to your dealership that you do and allows them to make decisions based on facts rather than what you have always done in the past.  In other words, agencies strive to be better than they were before because it shows they can consistently make their clients happy.  If their clients aren’t happy, they won’t have a job to do.

  • Collaborative Flow

A big part in creating happy clients is making sure every aspect of the digital marketing campaign is executed how the client expects, or better.  At an agency, experts are dedicated to their specific field of digital marketing.  Great digital marketing strategies are formed when egos are pushed aside and a collaborative flow is created between agency experts to provide clients with an integrated omni-channel marketing campaign.  If you hire in-house, this collaboration might never happen thus creating a short-sighted strategy that fails to perform for your dealership.


Agency Cons

  • Business Orientation Period

One of the drawbacks of bringing on an agency is the orientation phase that comes along with working with a new business.  This is the time that it takes for an agency to get familiar with your dealership, the cars you’re offering, and your sales process.  Although the orientation period is rather short, if you bring on a new agency at the wrong time your digital traffic could take a hit and your dealership could suffer from it.

  • Lack of Industry Knowledge

As stated earlier, agencies are full of digital marketing experts.  They know the ins and outs of what to do on digital platforms for their clients, however they might not fully understand the automotive industry and the competitive environment you operate in.  This could be a potential drawback, so make sure to look at an agency’s portfolio before you decide to hire them and make sure they’re up to perform for your dealership.

  • Finding the RIGHT Agency

This is the biggest thing to pay attention to when looking for a digital marketing agency.  Your company and the agency need to connect well to create a synergistic relationship.  The goals of your dealership and the goals of the agency need to be aligned to bring the results you want.  You also want there to be transparency.  This is important because they will have control over what is likely to be the first impression on your potential customers.  You need to make sure you’re both on the same page. 


So what should you do: hire in-house or hire an agency?  There’s no simple yes or no answer unfortunately.  When it comes to your dealership, you know what is working and what could be improved.  Regardless of the route you choose to take, your digital marketing strategy is extremely important in the car buying process as it sets the tone for interactions with potential customers.  In order to effectively communicate the value your dealership provides, your digital efforts need to be detailed and thorough to increase brand awareness, equity, and ultimately revenue. 



TAGS: Automotive Marketing