At a twenty-first century dealership, it’s hard to see sometimes where marketing ends, and technology begins. Most marketing is done via technology solutions such as the CRM or the business development center (BDC). Email blasts, web marketing, content marketing, app marketing, data analytics and social media are all the primary vehicles for dealership campaigns, but high-level marketing personnel frequently aren’t consulted when these tech products are purchased or implemented.

This is according to research compiled by dealer software solutions provider CDK. A survey conducted among European dealerships found that only 27 percent of car dealership marketing managers make “high-level decisions” on technology investments. The research also revealed that only 35 percent of car dealership respondents claim to be “big influencers,” and an additional 35 percent have “some influence” in technology decisions.

“These findings really reveal how dealerships involve their marketing teams in their technology investment decisions,” says Stuart Miles, Managing Director UK and Ireland, CDK Global. “The figures indicate that there is a lack of recognition in the importance of marketing when it comes to technology implementation, something that is surprising when it comes to the increased focus on lead generation and customer experience in the car buying journey.”

CDK cites Deloitte’s 2018 Global Automotive Consumer Study, which found that over half of consumers report that dealership-relationships and customer experience are key to their car buying experience, and those relationships and experience are increasingly based on technology.

“Marketing and technology play a critical role in this journey and in building and tracking long-lasting customer relationships,” said Miles. “Our experience in implementing connected technology solutions for car retailers has shown that marketing is the key driver of lead generation; it is why we continue to develop and add to our Campaign Manager solution, ensuring we listen to the marketing needs of our dealerships and provide the right tools for the most effective programs.”