: I Need Assistance



Lord Cadillac
08-19-10, 02:11 PM
Several years ago, I'd sent a letter (not an email) to every Cadillac dealership in America. The idea was to get as many Cadillac dealerships on board to sell automobiles here. The first year was to be free. If everything worked out and these dealerships found a new source of revenue, they'd either become a Gold or Platinum dealership at the forum.

Not only would this have removed every network advertisement from the site, but it would have afforded me the ability to do some things that I still haven't seen any other automotive forum do (paid team, numerous large local events around the country, etcetera).

To this day, I'm surprised at how few dealerships have signed on and actually make an effort to sell Cadillacs here. One of my dreams for this site is to have a Cadillac dealership in every state signed on. I think this would be a great thing for Cadillac, dealerships and consumers.

I've envisioned consumers searching on Google for the Cadillac model that interests them most, finding us, researching and discussing their impending purchase with Cadillac owners and enthusiasts in the community, developing a relationship with a sales person, choosing a dealership and ultimately making their purchase. Would that not be great?

So I need ideas. How might I present this idea to Cadillac dealerships to get a better response than I did the first time? Is anyone here willing to present the idea to THEIR Cadillac dealership?

ga_etc
08-19-10, 02:39 PM
It sounds like a great idea. I'm surprised as well that very few dealerships took you up on the offer. It will likely be more enticing now, since there are 100,000+ users here. I would be sure to point that out as well. Being the largest online Cadillac community they can potentially reach a much broader and younger customer base than ever.

I would also decide how I would want whomever may be representing you at the dealership to convey your message.

77CDV
08-19-10, 04:53 PM
The larger subscriber base (as well as general site traffic) should make it an easier sell. Also, when CF first started, dealers were still thinking locally. Now, I can't think of a car dealer that doesn't have some form of presence on the web. Perhaps if we could see the text of your original letter, we'd be better able to suggest productive changes.

Stingroo
08-19-10, 04:54 PM
^ Good idea. Scan a copy of it (I know, hand writing is a lost art these days...) and we can check it out.

drewsdeville
08-19-10, 05:12 PM
I don't want to sound pessimistic, but by and large automotive forums are populated by those that are DYI'ers or people that have no interest in buying a new car. This isn't to say that there is SOME business to be had, but even take a look at the vehicles that our most frequent visitors drive. Many of them are 10 years+. Most frequent visitors contribute to the tech sections, are avid DYI'ers (or at least try to be an have no interest in stepping foot in a dealer), and almost none speak of new car shopping... If I hear of any car shopping around here it's usually 5+ year old used cars. Last I checked, the used car market is doing fine. It's the new car market that needs help.

I feel that we are the exact people that the dealer ISN'T looking for. They don't want us in there shopping for used vehicles or buying parts. They are looking to sell new vehicles. Like I stated, not that there isn't ANY business to be had here but personally, if I was a dealer, I don't think I'd stick the resources into an automotive board either.

This is especially true now that most dealers have their own websites and/or use bigger websites with a much larger traffic flow such as Yahoo, AutoTrader, Ebay, hell even Craigslist. If you Google Cadillac, you will get hits to the nearest dealers sites in your area. It doesn't get any better than that.

Again, not to sound so pessimistic, but this is the only explanation I can come up with for the poor response you've gotten. I do hope some success for this board either way...

Stingroo
08-19-10, 06:19 PM
That's partially true, but I think the V-section alone should garner enough interest for new car dealerships. There are already a few up there who sell cars to those guys, and then all the other new car sections should be similar (I'm guessing, I never venture anywhere around there except the first gen CTS-V section).

Plus, a platinum dealership could maybe have a rep from the parts department chiming in here to help locate and ship parts out to DIY'ers. I would think a resource like that, even from one dealership, would be invaluable because they could find out a lot about the discontinued stuff, or locate NOS parts for people who want them (assuming they exist).

Plus more dealers could help people locate CPO cars too, I would think. :)

So regular deaership would get like, an add and a sales section.
Platinum could have parts, sales, service, etc.

But that's just an idea.

ben.gators
08-19-10, 06:37 PM
I totally understand the point of inviting dealers to the CF. They will provide more fund for the CF and as a result we will have a better online community. That sounds perfect. Again, I don't want to sound pessimistic too, but how is the marketing condition of a few dealers that are already in the forum? How many of us have purchased a car or even an small part from them? When it comes to online marketing for parts, local dealers have very weak chance to beat online part stores, like rockauto, etc. As far as I have read some of their threads, people usually ask questions from them and check part number, etc. No real business goes there. This is my personal observation from what is happening in the surface. There might be some thing more behind the scene.


I don't want to sound pessimistic, I am just trying to highlight some points and based on them we might come up with better ideas for attracting and motivating dealers to enroll in CF.

Aron9000
08-19-10, 07:24 PM
I feel that we are the exact people that the dealer ISN'T looking for. They don't want us in there shopping for used vehicles or buying parts. They are looking to sell new vehicles. Like I stated, not that there isn't ANY business to be had here but personally, if I was a dealer, I don't think I'd stick the resources into an automotive board either.



I'll agree that a lot of people on this site aren't interested in buying new cars, but new car sales are only a VERY small part of overall dealer profit.

Dealers make a lot more $$$ per car on used cars, and I know a lot of people in this forum are in the market for 1-5 year old Cadillacs, go read the Escalade forums, a lot of people bought certified preowned in that section.

Service and parts are also cash cows for dealers, if you think about it your local independent mechanic can do most jobs for 2/3 to 1/2 the cost of the dealer. If you can start selling OEM parts over the internet for less than what a person's local dealer is charging, there is $$$ to be made there. Personally I feel that dealers have their parts marked up so high somebody can undercut their costs by a 25% and still make $$$.

Lord Cadillac
08-19-10, 07:49 PM
Just an FYI, there are dealerships here selling enough cars to consider this site a new source of revenue.. Forums like this do not have a smaller "new car buying" audience than television, radio or newspapers. Consider the percentages. Most people who watch television - just like here - cannot afford a new Cadillac. Same goes for radio and newspapers. It's all the same difference.. Intelligent marketers would be making a big mistake to assume that this site isn't a good place to advertise new Cadillacs. That, and dealerships also sell used cars.. Right?

heh

Doctornick
08-19-10, 08:44 PM
Being an marketer for Subaru Midwest region here is my 2.

Dealerships don't like to spend money on advertising, they rather have the manufacture pay for it. If you can find a way to get cleared by GM to get the vendor fee covered under the allocated money each dealer gets from the manufacture for advertising, you might be onto something.

Also the more dealers on here, the more competition they will have for the individuals $$$. The early adopter dealers that are on here are doing well because "they are the only game in town".

Personally, I think the site is very busy with ads. If I was a dealer considering you guys and log-into this forum, I am going to see each one of those ads as my competition. I know what you said about removing the ads if the dealers come over but its the whole chicken or the egg argument.

If you build it, they will come :)

drewsdeville
08-19-10, 09:05 PM
I'll agree that a lot of people on this site aren't interested in buying new cars, but new car sales are only a VERY small part of overall dealer profit.

Dealers make a lot more $$$ per car on used cars, and I know a lot of people in this forum are in the market for 1-5 year old Cadillacs, go read the Escalade forums, a lot of people bought certified preowned in that section.

Service and parts are also cash cows for dealers, if you think about it your local independent mechanic can do most jobs for 2/3 to 1/2 the cost of the dealer. If you can start selling OEM parts over the internet for less than what a person's local dealer is charging, there is $$$ to be made there. Personally I feel that dealers have their parts marked up so high somebody can undercut their costs by a 25% and still make $$$.

Yeah, I agree. However from what I understand, dealers aren't having a hard time moving used cars right now. In fact, I believe the used market is doing quite well...negating the need for extra advertisement like CF.com. The new market is what needs the help.

Stingroo
08-19-10, 09:44 PM
Well if they subscribe and sell even ONE car, they'll make back what they spent.

Sal, like I said in the other thread: what about offering free trials? Drum up some interest and see what it leads to.

Kingoftypos
08-20-10, 02:43 AM
Would it be possible to have space for video clips of their items for sale? I realize that their storage space for pictures is huge for Gold and Platinum dealers. But adding or adjusting the size of pics to allow videos, may help them add videos of their products. At least give them a choice of one or the other or both. Say 100GB total, pictures and video would be good. (just taking that figure out of my mind with out knowing how much video uses. lol)

KOT

MacMuse
08-20-10, 11:19 AM
Do dealers really have that much control over their local marketing? Don't they use local brokers who really do all the ad buys? Perhaps you can reach out to those agencies?

For example - Chicago area dealers work with a site called drivechicago.com as a consolidated front end for new & users cars. The site claims it's run by 'Automotive Internet Media // DMI Digital Motorworks'. No doubt most major metro areas have a similar consortiuum that you could contact about advertising.

And to sort of summarize a thought running through other responses... the service/parts side of dealerships will find a more attractive audience here. e-Coupons for oil change discounts and similar work would be a good fit here. The dealers I used for my cars (1 Toyota & 1 Caddilac) send me postal mail with service deals & coupons - and dealers need to treat this site's audience the same way.

You also face the challenge that dealerships may see bad comments aimed at them in these discussions. You need to be able to address that concern with them during any negotiations. In fact, if I'm GM Marketing I've already got guidelines to the dealers in place for this arena that might include directives like don't go there!. The GM_Service ID (is he gone already) is a sign they are adapting to social network sites like this, but they have a long way to go.

Cadillac Tony
08-20-10, 01:09 PM
Sent you a PM, Sal.

raysteen
08-20-10, 09:57 PM
Nothing to do with the post above, but while reading this post had already thought of this....next Cadillac I buy, will consider 'Cadillac Tony.' The dealer I bought many from was in Austin....Charles Maund, still in business, but when GM dropped Olds the told GM where to put it. They were an Olds/Cad dealership, first class in all ways.
Enough of my rants on dealerships here (another post), just a short Southwest Air trip and drive a new one home....plus enjoy Florida.

77CDV
08-21-10, 02:10 AM
See, now, being a prisoner of CA, I can't buy a new car from out of state and bring it into CA within I think 6 months or 7500 miles, due to emissions laws here.

The-Dullahan
08-21-10, 02:26 AM
I will never in my lifetime have the ability to afford a new Cadillac, and even if I somehow could snag one for free, it would be sod immediately, as there are other things I would rather spend the cash on. Representing that demographic (those who cannot afford a new Cadillac) I can still say that I understand the thesis behind this plan and had I owned my own dealership, I would be on board. If it turned no revenue to me in all finality, I would simply disband with the website, but I see no reason they couldn't give it a try. Relatively, it is cheap marketing and could reap large rewards for the dealership in question. The other thing to consider is that if we got enough dealerships on board, the rest would simply file in.

Submariner409
08-21-10, 03:26 PM
:bsmeter:

RippyPartsDept
08-21-10, 03:31 PM
:bacon: