Stories From the Field: Does Your Dealership Need A Chief Marketing Officer?


Outsourcing different services have always been a common practice among automotive dealership. Initially, many dealerships hired local marketing agencies to be their Chief Marketing Officers. This strategy might have seemed simple, but it was not highly effective because the same agencies also represented the same dealerships’ competitors.One of the factors that contributed to the reliance on these marketing firms was the condition of the media before the 2000s. Dealerships chose to advertise themselves between print media, radio, or TV even though statistics indicate that newspapers dominated this sector at that time.The increased popularity and influence of digital media in the new millennium became a game changer. It gave dealerships an excellent opportunity to expand their businesses as well as their customer audience and differentiate themselves from their competitors, as long as they allocated their resources smartly. For example, these dealerships could now use other more effective targeted marketing channels instead of spending their time and money creating TV and newspaper ads or booking spots on the radio.

This change also helped many dealerships understand the significant need for a Chief Marketing Officer. Traditionally these dealerships barely understood the intricacies of this role, including the qualifications, duties, and responsibilities of the person who held it.

Consequently, the owners, general managers, or company principals generally hired a person from their families to fill this role, even if that person lacked the necessary skills and experience. Therefore, it is crucial to understand why an automotive dealership needs a Chief Marketing Officer and the benefit of this role within the dealership.

Role of a Chief Marketing Officer in a Dealership

To start with, a Chief Marketing Officer asks tough questions regarding the dealership’s performance as well as position in the market and uses the available data to find the right solutions. For example, are potential buyers using credit applications? Which inventory pages have higher traffic?

This information gives the dealership an insight into the changes it should make to attract more potential shoppers or sell more vehicles. The truth is that an inexperienced Chief Marketing Officer may not think of retrieving such valuable marketing data.

Secondly, the Chief Marketing Officer analyzes customers’ behavior and buying patterns. Understanding how current and potential buyers behave and the factors that influence their behavior is a significant component of successful marketing. To acquire this information, the Chief Marketing Officer collects different customers’ data from purchased vehicles and website.

Other essential demographics like the shoppers’ age, geography, and gender also enable the Chief Marketing Officer to understand the core client base. This base assists in creating a good branding strategy. For instance, the Chief Marketing Officer will know the geographical areas that they need to target more closely or the type of vehicle that buyers in a particular age group prefer buying. In turn, the dealership will spend approximately 60% of its marketing resources on the client base.

Qualities of a Great Chief Marketing Officer

The skills and qualifications of a great Chief Marketing Officer determine the effectiveness of the dealership’s marketing and branding strategy. A great Chief Marketing Officer will create and implement effective branding. On the other hand, a bad Chief Marketing Officer will waste your money and fail to deliver the expected results. For this reason, it is crucial to define the qualities that you want the Chief Marketing Officer to possess.

  1. Firstly, a great Chief Marketing Officer should understand Google Analytics and various social media platforms. This is because these tools are invaluable in today’s digital world. For example, they help in evaluating traffic and defining customer behavior patterns every day, week, and month. The director can further use this information as the foundation for an effective marketing strategy. Google Analytics can also help the Chief Marketing Officer to determine the conversion rate. This metric often depends on multiple factors, such as the site’s user-friendliness, how well potential shoppers are able to navigate the dealership’s website and whether they take the desired action or not.
  2. Besides the conversion rate, bounce rate is another important metric that a Chief Marketing Officer will always analyze. A homepage bounce rate that is higher than 20% suggests that the website’s homepage is experiencing an issue. The Chief Marketing Officer can reduce this rate through various strategies, such as reducing the page load time, incorporating a good website design, and including a clear and convincing call-to-action. The Chief Marketing Officer could also approach this issue by creating valuable, quality content for the visitors.
  3. A great Chief Marketing Officer also understands organic versus paid web traffic. Paid traffic that is higher than 30% indicates that very few people are aware of the dealership’s website. The director can solve this problem by advertising the website to the dealership’s target audience. This strategy will make the website more prominent and attract more organic traffic.
  4. One of the primary roles of a Chief Marketing Officer in an automotive dealership is to drive more customers. However, there is no guaranteed way of doing so. For this reason, different methods have to be explored in order to choose the one that works. Having adequate information about the core client base makes it easier for the Chief Marketing Officer to design a unique and informed marketing strategy for the dealership. It is crucial to collect and analyze this information monthly.


In conclusion, it is evident that a Chief Marketing Officer plays a significant role in determining a dealership’s success. Some general managers prefer to incorporate this role into their daily tasks or schedule. However, it is difficult for them to identify local marketing opportunities and, at the same time, evaluate these opportunities’ success rates. Refusing to allocate the dealership’s marketing funds to create a position that will develop and implement a successful marketing strategy and budget for your store will eventually cause you to waste more money, time, and resources. Protect your dealership from this problem by hiring a qualified and experienced Chief Marketing Officer today like T3 Marketing today.