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On the Road Again

Case study: Balise Automotive Group

Communication hurdles, digital advertising agency staffing deficit were keeping the company from moving full steam ahead.

Balise Automotive is one of the largest automotive dealers in New England and one of the top 100 dealer groups in the United States with dealers in Western MA, Cape Cod, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. But like most car dealers, they have found the COVID-19 pandemic to be a real challenge for their company.

They hired us to help put them in the best possible position to maximize on a summer sales season when a pandemic weary public would finally be ready to travel.

What we did was a no stone unturned evaluation of the current marketing activities and services provided to Balise Auto Group from their agencies of record. This included their current marketing management processes, media effectiveness, media efficiency, digital depth and breadth and agency scope.

To accomplish this, we did in-person interviews with the Balise team, including all associates that interact with the agency or with the agency deliverables. We also interviewed all the associates that interact with Balise from their external agency team.

Next, we tackled their written deliverables and reporting, including status sheets, the digital key performance indicator tracking, any media plans, strategy reviews along with any other documents relating to client communication from their external agency.

A complete SWOT analysis – the strategic planning technique used to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to business competition or project planning – is always a good idea to get the whole picture of what’s really going on with a company.

Ours included a look at each deliverable category: traditional media, digital media, and digital content as well as the creative agency deliverables, account management, customer relationship management and analytics.
Finally, we offered a monthly evaluation of the agency deliverables to make sure we weren’t missing anything.


What was Under the Hood

Brand awareness was a strength, but changing times called for changing tactics

The existing strengths of Balise included their brand awareness, consumer messaging and current team cohesiveness, while weaknesses included shortcomings in both their digital management and agency management. This was in part due to layoffs necessitated by the pandemic and general staffing shortages with Balise’s media agency.

We thought Balise could improve by changing the management of marketing operations – shifting more day-to-day work to their media agency. There also needed to be more communication between the Balise marketing team and upper management.

A big step in the right direction for them would be consolidating paid search responsibilities with a national automotive technology company offering enhanced capabilities.

Balise needed to keep up with a rapidly changing marketing technology. It was also necessary for them to work more closely with their media agency. The flat compensation model for the media agency that didn’t correspond to the number of deliverables they had to provide needed retooling.

Balise’s agency was very adept at planning and executing ‘traditional’ media buys and producing quick, quality content, but it lacked the resources to give reporting in a usable format and the lack of digital reporting was hurting Balise.

We concluded that Balise’s external agency needed additional staffing to meet their needs.

A Complete Tune-Up

Agency guidelines, new reporting model and new job descriptions

To boost Blaise’s platform for success, the Craig Group wrote a template for what an agency scope of work should look like with specific guidelines for monitoring, reporting, deadlines, compensation, and communication with Balise.

We also clearly defined the roles that the agency should fill and recommended two positions be added to the Balise team at the external agency as soon as possible to be able to meet those responsibilities.

It was Peter Drucker, the founder of modern management, who said that if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. So, we created a new measurement template with examples of what reporting charts from these templates should look like for optimal comprehension, allowing Balise and their agency to take immediate action.

The internal job descriptions for Balise needed a reboot and we gave them one, writing new descriptions to streamline and augment individual responsibilities for Balise employees.

With this retool, we believe that Balise is poised to win as the pandemic subsides. By focusing resources, finding efficiencies, and more closely managing their external agency, they can capitalize on a public ready to move.

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