Special Finance Leads

Providers in this category were faced with a two-pronged issue this year. While always somewhat concerned about lead quality, dealers began examining their special finance leads under a microscope, not looking at their cost per lead nearly as much as their cost per sale. The second part of the problem was, even if dealers were satisfied they were receiving quality leads, they had less ability to get those deals financed due to the credit crisis. So, the usual concerns about lead quality were not only amplified but were also likely compounded by frustrations over the inability to get deals bought. This one-two punch contributed to lower scores in this category.

Triple Diamond winner Strategic Marketing, who primarily delivers their leads via direct mail campaigns, made it four in a row with yet another Diamond Award. Strategic’s president, Todd Strause, commented that dealers are looking for honesty and integrity in their lead providers and explained that the key to their relationships with dealers is “creating the proper expectation up front … explaining how the leads are obtained and how they are filtered so there are no surprises.” He added, “We feel so fortunate to have such good relationships with our dealers, and we will strive to keep delivering great results each and every month for them.”

Autobytel’s Car.com garnered the Platinum Award, followed by CarsDirect, who made its debut in this category with a Gold Award win. Following by just a half-point was DealerLink in fourth place.

Company Award Score
Strategic Marketing Diamond 93.1
Autobytel Platinum 92.9
CarsDirect Gold 91.6
DealerLink 91.1
Group Average 87.7

Vol. 6, Issue 4