Some have criticized that CarGuru's new digital product sets dealers against their companies themselves.
The offering, SEM Plus, aims to help dealers better run their own digital marketing programs so they will garner more search-engine clicks, directly reaching high- and low-funnel buyers alike.
The goal is to drive traffic straight to dealerships’ online and physical sites, the company says. But wouldn’t that conflict with CarGurus’ core website business model of serving as a middleman that links vehicle shoppers to sellers?
Andrew Grochal, the company’s senior director-product, draws distinctions when asked if SEM Plus in a way isn’t vying against the company that offers it.
CarGurus works with more than 25,000 subscribing dealers. Grochal doesn’t foresee an exodus from other CarGurus’ digital services just because dealers sign on with SEM Plus.
“If any dealership is doing SEM (search-engine marketing) on its own, it is competing with us anyway,” he tells WardsAuto.
He expects many dealers who use SEM Plus to enhance their own digital marketing campaigns mainly will tout their fixed operations, promote financing and build individual brands – areas the CarGurus website doesn’t get into. It focuses on vehicle sales.
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