CDK Digital Marketing: Addressing Channel Conflict with Data Analytics
Four years into a five-year contract with General Motors to be the exclusive website vendor to its U.S. network of more than 4,000 dealers, CDK Digital faced a crucial contract renewal at the end of 2012. The case follows Melissa McCann, director of strategic marketing, and Chris Reed, CMO, as they prepared for a critical meeting in July 2011: a presentation to the customer relationship management (CRM) subcommittee of the Chevrolet dealer council. Although GM dealers, like all auto dealers in the United States, were independent franchisees, GM saw the renewal of CDK Digital's exclusive contract as a collaborative decision between dealers and GM. According to Ed Vogt, GM's executive in charge of the renewal, if the dealer councils said no, the contract would not be renewed.
This case challenges students to use CDK's big data and analytics capabilities to address the inherent conflict between dealers and manufacturers: when marketing to potential customers, manufacturers wanted consistency across dealer websites to maximize sales of their targeted brands, while dealers wanted flexibility to sell what they had in inventory.