Yes, it is getting more and more difficult for business owners to make decisions today that will positively impact their business, especially in the arena of digital marketing. You might say “bull hooey” and protest that it has become easier. And you’d be half fright…
Nothing is more frustrating to a business owner that not understanding something that should otherwise be “easy” to do so. That’s where misguided trust and blind recommendations become so darn appealing. Attend a 20 Group and you just might be amazed as to how eloquent an otherwise inept presenter can be.
We live in a world of regurgitated content, many times so prolific that anyone can claim it to be theirs. Car dealers and executive management, typically, know what has been and possibly what is happening now. They’re still overwhelmingly blind to what is going to happen, even though it’s in front of their eyes. And smartphones.
However, the chasm that exists does so simply because the dots aren’t connecting. In other words, they “get” that they need to market in a new channel, or completely store prospective and customer data in CRM, or spend time understanding new reports. While there is no excuse, none whatsoever including “time”, to not do any or all of that, there is at least bandwidth to consider.
As much as it easy to blame the OEM for (many) programs of epically disastrous proportion, it is up to the dealer to make sure their house is in order.
The struggle that has presented itself over the past 3-4 years, and it’s gaining momentum by the way, isn’t whether to do more, invest more, hire more or attend more, it is truly around letting go of operations to those that they have in power and get immersed the way they did when they started selling, or working in the service drive, or washing cars for their owner-parent while memorizing the specifications to 95% of the cars each year. More than ever you must have a desire to consume, learn, test and challenge yourself. And, ahem, everyone around you.
Recently, especially if you get caught up in rumor, there has been more and more reports of OEM digital, education and training programs being under scrutiny. Enter in shock and awe. Well, at least for everyone but those unfortunate few of us who called into question the very under-budgeted, under-staffed, under-educated, under-facilitated, under-read, under-thought-through contracts. While the programs disserve the OEMs, dealers (at least progressive and knowledgeable ones) are pretty much disgusted. And no, the programs are not responsible for selling more than a negligible increase in amount of cars. Period.
Now here’s the conundrum….we can’t throw another conference at them. We can’t throw another “digital marketing”, or “social media”, or “digital consulting”, or “new age training“ company at them either (you can here the shotguns loading now). And you’ll not be able to convince them that the person visiting them with zero hands-on experience in anything he/she is talking about will make a difference. Unfortunately they might have to let that person visit to make the factory happy. Ugh.
Dealers and OEMs should be able to (stop everything they’re doing and) reevaluate the broken CSI, allocation and reward programs that current exist. Then, as one example, build new models that actually reward dealers who perform exceptionally for their sales and service customers, not exclusive to volume, according to only those customers (versus third party companies), transparent, benchmarked scoring (imaging that!) and overall investment (including but not limited to the facility).
Yes, customers expect more. And that’s not going to stop, ever. And yes, more cars are selling; same with large new-technology televisions, tablets and dinner reservations. When the “easy” sales stop again, fewer dealers will be ready for reality. At least the reality they’re living on and sold by people who shouldn’t be selling them…