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Would you go on vacation without planning your means of travel, travel route, booking a hotel, identifying points of interest or activities for you and the family, and the starting time as well as the ending date of your trip? Unless you were free spirited with no cares in the world, and were part of the Brady Bunch Family, this was not you. As a matter of fact, since you are reading this blog, you are a “Type A” personality that rarely will walk out of your office without a purpose.
You have worked your way into a leadership position in the Automotive World. You have sacrificed relationships and personal time to earn the lifestyle the automotive industry provides for you. Carefully you have chosen your words and were insightful enough in sales meetings proving you belong in an automotive position of power.
You are confident. There is not a hair out of place on your head. Your Zegna suit shines across the room while envious colleges enquire about your tailor. When you walk across the showroom floor you glide like the breeze on a beautiful spring day. The stories you tell are the most adventurous and interesting topics of the day. The jokes you deliver are spot on, and could be used by Jay Leno if you were not too busy to provide them for him. Your advice to a subordinate will change their life forever. In short, you are the most important person in the dealership and have many people who owe their careers and lives to you…Right?
OK, you may not be that egotistical, but you do know what you bring to the table which is needed in every successful business. However, far too often, automotive leaders know they need marketing and advertising. Automotive leaders hate the expense, but understand the need.
Which Strategic Marketing Plan best describes you (or your boss)? READERS BEWARE…THIS MAY HURT…
Just like your planned vacation you need to plan your marketing strategy. This should not be left up to your marketing department to determine what spend is a good spend. This should be a collaboration of good ideas. Who do you have in your meetings? Is it just the GM, GSM, Marketing Director, and then your signature? Do you have a representative from all departments? Do you have fixed operations involved?
How are you building market share? Every dealership cares about the following:
A great strategic marketing plan starts out with you. Lay out a vision of where you would like to see the dealership in the next month, year, 3rd year, and 5th year. This will change constantly, but if you have the initial plan you will be able to adjust as situations dictate change.
Bring in the department heads of each department and share your vision. Have each of them do the same with their departments. This will allow you to assure everyone is on the same page. It will also allow you to identify long term players in your organization.
The success of every dealership or any organization depends on the success of each department. Do you see where Service can help sales and the Sales Department help Service? Do you have a program that has all departments cross promoting each other? Do you see where Human Resources can help you sell more vehicles? Once you have the departments sharing your same goals and looking for the best partners in the automotive industry you have assembled a good team. Are you treating your vendors like employees? If you are allocating resources to them then they are employed by you. Do your vendors have your vision and goals in mind when they are pitching their product or providing their service?
Accountability is your key to success when strategically marketing your dealership. If someone says they will deliver then expect the result in the time they stated it will be accomplished. This will prevent over promising and under delivering. It will also send a message to the rest of your team that they will have to deliver on their promises.
You do not have time to do everything yourself, so your team of managers and vendors is vital to your success. Placing the right partners in place will allow you to deliver successful results. This is not rocket science. It is just good business.
Look at the best athletes in the world. They have the same regiment in training every day. We know them by the wins they have on the field. What we don’t see is the daily routine of practicing and measuring their results. They control their weight. They strengthen their muscle. They hire the best trainers and mentally prepare themselves for success. Their plan is identified, and they make the needed adjustments to accomplish their goals.
The same concept applies to business. What is your strategic marketing plan and how are you going to accomplish your goals? Who is on your team? What are their plans and how are they going to accomplish them? How are you bringing all of these ideas together? I look forward to seeing you at the top!