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There's only one regret I have about delivering a keynote at this weekend's Driving Sales Executive Summit: how can I discuss the future of search and social in 30 minutes? It's a topic that would need 2 hours to scratch the surface because the changes that are coming up shortly are both exciting and terrifying at the same time.
They're exciting because innovative, forward-thinking dealers (such as those who normally select TK Carsites as their marketing partner) will have an advantage over the competition by being "in the know" about the things that are soon to come.
The terrifying aspect is that it's a huge responsibility that falls onto the shoulders of marketing decision-makers at dealerships and the vendors that they use. The good ol' days of "throw up a pretty website and try to get the people into the dealership" are behind us. 2012 will mark the tipping point of something that has been coming for the last 3 years, namely the nearly-complete integration between our online presence and our physical dealerships.
How we handle online marketing and even sales (yes, direct sales) online will create the widest gap the industry has ever seen. Those who move with the trends and focus on getting (and keeping) customers in the venues online where they spend their time will increase their sales at unprecedented rates; if 2010 was the rebound year for the automotive industry and 2011 was the stabilize-and-grow year, 2012 will be the "cream of the crop will rise" year.
In other words, many of your competitors will be hurt by the trends and upcoming changes, while savvy dealers who understand that search and social are the absolute, hands-down keys to success will have their best year in over a decade.
Here's a teaser of what we will discuss at Driving Sales Executive Summit on Sunday:
Any of the topics could span a couple of hours of discussion. We'll be squeezing it all into 30 minutes and we'll still be able to give actionable advice to the dealers in attendance. It's a tall order, but that's what it takes to make this DSES the best ever.
I wrote a little more in depth on the subject of search and social on Soshable. See you Sunday!