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I have been blessed with many opportunities to speak at 20 Groups organized by NCM and NADA. Typically, the meetings are attended by dealer principals of the same OEM franchise in non-competing markets. General Managers are present when the dealer can not attend. These meetings, scheduled 3 to 4 times a year, develop a support network that dealers can tap throughout the year.
At these meetings, dealers can compare their performance to their peers in non-competing markets. The dealers share best practices and encourage those who have "weak" numbers to improve by next meeting. The concept, when passionate dealers make up these networks, results in powerful support systems and clear communication channels for best practices.
For Internet Sales Managers, eCommerce Directors, and BDC Managers many must participate in a 1 Group. In most cases they have to rely on themselves to stay current with the latest strategies in dealership sales and marketing practices. They are not given the budget to attend Digital 20 Groups or educational events that are specifically designed for their area of responsibility.
The employees that are on the front lines of the greatest changes in consumer communications are without a budget and without peer advice on best practices. They do not have composite data to compare metrics that apply to their area of responsibility. How many leads should each employee handle? What is a good closing ratio? How many leads a month should I expect from Autotrader.com? These questions, and many others, go without being answered.
In many cases, these same key employees have to beg to attend an automotive education conference. Finding that $1,500 in a budget is just too much for some dealers. Some employees find solace on website communities like www.DrivingSales.com but the majority are left to navigate the tsunami of change on their own.
I have been working with 20 Group organizers to create a new Hybrid 20 Group Meeting Format where dealer principals and eCommerce directors attend a two day meeting together. The format engages both the dealer and the eCommerce director with workshops on digital marketing, internet process, social media, and marketing strategies to compete online. The results have been just outstanding.
Many dealers have stated that this new Hybrid 20 Group Meeting Format is "The best 20 Group Meeting" that they ever attended.
Jared Hamilton can attest to the positive feedback we received when He, Joe Webb, and I conducted this Hybrid model for a 20 Group in Atlanta in February. It was magic!
My take-away from the initial tests is that Dealer Principals and eCommerce Directors need to attend educational conferences TOGETHER.
Currently, dealer principals are finding it difficult to bring back accurate data about ideas and strategies shared at their 20 group meeting. When they attend together there is no degradation in the message and opportunity.
Until your 20 Group can implement the new Hybrid Format, I suggest that dealers and their eCommerce Director get down to Orlando for the 2nd Annual Automotive Marketing Boot Camp. The Boot Camp is being held at the Hilton Orlando from April 16-18th.
Attending together will yield unprecedented skills transfer and winning business strategies that you can take home an implement. Let's end the "1 Group" mentality and work as a team on your future marketing success.
Registration information can be found at: http://www.automotivemarketingbootcamp.com.